It’s time for a round-up of the last few weeks… you may have noticed, there hasn’t been an awful lot of cycling. I had great plans, but sometimes they don’t quite work out the way you expected.

The plan. Get to Ulaanbaatar quickly to extend my Mongolian visa and get visa for Kazakhstan for onward travel. Speak to guides about the best rivers to packraft and go for a 10-day-ish packrafting trip, probably on the Orkhon River. Then start cycling west…

So, I cycled to Darkhan, got a ride to Ulaanbaatar. Then the visa fun began. And when I enquired about the Orkhon River, those in the know suggested it would either be very dangerous right now, or hardly any water at all (depending on whether it had rained much recently). The only way to find out was to go and see for myself (about an 8-hour bus ride and then). By the time I had gleaned all this information I was not feeling much like rafting at all. Partly, I didn’t fancy all that travel only to find it wasn’t raftable, either because of too much or too little water, but also I think the idea of rafting alone concerned just a little (it would be different if I knew what conditions to expect).

Having been feeling rather under the weather, I decided to see what I felt like in the morning. I woke up late. The decision to scrap the rafting was easier when I realised I could stay in UB and watch the Naadam festival instead. (to be continued…)

So, starting with where I left off with my biking fun south of Lake Baikal, here’s how my time in Mongolia started, in maps…

Day 9 – Day off at the border (Russian side)

Day 9 - Day off at the border
Day 9 - Day off at the border

Day 10 – Into Mongolia

Day 10 - Into Mongolia
Day 10 - Into Mongolia
First view of Mongolia
First view of Mongolia

Day 11 – To Darkhan

Day 11 - To Darkhan
Day 11 - To Darkhan
Not a bad place to wake up!
Not a bad place to wake up!

Day 12 – To the Capital

Day 12 - to the capital
Day 12 - to the capital
Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar
Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar

Day 13 – Visas (or not)

Day 13 - Visas (or not)
Day 13 - Visas (or not)

Days 14-16 – In UB

Days 14-16 - In UB
Days 14-16 - In UB