Ulan Bator

A break in Ulan Bator, Visit Mongolia

After I visit Mongolia in the countryside, I had a couple of days in the capital again to regroup and get ready for the next part of my Trans European and Trans Asian adventure.

I need a drink

No gin & tonic

After returning to the city of Ulan Bator, I went to the Los Angeles Lounge for dinner. It’s a rather expensive place, but I was in need of some western food. The waiter handed me the menu, and I immediately ordered my gin & tonic. When he told me it wasn’t available, I did not immediately understand, since I had it here before. His English and my Mongolian weren’t sufficient to explain to me why. I had a juice.

A drinking issue in Mongolia

The lounge had wifi, so I went online to see what the issue with the drinks was. And after a bit of searching, I found that Mongolia has organized an alcohol-free day every month. When you visit Mongolia on the first day of the month, keep in mind that you will not be able to buy alcohol. It’s not served in the restaurants, and in the shops, the beer and liquor parts are covered with sheets or alike. This is the reaction of the government to a large-scale alcoholic problem in Mongolia: The last data I could find here, show that 22% (1 in 5) of Mongolian men is dependent on alcohol, 3 times as much as the European average…

Traffic in Mongolia

When you visit Mongolia, it’s dangerous at first sight when you look at the traffic. The success of the Toyota Prius however, brings a second issue: the silent killer. In a noisy city like the capital of Mongolia, the hearing is part of what keeps us alive: you watch out for the noise. The Prius however is a silent car. Many people don’t hear it coming or moving and cross the street in front of it. In no other city where I was before did I witness this as much as here.

Traffic might be a #1 concern when you visit Mongolia.
Traffic might be a #1 concern when you visit Mongolia.

Can’t hide being a foreigner

After traveling Western Europe, the Baltic States, and Russia, when I visit Mongolia it is the first time that I can’t even believe I’m not standing out of the crowd. So no way in hiding me being a tourist here. That results in prices being jacked up a bit when I ask for something. Having a local guide pays back partially in avoiding the “tourist tax” that many shop owners and salespeople will add for you…

Monks having a coffee - You meet all type of locals and foreigners in the coffee places
You meet all type of locals and foreigners in the coffee places

Visit Mongolia: Nomad Central

Visibly being a foreigner facilitates the way foreigners and travelers can make contact. The local and western coffee bars attract more backpacks than many outdoor stores. The outrageous price of $3 for a latte is compensated by the certainty you’ll have a conversation with another traveler or digital nomad on their visit to Mongolia.

Street art in Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Street art in Ulan Bator, Mongolia

Break & regroup

I was now on this trip for a full month. # kilometer traveled, ad I finished 3 of the 4 planned interviews for a client project along the way. So staying here now gave me the time to start thinking about the final storylines for the video report that should be one of the deliverables, and to give the first structure to the book I was making about this trip for a client.

Ulan Bator was a great place to get some work done, and to make some cool connections with fellow travelers. From HR consultants such as Paul to amazing circus artists such as Leah. Uniques connections with incredible people who have unseen adventures. The “Visit Mongolia”-stop proved to be very inspirational.

Even on a rainy day, Ulan Bator, Mongolia, is special

And on the road again

Before I knew it, it was time to head for the railway station. Visit Mongolia came to an end, and it was time to hit the Trans Siberian Railroad once more. My last AirBnB host had arranged for a car to get me to the train.

I left Mongolia with some great impressions and some mixed feelings.

Chinggis Square, the main square of Ulan Bator (UB) - Visit Mongolia 2016
Chinggis Square, the main square of Ulan Bator (UB)