I arrived in Ulaanbaatar a few days ago. I’m heading out for a 6 day nomadic adventure on the 28th, so in the meantime I went to Terej National Park with a few people from my guesthouse.
We stayed with a family of herders in a small camp with 2 ger, one for us and one for them. Ger are Mongolian yurts covered in felt.. for those of you who go to Burning Man, Ashram Galactica put one up in their front yard every year. After lunch, we were supposed to go for a horse ride but it was too hot so all of us plus the young kids from the family piled into the bed of their truck and headed down to the river. We stopped several times on the way.. the two older boys in the family were herding the family’s horses to the river, and the head of the family kept stopping to check up on them and yell directions.
The river was cool and refreshing, shallow but with strong currents. I got in a waterfight with the kids. We all ended up soaked so I think everyone won.
After dinner, it was much cooler so we took the horses out for a twilight / moonlight ride. It was great! I’d never ridden a horse before and it was easier than I expected. I think it helped that I was on a fairly small horse that rarely went faster than a trot. Mongolian horses are generally pretty small; I don’t think they breed them the way Europeans have been for centuries.
The park itself is really touristed.. lots of large ger camps and even a golf course. But it was worth a short visit to get out of UB. The city itself doesn’t have much to do, and it’s a pretty rundown place. Fun UB quirk though: the garbage trucks (truck?) play a tune of the type heard from ice cream trucks in the rest of the world!
(I visited Terej National Park on June 25-26.)