My unbelievable journey in the Nomadic Land of Mongolia comes to an end. Returned to Ulaanbaatar last evening after 8 days of grueling yet fascinating road expedition covering a distance of about 2000 kms which included parched, unforgiving Gobi desert to driving into Orkhon valley and Khangai mountains which can easily be termed as the Scotland of the east, beautiful, lush green and cold. Words and pictures will not do justice to the experience I’ve had. One has to come to Mongolia to experience it.
The incredible journey started on 13th morning. The entourage consisted of 4 Toyota Land Cruisers, 1 Lexus, 5 drivers, 2 chefs, 2 mechanics, 2 professional photographers and Venky, the brain behind the this new upstart company. We moved southwards from the capital city Ulaanbaatar to Baga Gazrin, visiting a small but a significant monastery along. Tonight I get to experience my first of the several Ger camps. A Ger is a traditional portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads.
The night of 13th August was a memorable as we experienced the annual meteor shower which filled the night sky with glowing streaks. Just close your eyes and imagine yourself in the middle of a cold desert living through the night of your life.
350 kms drive next day takes us to the vulture valley. We drove through imposing gorges carved by ancient rivers. Charles an amazingly talented kid from Lille, France who’s traveling with us as a professional videographer has shot some incredible footage with is charmingly cute drone, Pee Vee.
Having a good company on long driving expeditions is a huge bonus and I was lucky to have MD & Bibhu from Mozambique, Satish from Goa and Vijay from Mumbai along with two very talented chefs, Ankit and Charles professional photographers, Venky who’s brain child is this company Nomadic Road, two very experienced mechanics and last but not the least Gana our local guide, who’s a hell of a sweet chap, but totally lacks the sense of timing and who doesn’t know anything much about the city in which he lives. Together we created magic and all of them will be remembered for a very long time.
Khongoriin Els are Mongolia’s largest sand dunes which stretch up to 100 kms east to west, some of them having impressive heights of up to 275 meters. I got an opportunity to do a bit of Sand Dune bashing, which was an experience. The following day we drove down to the famous flaming cliffs where the paleontologist Roy Chapman accidentally found the first ever dinosaur bones and eggs.
We drove our cars through the flowing rivers and undulating hills, spent time at monasteries which are so peaceful, drove down to water falls in the Orkhon valley and stayed in a beautiful Tsenher Ger camp which had a large open air hot spring pools.
We ended our expedition at Karakorum, the former capital city of Changiss Khan. I am back in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, taking a well-deserved 2 days off (more so because of flight connections) and looking forward to my next driving holiday with Nomadic Road.