Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Ulaanbaatar - Day 1

It all started with a business trip and like per almost always husband's business trip. He gets to travel to some really exotic parts of the world due to his job and although he is not good with exotic or even anything remote, preferring to travel cities and beaches , somehow he thought this was different enough for a return trip and that I must visit it.

Well this exotic place is Ulaanbatar . Don't fret if you have not heard of the place before most of us had not. It's capital of Mongolia. A country landlocked between Russia & China . While i was little tempted with the pictures i saw of him there i was very much skeptical, i mean if  i am spending time and money in going somewhere why don't we go to switzerland or even eastern europe,  surely prettier and more 'known' , but for once husband was in mood of trying the off beaten path and i was curious enough so i said yes.

After that i got busy with official meetings and trip and just 2 day before we were to leave i finally reached back home to basically pack and leave for holiday. Now before going to any place i like to read up a little about the place, weather , to dos etc but this time i just didn't get any time. Before i started packing i quickly checked the weather  and WHAT ?? -30 degree C , seriously why are we going there again ?? I am so not equipped to handle that .  I now live in bangalore , i have not shopped for anything woolen in last 3 years and would we even step out of hotel in this weather. Anyways too late to think now , we were leaving next day . So i pretty much packed everything from my cupboard (big mistake, more in next post)

We flew Dragon air (Code share Cathay pacific ) from Bangalore  to Hongkong  (, after a brief stop over of couple of hours next flight from HK to Ulaanbaatar , we reached in evening after 6 pm.

I was wearing layers and layers of cloth but the moment i stepped out of airport a chill blast hit me really hard. Now i have lived in Chicago and london during cold weather but this is something else. I froze in that 2 minutes walk to cab. On way to Hotel , although it was almost dark outside from whatever i saw it felt little bizzare , like i have landed into Narnia type of place. It was surely not real, unfortunately the traffic jam at the next red light made it all too real and since it got really dark outside and the cacophony of traffic made me lose interest in whatever was outside , i was happily smug in heated comfort of car.

We were to spend 3 days in the city , so on day one we decided to do a city tour of sorts . There are not too many things in the city to really visit but some places worth visiting Sukhbaatar palace , Winter Palace, Zaisan memorial and Choijin Lama Temple Museum. There is also a national museum but we decided to skip that so really cant comment on how good it is. But the first stop we made was at State Department store (must visit in Ulaanbaatar for all your shopping need) , after having foretified ourselves with suitable gloves and caps socks we stepped out to tour the city.

Like most of the developing asian country Ulaanbaatar or UB as it is better known is in middle of crazy growth and that means high end stores (LV has a huge building next to main sqaure), big cars and crazy crazy traffic ! Although its a small city do account for snail pace traffic time to account for travel time.

Here are some photos from day 1 , Day 2 in next post

Ulaanbaatar

Choijin Lama Temple Museum



Ulaanbaatar

Choijin Lama Temple Museum



Ulaanbaatar

Sukhbaatar Square


Ulaanbaatar

Sukhbaatar Square






Zaisan Memorial



UB

City in development , View from the top 



Winter Palace 


UB

All wrapped up :) 











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