Welcome aboard the Ulaanbaatar Railway, an extraordinary expedition that takes you deep into the heart of Mongolia’s awe-inspiring landscapes. This iconic rail journey provides a unique opportunity to experience the country’s vastness, natural wonders, and rich cultural heritage. Hop on board as we explore the highlights and essential information for your unforgettable adventure along the Ulaanbaatar Railway.
Route and Highlights:
The Ulaanbaatar Railway stretches across 1,110 kilometers (690 miles), connecting the capital city of Ulaanbaatar with the town of Erdenet in northern Mongolia. The journey offers breathtaking views of the rugged Mongolian steppe, rolling hills, expansive grasslands, and distant mountains. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to witness nomadic herders tending to their livestock, encounter traditional yurts dotting the landscape, and observe the unique way of life in rural Mongolia.
Your journey begins in the vibrant capital city of Ulaanbaatar, where you’ll board the train and head north towards Erdenet. As you travel through the sprawling countryside, keep an eye out for the iconic white yurts, grazing horses, and the occasional glimpse of wild Mongolian gazelles. Erdenet itself is renowned for its massive copper mine, one of the largest in Asia. Take some time to explore the town, visit local markets, and immerse yourself in the daily lives of the friendly locals.
The Mongolian Steppe:
Leaving Erdenet, the train ventures further into the vast Mongolian steppe, an enchanting landscape that seems to stretch endlessly in all directions. This is where you’ll truly appreciate Mongolia’s untouched beauty and its deep connection to nomadic traditions. Watch as the rolling hills and endless plains unfold before your eyes, while horseback riders gallop across the horizon. The serenity and tranquility of the steppe will captivate your soul and leave you longing for more.
Throughout your journey on the Ulaanbaatar Railway, keep your camera ready for encounters with nomadic herders. These hardy individuals lead a traditional way of life, often moving their livestock from one pasture to another. Witness the deep bond between the nomads and their animals, as they rely on them for transportation, milk, and sustenance. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about their customs, taste traditional dairy products, and experience the warmth of their hospitality.
Gobi Desert and Beyond:
While the Ulaanbaatar Railway doesn’t directly pass through the Gobi Desert, it serves as an excellent starting point for further exploration. Once you reach Ulaanbaatar, you can arrange additional tours to this iconic desert region, where towering sand dunes, flaming cliffs, and dinosaur fossils await your discovery. The railway journey provides a gateway to a wider range of adventures, allowing you to delve deeper into Mongolia’s diverse landscapes.
Tickets: You can purchase train tickets for the Ulaanbaatar Railway at the Ulaanbaatar Central Railway Station or through authorized travel agents. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
Accommodation: The train offers comfortable sleeping compartments, allowing you to rest and enjoy the scenery during overnight journeys. Alternatively, you can bring your own camping gear and experience the wild outdoors during scheduled stops.
Food and Refreshments: The train has a dining car where you can enjoy authentic Mongolian cuisine, including hearty soups, meat dishes, and dairy products. It’s recommended to bring some snacks and drinks for the journey, especially if you have dietary restrictions.
Climate: Mongolia experiences extreme weather conditions, with hot summers and bitterly cold winters. Pack accordingly, considering layers, warm clothing, and essentials like sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent.
Cultural Sensitivity: Respect local customs and traditions, seek permission before taking photographs of people, and be mindful of the nomadic lifestyle’s fragility. Leave no trace behind and preserve the pristine environment for future generations.
Embarking on the Ulaanbaatar Railway is embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will immerse you in Mongolia’s raw beauty, ancient traditions, and captivating landscapes. From the bustling capital city to the nomadic heartland, this rail journey allows you to witness the soul-stirring charm of Mongolia up close. So, get ready to set off on an unforgettable expedition and create memories that will last a lifetime. All aboard the Ulaanbaatar Railway!
Photo by : Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)