September 23, 2020

Eureka Springs Arkansas Visit

 Eureka Springs is a beautiful town near the Ozark mountains, about a 9 hour drive from Austin Texas

Visited Eureka Springs Arkansas during the Labor Day weekend September 5th through the 7th 2020. My 2nd time in Arkansas, both times I stayed in Fort Smith, first time I was in Fayetteville and this time I went up to Eureka Springs.

Eureka Springs is home to its famous springs, one can take a spa package 

Eureka Springs has amazing Victorian houses.

My first stop was Christ of the Ozarks

christ of ozarks

About a 15 minute drive from the State of the Christ is the Thorn Crown Chapel

What a Beautiful Chapel in the woods

thorn crown chapel


The chapel is a must see, if you do go take a spring bath, the massage after that can be too oily something you can opt out off.

Happy Travels!
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February 28, 2020

San Pedro de Atacama Chile Travel

Municipalidad De San Pedro de Atacama, is a block away from Caracoles Street, across the street is the Church of San Pedro de Atacama and there is a park, tourist office and a Medical post next to the Municipalidad.

I spent 5 days getting myself ready for the high altitude travel to Salar de Uyuni Bolivia.San Pedro de Atacama is Number 2 travel destination in Chile after Patagonia. Don't expect any fancy shopping malls.

Learn some Spanish. Though English is widely spoken.

San Pedro de Atacama Chile has one of the most beautiful night skies

How to get there - I flew from Santiago Chile to Calama, from Calama airport as you walk towards the exit, one sees the Airport shuttle booths, pick one its fixed price. From Calama it takes little over an hour to get to San Pedro de Atacama. The Shuttle is about 10k Chilean Pesos one way and will drop you at your hotel/hostel.

Stay - I stayed at Anka Hostel next to Caracoles Street, stay near Caracoles, its the main street with tons of tours agencies, money exchange, shopping, and great eating places. I loved my stay at Anka. Good breakfast, clean rooms and friendly staff.

Food - I during my 5 days ate at several places. One place that stands out for great Chilean food is Las Delicias de Carmen, its awesome and had a very good beer selection. Picture below.

There was a pharmacy next to my hostel, went there to get some altitude sickness pills and they wanted a prescription, there is a medical post in town, went to see the doctor there free of charge, had to pay for pills only.

Tours - I did the valley of the moon tour.

The reason they call it valley of moon is because it resembles the moon surface or so my guide told us. If you do this tour the sunset if beautiful, there are also bicycle tours in the morning where you rent and peddle by yourself.

My days were spent on the hammock in the hostal yard doing nothing, occasionally going to the ice-cream shop on Caracoles or to a café.

Happy Travels, stay near Caracoles in San Pedro de Atacama

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February 26, 2020

Ushuaia Argentina Travel

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

I took a flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, it claims to be the southern most city in the world. Puerto Williams Chile makes the same claim and it more south, visited there as well, Ushuaia has more going for it than Puerto Williams. Ushuaia is Beautiful city with snow caped hills on one side and ocean on the other.

Airport to Town Taxi - cost is about USD 10

Ushuaia is not budget friendly, plan accordingly. I was there overnight as the next afternoon I had a ship to catch to go to Antarctica.

Transportation - one can walk everywhere

Weather - dress warm, I was there in January which is there summer and needed a Jacket

San Martin Avenue is the main street with all kinds of eating places and shopping. One can also find tourist agencies selling tours to Antarctica.

One place I recommend for coffee and sandwiches is Tante Sara Cafe Bar. I also ate at 137 Pizza. Both are located on San Martin Avenue.

Tourist info office, you can get maps and all the info you need.

Along the Shore one finds all the cabin shops selling shipping and sailing tours along the Beagle Channel.

Happy Travels
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February 20, 2020

Buenos Aires Argentina Travel

Buenos Aires - Argentina

Well the Plan was to spend 3 days in Buenos Aires, things don't always work out as planned and with bad weather and flight delays, my time in Buenos Aires was cut short by 2 days.

Café Tortoni
Café Tortoni

Airport and immigration

The process is simple, though expect long line, kind of reminded me of Cancun Airport immigration 

There are ATM machines at the Airport.

