Sarah, Hanna, Slobo and I organized a 2 days trip to Terej a park in the north east of UB. As we wanted to see the 40m high GK statue which is 50km east from UB, we booked a taxi for the first day ($60 / 4): after visiting the impressive statue, we drove to the Terej park where our driver managed to get the local entry fee for us (300T instead of 3000T). We stopped as some particular rock formations, and then continued to Terej. Getting an accommodation there was not that easy: as it is still a day of for many Mongols, many of them chose to get out of the city on that day, the whole UB was in Terej! We first arranged a ger and then went for a break in the village close to the river. Crossing a river whose bed is only of small stones or worst mud is quite challenging for a car, here a 4WD vehicle makes much more sense. But our taxi was a Toyota Prius (hybrid), definitely not the best car in the water (electric engine!). The river was only a few cm where we crossed it, but the driver did not take the right path and we got stocked in the middle. Placing flat stones under the wheels and push the car together allowed us to get off without any damage. Close to this place, I stayed quite impressed by the bigger 4WD “Jeep” like crossing the much deeper river (enough to put the whole engine under water). I later approached a group of Mongols singing. They invited me to join them and just got my first vodka shot. Sarah, Hanna and Slobo joined me later and we had some fun with them, even trying some wrestling. I challenged one of them who were already drunk, thinking of taking advantage of that, but I could only last 20s before falling down. We soon got enough vodka to get a headache the day after! We preferred to let them here and went higher to the hill, we I challenged myself to get up. I got a nice view over the Terej area. The taxi brought us back to the ger after sunset. My GPS helped quite a lot to find again the place, as I saved the location earlier! The driver could drive back to UB, we stayed there thinking about hiking the day after.
We however got a heavy rain in the morning, so that we had to wait for noon to start something. We enjoyed 1 hour horse ride close to the camp, I was glad that Sarah could ride good enough to motivate my horse for trot instead of just the slowest pace. Horse is also the most convenient way to cross the river. After the lunch at the camp, the sun was out and it became so warm that I wanted to go to the river myself. So did I for a short time, the cold water (own estimation: 14-15°) and the strong stream did not allow a real swim. It was soon time to get back to UB, we wanted to get the mini buses departing from Terej about 4pm, but since we were 1-2km before, they were already full when passing along. We decided to split in 2 groups and could then easily hitchhike. Slobo and I first got a minivan full of friendly 20-year-old Mongols which just bring us out of the park. Less than 5 min out and we got another car to get back to UB.
Hitchhike is a little different in Mongolia than in western countries: here, they often expect you to pay a small fee, particularly in the city where every car can be a taxi.