20 Days in Mongolia – Back to Basics Travel
Taking on Mongolia
Mongolia is a land of extremes, both in the landscape – from its vast desert lands and rolling sand dunes to its lush green mountainous national parks – and in its lack of infrastructure, where you become just as frustrated as you do indulgent by the country’s areas of extreme isolation.
Outside of its ugly sprawling capital, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia exists with very basic facilities, but that’s what makes it beautiful. On the road it can take hours of driving before you pass a small ger community, a Mongolian on horseback or another vehicle and in between you are blessed with the most stunning views of a country so untouched that you know you’ve reached the true heart of it.
Off the Beaten Track – There’s No Other Way
If you want to get off the beaten track, then you will love Mongolia. But this also comes with its frustrations where you need droves of patience and a good chunk of travel time to play around with. Firstly, there are hardly any roads. Roads are dirt tracks, or pre-made grooves in the land pointing the way and paved highroads are very few and far between. This, coupled with unpredictable weather conditions (cue random onslaughts of rain), means that you are likely to get bogged at some point. There were countless numbers of times where we had to dig out and push the truck or find locals to come to the rescue – tractors are a saving grace here.
It’s a huge country that you could get lost in for weeks on end and when you accept the setbacks you start to see them as part of the big adventure – travel at its most raw. Back to basics, getting dirty and struggling with the lack of modern amenities we too often take for granted is part of what traveling in Mongolia is all about. It changes you and makes you appreciate the beautiful patches on the earth’s surface that are untouched by extreme modernization, pollution, and overpopulation.
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