A unique honeymoon in Mongolia
Amorous adventure is on the cards as Jessica Bryce navigates her way through Mongolia’s unique landscape with her new husband in tow.
Having spent the best three weeks of my life in Mongolia on my own honeymoon, sharing this incredible country’s potential for amorous adventure is something I’m drawn to do. By definition, honeymoons need to comprise a fine balance of quality time, new experiences and relaxation. Mongolia brings all of this in spades, providing all the necessities for an intimate escape with a difference: from refined accommodation located deep in the Gobi Desert to camping under the stars in perfect serenity.
Land of camels
Mongolia is the second largest land-locked country in the world and is located between China, Russia and Kazakhstan. It is a country with an awe-inspiring culture and a rich and fascinating history. The Mongolian Empire, under the rule of the mighty Genghis Khan, grew to twice the size of the Roman Empire and lasted hundreds of years. It is now estimated that 16 million people worldwide have direct heritage to the great man himself; living proof that his appetite for foreign women was insatiable.
Ulaanbaatar and the Three Camel Lodge
Start your discovery in Ulaanbaatar (known simply as ‘UB’ to the locals). A swathe of five-star hotels, including the newly opened Shangri-La Hotel, is sure to impress and perhaps surprise. Following this, a short flight or a comfortable two-day drive will bring
you to Three Camel Lodge, located in the central Gobi Desert, an isolated retreat that has been recognised by National Geographic as a Unique Lodge of the World.
The accommodation consists of 39 luxury gers, their design inspired by the traditional homes used by Mongolian nomads. While the standard ger can be erected and dismantled in 30 minutes, these are permanent dwellings with fine bedding, immaculately polished concrete and stone ensuites.
The bar area is a spectacular stone creation with a view encompassing open fields filled with wild horses, eagles, marmots, ground squirrels and yaks enjoying the warmth of the summer sun. The sun doesn’t set until 11pm in the Mongolian summer, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the lodge’s activities, including horse riding, bike riding, 4WD tours or simply enjoying the serenity that the Gobi and the lodge have to offer. I’d recommend two or three nights within this lodge as the Gobi desert has endless attractions and Three Camel Lodge is the ideal base while you explore.
Into the unknown
Your next move after Three Camel Lodge depends entirely on how adventurous you are feeling. A driving holiday around Mongolia is the ultimate way to embrace the local culture and meet the inquisitive locals, all while simultaneously (and unwittingly) challenging yourself and your spouse. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country on the planet, so you should be prepared to spend some time under the stars or in a local tourist ger camp as you make your way around this beautiful country.
Our preference and recommendation was to camp, as we’ve never seen clearer night skies, more beautiful rivers or a more impressive landscape than seen in Mongolia. The mountainous terrain towards the North West of the country surpasses the beauty of Iceland or Scandinavia and there is something exhilarating about being thousands of kilometres from civilisation in such a vast and remote landscape.
When the sun finally sets on such an epic horizon, the shooting stars and satellites appear in abundance and you find yourself nestled within the confines of a pack of wild horses as they graze on the pasture surrounding your camp.
If a more adventurous tale is still required to impress the toughest guests at your next dinner party, Olgii in the country’s North West needs to be on your list. Olgii is a small town that is the base station for several operators that run tailored driving, hiking and horse back tours ranging from five to 14 days in length.
We chose horseback and with the only advice given before we began being, “You fall off, you die”, we decided to adhere pretty closely to the recommendation offered by our guide.
In the coming five days, we dominated ice glaciers, swamps, river crossings and a 3657-metre mountain trail that was only as wide as the fattest horse in our group. Falling from some of these situations would in fact mean death!
By the end of the third day as our confidence grew, the theme song from ‘The Man from Snowy River’ was firmly implanted in my head as we galloped through this amazing setting, racing each other to the next river crossing.
The seven days that we spent in the far North West of Mongolia on the Kazak/Russian/Chinese border was the single best thing I’ve ever done while travelling
Accommodation www.threecamellodge.com www.shangri-la.com/ulaanbaatar
Getting there China Eastern flies to Ulaanbaatar via Beijing. au.ceair.com
Experience North West horse trek with Back to Bek Travel