Traveling to a place that is under the state of emergency may sound worrying… yet exciting especially if it is seeing the place for the first time.
Before our departure, we learned that Ulaanbaatar was in the state of emergency after a violent protest in the streets of the capital city. We’ve already booked everything more than a month before the departure as it was really difficult to get a nice accommodation in UB during the Naadam festival. I was really looking forward to coming to Mongolia that’s why the thought of canceling the trip didn’t occur to me even for just a single minute.
There was an announcement [in a huge framed poster] at the boarding gate in Seoul airport about UB being in the state of emergency. Everyone was reading it and talking about it but there isn’t any sign of worrying in their faces. We were even joking about locating the embassies first once we land in UB so that there would be a place to run to just in case the situation gets worse lol It was late night already when we arrived in UB and everything seemed alright and the city was very peaceful.
We decided to explore the city on our first day in UB. We hailed a taxi and tried our very best to tell the driver where we’ re going but he couldn’t seem to understand a single word of english, we even showed him the map in Lonely Planet but he just gave us a blank face and shook his head. Even the word ‘square’ didnt seem to ring a bell. We wanted to go to the States Department Store, but we told him to drop us at the Sukhbaatar Square instead, hoping that it would at least give him an idea what we were saying. After a few more unsuccessful attempts on getting a taxi, we hopped on the bus not knowing where it was going. Based on the map, there was only one major road in the city center so can could just get off somewhere and then figure out how to get to the department store, fortunately the bus dropped us at the Sukhbaatar square, a famous landmark in UB, after about 15 minutes only.
First stop was a cup of coffee at Chez Bernard. This place seemed popular in the area maybe because it’s in Lonely Planet 🙂
Second day in UB was spent at the museum, temple and some souvenir shops. We went to see the dinosaur fossils and the rest of Mongolian history at the museum. We were informed that visitors are not allowed to take photographs inside the museum with their own cameras but if wanted to take some photographs, there would be a certain fee for each photograph taken. Well, as what others did, we still managed to secretly take a few photographs using our cameras… 🙂