Day 6

It was a short drive to the next town. Again, we were looking forward to our next bath house! But their hot water wasn’t ready yet when we reached. So, we decided to go for an early lunch at a ger cafeteria, and then walk around the town for a bit until the bath house was ready.

Stir fried lamb with rice and veggie

Back to the bath house, it wasn’t as good as the previous one: the shower was nearly trickling water lol, and water wasn’t hot enough. But no choice, just brave the cold and wait for it to get better.

The drive to the next family was short and bumpy, but we reached there early. The houseman came out and greeted Erka with big smiles, and then we headed into their ger.

Right at the ger entrance, Erka held out the door and waited for me to head in first, then while I was crouching and walking through, he pressed me down by the neck, I think Unuruu also got the same treatment too. A bit stunned by his action, thought he was just trying to be cheeky. Later I would realise why, because I would bump my head as my entrance ceremony as it had happened countless times before (and this particular door was exceptionally low). In fact throughout this entire trip, everyday I would get at least 2 new bumps to decorate my head, from the toilet, to our ger, to the family ger. For such a tall guy, Erka even had to carry all the heavy kitchen boxes while bending to walk into the ger, yet he doesn’t bump his head at all.

At the family ger, Unuruu told me the son is a mongolian wrestler! And wow, he has quite a number of medallions on display on the wall right behind us. She asked me to challenge him…lol -cold sweat-

Ankle Bone Games

Meanwhile, Unuruu suggested for us to play some mongolian traditional games with the ankle bones! I had seen these online, but I hadn’t known about what games could be played!

So each ankle bone has 4 faces, each face carved differently to represent: Camel, Horse, Goat, Sheep. It took me some time before I got used to the different faces.

Fortune telling

Pick 4 bones, and then roll for up to 3 times. We hope to get 4 different faces, and it would mean really good luck!

Horse Racing

Unuruu lined up maybe around 15 horses in a straight line. Then we each picked an ankle bone as our horse. Then we used another 4 ankle bones as dice. When you rolled the 4 dices, if there were x-number of horse in the roll, you can move your own horse for x-number of steps forward. The game ends when one reaches the end of the straight line.

I was losing behind at first. Unuruu taunted that her horse was lean and fast, while mine was fat and slow. I told her, no, it is muscular, not fat!

Ankle bone game - horse racing
2 horses (Unuruu’s, and my horse)

The muscular one won the race :D!

Ankle bone flicking game (idk what to call this)

Ok, this games has a lot more rules, but basically the goal is to collect all the ankle bones to win. During your turn, you would roll all available ankle bones, and then start flicking one bone to another with the same face – if successful, then you could collect one of it, and continue with flicking to collect more. Else you lose your turn. The next person would re-roll all remaining bones and do the flicking to collect more bones. We used about 20 ankle bones here.

Full game description here

Unuruu demonstrated by starting first. First, she rolls all ankle bones onto the floor.

  • If there were horses, she could pick them up and keep it as her own. Because to mongolians, horses are honourable animals, they prefer not to flick them, so they would just keep it. (I kind of remember her mentioning this rule is from her hometown)
  • Next, she has to finger-flick an ankle bone to another one with the same face. (ie, flick a camel to camel, goat to goat, sheep to sheep)
  • If she managed to hit the other one, she can then decide to keep 1 of it. Once decided, she must take it, can’t change her mind

She can keep flicking to collect more ankle bones, until she:

  • Missed hitting another ankle bone with same face
  • Hit or touched another one ankle bone with different face
  • Or when there were no more ankle bones on the floor with the same face

When it is my turn, I will take up all the ankle bones on the floor, and rethrow them, and do the same to collect ankle bones.

Additional rules includes:

  • When you rolled the ankle bones and there were more than 2 ankle bones: if all bones have the same faces, or all bones have unique different faces, anyone in the game can quickly sweep it all and gain the bones as theirs. You’ll need to act fast
  • When there are only 2 ankle bone left in the game, the others have to give up 2 pieces of theirs to the current player, to be rolled. (Hmm, this is one confusing part)

Ankle bone game – Flicking Game

I lost this game so badly!

