Probably one of the coldest capitals in the world, in the least populated country on the planet
02.10.2007 - 03.10.2007 13 °C
Our hostal in Ulan Bataar (UB) was more like an apartment converted into a guesthouse. We had a fairly large room but with a bed as hard as a rock. It was many times worse than the relatively comfortable bunks on the train. Luckily there was also a couch in the room and we could make ourselves comfortable there. We went out to change some money (Togrog) and found an exchange office just across the street.
UB has around 800,000 inhabitants and is pretty grey and shabby. Many still live in gers (tents) or shacks. The Mongolian law allows anyone to put up a fence and call the land his/her own (15 x 20 m per person) and you see fences everywhere. It's far from being a beautiful city and we didn't do much sightseeing as we spent almost all our time in the Gobi, but it definitely has it's own atmosphere. We managed to look around town a bit.
We also went to see UB's temple. Gandantegchinlen (Gandan) Khiid is Mongolias largest and most important temple. It was built in the mid 19th century and survived the russian religious cleanout in the 1930's.
We also ran into Walter and Walter again. The Austrian guys, father and son, from the train and Irkutsk. We met by chance at a small cafe and chatted a bit over a cup of coffee. It's a small world!
Lots of Love,
Fredrik and Sabrina