During our short stay in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, not far from the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, we visited Turtle Rock, named for its resemblance to a turtle when viewed from a certain angle. Known locally as Melkhi Khad, this giant rock formation is a popular spot for visitors to the area.
Here are some photos I shot of scenes around Turtle Rock and the surrounding landscape.
1. View of Turtle Rock
2. Sheep and goats grazing near Turtle Rock
3. Goats and sheep lick the walls of this derelict hut
4. Two riders on a horse. A common sight in Mongolia
5. Another view of Turtle Rock
6. Landscape near Turtle Rock
7. Group shot of family and friends in front of Turtle Rock. My older brother Matt is far left and younger brother Mike far right.
8. My younger brother Mike (left) and friends Andy, Mark and Kerry from England
Some shots of a friendly camel for hire near Turtle Rock
9. My new sister-in-law Anna petting a camel near Turtle Rock
Close ups of the friendly camel
15. Close up of the camel's saddle
16. Ger camp near Turtle Rock
17. Horses and riders hang out near Turtle Rock
Also check out my series on Mike and Anna’s wedding, Mongolian contortionists and other posts about Mongolia.
Mongolian ger camps are like campsites with gers instead of tents and the quality of amenities vary from camp to camp. Both local and foreign tourists visit them for a night or a few days.
After my younger brother Mike’s wedding in Ulaanbaatar, family and friends, a mixed Anglo/Mongolian group, all piled into vehicles and headed out of the capital to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park for a couple of days relaxation together.
We stayed at the serene Terelj Lodge 55 km northeast of the city. This was the first time that some of us, including my older brother Matt and our friends from England (all still in our first week in Mongolia) had stayed in a ger and was an experience we’d all been looking forward to. It was the most upscale of any ger camp I stayed at during my travels in Mongolia.
After relaxing, walking and eating lunch we all headed to a few local sights including Turtle Rock (Melkhi Khad) and the Aryapala Initiation and Meditation Centre which I’ll post about next. Later we returned to the ger camp for dinner and at night we sat around chatting while some downed beer or the traditional Mongolian shots of vodka.
Following are a few images of the ger camp.
1. Entering Terelj Lodge Tourist Ger Camp
2. View of the ger camp with my younger brother Mike walking towards me
3. Close up of gers
4. Looking inside a ger
5. Typical layout of a ger with woodburning stove, painted table and stools in the center and painted beds around them
6. Close up of paintwork on a bed
7. Close up of typical painted wooden roof framework inside a ger. The circular "tono" in the roof allows light in and an exit for the stove pipe
8. Weathered paintwork on outside of ger door
9. Close up of painted stool
10. View of ger camp and a hide hanging to dry
11. View in another direction with a lone ger
12. Inquisitive cow outside gers in early morning light
13. Our ger
14. Path leading to the restaurant
15. Final early morning image as we left the ger camp
Suburbia in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar is like no other. Bleak Russian-style apartment blocks give way to a patchwork of modern, red brick, matchbox-like houses.
Tidy lines of vivid crimson, azure and jade roofs contrast starkly against the chalky curves of Mongolian traditional gers. Intermingling, they compete for space tucked away behind wooden and rusty tin fences splashed with painted symbols.
Driving out of the city, I captured a few images from the window of our moving van.
1. Russian-style apartment blocks
2. More Russian-style apartment blocks
3. Not sure who this graffiti was aimed at. Hopefully not photographers!
4. Houses hidden behind painted fences
5. Painted symbols on fences
6. Rusty tin fences
7. Jumble of gers and brick houses
8. Patchwork of colored roofs and gers
9. A giant gas pipe frames gers further out of the city
10. A lone ger against cityscape and backdrop of hills
11. Crimson roofs stain the landscape
My other Mongolia posts include my brother’s Mongolian wedding, Nadaam festival and Mongolian contortionists.
After leaving the Wedding Palace the entire party went on a tour of the city’s main tourist sights starting with Choijin Lama Temple Museum just around the corner.
Entrance to Choijin Lama Temple Museum.
Anna in front of a ger temple souvenir store.
Kissing outside the temple.
Anna and her niece.
Mike with Anna’s niece.
Old and new.
Mike and Anna kissing again!
Inside the temple.
Inside the temple.
Anna’s cousin and niece.
English friends Kerry, Andy and Mark.
My older brother Matt and my younger brother Mike.
Matt, Kerry, Andy and Mark.
Close-up of buddha.
In Sukhbaatar Square.
Mike and Anna in Sukhbaatar Square.
In the car.