Traveleads Walk Around the World Challenge. This week We’ve reached…

by Traveleads | January 23, 2019 | CSR

Our tireless team of walking warriors have not let the grass grow beneath their feet this week.

After a short whistle-stop tour of Kazakhstan last week it was onwards and eastwards for our team.

Setting off once again with no idea how far they would get it, it was huge adrenalin rush to reach the Russian border and cross over into Mongolia.

Hoping to reach Mongolia’s capital city by the end of the week (a journey of over 1,500 miles) our team were forced to set up base camp just 193 miles short of their destination. Having covered 1,403 miles of the 1,596 mile journey.

Until 1924 Urga was the capital of Mongolia, today Ulaanbaatar is the country’s capital.

The capital never moved, it simply changed its name when the city became the capital of the new Mongolian People’s Republic in 1924

Ulaanbaatar translated means “Red Hero” a name it is claimed was chosen under the pressure of the Soviet activist of Communist International, Turar Ryskulov

Connected to both the Trans-Siberian railway in Russian and the Chinese railway system, Ulaanbaatar has a population of over 1.3 million people and is the financial, industrial and cultural heart of the country.

At an elevation of 4,430 feet, its relatively high latitude and inland location – hundreds of miles from any coast, added to the effects of the Siberian anticyclone, Ulaanbaatar is one of the coldest national capital’s in the world.

Why then, you might wonder, would anyone want to visit such a place?

Well for a start the bitter winters often give way to glorious summers and temperatures can climb to over 300C. Travellers who take the time to explore the city (known by many as UB due to its challenging spelling) will discover a hospitable and warm-hearted people.

For those of you who have seen images of Mongolia’s beautifully pristine countryside UB is a startling contrast, an enormous city of pulsating commerce, wild traffic, sinful nightlife and bohemian counter-culture. Watch traditional theatre, sample international cuisine, or party until three in the morning. Discover museums, temples and palaces along with more surprising finds including ‘Beatles Square’.

Beatles Square; so named after a new monument to the Fab Four located close to its northern end. The monument features bronze images of John, Paul, George and Ringo on one side and on the other, a sculpture of a young man sitting in a stairwell strumming a guitar.

Hardly the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a country that doesn’t exactly top the list of ‘rock n roll’ destinations to visit.

The sculpture recalls the 1970s era in Ulaanbaatar when groups of teenagers would gather in apartment stairwells and sing Beatles songs, which they learned from contraband records smuggled here from Eastern Europe. The plaza – surrounded by cafes, restaurants and cashmere shops – is a popular meeting place and hub of activity in summer when locals relax by the fountains.

Ulaanbaatar has become a thriving urban centre in one of the most remote locations in the world. Visit the Tibetan-style Gandan Monastery, one of the few buildings in the city to predate WWII and one of the few monasteries to survive the Soviet purge.

Currently, the only airport for international arrivals is Chinggis Khaan International Airport, which is located 18 km to the southwest of downtown. It was formerly known as Buyant Ukhaa, which is the name of the hill it was built upon. The airport was reconstructed in 1986, and the immigration, customs formalities and luggage delivery are relatively efficient. A facility for transit flight was recently added.

Direct (but long) train journeys are possible from Moscow, Russia and Beijing, China on the Trans-Mongolian line of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Trains also run to the Chinese border towns of Erlian and Jining 3-4 times a week.

Trains from Beijing run once a week (on Tuesdays) and seats can be reserved in person only at the Beijing Railway Station, or at the International Hotel in Beijing (a ten-minute walk north of the Beijing Railway Station) The journey takes about 26 hours. Past travellers have recommended bringing a facemask as sandstorms in the Gobi desert may bring dust into the train.

Whether you are travelling for business, or just want to add a really cool capital city to list of destinations you’ve visited, let Traveleads take care of all your travel and visa arrangements.

Unfortunately for our team of charity walkers, there’s no time sit around in Beatles Square taking pictures of sculptures whilst humming yellow submarine, they have to continue on ‘the long and winding road’ which coincidentally was the last single to be released by the group back in 1970.

Join us next week to find out which incredible destination we have reached and don’t forget to sponsor or donate to our Walk Around the World charity fund. We’ve made it as easy as can be, simply text TRAV56 then £2.00 to 70070 to donate to our Air Ambulance Charity or TRAV62 then £2.00 to 70070 to donate to our Children’s Charity

£2.00 is our suggested donation but please feel free to donate whatever you can.

Charity details, along with the option to donate via our Just Giving page can be found here: Thank you for joining us on our virtual journey…See you next week.

For your chance to win a case of wine from one of the Vineyards we will pass on our travels, just answer the following question: What number do you need to send text donations to? Send your answers to:  *** COMPETITION NOW CLOSED

Distances travelled are measured in a straight line from point to point and make up our virtual journey destinations, actual miles may vary. Total miles travelled since our journey started 4,734

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