Gorkhi – Terelj National Park, Mongolia

Terelj is what pops up on google image when you think Mongolia; wild horses, grassy plains, nomads, gur tents. It’s where Mongolia lives up to its ‘endless blue sky’ reputation.

We’ve come here to sleep in a traditional gur; a cosy igloo made of yak fur. The interior is like being inside a russian doll, with flower painted beams holding up central dome and fire chimney. It burns an almost tropical heat, as you’d hope for those Siberian winters.

Our host family, namely 3 year old and 7 year old sisters, know two english words; ‘food’ & ‘horse.’ An American tries to amaze the girls a GoPro. She counters by showing us how to take panorama shots on her mum’s I-phone. These tourist camps are only 90min out Ulaanbaatar. To find true nomads you have to venture a few days further into the Gobi desert.

The horses are sturdy 14 hands mountain natives tacked out in rope girths & makeshift bridles like resilient little grafters. I tried to feed one an apple, it snorted in my face. Sadly at night their legs are bound so they don’t roam too far. They’ve learnt to canter on a half-pence and refuse to be patted, as if to retain their wild streak.

IMG_5044To get a little further ‘into the wild’ we took a 5 hour trip down the Tuul river by canoo with http://www.mongoliancanoing.com. Our german guide Ernest starts stories with; ‘when I was living in a squat in Berlin…’ and ‘when I hitchhiked a ferry to Ireland…’ He’s an ideal river companion. Having lived in UB for 10 years with his wife and kids he’s full of interesting stories, especially about his longest trips 40 days downstream all the way from UB to Lake Baikal! We stop for a picnic lunch on a spot straight out of Little House on the Prairie – wild ponies, nomad women airing their laundry and mountains scenery. It’s definitely a worthwhile day tour. Plus after the icy river, coming home to a cosy gur fire never felt so good.

Terelj tour; booked through Bobby at UB Guesthouse. $90 USD for 2 nights, including food, transfers & 2 hours horse riding.
Canooing; $95 USD a day for 4 – 6 hours on the river, including food and transfer.

 

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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