I anticipate a few logical questions re our lodgings during our few days in Mongolia: what kind of yurts (in Mongolian a yurt is a ger, btw) did we stay in while in the Gobi Desert? Were they comfortable? Were they cozy? Were they warm? Were the beds comfy? Was the home-made bread tasty? Were your hosts hospitable?…
Ok; herewith, what I found out about yurts ->
First off – perhaps the most striking thing about yurts: the fact that you must enter or leave one with the right leg first! The same goes for hands, as in – you must give something to or take something from someone inside a yurt with the right hand – never the left. Such are the nomadic customs round here. I’m sure there are plenty of others, but we only got to find out about the main ones.
The second most striking thing: what you’re served to drink in a yurt – camel kefir! Tasty it is too. Goes down real well with freshly baked pita bread.
Generally, your nighttime experience in the Gobi Desert may be comfortable – or not. For example there are cozy nomad’s yurts with camels and goats tethered next to them; staying in one of these is comfortable. You may, instead, find yourself lost in the steppe with no map, compass or sat-nav; such an experience at night is the uncomfortable, scary variant ). The third variant is staying at the equivalent of a five-star hotel in the Gobi Desert, for example at Three Camel Lodge. As you can see – this is another comfortable variant.
Here it is!
Oh my Gobi: you can’t get more ‘middle of nowhere than this. I wonder, is this the world’s most remote hotel?! Certainly one of them!
Here are the hotel’s suites! Well what were you expecting? A yurt’s a yurt, ok?)
All fine and dandy – apart from the internet. Still, I’ll allow them that minor shortcoming, considering the location.
The lobby! ->
The hotel’s parking lot is perfectly adequate. Look for yourself! ->
And here’s the view of the hotel’s grounds from the parking lot:
We managed to squeeze our ride in, just ) ->
We arrive. We grab our cases – we go to reception to register. Hmmm; where is that? Ah yes – here it is – the long desk of marble with smart, good-looking employees behind it tapping at their computers: ->
I’m being unfair. It was actually perfectly adequate. More than that actually – adequately perfect, more like ). And 10/10 for authenticity!
No room yurt numbers; just yurt animals ).
I was in Snake yurt!
For a while already I’ve been taking note of all the hotel room numbers I’ve been staying in while on the road. Just to have a look at any statistical patterns that may emerge, er… just because ). To see if any numbers keep being stayed in – and which, if any; stuff like that. And now this! Room ‘Snake’! Oh well, that was the room given, so in it goes into my e-notebook. Could get interesting one day – at least we’ve opened up a new conduit of zoological rooms. Let’s see…).
Next to reception – bikes! Yeh – I so wanted a spin. But it wasn’t to be: our nice guides met us, then had us fed much local cuisine, then it was on to the first of our excursions (which I’ve already told you about). Oh well; next time…
Duly checked in, we head to our gers…
Here are my ‘snake’ gers – the bed-ger to the right, the bath-ger to the left:
Just like a hotel room really, only round – and with a stove in the middle:
The bath-ger. Looks more than sufficient:
An inevitable adornment in any ger worth its salt – a saddle. A beautiful hand-made one too:
We didn’t have any free time in the evening here to be able to see how the hotel’s guests unwind after a long day in the desert, but the bar looks pretty convincing:
All present and correct, sir (the only thing missing that would have been nice – Wi-Fi).
No Wi-Fi? Oh no! The inhumanity! Actually, sometimes, going without the modern-day opium of the masses, just for day or two – it’s something that should be encouraged, IMHO. There’s more to life than checking your email and scanning the papers (do I look like the social media type?). Well here is the perfect spot for doing just that!
Not that I even wanted a drink at the bar. More pertinent was sustenance of a solid nature. Accordingly, we headed over to the restaurant. The entrance:
A veritable TARDIS!
After dinner – well, there’s plenty of strolling to be done. I wonder – can you just walk off anywhere? Maybe you need to ask first – perhaps that expanse over there belongs to a certain group of nomads? I also wondered – I bet for a small fee one could stay the night in a non-touristy, genuine-item yurt nearby. Now that would be something! Alas, this time, we had little time for venturing out for some real-deal Mongolian-steppe sleepovers ).
In closing my tales from the Gobi side, I just have to tell you this:
We’d just finished breakfast and were making our way toward reception to check out, when our guide approached us and asked whether we’d been up the knoll he was pointing to, a stone’s throw from the hotel. We hadn’t. We should, we were informed. All righty: off we pop. We get there, and what do we find? Rocks!
No. Surely not…
Woah. How so? Rocks can only ever be of volcanic origin. So, really – out here – this is the site of an ancient volcano? Here it is on Yandex Maps. Oh my Gobi-Gosh! I decided I must sit down to think this over…
…But not for long – we had to be out of there…
…on our helicopter.
Such a shame our Gobi stay was so short-lived. Really must get back here. Not necessarily this particular spot of the desert (though a stay at the Three Camels would be cool; remember: that bar needs proper test-drive:), but this particular desert – for sure ).
Over and out from Gobi folks. All the pics from Mongolia are here.