Central Mongolia Part Four – The Hot Springs and Kharkorin

15th – 22nd July 2014

We were supposed to be going to Tovkhon Kidd to hike up to a temple, but in order to do this we had to cross a river, as the bridge had broken down…

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But with the recent rains the river was far too high and dangerous to cross, so we had to change those plans.  Unfortunately this just ended up in a long day of driving because we had to go the long way round, 200km instead of 60km!

We visited Kharkorin, the ancient capital,  and the monastery that stands there.

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The next day we were heading to the hot springs.  Now at the beginning of our trip we headed into a supermarket and bought two bottles of bubbly for this, and had been saving it all week!  I was very excited!

It was a cute little camp site that we stayed in

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So, when we had dinner, we cracked the bubbly open and got stuck in, celebrating with Gala and Banza.

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After dinner we headed to the hot spring pools, so warm and relaxing!  At first it was a little hot but I soon got used to it, and then ventured into the hotter pool, but only the super hot one at the very end, and not for long, ouch!  Had a few more glasses of bubbly and some beers, and it was a great evening, and nice to be in a big hot bath after days of baby wipe showers!

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Seby posing!

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At night this area was very cold, and there was only one spare blanket to fight over.  It was between Sebastien and myself because Stefan doesn’t get cold.  I knew how to guarantee myself a warm night…”Seby if I can have the blanket,  I’ll let you have my mosquito net…”

Deal! Easy! Now, not that there are any mosquitoes in Mongolia, but Seby and I discovered they are a great way to avoid spiders and beetles dropping on your head in the middle of the night! (Seby and bugs don’t get on!)

Seby in spider proof net!

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The next day I wanted to go and see up close the hot springs that were coming from the mountain.  It was intriguing because you could see the steam coming off the 86º water and I wanted to know what was there.  We were in a bit of a rush to leave but I said to our guide, 5 minutes just to go and quickly look at them.  Well, it would have been 5 minutes had the ground not been a labyrinth of sopping wet boggy ground, so it took a little longer than 5 minutes,  all 3 of us trying desperately not to splash dirty muddy water up our freshly clean legs, or sink into the bog at all!

After the challenging traverse across the bog, we got to the hot springs…..

Sebastien’s comment summed it up really “wow Claire this was really worth it!”.  Myself and Stefan’s thoughts mirrored his…

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An underwhelming selection of pipes and concrete!  Oh well, it would have always remained a mystery had we not gone!

On the last day we went to another ger camp.  They obviously knew Sebastien was coming and had ordered this ger in specially!

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An unwelcome guest

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We had a traditional Mongolian dish this evening, and one I actually love (a lot of their cuisine is sheep and a lot of sheep fat, which is hard to stomach).  This traditional dish is called Khorkhog, which I will add to my recipe page soon.  It is so simple yet so very delicious,  and would make a great camping meal, as it is cooked over a fire or stove, and large hot stones are placed into the pan with the goat meat which kind of chargrills it from inside, it really is so tasty.

Banza preparing the meat
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Gala cooking the khorkhog, with Stefan posing and me photo bombing!
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Two friends eagerly awaiting an invite

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I’m glad the boiled sheep’s head wasn’t on the menu for us tonight!

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Some rather unappetising meat with fur (looking disturbingly like human hair) still attached!

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The site at dusk
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That was the end of this trip, and I think I can speak for Stefan and Sebastien also when I say we had an amazing time.

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Walking on the moon

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Our route in Central Mongolia

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8 thoughts on “Central Mongolia Part Four – The Hot Springs and Kharkorin”

  1. I would have loved the hot spring pools as much as you seemed to!! Lovely diary Claire really enjoying your trip. Ta muchly. Erica & Tony x

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