Feb 21, 2011

ULAAN BAATAR ( Ulan Bator)

The capital city & gate-way to your awaiting adventures in Mongolia.
Getting there:
* Fly
* Take the train to Ulaan Baatar from Beijing, China or Moscow, Russia.
* Trans Siberian Express Train Schedule: From Moscow or Beijing

Requirements to enter:
* Passport and Visa required to enter Russia, China, and Mongolia
* An "Invitational Letter" may be required by Mongolian Embassy. Request one from your booking agency, hotel or tour-guide agency in Mongolia.

* International credit cards are not widely accepted outside of international hotels and touristy areas in Mongolia. Make sure to have a plenty of cash and traveler's cheques on hand.
* Mongolian weather can be extreme from the summer to winter. Pack your clothes accordingly. Average temperatures over most of the country are below freezing from November-March and are about freezing in April and October. January and February averages of -20° C (-4 F)are common, with winter nights of -40° C(-40 F)occurring most years. The winters often feel much colder with the freezing Siberian wind traveling downwards from Russia. Summer extremes reach as high as 38° C (100.4 F) in the southern Gobi region and 33° C (91.4 F) in Ulaan Baatar

Hotels in Ulaan Baatar:
1. Zaya Backpacker Hostel:$12-25
2. UB Guesthouse: $6-18.
3. Backpackers Guesthouse: Starts at $10 (includes breakfast)
4. Apartment rental with Happycamel Tour Agency: Starts at $48
5. Mika Hotel: Starts at $50
6. Evergreen Hotel: Starts at $45
7. Flower Hotel: Starts at $70
8. Palace Hotel: Starts at $79
9. Narantuul Hotel: Starts at $98
10. Bayangol Hotel: Starts at $145
11. Puma Imperial Hotel: $100

Tour Guides: Many types of tours offered.
1.www.happycamel.com : Belgium owners. It can be found at Chez Bernard Tourist Cafe on Peace Ave. Ph:(976) 998-44844
2. www.discovermongolia.mn
3. www.garditours.com
4. www.gomongolia.com
5. www.tripsmongolia.com
6. http://tserentours.com/
7. www.samarmagictours.com
8. www.gertoger.org: Foundation and agency which works with the local communities for promoting responsible tourism.
9. www.mongolian-ways.com

Cultural home-stay at a traditional house, Ger with a nomadic family:
* PBS documentary made with Julia Roberts in 1999
* Many options offered by Gertoger Organization

My friend, Jess with her host family

Naadam Festival (Mongolian National Holiday):
* July 11 - 13 held annually
* A thousand year old warrior festival of competitions in traditional wrestling, archery, horse racing with kids as the jockeys and along with traditional food, music, and other festivities.

Horse Trekking
* An itinerary sample by National Geographic


For more intrinsically rewarding journey, volunteer at one of many orphanages. The poverty and high unemployment rate have been steadily on the rise since the fall of communism in 1990's. The elderly and disabled adults and poor children most often end-up being victimized as a result. There is an estimate of 3,000 orphaned and abandoned children in Ulaan Baatar.

* http://www.projects-abroad.org
* http://www.lotuschild.org


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