Across the border

Kyakhta Travel Blog

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In Kyakhta, I took a cab to the border, and then had to hitch a ride, as there are no busses or marhrutkas across the border and you`re not allowed to cross on foot. The car I was in was in bad shape, the engine worked occasionally but it had to be pushed most of the time. The Kyakhta-Altanbulag border was only recently opened to foreigners, and isn`t quite prepared for it. Many forms one has to fill out are in Russian only. Luckily a lady in my car helped me (just say "nyet"). The border guard on the Mogolian side had to find the "border boss" to allow me to cross.

The Russian lady who`d helped me with the forms and a Mongolian man were also headed for Ulaan Bataar, so I just tagged along. We had to go via Sukhbataar and Darkhan, but it all went very smoothly. There is an organised form of hitch-hiking here which works quite well: cars are waiting to take passengers, you pay for it but it wasn`t more expensive than the train, which only travels at night so I would`ve missed out on the incredibly beautiful scenery had I taken that.

From Darkhan to UB we got a ride from 2 young women who spoke English fluently. When they asked where I wanted to be dropped off, I realised I had forgotten my guidebook in the car we crossed the border in (one of the forms required the adress where you were staying in Mongolia). All I remembered was "Nassan`s guesthouse, near Sukhbataar square". We had to ask for directions several time and drove around for at least half an hour before we found it, as it is not marked on the front of the building. I was very grateful they helped me look, they could`ve just told me to get out and look by myself.

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Kyakhta
photo by: marcuspeterson