One decision Steve and I made early on was to leave the second half of our trip unbooked. This would give us the flexibility to change our itinerary, stop places other travelers told us about, or spend more time in a place that we really liked. So we only pre-booked the early segments of the trip, those with fewer trains and so a greater likelihood of selling out. Read more
We arrived in Listvyanka around noon, via taxi. We’d thought to take a bus, but in the end allowed ourselves to be convinced by a taxi driver that we’d get there much faster if he took us. And we wanted to get there, drop our bags at our hotel, and explore the town. Listvyanka is on the shore of Lake Baikal, which is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. According to Wikipedia, it contains “roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water.”And all that water is clear, clean, and beautiful. Read more
Since we ended up flying from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, our first experience with an official Trans-Siberian Train was leaving Mongolia for Russia. We boarded train number 3 in Ulaanbaatar, and approximately 24 hours later disembarked in Irkutsk. Read more
I have absolutely loved Mongolia. Every day that I have been here has brought some other great experience, and it’s very hard to imagine how anything else on our trip can top this. I am seriously thinking about coming back, taking a couple of days of vacation after my next work trip to Beijing and finally taking the train to Ulaanbaatar. I could spend a day in the city, see some of the museums I missed this visit, and then fly home through Beijing.
I would really love to do that. Read more
The last day of our tour was not quite as action-packed, but was still very special. We started a bit late because we went back to Erdene Zuu to hear the monks chant, and that didn’t start until 11:00. Our next stop–and the last stop before our return to Ulaanbaatar–would be Lake Ogii, which is one of the biggest lakes in Mongolia and has lots of fish and birds. We would stop here, hopefully at the home of some nomads Meg knows, and have lunch. Read more