Unuruu then shared with some photos and videos of her previous tour group. She had this huge group, like 15 people (if I recalled correctly) who went to Taiga and they slept in teepees. Their guides and horse guides made a huge bonfire for them, and then they were singing songs to each other, Singaporeans to Mongolians (vice versa). The Singaporean group sang the song “朋友” (peng you) to them. Wow, that should be quite a memory to keep.

Then she flipped to one photo, pointed at one guy asked if I recognised who this person was. (Erka!!)

Sensing he was watching behind, so I did this:

I zoomed in on the picture. Zoom, zoom, zoom. All the way until his face looked so ridiculously enlarged into eyes/nostrils hahahah

He arm-locked and strangled me~

Then we continued swiping to a photo with Unuruu’s face, and then we were doing the same thing.

Bayanzag Flamming Cliff

Erka had intel that there was a korean movie being filmed right then at the Flamming Cliff. Woot!? Hopefully we could catch them in action! We set out for the Bayanzag Flamming Cliff. Later on, Erka updated that we couldn’t go to where the movie filmset was :(.

I was also curious as to where or how did he get all his intel. Unuruu told me that he chats with drivers and guides, and thats how they share all the juicy info.

This region was where the first dinosaur eggs were found. There was also a sculpture that depicted how one of the dinosaur fossil looked like when it was found – in a protective posture over its eggs:

Sculpture display of a fossil found

The wind here was so strong – and at some point, both of us had sand in our eyes and we had to keep moving.

From afar, we could see one group at the base of the cliff – one guy was waving his hands…at us? Shooing us away? We were confused, but concluded that he was just doing his own thing – maybe filming a music video? They also had a drone flying around~

Unuruu had this funny idea of doing a shadow dance. Omg…her dance was really cute and funny~

Unuruu’s Shadow Dance – Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
My Shadow Dance – Bayanzag Flamming Cliff

More poses here by the edge:

  • Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
  • Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
  • Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
  • Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
  • Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
Bayanzag Flamming Cliff
Stones Sculptures at Flamming Cliff

I actually lost one of my gloves but recovered it quickly with Unuruu’s sharp eyes. Then she jokingly asked, “Did you want to leave something for my next tour group to find?” reminding us of the 2-sisters’ water bottle. Aha~

We couldn’t see a nice sunset, because of the clouds were hiding the sun. But the hues of yellows-oranges rested on the cliffs, making it look majestically amazing.

Unuruu decided to climb one of the hills for some epic photos. I also took some funny shots afterwards with our tiny Unuruu. Scroll right!

  • Little Unuruu - Flamming Cliff
  • Look what I'd found - Flamming Cliff
  • Little Human! Flamming Cliff
  • Nom Nom Nom - Flamming Cliff

Spotted a nice big rock with a great cliff as backdrop – I wanted for us to do the peekaboo together, but there wasn’t a good natural tripod to hold my phone. Oh well, lets just do one each. It was quite difficult to hide and peek out behind the rock as it wasn’t exactly flat ground. I would hate for the rock to disintegrate if we were too rough. Oh well!

Unuruu’s video came out so cute! Watch hers! Even Erka was also surprised to see her video, especially that last peekaboo!

Unuruu’s ultra cute peekaboo at Flamming Cliff
Peekaboo at Flamming Cliff

Last bit of photo spamming at this charming rock here:

  • Fantastic Pose Unuruu - Flamming Cliff
  • Unuruu - Flamming Cliff
  • Unuruu - Flamming Cliff
  • Hearteu - Flamming Cliff
  • Wee - Flamming Cliff
  • Rolling my eyes - Flamming Cliff

With that, we finished our sightseeing and headed back to our vehicle. Along the way, I asked Unuruu, how do I say “me too” in mongolia.

bi ch bas!” – Huh?! Didn’t that just sounded like an english word “bitch”. Funny moment there! Now that is easy to remember! bitch bas”

We headed back to the family ger, and dinner was starting. The family had made boiled dumplings, there was a huge mountain of it. Here is one little guy in my bowl.

