January
19th
2011

Mongolia Cycle Touring Tips


Mongolia cycle touring tips

Mongolia has always been a much anticipated destination of our cycle trip. From the point we first opened the pages of the Lonely Planet guide in London and began to fantasize about wide open spaces and a daily routine focused on little more than reaching point ‘B’ from point ‘A’ we have been looking forward to reaching Mongolia. – Posted by Justin

May
3rd
2011

Getting Mongolian Visas


Getting Mongolian visas

Its not so difficult to get a Mongolian tourist visa allowing 30 days to visit the country, and its extendable without hassle in Ulan Bator. Easy right? But while researching cycling routes we caught wind of another visa, so unreported that even the official embassy websites don’t list it as an option. With spectacular cycling to be had in Russia’s Altay mountain region which borders the western road into Mongolia, we decided to give the fabled 90 day Mongolian tourist visa a shot. – Posted by Emma

June
27th
2011

Border Crossing Bedlam


Border crossing bedlam

Despite the Tsagaannuur border crossing from Russia to Mongolia having been open for quite a few years now, there is still some confusion online about what paperwork is required to cross it and, crucially, if crossing by bicycle is actually allowed. Only a few days before we planned to cross the border we met cyclists who had heard you could cycle across with no problems both ways, or at least it was OK from the Mongolian side…maybe. – Posted by Justin

July
5th
2011

Life In A Round House


Life in a Round House

While waiting for the delivery of new rear wheels, we had some time to sit out Olgii, Mongolia’s most westerly provincial capital. We had planned to take a side trip to the Altai Tavan Bogd Nuur national park which borders China, Mongolia and Russia, but with Justin down with a stomach bug and daily phone calls required to ensure delivery of our package, our world was centred around a traditional felt house in the Blue Wolf Ger Camp. – Posted by Emma

July
9th
2011

Start Of The Off-road


Start of the off-road

An unsigned right hand turn onto a sandy track leading steeply uphill marks our exit from Bayan-Olgii and the start of our route east to Ulaanbaatar. We ask a local if this is the way to Hovd to which he smiles and nods. We think this means either “Yes it is” or else “You are going there by bicycle?”. With the road surface varying from loose gravel to deep sand it requires all our attention so breaks are increasingly frequent as we pause to absorb the scenery around us. – Posted by Justin

July
9th
2011

Festival Season


Festival season

I pulled in beside Justin at the edge of the small town of Olgii as four horsemen dressed in the traditional dell jackets galloped past, making light work of the deep sand the town was entrenched in. The roads leading in had been busy with traffic and now motorcycles were parked two or three deep outside the nearest cafe. Horses were tied up outside shops and plenty of people were milling around the main street in their best clothes. Coupled with loud music and coloured flags fluttering above the stadium ground we were stopped outside, something was definitely going on. – Posted by Emma

July
15th
2011

Proper Desert Adventure


Proper desert adventure

It takes most of the day to reach Khyargas Nuur (lake), following power lines straight down for an easy 30 kilometres, followed by 15 of loose gravel downhill and 5 fast across hard mud on the flat riverbed. There’s little traffic and we only slow as we sight our first two humped Mongolian camels. Compared to the hard push up over a 1800m pass we did out of Olgii the day before, we are flying. With high hopes we reach the outskirts of Naranbulag looking to resupply before tackling the 350 kilometre stretch to the next town on our map. – Posted by Emma

July
18th
2011

14,000 Kilometre Photo


14,000 kilometre photo

The 14,000 kilometre photo was taken alongside Telmen Nuur (lake) on 18th July 2011. In Mongolia every kilometre we cycle feels like a huge achievement with 700 kilometres of this 1000 being cycled off-road. So unlike the 13,000 kilometre photo we were keeping a close eye on our bike computers as we approached this milestone. We are hoping that we will reach tarmac before the next 1000 kilometre mark is passed (both looking suitably rough in the photo). – Posted by Justin

July
23rd
2011

Day Of Food – Mongolia


Day of food - Mongolia

Our diet in Mongolia has become similar to that of local people with meat high on the ingredients list and few vegetables. As we find it hard to source fresh ingredients we are eating a lot more sugary junk food and as we did in Russia taking every opportunity we can to order food from any roadside cafe we pass. Using the staples of potatoes, carrots and onions in original ways has challenged our cooking skills but on this particular day a can of peas made all the difference to our evening meal. – Posted by Justin

July
28th
2011

Tarmac And Tourists


Tarmac and tourists

It takes a while to put a finger on what is different about Jargalant. Allegedly the home of the tallest man in Mongolia, on the surface its just another dusty town which is still waking up when we arrive just before 10am on a Saturday morning. We pass shuttered up restaurants, hotels, pubs and even a museum when it sinks in that these signs are all in English – we’ve crossed some invisible line and hit the tourist trail. – Posted by Emma