Taxi - As you exit the immigration, there are car rental and taxi booths, don't stop at those, exit the Baggage claim area and you'll see the main Taxi booth, book your taxi there, its a fixed price.

Stay- I stayed at America del Sur Hostel Buenos Aires, clean comfortable and really good breakfast.

Transportation - I used metered Taxi, cheap and safe

Picture to the right is Café Tortoni one of the best places in Buenos Aires to see a Jazz or tango show

Free walking tour, as with most cities BA has a good walking tour it starts at the Congress Building  and ends at the Pink Govt house.

Congress Building 

Pink house
The tour goes through the July 9th Avenue, Link to wiki page to the avenue is below, a good read

Obelisk de Buenos Aires located in the Plaza de la República is worth seeing aswell.

If you have time, I recommend checking out the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral

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February 17, 2020

Things to do In Addis Ababa Ethiopia

I have visited Addis twice since my last visit in 2015. What used to be a Poor sub Saharan city is now a African major business hub thanks in part to Chinese investments.There is a new Airport, a Metro light rail and high rise buildings under construction all over the city.

Airport and Immigration

USA passport holders have visa on Arrival, the fee is USD $50

Weather is good throughout the Year

Haile Selassie Church (Trinity Church)

How to get there - Take a cab

There is 200 Birr  entrance fee for foreigners.

Haile Selassie was Ethiopian King, his tomb is inside the church

The whole Place can be seen in less then hour, there is also the tomb of Meles Zenawi, Ethopian Prime Minister in the church grounds.

Entoto Hill and National Museum of Ethiopia

I visited these 2 during my 2015 visit, link to my 2015 Ethiopia Travels 

Shola Market 

This is a huge Local Market, try to go there with a local.Due to camera issues, I lost pictures of the market, ask for permission before taking photos

Africa Union Building

I could not find any info on how to get inside to see the conference center, took a selfie from the outside

Tomoca Coffee

This is the oldest coffee shop and the most famous, there are several locations in Addis

What to Eat

Injera and Shiro is Bread with a tomato chickpea flower dish. Very common Ethiopian food

Ful - Made from Fava Beans, I went to a local restaurant and paid less then 2 USD for a meal, came with  bread and Egg.

There is Gara Market for Grocery shopping and Mulmul Bakery for baked foods.

For Souvenir shopping, there are several shops near the main post office.

More to come, stay tuned

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November 9, 2019

Things to do Kigali Rwanda

Visited Kigali in October 2019 for 3 days, it is a very clean and beautiful city.

Weather: October is slightly cold, bring a light Jacket.

How to get there: There are buses from neighboring countries, I flew from Kampala to Kigali on Rwanda Air, flight time was 40 minutes as opposed to 9 hours on a bus.

Safety: Kigali is a safe city, it felt very safe even at night.

Stay: I stayed at Mijo Hostel, in a dorm, it was 15 USD a night, the hostel is amazing. Huge hall with breakfast and sitting area, and a balcony at the back with views of the city center. It was close to several eating places, I ate at Gusto Italian pizzeria and Orchard Bakery and Cafe.

Airport visa, and how to get to the city: US citizens have visa on arrival, the cost is 30 USD, Airport to city Taxi was 15 USD. No Scams, my taxi driver spoke French and we had nice conversation, he was from the neighboring country of Burundi. Older people speak French and younger generation speak English as a second Language.

Transportation: I used a motorcycle driver to take me around Kigali

Things to do and See

Kigali Genocide Museum

This Museum is dedicated to the Rwanda genocide, the slaughter of Tutsi by Hutu.

This museum is about a very sad past in Rwanda, the entrance is free, though donations are expected. Free guided tours are offered. Give yourself about an hour to see the place

Kimironko Market

One can find everything in this market from fresh produce to clothing to electronics and the list goes on, do yourself a favor and go with a  local and not alone.

Presidents Palace Museum

This Museum has been renamed to Rwanda Art Museum, beautiful paintings and art work inside. This used to be former President Habyarimana's home. There is an entrance fee to see the museum and to see the plane wreckage behind the museum, it includes a guide. The plane wreckage is of the plane that was shot down caring Habyarimana.énal_Habyarimana

Photography is not allowed inside.