There were actually 2 shapes of pinching, and this one is the moon shape. The other pinching shape looked like our xiaolongbaos shape, which they called the flower shape.

I helped Unuruu with drying the cutleries afterwards, and the houseman joked to me that I should stay here in Mongolia, and he will find me a husband! Hahaha~ We stayed in the family ger all the way through, as they were all chatting together. Unuruu told me that the son speaks in a humourous way, which was making them laugh a lot.

I was watching the TV – and the advertisement for “The HU” concert came online. Ohhh I kind of recalled them a little, perhaps watching them on Youtube before. And I found this in my Youtube “Watch Later” list:

I didn’t follow them actively – was just a random video I came across while surfing Youtube way back. Ouch…If I had known they were a mongolian band, I would have listen before going, and might actually be interested to catch them live.

Scariest Night Ever

Unuruu and I headed to sleep first. Erka walked in, and then laid the extra blankets he found over each of us. I said “bayarlaa” (thank you) to him. With a torch in his mouth, he replied “banana”? Unuruu and I burst out in laughter.

Was taking a video to record the sound of the wind before I tried falling asleep – but the audio of the wind wasn’t loud enough. The wind was still considered “gentle” than compared to what I heard later in the night.

Shot of our ger just before we were about to sleep

That night was really tough to sleep, for me. For the Bayanzag area we were in, the wind was powerful, unforgiving, relentless, intense, -throw whatever vocab you have here-. At first I thought it might just be a temporary, but no – it continued into the night. It was slapping the ger non-stop, and it got even more daring later in the night, outright blatantly shaking our ger. There were loud banging noises throughout (it wasn’t thunder for sure). I tried using my ear plugs. While it did soften the noise, the shaking of the ger was still apparent. Plus, my ears felt itchy with the plugs (maybe too much sand in my ears), so I eventually removed them.

I just laid awake with eyes wide-opened and mind wandering.

Wow, both my guide and driver could really sleep in this “wind-storm”. Are they not worried of the shaking ger?

I watched Erka waking up twice at night to add more wood/dung to the fire. But he seemed to think nothing of the wind, nor of the shaking ger, and went straight back to sleep.

Did I/we offend any spirits? Why is the wind so scary here? When will it stop ah? Will the ger get blown away like in cartoon?


-sounded from Unuruu’s end.


Imagine this: wind slapping ger, ger shaking, loud banging noise out there. Then, literally a “HEE HEE HEE” going off near you?! Which person would laugh in “HEE HEE HEE”?!? What’s more, her usual laughter was definitely “ha ha ha”.

Morning rescued me

Day 7

Is Unuruu possessed by a spirit?? Is she going to attack me?? Do we need a shaman??

Vivid thoughts and imaginations filled me – I could just make out any scary dark shadows, evil faces staring back at me. Amitabha, amitabha, amitabha. I prayed hard. Then just shut my eyes, hide in the blankets. I couldn’t sleep at all. I counted sheep all the way until my alarm went off, then made a run to the toilet. The crazy wind was slapping the metallic toilet walls, resulting in loud banging sound. No wonder, that was the loud banging noises.

In the morning, I told Unuruu of my ordeal last night, then she burst out laughing, saying “yes yes!” She did dream of something funny (about her snatching up a guitar) and she was laughing “hee hee hee” in her dream. The houseman chuckled and he, too, had something funny to share as well. Apparently the houselady got up to the toilet in the middle of the night, and when she closed the door, the lunar calendar book stuck to the ceiling of their ger fell and slapped him on the face – and he woke up thinking what happened? Lawls~!

I can’t help comparing, which is scarier in this situation: Sleeping alone, or with someone who’d laugh “HEE HEE HEE” in the middle of her sleep? Man, I can’t decide!

