Mongolia – the land of blue sky and vast land! After visiting the Terelj National Park, it was time to explore more of Ulaanbaatar before hopping onto the train and making our way to Siberia. It was my fourth day in this country and I believed I’ve not seen everything entirely. It was free and easy for the day. I’ve decided to jam packed it up as usual and made the most out of every minute, before I returned to hibernating in the train.
I love being on my own! All because you’ve got all the flexibility to decide where to go and what to do. With a map in hand, I took an easy breezy stroll to the city centre. There was the Ulaanbaatar International Marathon going on and the roads were closed. Everyone was out in the sun – cycling, playing with their dogs, dancing and it was like a fiesta in the city.
10 Highlights : What to do and see in Ulaanbaatar?
What’s Mongolia without a visit to the GER camps! The Terelj National Park was definitely one of the many highlights of my Trans Siberian Trip. On Day 2, we checked out of J Hotel and took only a day pack with us for the night. We made our way to famous Chinggis Khan Statue and spent about an hour discovering the Mongolian culture.
“Genghis Khan, the fearsome Mongolian warrior who conquered half the known world in the 13th century, is remembered for his brutalities and destruction. But to Mongolians, he is a national hero, a larger-than-life figure and the symbol of Mongolian culture, and for good reasons. Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history, revived the Silk Road, uniting tribes and was responsible for cementing the position of Mongols on the world’s map.” – Amusing Planet
Never did it crossed my mind that I would be visiting Mongolia via the Trans Siberian Railway. Second leg of the ride and this time it was 27 hours from Beijing to the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, UB. We departed Beijing Railway station at 1120am and arrived UB at 1520pm.
” Mongolia is truly one of the world’s last undiscovered travel destinations and the safest country to visit. As a tremendous destination to experience the outdoors, Mongolia also boasts of unique history dating back to the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan. Simply put, it is a land of adventure, horses, nomads, and blue sky.” – Discover Mongolia.
First train ride of the 7,165 km journey and I couldn’t be more excited. Since there was no shower on the train, I spent the day catching up on sleep, updating my travel journal, chatting with my cabin-mates and watching the change of scenery.
The first leg of my Trans Siberian Railway Adventures – Beijing, China! Being a Malaysian Chinese, this was my maiden trip to China and I couldn’t be more excited. When i thought about Beijing, I pictured in my mind streets filled with bicycles, dusty air and busy pedestrians. I was bound to Beijing via Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 360 and arrived at my hotel at almost 3am in the morning. Fortunately, my pre-arranged pick up to King Parkview Hotel was smooth and pleasant. The taxi driver had a conversation with me in mandarin and whoa.. that was a challenge and my language proficiency was definitely put to the test. I needed sleep!
“Beijing : It is where ancient and modern China meets. Constantly re-imagining itself as it races towards the future, yet inextricably linked to its glorious, notorious past, Běijīng is as compelling as it is complex.” – Lonely Planet
I had only one day in Beijing and it knew it wasn’t enough to explore everything. Thankfully, the hotel’s location was strategic. It was located adjacent to Jingshan Park’s East Entrance. I had to cherry pick where to visit and the Forbidden City was not to be missed. After all, it was just really close by to where I was staying – 10 minutes by bus and 30 minutes by foot. Of course, i took the bus as time was rather constrained.