Grand Mosque 

This was mentioned in a guide book to Rwanda so I decided to check it out. It was a Friday, a prayer day so I did not go inside as there were too many people there, my motorcycle driver wanted to pray. I decided to go to a coffee shop and wait for him.

Nyarutarama Lake Avoid

Again This was mentioned in a travel guide book to Rwanda so I decided to check it out. Little bigger than a pond, some kids were fishing there.

Happy Travels!

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October 30, 2019

Things to do in Kampala Uganda

Visited Kampala in October 2019 for 4 days.

Weather in October is rainy, I was lucky and it rained mostly during the night, I did rain once during the day while I was at lake Victoria, the rain lasted an hour and I ate a seafood lunch at one of the several restaurants till the rain stopped. Bring a light waterproof jacket, the days are warm and nights are cold.

How to get there - Kampala is the Capital of Uganda. I flew on Kenya airways from Nairobi Kenya on a direct flight to Kampala, there are buses from Kenya and Rwanda that go to Kampala, the flight was under an hour and a bus from Nairobi will take 12 hours.

Immigration Visa and Proof of yellow fever shot: American passport holders have visa on arrival, I paid 50 USD, they can also ask for proof of yellow fever vaccine. There is a makeshift clinic at the airport that will give you yellow fever shot for 40 USD.

You can also apply for eVisa here.

Picture above Right is a Buganda Monument, on The Royal Mile, the Gates are locked and only open for the King, only the King can pass through the gates and everyone else has to go around

Airport to City: The airport is in Entebbe and not in Kampala, an hour away. I took a Taxi, I had already researched the price, it was 30 USD, once out side the airport a taxi driver approached me, he asked me for 40 USD I countered at 30, he agreed and we were off to my hostel.

There are ATM's at Entebbe airport.

Stay: I stayed at Fat Cat Backpackers Hostel in a private room for 34 USD a night, Breakfast included, Very well located with several eating places nearby, I ate twice Indian vegetarian food at Hi Point Restaurant across the street from the hostel.

Scams in Kampala: I was taking pictures of Indian Temples around Kampala City Center when this man approached me and asked me if I was a Journalist, I said no and he shows me an ID and say's he is a cop and wants to see my passport, I knew it was a scam. I replied lets go to the Police station, and my motorcycle driver came over. I explained to my motorcycle driver whats going on, the driver told me he is fake cop and yelled at the scam artist.

Things to do in Kampala

My Hostel arranged for a full day tour of Kampala for 40 USD, the tour was on the backseat of a motorcycle also known as boda boda tour. Riding on the back of a motorcycle in an east African country is not for everyone. After breakfast at 9 AM my tour guide and motorcycle driver was waiting for me, he gave me his second helmet and we were off to see Kampala.

1) The Bahá'í House of Worship in Kampala

It's the only one in Africa and One of only seven Baha'i temples in the world. Its on a small hill with beautiful grounds, highly recommended.

No photography is allowed inside. Tours are free.

2) Gaddafi Mosque

There is a fee to enter the Mosque and go to the top of the Minaret, I had a tour guide that explained the history of the mosque, its located on Kampala hill in the old part of the town. Impala Animal used to live on the hill, and that's how Kampala got its name meaning land of the Impala.

As the name suggests, it was built by Gaddafi of Libya.

The inside is beautiful, the dome artwork was dome by Moroccans, the carpet came from libya, the stain glass from Italy and cannot remember where the chandeliers came from. Also I do recommend going to the top of the Minaret, one can see all of Kampala from all directions. Pretty cool.

3)  Buganda Kings (Kabaka) Palace

Above the Ceremonial Parliament, the king goes there once a year as per my guide. 

Above the Kings palace. There is an entrance fee to the palace that comes with a guide, the guide called it Mengo Palace. Visitors are not allowed inside.

The Royal Mile to the Buganda Parliament building from the Kabaka Palace is very impressive.

The guide went on to explain the history, then we walked past some corn plantations to visit Idi Amin’s torture chamber. about 20,000 people were murdered there, the place used to be filled ankle high with water and then people were electrocuted. Having seen the movie 'Raid on Entebee', I knew some history.

