Text and photos by Leila Antakly
At creamhotel being a traveler is a lifestyle. Our team is always “on the road”, exploring new cities, discovering native customs, meeting local people… and so are our blog contributors. This summer Leila Antakly from Ninu Nina decided to go on a different kind of summer holiday. Being based in Dubai, one of the major advantages she finds of living there is the proximity to exotic travel destinations, so she ended up going on an epic adventure to Mongolia with a stop to Beijing on the way and back.
I have always wanted to travel to Mongolia, so I was very happy when my best friend invited me along with a very special group of friends who organized the logistics with Epic Tomato (a UK based adventure travel agency) on this very special summer adventure. The Capital, Ulaanbaatar, is not really the most “beautiful” city I have ever seen and I was far less impressed with the food. I think what shocked me the most was the reek of vodka everywhere, men were drunk on vodka stumbling down the streets in broad day light, peeing on the street and seemed far less productive than the women in society, who not only seemed to run the business but take care of the household as well. That really surprised me. However, the moment we started our journey to the countryside, everything changed. The experience of living with a nomadic family and getting to know how they go by their days was absolutely incredible, even if the yurts or gers were not exactly the comfiest accommodation! And going to the loo on a portable potty covered by a plastic tent was challenging at times (but all part of the adventure of course). We rode on horses for hours, explored the vast, beautiful countryside, crossed rivers, wrestled Mongols and had magical encounters with Shamans. What I enjoyed most was bonding with little “Paysa” who was very shy at the beginning as she had not had much interaction with visitors before, so seeing her warm up to me was really fun. We visited different parts of the country and stayed a few nights all the way up north by a beautiful lake and recreated our own “Burning Man," Siberian style. Here are some photos I took and if anyone is interested in travel advice hit me up on Ninunina.com!