The July Bazaar
During the Naadam Festival in July every year, the area outside Ulaanbaatar's stadium turns into a huge bazaar with food stores, shirts, hats, souvenirs etc. This is really a great experience for me mingling with the locals in this bazaar.
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, about 80km (50 miles) north-east of Ulaanbaatar in the region of Tov Aimag, is a deservedly popular destination. At 1600m, the area is cool and the alpine scenery is magnificent. Terelj was first developed for tourism in 1964 and 30 years later it became part of the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. One of the most visited sights within the National Park is the Turtle Rock, (Melkhii Khad in Mongolian) which is one of many rock formations, that is shaped like a turtle.
I came to the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park on the second day of my 12-day Mongolian tour with a tour company called Black Idex. Myself and an American guy on my tour, first visited the Turtle Rock before heading further up the valley to a monastery. We then headed to our overnight Ger Camp which was the first time that we saw and stayed in a Ger so everything was a bit of a novelty. We then walked around and did some horse-riding on some horses from a nearby nomadic family which was the first time I'd ever ridden a horse before.
Pleasant place for coffee and cake
Freshly made cakes. Low prices. The Stupa cafe is sponsored by the FPMT Buddhist Center. Nice quiet non- smoking, no alcohol environment. Lite snacks, eg cheese and tomato or pineapple sandwich, scrambled eggs. Coffee, juice including a Mongolian special Sea Buckthorn. Also an English language library. Apple cake
This place is down the road leading from right in front of the State Department Store (Tserendori Street). It's rather cheap and fairly cheerful with bright coloured tables and decor but the pizzas are not very good at all but at least they're cheap. The two waitress girls who where there when I was were pretty lazy and stood around a lot and didn't even get my drink until I had to ask for it again after ordering it in the first place. There's better pizza places than this around town.
ULAAN BAATOR : INTELLECTUAL MUSEUM
There appear to be several names for this museum. Intellectual Museum or Museum of Intelligence or International Museum of Mechanical Toys, etc...
Anyway, this is one of the most UNIQUE museum I have ever visited. In fact, this museum is touted as one of the ONLY TWO similar museums in the world.
The museum's director Z. Tumen-Ulzii is the inventor, designer, craftsman, collector... GENIUS.
There are thousands of chess-sets designed by the director. Each pawn are of the 3-dimensional assembly design. And NONE OF THE DESIGNS ARE REPEATED. Even the tables holding the chess-sets are puzzles themselves.
Besides designing the puzzles, the director also personally hand-crafted nearly all of the items. There are miniature animal-themed pawns carved from expensive red corals. There are huge near life-sized pawns of Mongolian wrestlers or Chinggis Khan, dressed in felt, leather, etc... Mr Z. Tumen-Ulzii made the wooden tables too. He simply did everything himself.
He had also written stacks of papers on the 'Theories of Puzzles'. Apparently, if you STUDY his theories, by right, you can solve all puzzles in the world.
Besides this, the director also collects mechanical toys from all over the world. Well, to be honest, they are LEVEL 10 KITSCH. There was the pair of spectacles which had eyes bouncing out; there were Barbies in grass-skirts who danced to music when you hit a little switch; there were other dolls that responded upon clapping, one dancing to the tune of 'Macarena'; there were toys that farted bubbles; there was Scooby Doo; there were clowns; there were crying babies with milk bottles; etc... It was incredible.
I seriously recommend this museum to anyone who pops by Ulaan Baator. This is truly and nearly one-of-the-kind.
Website :* http://www.mongolart.mn/forum.php?page=museums
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