Breakfast time – Unuruu made some eggs and sausages as usual. The son greeted us in english “good night”, making us laugh. And there were also leftover dumplings from last evening. Interestingly, they would eat it just as it is, not reheated. Houseman beckoned me to have some, so I gestured “1”. He bargained, “5”. “Nono~ big stomach”. So I was just munching on the cold ones, and drinking hot tea on the side. Then I watched Erka breaking apart maybe 5 dumplings and dropping them into his bowl, then filling it up with hot milk tea. Fascinating way to eat!

Houseman and Houselady of my 4th stay

We left early that morning as it was a long drive ahead. Erka’s goodbyes to the 2 elderlies was really sweet as I watched him shaking their hands, giving them a hug, and patting them on the back. It was quite a different goodbye ceremony as compared to the previous families. As we drove off, the houseman stood outside watching our vehicle disappeared into the road. I feel he will miss Erka greatly.

Oh btw, the houselady likes the Yoko-Yoko that I brought, she thought it was very convenient to use 😀

We spent quite some time on road, then I encountered the scariest toilet ever.

The scariest toilet - you may not want to read this
Normally, I would have been so glad for a toilet with 4 walls. But this one, let me scare you with this one. We were still in the area of powerful wind. I guessed both my guide and driver needed a relief so we stopped midway on the road and there stood a public toilet with all 4 sides. Great privacy right? So you entered the toilet, look down, and you see some lumps of brown stuff. But that was acceptably fine still – part of human nature. Next, you couldn’t close the door. Oki – still have 3 walls, maybe not too bad…?

The scariest part?

With 3 walls, and one open door, the wind was whipping the sand into the cubicle, and it got into everywhere – your face, your mouth, your clothes, and etc. There was no escaping – and you wouldn’t know if you were eating clean sand or sand that touched the poo poo or sand whipped from within the cubicle (gosh~).

I couldn’t do it. I ran out of the toilet.

Lunch break

Unuruu suggested 2 lunch options, either the nearest small town, or a bigger town with a better restaurant which we would reach in 1.5 hours. I wasn’t hungry, but I was thinking of toilet. A better restaurant sounded like a better toilet as well after that latest scary toilet experience. So yup, lets go with the latter.

We ended up in a hotel’s restaurant with superb toilet facilities. And lunch looked amazing (no photos). We got Erka an extra soup because it seemed like he might not feel his lunch at all. I proposed to Unuruu, “Erka should do a mukbang video – the way he eats looked really delicious! Tell him, we will put him on Youtube and make him famous!” Oki – not this time, maybe next trip if we would meet, I will consolidate his foodie videos muahaha.

Some fun with Unuruu and Erka: 'tiim' or 'ugui' questions time
Because of that extra soup it became a quiz-and-tease time where I had to answer “tiim (yes)” or “ugui (no)” to their trick questions in mongolian! It began with Erka wanting to share some soup – I said “little” and he jokingly scooped 1 spoonful, as ever lol. Then they were trying to trick me into saying “yes” for more soup serving, “do you love me?” questions, and etc. Lol~

After lunch, Unuruu was planning to shop some stuff for my last dinner out at the Gobi Desert – she planned to make BBQ ribs! Woohoo. I followed her to the market – and interestingly there was a lorry selling entire meat carcasses. But you will need to buy the entire piece from them, she told me. So we headed into the supermarket and got a smaller slab of meat. She also got us some beers for the dinner.

Snow and foggy drive

Unuruu wisely shifted the sightseeing activity to next morning, as she said during her 2-sisters tour, they nearly got lost because of the weather condition. I was in a bit of surprise-worry when I heard this, but I shall leave it to the experts.

Bumpy road drive – this wasn’t the worst yet

The weather and climate gradually became colder and it was snowing subsequently. There was fog everywhere ahead. Unuruu told me that the driver would know which off-road path to take if he could see the mountains ahead, but with the fog, he couldn’t know exactly.

