Notes on Chinggis Khaan International Airport, UB, Mongolia Part 1

The flights from Beijing via China Air and Mongolian Airlines are scheduled at night so don't be surprised if the airport is all closed up without any lights on your arrival to Mongolia. Don't panic if the ATM at the arrival area isn't working. Head to the second floor and walk to the other end for three or four ATM machines that support Visa, MasterCard, and UnionPay.

The Freedom Bell at Chinggis Khan Square, UB, Mongolia.

As with a lot of developing countries, you get plenty of touts waiting for visitors arriving at odd hours. They're remarkably patient about waiting while you get cash from the ATM or hit the toilet after exiting passport control. 

Huaidi, a cheerful Mongolian, drove me to Best Western, Gobis Kelso, and played some Mongolian music while enjoying the midnight air. He drove a Mitsubishi, which meant that I could probably read the Japanese dashboard a little bit better than he could. His meter ran fast, which bothered me quite a bit while heading downtown. He probably noticed my consternation because he would later almost apologetically explain that Mongolian tugrik is very cheap and my ride was only $25 when converted (he still overcharged but I was somewhat more forgiving after his lament).

500, 100, and 50 denominations of the Mongolian tugrik. The value is on the upper-left corner, which may confuse some visitors.
Best Western Gobis Kelso is a bit far from the touristy area of UB, but is very close to the UB railway station. It's ideal for travelers only staying at UB for a few days before heading off and following the Silk Road or visiting Gobi.

Four days later, I told the friendly front desk staff at Best Western Gobis Kelso I wanted to leave at 8 am the next day for an 1155 flight.  The extremely accommodating concierge wrinkled her eyebrows, grinned, and in perfect California English, informed me that it was too early: "You've seen how small our airport is, right?" I had witnessed the traffic congestion on the highway next to the UB railway station when I visited the train museum, however, and I was aware how bad traffic could be even in the early morning. Old habits die hard and I went to the airport early on the day of my departure.

Most visitors to UB probably wouldn't spend time at the Railway history museum. It's small and more like a display of old trains, but I enjoyed walking through the parked relics. If you're interested, it's next to the Narny Zam highway and a few meters from Peace Bridge.
Considering that the city itself isn't very big, UB has a huge population of mostly Japanese cars and traffic in the early morning can slow to a steady crawl.
Even around 830 am in the morning, getting to Chinggis Khaan airport won't take you very long.  The excellent Help Taxi service, a well-reputed company, charged 25,000 tugrik (USD$11) from Best Western Gobis Kelso to Chinggis Khaan, which was less than half of what I paid when I arrived at midnight and had Huaidi convince me to take his service (common sense kind of went out the window due to excitement, the time of the day, and my flight). In fairness to Huaidi, there might have been some surcharge due to the time.




Continued Notes on Chinggis Khaan International Airport, UB, Mongolia Part 2

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Fix: MS Office Click to Run and CPU usage

Notes on UPnP/DLNA media streaming with Windows 10

Vivosmart HR: Setting up Notifications and Music Controls Part 1