Good outdoor, wild country trip. Attended the Naadam Festival and came away feeling that there is not a huge amount of culture but that is to be expected from traditionally nomadic peoples. Museums have a rather unloved feeling about them.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The great open plains.
The hospitality of the nomadic people and the camel's cheese, salted tea and soured mare's milk that they offerred us.
The Mongolian way of re-commencing religion/Buddhism in their country after Soviet rule.
- What did you think of your group leader?
She was absolutely lovely. Did her best at all times.
English skills required polishing up.
She didn't have very much control over the drivers and we kept losing the other trucks (we were in a convoy of 3 trucks) and had to double back etc. Also, got lost in the Gobi desert twice! Ended up having extremely long drives of 12hrs and 14hrs on 2 of our travel days. She didn't want to worry us and told us that everything was fine when it was obvious that it really wasn't. It would have been better if she had told us the truth and we could have helped her look out for landmarks.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Beware of pickpockets at the Naadam Festival in UB. They are particularly aggressive and use the slash (yes, with a knife) and grab method.
The view in the stadium from where tourists are seated is not ideal. We couldn't really see anything happenning in the centre of the stadium where the opening ceremony was held. Try to catch a festival outside of UB and you will get a much closer and rewarding experience.
Bring travel sickness medication if you suffer from it as the truck rides are rough, bumpy and very, very long.
Food isn't bad just boring. Be prepared for lots and lots of coleslaw and boiled mutton. Condiments and lots of beer will assist in washing it all down.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
- There was a lot of time spent on the road to get to not very much at the end of a long, hard day. I can truly say that unless you really enjoy long and rough truck rides, this is not the trip for you.