Became a snowy and foggy drive. Watch the snow/mist/fog drifting on the ground.

Daylight was soon gone and it was dark. As we drove along, Erka would get off the van whenever he spotted a family to ask for directions. Every family we stopped at had a large dog, and it would be barking fiercely and circling the vehicle throughout. I think we stopped at at least 5 families, with one very kindly leading the way out in his car.

That drive was also the bumpiest drive ever (not in the above videos) – if I had considered previous as bumpy – no man, they didn’t even come close to this evening drive. Because of the darkness and limited visibility, I think we were sometimes on rocky path also. In many of the greatest bump experiences, my butt was thrown off the seat and my shoulder landed on the seat lol. I started to sit lower and making a 4-point contact to stop myself from flying out.

Eventually, we made it to the family’s ger.

My accidental bad manners here
I unintentionally did something rude here: I was using my headlight to find the gifts to bring into the ger. Upon entering the ger, I greeted the houseman and houselady and turned to pass the gifts to the houseman. At then, we were just arms away and I forgot to turn off my headlight, I didn’t realise immediately, but I think the headlight was blinding our houseman. Oppsie.

Also, their house was in a snowy climate, we also had to remember to kick-and-knock off snow and ice from our boots before entering. When I entered the first time, I brought in so much ice and dirt unknowingly, felt so bad :S. Unuruu would assure me that its is ok, and helped to wipe it off later.

Finally, at this family did I see a little kid, and she was perhaps 1-2 years old? I had asked to Unuruu previously – Why are there no kids at the families we visited, because I’d brought so much candies for them. But she assured me that it was alright, as the families likes to serve candies to their visitors as well.

This family herds sheep and goat. And there were particularly 2 little ones which would be daring enough to try crossing the family ger threshold. Unuruu told me that the houselady fed them herself when they were younger, which might be the reason why they are more daring, and probably looked upon the houselady as their mother. One of the sheep managed to come into the ger twice, haha!

Mongolian BBQ Ribs for Dinner

Unuruu busied herself with preparing dinner, while the family also served us tea and noodles. Finally her masterpiece was ready:

Jimbii – BBQ Ribs – with Potato and Carrot!

Unuruu is a great chef here – the ribs were finger-licking delicious! Erka was then carving meat out of a big piece and handing the meat around to each of us. Unuruu then explained that, that part of the meat was the shoulder blade, the most delicious part, and they would always share it with the entire family.

Erka was chatting with the houseman and houselady, which I guessed, about other guides and drivers. The houselady also took out a book of what looked like a list of names and phone numbers, and was going through the names as well. Unuruu commented that Erka is like the Wikipedia of all guides and drivers, and every family we visited, they would always be asking him about how the other drivers or guides were doing. (Again, I heard the name “bayanaa” again, but Unuruu said this is another “bayanaa” ~)

The family then watched the korean drama Penthouse on TV enthusiastically. It was dubbed in mongolian, I tried and gave up watching, as I couldn’t understand mongolian and the actresses on screen had such exaggerated expressions. The little kid was also watching the drama, and she was repeating the phrases that the actresses were saying – so funny. Maybe I should finally give it a watch when I returned.

So I chatted with Unuruu while helping to dry the cutleries (reminds me of my part-time waitressing job), it ended up being a topic about guys as I was saying to her that korean guys looked really handsome. But to her, she preferred natural handsomeness. Conclusion of her type – a really long list of requirements. Greedy greedy, I told her.

Late night toilet trip – try not to lose yourself

Our mongolian big brother

Just one last bit of funny interaction with Erka: we were in our ger and preparing our beds. Erka asked me in English “You full?” but he made a totally wrong gesture: with his belt in his right hand he swiped it across his neck left-to-right, like “Do you want to die????” Unuruu and I burst out laughing as she told him what he just gestured. Lol~

I think Erka told Unuruu that I did my blankets wrongly, and she relayed it to me. But I assured her, that it would be ok. I will fix it later in the night, because I was also scared of it being too hot. So I just simply placed the 2 blankets right on top of my sleeping bag, without tucking it in.

