About forests and lakes in Mongolia

If you think that Mongolia is all about arid areas, without water and without trees, then you think exactly like we did before we went to Mongolia. :-) But you know what? You’re wrong! Mongolia actually has quite a lot of lakes and quite a lot of forests to explore. That’s what we did on the second part of our tour: the one in the direction of the old capital: Karakorum and towards the White Lake National Park.

Happy with our trip to the desert and hungry for “more Mongolia” we visited the area west of Ulaan Baatar. First we visited the old capital of Mongolia: Karakorum. The actual village there now doesn’t have at all the flair of a capital city as we know them like Paris or Amsterdam, but is more like a bunch of shaggy houses or gers, most of them don’t even have streaming water and electricity. The old monastery that was there can however be visited and although a big part of it got destroyed by the Chinese (our driver used to say: “Chinese: no good!”) it still gives a good impression of how pretty the old capital must have been.

Most Mongolians adhere to the Tibetan Buddhism which explains the numerous natural places of worship that can be found all over the country. The nice thing about Buddhism is that is can be adapted to about everything: as such there would be stone heaps everywhere around the country with blue scarfs into it, or trees that with blue scarfs. In fact anything that somehow stood out would get a scarf and then be a place of worship. Our driver would always drive around them on the left and horn in order to pay his respect.

A very surprising part of Mongolia was the area around the White Lake where we were foremost surprised by the natural diversity of the landscape: waterfalls, lava fields (kilometers and kilometers of lava without a volcano in view), lakes and loads and loads of forests. Yes, we also thought that Mongolia only consisted of arid, dry desert-like areas, but no: there are actually a lot of forests depending on where you go to.

But probably the most amazing thing here and without doubt one of the most beautiful: the sky! As there is almost no pollution (well out of Ulaan Baatar of course) and the sky is always blue, the night-sky is just incredible. Hundreds of thousands of stars and constellations that we never see in Europe due to the pollution (like the “Teapot” and the “Dolphin” which you can effectively see with a bit of phantasy). The most beautiful is probably the Milky Way, especially next to the White Lake where it is so bright, that it even reflects in the water. It’s great! :-)

Mongolia is great!

Vera & Jean-Christophe


  1. Posted September 23, 2007 at 9:07 | Permalink

    Hallo veertje en Jean Christophe. ik heb geschreven, maar de computer stuurt niet door. Moet ik op Ellis wachten. De foto s van mongolië zijn prachtig, ik hoop dar jullie erg veel genieten. Mam

  2. Jürgen
    Posted September 23, 2007 at 23:13 | Permalink

    It’s wonderful how you describe your expierience. I remember, it happened one time in my life, I was around ten years old, we went home late in the evening from a birthday party, my mother said: Look, the milky way! It was an ocean of stars. I would like to see it once more, only once more.

    The pollution is one problem, the other in case of watching stars is the light we have all around here in the civilsed world. I think I would never think about shooting pictures having the milky way in my eyes. Do you have?

  3. Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:52 | Permalink

    votre milky way est certainement beaucoup plus belle à regarder que la barre chocolatée du même nom!!!!! on attend vite des photos de tous ces merveilleux paysages si dien décrits. Bisous.

  4. Posted September 24, 2007 at 11:23 | Permalink

    I have taken some pictures of the milky way, not perfect (I do not have the proper instruments for this kind of shooting) but good enough to get an impression.
    I will upload one so you can see it.

  5. Posted September 24, 2007 at 16:09 | Permalink

    Hallo vera, danke für die Email. Wir gucken ständig nach, obŽs wieder was Neues von euch gibt. Ist echt faszinierend. Hatte dir ja erzählt, das meine Freundin auch (mal wieder) in der Mongolei war. Hat auch viele tolle Fotos mitgebracht und beim Angucken habe ich mich gefragt, wo ihr wohl gerade steckt. Und siehe da… in der Mongolei :-)
    Weiterhin noch viel Spass.
    Libe Grüße, Anke

  6. Posted September 24, 2007 at 22:24 | Permalink

    Jean-Christophe that’s fine, thank you. Meanwhile you are in China?

  7. Posted September 24, 2007 at 22:30 | Permalink

    By the way, will you visit Tibet? Last weekend the Dalai Lama here in Hessen. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to see him (very bad, I know) but the other Jürgen was there and he was very impressed.

  8. Posted September 24, 2007 at 22:51 | Permalink

    vos photos de Chine sont vraiment super belles , surtout pour les couleurs. On a l’impression que vous êtes souvent tout seuls au monde ! comment faites-vous pour avoir la muraille sans aucune âme autour ??? vraiment magnifique . A bientôt pour la suite. Bisous

  9. Vera
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 3:30 | Permalink

    @Juergen: Yes we are planning on going to Tibet. I’m looking forward to that. :-)

    @Marie-Annick: En fait la plupart de gens prennent le remonte-pente (faineant oui) pour monter et du coup il y a tres peu de gens sur la partie ou il faut utiliser ses propres jambes. :-)

  10. Posted September 25, 2007 at 23:06 | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to your anecdotes from Tibet! I think you can go by rain to Lhasa and it’s the highest railway of the world I think.

    But whom am I telling that?