4) City Center

The above picture taken from the balcony of a bar, there was soccer betting going on in the bar. It is legal to bet in Kampala. The hustle and bustle of the big city, quiet the chaos. Well worth a visit. I did not shop or eat there, I did visit the Indian Hindu and Sikh Temple there.

5) Lake Victoria Kampala

The lake is the largest in Africa and it stretches as far as Kenya and Tanzania, I went to the fish market and did eat at one of the many street restaurants there, also I was the only tourist there.

Fish Market Photos

Happy Travels!

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September 3, 2019

Things to do In Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, visited this Amazing city in the last week of August. The weather was just perfect, T shirt and shorts weather with slightly cooler nights.

Arrived at Rio de Janeiro–Galeao International Airport early morning, Immigration is quick and easy, took 2 minutes and I was out in the Arrival area of the Airport looking for an ATM machine, there are no ATM/Cash Machines in the international Arrivals, had to walk all the way to Domestic arrivals to find an ATM. There are several currency exchange places at the airport, which I did not use.

US passport holder do not need a visa for Brazil, check if you need Visa here.

Airport Taxi, there are official Taxi booths at the airport, use your bargain skills at those, the cost of a taxi from airport to city is about 60 Riyal. The airport has free Wi-Fi and you can try Uber also. 

Safety - I found Rio to safe, I took cabs at night, they have meters, no issues there, I also used Uber and the city metro all safe, I had my camera and cell Phone in My hand and no one tried anything, I actually found people to be friendly and helpful, basically I found Rio to be very safe. Now keep in mind that I didn't go walking into any favela's by myself. However I was drinking beer out in the open at street parties by the ocean with the locals, I am not suggesting you do this.

Tip for those who don't speak Portuguese, learn a few words or get an app as the everyday people you encounter in Brazil like cab drivers, asking people for directions will not know English 

Stay I stayed at an BNB found on and I paid USD $26 a night with breakfast included. It was close to Uruguai Metro station in Tijuca neighborhood, across the street was the Assai supermarket with restaurants, ATM's and taxi stand.

Food - tons of options, I recommend atleast checking out Confeitaria Colombo in Centro Rio.

Colombo Bakery 

Free Walking Tour - That's the first thing I did in Rio and am a big fan of walking tours. The tour starts in Centro and ends at the Selaron Staircase in Lapa, Lapa has some great clubs and Bars if checking out the city nightlife is your thing to do. Lapa also has Carioca Aqueduct to bring water to the city, built in the 1800's.

Carioca Aqueduct rio
Lapa Arches

Christ the Redeemer Statue 

One of the 7 wonders of the world, my 2nd day in Rio was spent in Rio at Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. My advise is to get there early or else you'll be among large crowds. I off course slept in and was among large crowds. Took uber to the Christ the Redeemer hill and a Train to the top, train ticket was about USD $15 round trip, gave my self time to admire the statue and take in all the amazing view of the city from the hill. You'll have to climb stairs to see the statue.

There is a one room small chapel under the statue, where a baptism was going on while I was there.

Once back to entrance down the hill, some guy with a suggestion to eat his restaurant across the street. And all the walking up the stairs and down had left me hungry and I went there for lunch. The food was delicious, the place was clean and the price was reasonable. I don't remember the name of the place.

SugarLoaf Mountain

From Christ the Redeemer hill I took a cab to Sugarloaf, didn't have much luck trying to find a bus. The cab ride cost was about 8 USD. The cab rider dropped me at the entrance to where one buys the ticket for the cable car. Once inside you can buy the ticket though self help touch screen monitors. The round trip cost is 99 Brazilian Riyal. Try to be the first few people in the cable car, and get in the front for some amazing views.

The cable car takes you to the first hill, we walk though souvenir shops and cafes, to take the 2nd cable car to Sugarloaf. You see some amazing views all directions. Give yourself a good 2 hours to see and walk around.


Later in the evening I ran into some street parties by the ocean front where street vendors were selling beer and people were plating music, Rio is a fun place.