Later in the night while I was lightly asleep, I could hear Erka waking up to add more wood to the fireplace. Then a light shone above my head – hm?? – and he threw the blankets over me.

Thank you, big brother.

Deep in the night, I decided I needed the toilet. Nature called. It was a long walk from the house (the longest one thus far), and you couldn’t see the toilet from the ger, nor the ger from the toilet. Even when I neared the toilet, I had to squint hard to make out the shape of the toilet as the metallic surface wasn’t reflective enough to bounce light from my headlight at all. Unuruu had told me to wake her up if I needed to go, or just do-it near our ger (no way~!). But I went alone regardless. After walking some distance, I still didn’t sight the toilet in all directions. Ok, cold-but-still-have-my-wits-together-yet, adjusted my bearings based on feeling, head straight, and finally found it.

Then, I also nearly missed our ger when trying to return. Luckily, my 6th intuition and sense of direction was still working fine.

The hassle of going to toilet after bedtime
You know, going to the toilet after bedtime is a real hassle here – because you’ll need to wear enough layers, socks, boots for the walk, and then gear up for that trip with toilet paper, sanitizer, wet tissues, headlight, and handphone. Handphone? Just in case if my headlight died on me – I wanted to be extra-sensible with this, it would be GG if I didn’t have it and then losing my way in the wild, ending with my guide finding a beautiful ice sculpture of me the next morning.

Then after you returned to the ger, you have to knock ice off your shoes, unload everything and remove your layers before you climb into bed and return to sleep.

Btw, I can’t help with analysing Unuruu’s suggestion – if I did it out in the open, it would be so cold and the butt should be freezing off leh.

Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations

Day 8

The morning wasn’t as cold as the night time – and the horizon looked beautiful in the soft daylight. Here is a view after my morning toilet trip lol~

5th ger stay – Horizon view
My 5th Ger View

We had to start morning early and leave by 8am. Regretfully – while in a rush to pack and leave, I forgot to take a photo with the family. 🙁

We reached the rock formations soon after. It was really cold up here, in fact, the coldest moment in the entire journey thus far. It actually looked way different from advertised pictures because of the snow lol~

Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations

It was freezing up here – even with all my extra layers and I could feel my toes getting way too cold. I had to keep squeezing them, just to make sure I don’t lose any one of them. My glasses wasn’t working as well because it would fog up, and I couldn’t wipe away the fog on them. I just gave up wearing them. Maybe we need to apply something to demist glasses in such freezing conditions.

My eyes felt weirdly heavy, and I would keep rubbing them. It wasn’t until I looked upon Unuruu’s face then did I know – ice had frozen on her eyelashes.

Intrigued, I looked at what happened to me as well:

Frozen eyelashes while at Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Icelashes on my left~

Icebrows, icelashes, even my beanie and fur jacket got them. There was water vapour in the air, which froze shortly after making contact on my stuff. First time I’d experienced it, so don’t mind me this mountain tortoise here.

I was taking the last few shots of our handsome minivan here (camo print is the best!)-

Our russian minivan at Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Last few shots of our handsome minivan

-then Unuruu offered to take a photo for me, with me peeking out from the van.

I demanded for the driver’s seat instead. Haha!

So, off she went to Erka to help me demand for his seat. Finally ousted him from his comfy seat. Then I asked him for the keys. But he refused to surrender them.

Comedic moment here: I couldn’t climb into the driver seat by myself. What the…? I kept slipping on the step, and there was nothing to grab onto to climb in. I wrestled-climbed the front seat until Erka decided to fix me in like a big baby lol~! There was a photo that Unuruu took, but hahaha lets not post it here.

