Yeah, after one week of waiting for our Chinese visa we finally could start our journey to the northern, remote part of Mongolia. We took a hostel-like overnight train to Erdenet, an industrial city with the fourth largest copper mine of the world. We only stayed for a short breakfast break in Erdenet cause our actual destination was Murun, the administrative center of the northernmost Aimag Khövsgöl. From Erdenet the only way to get to Murun is by a local taxi, which starts from a small official parking lot. Our taxi was full, but we learned that it is always possible to stuff public transport in Mongolia with either people or televisions, beverages, food, tools or whatever might fit in. So we picked up a little girl who was traveling alone to her relatives. She had to sit in front on the lap of a strange woman for around three hours. After driving through green hilly landscapes we reached a little typical Mongolian village, where all houses or gers are surrounded with high wooden fences, that you can’t see the property from the sandy earth roads. When we left the village we got stuck in the sand and our driver tried a couple of times to free the car from the sand. But without success. So Felix, me and the two other passengers were pushing the car and finally released it. And our journey continued.
Close to Murun we spotted the fabulous gate which led us to unforgettable, fantastic adventures. Our driver stopped at the gate so we could take a picture of the two columns, each featuring a reindeer sculpture. After checking in at Baigals’ cozy homestay with three gers in her garden, we were organizing our trip to the reindeer herders. Via email we already contacted Zaya, a member of the Tsaatan community, and set the dates for our visit. But you can read more about our reindeer adventure in our next story.
For visiting the reindeer camps in the taiga we needed a special permission cause the camps are pretty close to the Russian border. Zaya gave us the contact of her friend Bata in Murun who helped us to get the border permit. We only had to give him copies of our passports and three days later we met him in town again and we received our documents.
While waiting for the permission we were discovering the dusty, hot city of Murun, went to the black market, an abandoned colourful amusement park, spent some time at the river Delgermörön to cool down and just were hanging around at Baigals’ place. She organized a public van for us to go to Tsagaan Nuur village to meet up with Zaya and our guide who will take us to the Tsaatan summer camp. Step by step we were getting closer….
Enjoy the colourful pictures of Murun!