Ruby Ramblings

Tariat, Mongolia
October 15, 2010, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Mongolia, Travel

From Jargalant we headed to Tariat.  A really, really small town with some really, really big personalities.  Our trusty Lonely Planet guide informed us that you can catch minivans or jeeps to Tariat, but what it didn’t mention is that NO ONE local does this, and that we would get extorted by the locals to take the tourist route.  We found an old Russian jeep to take us around the white lake, which was gorgeous, but they ripped us off at the last minute.  Pretending they couldn’t take us the whole way, and finally deciding to demand an extra $10 to take us the final 15km.  It was getting dark, we had nowhere to stay, and I didn’t feel like fighting over $10, which caused a fight amongst our group of five.  We finally agreed to pay it and got to the town, but again it was dark, and nothing resembled a hotel.


They took us to one hotel, but the owners only had one room for five people.  There were only three beds, and no mats.  We ventured out to find Tunga’s guesthouse, a foreigner’s haven with an English speaking owner.  They were under construction but the charasmatic owner allowed us to stay anyway.  No heat, no water, not even an outhouse since it is under construction.  Just find a corner and pee.  Don’t do the other thing.

The second night she moved us into her house. She and her family were visiting other folks, so they let us have free reign for the weekend. The ability of Mongolians to share their house and food without even blinking is one of the magical things about the country. We set to cooking.

On the way

There are vodka bottles everywhere in Mongolia. On a mountainside, but especially near the ovoos. It seems men hang out at the sacred shrines and discuss the issues of the day over a bottle.

The final day, while waiting for a van to take us to the next town, we climbed a dormant volcano outside of town. My camera really couldn’t capture the scope. It was pretty spectacular at the top, especially after how hard it was to scramble up the loose lava rock. It was really steep in the middle, but you can’t tell from my photos.

2 Comments so far
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question – if someone willing to offer you free stay and home. Why on earth would you fight over $10? it is very difficult to drive in Mongolia, as it is a huge country with few people and gas is very expensive due to Russia control the price. Cheap tourist should stay home. In Mongolia people share not like in your selfish world “me” “me” “my $10”. so selfish

Comment by namuunaa

The two people mentioned here are not the same. And we did not have a free place to stay, we happily paid for a beautiful house and a gracious host. We had agreed on a price for the driver, and at the last 10km he decided to extort more money from us. I was willing to pay it because if he was willing to compromise his honesty and integrity over $10, I don’t care. I wasn’t willing to stoop to his level. If that’s the price he wanted, he should have been honest, but we paid it, and I don’t care. I’ll revise the story to make sure it was clear. The woman we stayed with was wonderful, not entirely honest, but wonderful, and I’ll make sure it is clear that the driver and the hotel owner were two separate organizations. There are a lot of terrible travelers in the world, and I appreciate your comment, but I am positive that I am not one of them.

Comment by therubycanary

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