Do you have a continuous adrenaline-motorbike deficiency? Do you want to cross a country with the world’s lowest population density and the cleanest air? Do you want to see dinosaur fossils and red taiga? Do you like it when eagles and vultures soar overhead, checking discreetly if they can make a meal from you? Can you behave politely when camels cross your path and force you to wait? Do you have a desire for seemingly endless space? Do you have a longing for boundless gravel drives, where the limits are your skills? Do you like to ride a motorcycle through dozens of streams, high passes and phenomenal canyons? Do you like to sleep in a tent on crystal clear rivers and lakes, fish for lynxes, pike and perhaps taimen? I wonder what the original Siberian taiga looks like and how does Buddhism connect with shamanism? Do you want to know why Genghis Khan is considered a man of the millennium? Do you want to feel the magic of continental Asia, see it, and explore it upon the square knobs of your motorcycles tyres?
Perhaps your answer was yes to the majority of these questions. Your real answer is to come to Mongolia with us. This is a dream come true for every motorcyclist. It is no coincidence that the Long Way Round authors chose Mongolia as the most interesting part of their journey.
We will pass the most forested and mountainous sections of Mongolia – northern and central. From Ulaanbaatar to Uliastaj and return via another road through Ajmaki Selenge, Bulgan, Archangaj, Chowsogol and Dzawchan.
We will be high, on average around 2000 m above sea level. On the way there will be streams, mountains, unlimited space and uncontaminated nature. We shall reach almost 4,000 meters crossing the snow-covered Changaj Mountains. We will visit the first capital of Mongolia, Charchorin and if conditions permit we will go to the secluded Noyon Hangay pass. Perhaps the weather will not allow this so we shall have time to go to the sister lake of Lake Baikal, Lake Chubsugul.
This trip will be mostly gravel roads and tracks with plenty of testing offroad sections.. At the beginning there will be some asphalt, but after a few days we will only move through the steppe and mountains. With a gravel to asphalt to offroad ratio at 30/50/20%. The level of difficulty and the final route will depend on the weather and the possibility of passing individual sections. Our Mongolian guide will monitor and adjust the route accordingly. The route will be chosen so that an experienced motorcyclist can pass it on heavy GS motorcycle equipped with knobby tyres.
We will spend the night mainly in tents and, where possible, in yurt campsites or hotels. We will be far away from civilization – for safety and convenience there will be two support cars travelling with us (in one provisions and water, the other carrying fuel). There will also be a doctor, a chef and of course, an experienced guide.
Arrival to Ulan-Bator. Collection of motorcycles. Shopping.
We ride the asphalt road from Ulan-Bator to the Batkhan reserve. This is the oldest reserve in Mongolia. We sleep in tents. We make friends with marmots and spruces.
Charchorin. Former capital of Mongolia. Today a small town among tourists more known as Karakorum. One of the oldest and largest monasteries of Erdoedzuu chijd, one of just few in the country that partially survived the destruction of temples and the murdering of monks organized by the communists in 1937.
We are in a hurry to reach Lake Ogii Nuur. We’re watching dinosaurs along the way. This is the shortest stretch of the trip. On arrival, we fish for one meter pike and spend the night in yurts. The lake is famous for its richness of fish and birdlife. More than half of the reservoir does not exceed 3 meters in depth and around the lake in summer there are a lot of shepherds.
Campsites and civilization have just ended – from now on we only sleep in tents. This day on the banks of North Temir.
Jargalant will show us how the typical life of the Mongolian shepherds looks like. We cross the lively bridge over the Ider river. We sailed there by canoe in 2008 (everything indicates that we are here for the first time). High mountains begin. Tent sleeping.
Gurvanbulag. This is a special place in Mongolia. There is everything here at once – dunes, forest, steppe and mountains. The peaks around us reach almost 4,000. meters
Either we can pass the Noyon Pass or not. If so, we spend the night in the mountains in a tent, or in the Otgon area or in Uliastay (hotel or campsite).
Terhin Tsagannuur. We sleep in a hotel or camping.
Tosonsengel and IderGol river. Hotel or camping.
We’re going back to the asphalt. If the weather is great, we will make it to Lake Chubsugul. A magical lake. It is 136 km long and almost 300 meters deep. It’s 2% of the world’s freshwater resources. The locals claim that it is connected with Baikal with an underground river in which dinosaurs survived. We will see for ourselves.
If we do not make it, we return to Charchorin.
In both scenarios, we drive on asphalt and spend the night at a campsite.
Amarbasgalant. One of the most important Buddhist monasteries of Mongolia. In addition, mineral springs and rock drawings. And camping for us.
We are going back on asphalt to Ulaanbaatar. When we arrive we drive 70km to see the 40-meter high statue of Genghiz Khan. We shall leave our motorcycles at our base.
We use the charms of Ulan Bator, we say goodbye to the Mongolian cuisine and try the Korean one.
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