Mongolia: Gorkhi Terelj National Park

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The highlight of our very short trip to Mongolia (only 2 days) was most certainly a night spent in a traditional Ger (pictured above). But before we get to that, let me start at the beginning of our beautiful journey to Gorkhi Terelj National Park.

We started from The Ulaanbaatar Hotel, a gorgeous recently renovated hotel. The journey from Ulaan Baatar city to the park, I believe, took about an hour in the morning. I wouldn’t know since I tend to fall asleep through most car journeys. I did, however, wake up during intervals to take in the impossibly beautiful landscape that is typical in Mongolia.

Before we reached the park, we stopped to view a giant statue of Genghis Khan smack right in the middle of grassland.

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Off again we were towards the famous national park. It was about as beautiful as we knew it would be. The rolling hills and clear blue skies of Mongolia, which we had seen all the way from Ulaan Baatar, were now joined together with outcrops of rocks and, at one point, a river. There was a giant rock shaped like a turtle. Then we stopped at a temple with an ornate gate.

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It was time for us to get settled in a place to stay for the night. We chose the Dream Terelj Lodge which also had a Ger camp. Now, having seen hundreds of Gers on our way, we were pretty excited about finally finding out what the inside of a traditional Mongolian Ger looks like. I’m happy to say, we were not disappointed. We even had an attached bath (a modern addition)!

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It was time for lunch and we had quite a few treats in store for us. While the menu was mostly international, I decided to try something local. I went with Khuushuur, which is basically a fried dumpling stuffed with meat.

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But the most memorable meal had to be the complimentary meal the hotel staff sent us the next day (they were so incredibly nice and friendly one could write an entire blogpost on just that!). We didn’t realise what was happening initially. They built a fire outside using wood and stones with a huge pot over it. After a while my father reported seeing them actually take out some of the stones from the fire and putting them into the pot. Unfortunately I was too busy taking pictures of Yaks in the neighbourhood and missed the whole thing. When I came back, a plateful of pot roasted lamb with potatoes and carrots were waiting for me (the stones had been taken out).

Speaking of Yaks, there were animals everywhere. The horses and yaks were very photogenic.

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