Next Day I went to Gloria Street Market, it was a Sunday and you can find some of the freshest produce and seafood here. There are also clothing vendors, antique vendors my main focus was food stalls.

Mureta da Urca

A 10 to 15 minute walk from Sugarloaf Mountain, A great place to watch the Sunset and drink beer. Also a cool place for people watching, street vendors will be selling beer there. People will be playing music and musical instruments.


I spent 2 evenings at the beaches in Rio, some of the best beaches are Ipanema and Copacabana beaches

Happy Travels!

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July 13, 2019

4 Days in Washington DC

Washington DC, where do I start. Well for starters 4 days is just not enough, one needs atleast 2 weeks or more. I tried to make the best from the time I had.

Visited during the 4th of July weekend, the weather is hot and humid in July.

Tip: You'll be doing a lot of walking, bring a comfortable pair of walking Shoes

Day 1

Airport, Arrivals and Transportation. Arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport from Austin Texas. From Airport to my hotel in downtown DC, I took a Airport shuttle or a shared van, the cost was $32. I choose to stay in Downtown DC for the first night so that I could walk to the 4th of July fireworks, seeing the fireworks with the Washington monument is the background is spectacular. My hotel was on 7th street and China town, a 2 mile walk to see the 4th festivities, before going I was told by many people, its going to be too crowed on the 4th, yes there were crowds though there was enough room to comfortable sit on the grass at the National mall to see the 4th of July (American Independence day) celebrations.

National Mall is basically a park with Memorials, Monuments and museums on both sides.

The night time view at the National Mall, of the Washington Monument on one end and the US state Capitol on the other are worth checking out, with the capitol all lit up.

Day 2

Checked out of the hotel, staying in Downtown DC can be expensive though it served well for me to walk back and froth to see the independence day celebrations, a friend let me stay with for the rest of trip.

My first stop of the day was the White house, wanted to take that selfie and get that out of the way. Took uber to get there.

After lunch at a Ethiopian restaurant, there are quite a bit of immigrants from Ethiopia in DC as per the owner as I was telling him about my trip to Ethiopia, I was off to the national mall. My frist stop the Washington Monument.

From there I walked to the WW2 Memorial, Picture below. You can also see the Lincoln memorial in the background.

From the WW2 memorial, I walked to Lincoln memorial, now I was there on a friday and the Lincoln memorial was really crowded. It is impressive and a must see in DC.

From Lincoln memorial I walked to Vietnam War Memorial, Korean War Memorial.

My last stop was the MLK Jr Memorial, another must see.

It is very impressive and you can walk down towards the water to see the Jefferson Memorial from far.

All the walking, I was tired, took a ride share to Downtown DC for dinner/drinks.

Day 3

The plan was to wake up early and go see the Supreme Court, the US Capitol and the Library of the congress, I was so tired cause of all the walking, by the time I left the house it was already noon.

Supreme Court - clicked a few photos, its a neat building. I didn't try to go inside.

U.S. Capitol - now I was told I needed a reservation, which I didn't have to see the dome from the inside, so basically I tried my luck, went inside to the reservation desk and was given a sticker which allowed me to be part of a tour of the capitol.

There are long line for the tours, the inside is beautiful. There is a gift shop and a reasonable priced cafeteria where I had lunch

From the US Capitol one can walk to the library of congress, through indoor walkways, so that you can bypass security as when entering the Capitol, one has to have security check done.

Library of Congress is very impressive and another must see.

One of the earliest publication in the world The Gutenberg Bible is also at display at the library.

Next stop Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, another must see. While at the museum see the hope Diamond which receives over 100 million visitors a year.

Photo of the dinosaur I took in the museum.

Day 4

Decision making day on what to do, Arlington Cemetery or Old Town Alexandria Virginia. And the winner is Old Town,  its on the shores of Potomac River. Just beautiful. One can easily spend a day in old town, and for those interested you can take a river cruise. Several eating places, can be a bit pricey. If driving from D.C. one passes past the pentagon.

Any DC suggestions?
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April 13, 2019

Things to do in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

Visited Mongolia during the first and second week in April, Mongolia is located in Central Asia in between China and Siberia with an average height of 1,500m above the sea level. The country is the least densely populated country in the world and it features a vast country with evergreen trees, endless grassland, and rugged mountains.