And yay tada~

I hijacked our driver’s seat, but no keys 🙁

Its funny now that I looked at this picture, like which driver would leave their door opened and put their hands on the steering wheel – only me, The Noob. And because of the opened door, it casted a shadow – so ended up, this is the only best photo I had. Lawls. Maybe next time lets do this again~

Long drive back to Ulaanbaatar until Hunnu Mall

Then began our long drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Along the way, we spotted short rainbows forming. My shot wasn’t good enough to capture the colors. It looked like an orange portal instead.

Short rainbow spotted at Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations
Short rainbow spotted at the area

It was cold throughout the drive, and I was wearing all the layers I had – including beanies, extra jacket, and gloves. I kind of forgot that Ulaanbaatar was supposed to be way colder than in Gobi Desert, and it was snowing on my first day as well.

We reached Hunnu Mall for lunch. But before that, Unuruu wanted to show us the dinosaur fossils, those that were gathered from Gobi Desert.

Dinosaur fossil at Hunnu Mall
Dinosaur Fossil at Hunnu Mall

Interestingly – there were no teeth on the fossils. These are the real actual fossils, and they were displayed for free at the mall. Wow, really, one shouldn’t miss this.

Lunch – we went to a cafeteria – I was running out of idea of what food to try in Mongolia. So, I got beef stew again (yesterday’s lunch was also beef stew, but hungarian style as Unuruu told me). I think this one was probably russian or mongolian style?

Beef stew for lunch at Hunnu Mall
Beef stew for lunch

Their beef was much tender than yesterday hotel’s lunch! :S

While heading to toilet, I accidentally stepped on Unuruu’s foot with my big foot. Learning their mongolian etiquettes, we bumped each others elbow for good luck.

Unuruu and I then headed to the supermarket, where she recommended some souvenirs I could bring home: eg vodkas, chocolates, cookies. We couldn’t find much mongolian’s cookies here, there were more Russian variety here. So, in the end I got some mongolian vodkas based on her recommendations, and some sachets of sea buckthorn juice.

Supermarket at Hunnu Mall

She bought some mini pancakes from a shop right outside the supermarket – honestly these were so delicious. It had soft cheese filling within the soft fluffy dough. The entire bite just melted fluffily! It was much better than any pancakes store in Singapore I had ever tasted. I think it was from: DeliManjoo, a south-korean brand?

Fluffiest mini cheese pancakes ever!

Meanwhile, I also asked her, how does she layer herself to keep warm for her upcoming December Taiga tours – I can’t fathom the winter temperature in December. She told me, actually most tourists would still be under-dressed for the winter, so sometimes their company would bring them winter traditional clothes which is made of sheep skin(?), and it would keep them warm. Then she told me my white puffy winter jacket is only suitable for spring and autumn. Huh!? This was from our winter clothing shop eh! But honestly, it really hadn’t kept me toasty enough for the coldest sightseeing yet.

Unuruu recommended wool socks from a pushcart in the mall – but take note to get only either yak wool or sheep wool. They cost around 9000 MNT. Please grab them here, the price was totally fair (read my wool purchase at the airport later)! I didn’t buy in the end, because I thought the design was kind of limited. But she wisely justified that they only needed it to work for the winter, so design wasn’t a priority.

Free-and-Easy before meeting Baara for my last dinner

Sadly, we’d reached the end of my journey with Unuruu and Erka, as they dropped me off at Toyoko Inn. It was time for goodbyes. (Let me conclude this in the next post).

Then, I headed to my room for the long awaited shower. Afterwards, I planned to walk to State Department Store again, before meeting Baara for dinner at 6.30pm. Actually, I should have mapped out places in UB to visit before the trip, but since I didn’t do so, I’d only known this place to go to.

I left empty-handed. I had wanted to buy some ankle bones and wool socks, somehow couldn’t find it this time (they were definitely there on my first day). Oh btw, there were street peddlers selling wool socks and miscellaneous clothing – but, I was feeling too lethargic to try communicating.

Grand Plaza Mall was my last stop, and it was just right opposite Toyoko Inn. It was full of winter clothing shops. I think we could definitely do some shopping here for winter wear next time round.

