Terelj National Park

Our language school celebrated the end of the year with a trip to Terelj National Park. We rented a rustic ger for the day (but it did have a flushing toilet nearby so that’s a win) and got to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL scenery, delicious food, and great company.

After driving through a couple rivers (there’s video below) we arrived at our home for the day. In the photo below, our host’s home is the ger on the left. The building on the right is the bathroom (with flushing toilet, working show, and sink). We stayed on one of the three other gers on the property.

We settled into our ger and had a a light snack before heading outside to walk, talk, and play for a while before we went horse back riding.

The last (and only) time I rode a horse I was fifteen and got to ride around in a circle for five minutes. But that basically made me an expert and, over 20 years later, I felt completely comfortable taking my own reigns after about five minutes of being led by my guide.

My horse was pleasant. He didn’t like listening to my commands to “choo” (go, faster) but was very responsive to moving the reigns right, left, or to slow him down (really, slowing down and stopping is the most important thing anyway). He did, however, respond very well to other riders’ commands to their horses to “choo.” He also decided if anyone nearby was trotting, he should trot too. So trot we did.

My 8 year old daughter was led by an experienced horseman and she LOVED every minute of it and convinced them to give her a second ride around the property before we left.

We spent about 3 hours out with the horses. We walked through rivers, trotted through plains, and climbed up a mountain then rested before coming back.

One of our teachers and some other students.

At the top of the mountain there were a couple of high places–places where the local equivalent of Shamans come to burn incense, beat drums, and do the other things that Shamans do.

We headed back for a Khorkhog dinner which is lamb cooked in a pot with by the hot stones that have been put in with the meat.

The Khorkhog cooking
Our picnic feast

We got to drive through a couple rivers on the way back home. I was in a Subaru and, I think, that the water would have come up to my lap if the doors had been open. The Subaru, and its driver, had no fear and handled the rivers with no problems.

It was a wonderful day and I’m a amazed that, despite all we did see, there was so much we didn’t see. There are a lot of places to stay that range from rustic to modern and tons of amazing views and rock formations (like turtle rock). So we will definitely be back. And, if you ever visit Mongolia, Terelj should definitely be on your “to do” list (but ask me about the ride there and back first, that’s an adventure all of its own).

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