Day 19 and 20: Ulaanbaatar-Beijing
Catch a train at 7am is what we call „unchristian“. Fortunately we could have a nap on the train. After leaving Ulaanbaatar the train made its way up to 1400m, before it went town and crossed the spur of the Gobi Dessert.
At the evening we reached the boarder and had a stop for two hours in Erlian, while the undercarriage of the wagons were changed from standard to wide track rails. After Russia and Mongolia we enjoyed to be in China again. Walking along the main road and watching the people sitting outside having barbeque, playing cards or simply having a nice chat.
As we woke up the next day, the landscape has changed completely. No more step and dessert, now it was green and it started to get more and more hilly, the closer we came to Beijing. Two hours before Beijing the mountains began. After having wide an flat area for so long, be enjoyed driving along the valleys, crossing them over bridges and driving through long tunnels. I’d like to say, that that was one of the most interesting parts of the whole Trans-Mongolian.
Unbelievable, after crossing whole Asia from the west to the east, we reached Beijing. Now that it was time to leave the train I felt a little bit sad. Maybe not only because of leaving the train. No, that also means that our vacation is almost over. Tomorrow we go back to Austria.
Day 19: Terelj National Park
Because of the recommendation of the guide book we hired a car with driver and drove to the Terelj National Park. But to be honest it was not worth to see. The landscape of the National Park is nice, but they have build so many tourist camps there, that it is hard to take a picture without having one of that stupid camps on it.
From the National Park we drove to the Dschingis Khan memorial, which is not to fare from the National Park.
Day 18: Ulaanbaadar
After our arriving in Ulaanbaatar at 6am, we stored our luggage at the hotel and did some sightseeing at Ulaanbaatar.
Day 17: Transmongolia
Going from Irkutsk to Ulaanbaatar with the train 362 was funny but also a little bit annoying. We started from Irkutsk at 10pm with a long train. When we woke up we realized, that there were almost only foreign people in the wagon. We had nice chats at the corridor with the other travelers and at lunchtime we almost knew half of the wagon. At the last village before the boarder to Mongolia we had a long stop and could get off the train, or what was left of it. Now the rest of the train has vanished and there was only our wagon left. They even toke the locomotive away while we went off the train. After two hours stop in Naushki we went back to the wagon a thought we would move on, but that was wrong. Now the passport control and the custom control started. First the Russian custom came and toke our passports. Then they rummage our cabin and finally they came with a dog to search for drugs. After one more hour of waiting we got the passports back. Now the Mongolian custom came toke our passports and made the same procedure as the Russian did one hour before. Now all together we were stopping for 7 hours at that godforsaken village called Naushki and for 5 hours we stuck in the train with locked toilets. Everyone felt like a prisoner on that train, and that welded us more together as a group.
In the evening we then had great fun. Most of the people in the wagon were drinking and chatting or playing cards together, while we made a jam session in the cabin.
Day 16: Final Day in Irkutsk
For the last day we didn’t had much of a plan, we just walked into Irkutsk to visit some museums and buy some souvenirs on the market.