Ulaanbaatar has limited number of International flights mostly from China, Seoul, Hong Kong and not too sure but limited flights from Germany. I flew MIAT (Mongolian Airlines) from Hong Kong, Immigration is quick and easy, no visa needed for US passport holders.

Visa Info

Once outside Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, there was snow on the ground. April is still cold in Mongolia.

Airport to City, Taxi cost was USD $ 12. My Hostel arranged for a airport pickup.

Stay - I stayed at Zaya Hostel USD $12 a night for a private room with shared bath. Breakfast Included.

Picture to the right - Traditional Mongolian boot, largest shoe in the world, in Genghis Khan Theme Park, Chinggis Khan Statue Complex. In Tsonjin Boldog, about an hours drive from Ulaanbaatar.

Ulaanbaatar is surrounded by hills, the landscape outside the city is just beautiful. The City itself is just another big city, with rush hour traffic problems. Most people in Ulaanbaatar live in Apartments, in endless neighborhoods of Soviet-style blocks.

Currency - For hotels and Tour companies you can pay in USD or use Visa Mastercard, However do keep some Mongolian Tughrik  or MNT. For example I bought soup in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and ate in a Yurt, where no one spoke English and was glad to have local currency.

Things to do in Ulaanbaatar


Now I was there in April, it is cold and not a tourist season. So Gobi desert was out, if you are there in summer, there are good things to be heard about gobi desert tour.

TIP: If you have time, book your tours while in Mongolia, online prices are just too expensive. One would imagine on-line prices to be cheaper, its quite the opposite.

1)  Chinggis Khan Statue Complex - Largest equestrian statue in the world at the time of writing this post.

I took a tour which included Chinggis Khan Statue Complex, Turtle Rock in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Ariyabal Meditation Buddhist Temple, Lunch in a Ger or Yurt as it is called in English, drive around UB. The cost was $100 USD.

From UB, its about 45 minutes drive to Chinggis Khan Statue Complex, its Chinggis and not Genghis as per my Mongolian guide.

There is an entrance fee of 30,000 Mongolian Tughrik or around 22 USD, there is a display of rural Mongolian life, history of the Khan's and a stairway to the top of the horse. Spent an hour there, that's enough time and was off to see turtle rock.

2) Turtle Rock

About a 15 minute ride from Chinggis Khan Statue Complex, the best of the trip was a lunch in a yurt with Mongolian folks. they cooked me fried bread with stuffing, and didn't want any money from me, I left a tip.

3) Ariyabal Meditation Buddhist Temple

My Last stop before heading back to UB, from the entrance to the meditation center there is mile and half to 2 mile hike upto the Buddhist Temple, I was out of breath by the time I reached the top. One can do free camping and meditation in the summer there. There is also a bunk hall if you don't want to camp.

There is Tibetan Buddhist Mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum' painted in nearby Hills.

View of the hills from the Monastery, pretty amazing!


In Ulaanbaatar, one place everyone visits is the Genghis Khan Square 

The square is surrounded by hotels, opera, stock exchange, government buildings.

If you want great views of the city of Ulaanbaatar, head to Zaisan Memorial Hill See video below

Choijin Lama Temple

This temple can be found in Ulaanbaatar and it is a perfect place to go while in Mongolia because of its mesmerizing architecture and its history. At the main temple, you will find an extensive collection of religious instruments, copy of the 108 volume Kangyur, thangka paintings, and hand-printed 226-volume Tengyur that was brought from Tibet by the Bogd Khan. Some of the things not to miss at the monastery is the 18th-century gilt statue of Buddha Sakyamuni and the statue of Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav.

Clean Air - To and From the Airport, both the cars were electric, so was the van that took me Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Ulaanbaatar being one of the coldest capitals in the world, there is lot of coal burning in the winter, the government there is changing that for cleaner means of heating.

Picture above, my friend and guide in Magnolia with his wife,  in Traditional Mongolian attire 

Ulaanbaatar is also home to Naadam Festival held in July, they include Archery, Horseback riding and wrestling competitions. 


Leave me some Comments, Thanks!!
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