WELCOME to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia and the most populous city in the country. Ulaan Baatar is a city that grows at the frenetic pace of globalization where its economy exploits the mining quarry. More than 30,000 nomads embrace sedentary life here and assert their constitutional right to a plot of land to settle with their gers in the hills that protect the capital.
We will take a tour through Sukhbaatar Square, we will know one of the many Monuments dedicated to Chinggis Khaan, we will wander through the National History Museum and will go to a hill to observe the city from a high point. Without a doubt, Ulaan Baatar is a city of contrasts where modern buildings of a socialist style are mixed with other traditional buildings.
To the northwest of the city, just meters from our hotel, is the Gandan Monastery Complex that houses five temples and other constructions. We will enter the Migjed Janraisig temple in order to admire a huge copper Buddha of more than 20 meters high and we will turn clockwise inside. We will witness songs and prayers made by some monks in other buildings. Three colleges of Buddhist philosophy, one of medicine and astrology and two tantric colleges are part of the complex.
After the visit of the monastery, we will get on a 4x4 car with destiny Bayangobi. Half way we will make a stop to stretch our legs, talk with other fellow travelers and find out what awaits us at the camp in the dunes Elsen Tasarkhai.
We will have breakfast and go out to bid farewell to all the intrepid runners / walkers that start the Mongolia Stage Race. Did you know that the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes stretch about 80 km long and 5 km wide? Do not panic! We will not ask you to step on each grain of sand. You have the opportunity of riding on Bactrian camels. Wow... we will enjoy a small sequence of true desert in the middle of green steppes. We will be struck by some wooden structures... they are shepherds’ cottages. Towards noon we will eat with the participants of the MSR and, then, we will be getting closer to the lake Ugii in a staggered way. With 4x4 cars we can touch the nature.
Both the sunset and the sun rises on Lake Ugii, attract hundreds of of world-renowned photographers who meet annually to obtain the best postcard of the site. This blue lake is also famous for being an important breeding area for waterfowl; about 150 types of birds meet annually in its waters.
We will visit the Ugii lake information center where we can learn about the richness of the area. We will cross the emblematic Orkhon river bridge in a 4x4, to enter the Orkhon river valley where we will observe herds of wild animals... horses, sheep, camels, goats. Do not miss the opportunity to film and / or photograph them. If you have a drone give wings to your imagination. We will receive the runners in the small and colorful town of Ugii. Take a walk through its streets that is well worth it. We will transfer to Tsetserleg where you can take advantage of the afternoon to get to know a typical Mongolian market.
Good morning... the first thing that we have to visit is Zayiin Khuree Khiid, which in ancient times was a Buddhist monastery and today works as a local museum. The site is beautiful... We will climb a nearby hill to see the Galdan Zuu temple with its 7 meter Buddha where we can also take some panoramic pictures of the Tsetserleg village. We will cross the Tamir River by a long wooden bridge also used by yaks to then enter the first wooded areas where you can see centennial trees of a unique beauty. In the valleys, we will cross again with hundreds of animals... jaks, horses, sheep... vultures and eagles stalking their possible prey. After several hills we reach the Tsenkheriin valley where we will find the camp with natural hot springs. We deserve a good rest in the outdoor pools.
While the runners / walkers of the MSR start the fourth stage, we take advantage of an outdoor spa in the middle of nature. We will make a brief walk to know where the thermal waters come from, sulfurous springs that sprout to more than 80 degrees of temperature. By the way, these waters are appreciated for their healing properties.
Open forests, soft valleys and small highlands. We will pass by Espejo Lake... highly frequented by nomadic families along with their herds.
Are you hungry? Well, in the middle of nowhere or better said in the middle of nature we will eat a big barbecue next to the runners. In 4x4 we will go to the next camp where we can take the opportunity to chat with our fellow travelers and / or read that good book that we keep in our suitcase.
Nerves... stress... we had breakfast and we moved to the finish line to watch the runners / walkers... today it’s the queen stage... almost 40km. Along the way we will see large eagles that mix with large vultures. We will pass through a small lost town where a large number of children live. We can exchange gestures and words / phrases in English. We will see multiple Ovoos (places of worship, to honor the mountains and the sky) made of wood or rocks throughout this area. We will cross a large bridge to reach the colorful city of Karakorum. We will visit the emblematic 16th century Buddhist monastery Erdene Zuu, considered by many to be the most important monastery in Mongolia, and we will go through the city a bit. We will walk through emblematic sites such as the Tortuga monument, the penis rock and the archaeological site great hall, among others. The midday meal will be done in the camp where we will sleep.
We will go to the impressive monument to the Heroes from where we can see the roofs of Karakorum, the serpentine Orkhon River and dozens of street vendors waiting for us... OPPORTUNITY TO BUY SOME THINGS. The "Mongolia Stage Race" will end at the emblematic 16th century Buddhist monastery Erdene Zuu... we will be alert to the arrival of OUR HEROES during the morning. We can observe various details of the monastery and the market that is on one side. Once the MSR is over, we will return by 4x4 to the capital of Mongolia where we will have a good gala dinner with a great end of the party.
Breakfast time. Free morning to make the last minute purchases, take some pictures in the capital and see again one site that caught our attention. We believe that, the Gandan Monastery Complex deserves a second visit or at least a walk through its gardens. According to the departure times of the different flights, we will depart in a staggered way to the airport. END OF ADVENTURE!