Exactly a week ago I left Ulan Ude in Siberia and typically the weather was pretty average but the last two days here have been 31 degrees. The night before I left I had spent hours trying to upload a video but the wind and thunderstorms cut the power to the hotel. The next day the storms had gone but the wind was still strong and I could see the dark clouds rolling in again from the south west, which was where I was going. I finally got moving at around 11 a.m. and headed for the Mongolian Border, the rain missed me but the wind did not let up the entire way and I arrived at the Russian border city of Kayakhta at around 4 p.m. I decided to wait until the next day to cross the border and after searching for a hotel with no luck I rode east along the border fence about 20 kilometres and found a nice place out of the wind to camp.
It ended up going like this;
Russian border full search everything off the bike, smiles and a stamp on the passport, around 1 hour.
Mongolian border, drive through the water, wait while the paperwork was filled out for the bike, stamp passport through, immigration full search everything off the bike, smiles, Customs office, more paperwork and another full search everything off the bike…..then smiles. Money from the ATM and rode to the last gate where they have the insurance office, $5 AUD for a months third party Insurance, not sure if it’s any good in an accident but you have to have it.
Welcome to Mongolia.
I continued on towards the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar where I had to pay 3 tolls to use the single lane pot holed road, but I guess if they use this to fix up the Highway then it’s all good. (I later spoke to other travellers who didn’t have to pay so just my luck). This local guy was my welcoming party, nice guy and spoke English very well.
The traffic in Ulaanbaatar was horrendous, the city is laid out east to west in a valley and literally has a single main road which runs straight through the centre. The Highway from the north joins this road to the west of the city centre and the Oasis Guesthouse where I would be staying was on the east side, so not much to do but get into it…..and it was completely mad with every man women and child for themselves.
After over an hour to travel around 8 kilometres I arrived at the famous Oasis Guesthouse which is a popular place for overland travellers (bikes and cars) to stay and rest or do maintenance. The toils of the day disappeared when I was shown to my own Ger compete with wood fire.
There were a few other travellers at the guesthouse so it was a good chance to get some information on the roads ahead.
On Sunday we all decided to go on a small tour, from left to right, Matty (UK) Mylo (Czech Republic) Paul (UK) Chinggis (Mongolia) Gabi and John (Aus).
With Chingiss guiding us it was a fantastic day, first stop was the Chingiss Khan statue around an hours ride east of town, its become a bit of a tourist attraction since it was built around 10 years ago but it had to be done.
Until Matty drove over a random rock and broke the fuel line on the BMW, he had it fixed in minutes (he has done this before) and we were all back on the road. The boys have done so well getting that car through this terrain which was tricky enough for the bikes.
Over the following couple of days everyone drifted off to their next destinations, Matty, Paul and Mylo left for Russia and John and Gabi headed south east to the Chinese border for a 30 day tour of China, good luck everyone. As everyone was leaving Kinga finally caught up with me and we will ride together through the rest of Mongolia so it was bike maintenance 101 for both of us before we set off for the Gobi desert.
So new rear tyre fitted, new chain and sprockets, new headlight globe and an oil change done I should be ready for the next stage, Kogge (hope I’ve spelt this correctly) is the mechanic who has a shop next door and he kindly let us borrow some tools we didn’t have, thanks Kogge.
My apologies I’ve just realised that I haven’t posted any photos of the Oasis Guesthouse, which has been great and if anyone comes here it is a must that you stay here.
So today is Friday, I’ve been in UB for a week and today I received my Transit Visa to get back through Russia, tomorrow we will head south towards the Gobi Desert then further north west through Mongolia, we have 3 weeks and I can’t wait, depending on internet I will try to post updates as I go, if not see you back in Russia.