I met Baara back at the hotel’s lobby, and we headed off to The Bull for a hotpot dinner. Totally suited for that day’s weather and temperature! As Baara showed me on his phone, it was -16 degrees that night in UB. Then he added that it might go to -30 degrees for next week. Seriously

Hotpot dinner at The Bull

Big hearty meal! Baara was supposed to have a 2nd dinner at his mom’s place later, so he was ushering me to eat more. He was also looking forward to meet his brother-in-law family whom had returned from their Busan vacation that day as well.

Some interesting conversations we had
I was going to talk about the toilet experiences and his expression was so funny – totally wanted to avoid that topic. Nature, he preferred. Then he shared some photos of his 2 sons playing in the winter, one of them hilariously posed with a long icicle for his snot. Topics went on to him going to India for Buddhism studies as well, and he told me he speaks Tibetan (woah?), as he had 10 years of experience with it. And I shared my Nepal photos as well, with him recognising the pani puri snack in another name. He likes Nasi Briyani too btw!

After dinner, he walked me back to the hotel and bade farewell – it was our last meeting as well. His youngest brother would be meeting me instead for the next morning drive to the airport.

Then I forgot to take a last photo with Baara after the dinner.

Sigh. So many goodbyes that day.

Flights back to Singapore

Day 9

I woke at 3.30am – deeply deprived of sleep. But I managed to finish my last packing making sure that I don’t need to buy extra baggage. Met up Baara’s brother at the hotel lobby who kindly drove me to the airport.

I guessed everything went smoothly, even though I was confused by the check-in the personnel, as she told me that I need to do another check-in for my connecting flight at Seoul Incheon airport. I had never done this before, so…I will figure it out when I reached there.

The worrying moment came when I reached Incheon airport, and I thought I needed to clear custom immigration at the Incheon airport first. I was at the counter to stamp my passport, but the custom officer said, no visa, can’t go out. Uh-oh.

I panicked. Can’t go out. Can’t collect boarding pass. Can’t fly back to SG. Can’t even buy an air ticket even if I wanted. What if I had to stay here forever. Can I ask someone to just deport me?

I asked my sis how to do the K-ETA, since she had just recently been to Korea. I kept worrying over how I needed to do so many things before next connecting flight in less than 3 hours away? There wasn’t much time left!

Right then, I recalled that Scott, from Beyond Expedition, told me I do not need to clear the immigration again. Which was different from what I was thinking. So, I thought to enquire with him as well. Luckily, he called me back just in time – turns out that I just needed to get to the correct departure terminal, find the Transfer Desk for Korean Air, and then I could have my boarding pass printed there. No need to exit the custom. Phew~ that moment of panic.

Finally, I relaxed and wait for the flight back to Singapore. Btw, they had Larva and Tuba episodes on Korean Air – it was so entertaining 😀

Wool Socks

Just one last bit of sharing – so I had wanted to get some wool socks, as I expect to find myself in another winter trip again. Also, as souvenir for my sis (so that I may psycho her to go on another crazy winter trip muahahah)!

At UB airport, there was a gift shop outside the departure gates, and I found some really nicely colored wool socks labeled as “100% Mongolian Wool”. I hadn’t thought much of the label and price (45,000 MNT), because my brain was sleeping still.

Later on, I also found more socks within the departure area. This time, I read the label and made sure to get either yak or sheep wool. They were priced at USD$6. Thinking Unuruu’s wise words, design doesn’t matter. Btw, it was still pricier than Unuruu’s recommendation at Hunnu Mall.

Wool Socks
Wool Socks

Guess which is hotter? “100% Mongolian Wool” vs “Yak Wool”?

The quality wool goes to....
The moment I touched those Yak socks – the warmth quality was evident. It felt hot within seconds.

I was chatting with Baara before our dinner about my socks getting wet due to perspiration and thus feeling cold – one tip he gave was to wear 2 layer of socks. Oooo that sounds like a good idea indeed. I shall have to try that next time.

Ending Note

Just one last concluding post, see you there!

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