August 8th, 2012..
“What did I come here for? Cycling. So let’s do that”. I didn’t know whether cycling into the city from the airport was a good idea or not. But it was pretty early, and it didn’t look like I could put the bike into the bus easily. Moving it around wasn’t easy neither. So I just unpacked everything, put the bike up, and pedal. It felt great.
The road from the airport is a bumpy paved road, full of holes as big as craters. There’re quite a lot of cars, but not too many, and it’s a good option to try to understand what’s ahead waiting for you next days. It’s mainly flat, so perfect for the first day.
The sky was deep blue, but it didn’t feel hot at all. Actually, quite chill. Careful with that!
Getting into the city wasn’t as easy. City center has a lot of traffic, it’s chaotic and fast and, since I still wasn’t used to that, I didn’t feel very safe. The feeling was completely different when I arrived back in 3 weeks time. Still, I’d recommend to go for this option, not buses that drop you in the middle of nowhere or expensive taxis that take you to their mates’ hostels.
To be honest, I didn’t like Ulan Bator. First day was ok, being the first day and everything, but it looks more like a Bangkok wannabe more than what you could expect from the Mongolia in your head. Too much polution, couple of historic places and lots of shopping. No much more. No ger camp, by the way, which I didn’t know what it meant yet.
Finding a hostel wasn’t that easy but neither too difficult. I selected one that felt safe and nice (the owner, at least, seemed like a mom). In the very center as well, which is very useful. I was just happy I was going to start riding next day.
Besides, I was excited. I was in Mongolia. Wow.