31 August 2016

How To Cross A Mongolian River

A brief post written from on the Mongolian road. We are currently in Khentii Aimag - considered the birthplace of Chinggis Khan.  We are in Dadal - close to the border with Russia, and exploring the spectacular Onon-Balj National Park. Today has been spent in the company of a park ranger…seeing the protected area from his personal perspective.

This is not the first time we have been in Khentii. We typically leave it alone for July and early August when the roads usually turn into a quagmire and the mosquitoes seem to have personal vendettas against all.

But, late August onwards is glorious - the roads are drying out and the autumn colours start to put on a show of their own.

I personally last passed this way in 2013. To get to Khentii you have to cross the Onon Gol and both in 2013 and 2016, we used the birvaz.  The what? The birvaz is one of my favourite inventions - a floating platform on a pulley system that crosses the river - used by locals with their motorbikes or in this case, by EL with our Furgon van. Tserendorj is the operator and crossing the river this way gives you time to discuss the weather, the state of the Mongolian economy and to count fish.

Also in Khentii is the small community of Binder. Back in 2012, a local decided to take us under his wing and show us his preferred way of crossing the Onon River. The tractor taxi. 

Of course, there's the traditional horse option as demonstrated here by Bambakh on one of our Khovsgol and Khoridol Saridag treks. 

 Then there's always a bridge.

 There's also the 'drive through' option. 

Or just waiting until it all freezes over.

There's an option for everyone. Our east trips take place from late August onwards. If you're interested in the EL way of travelling, why not have a look at the Mongolia Tour Calendar on my Eternal Landscapes website. You'll find in (almost) a nutshell a guide to the Mongolian seasons and the trips we operate during those seasons.