The next leg of our journey took us back to Ulaanbaatar for a night where we regrouped, recharged, and did some shopping for souvenirs. Cashmere is the thing to bring home from Mongolia and Chris found a great cashmere hat for himself. Ultimately I decided that even the finest and most trendy cashmere shops in Ulaanbaatar did not have a sweater that I like better than the ones that I already own; I guess that’s a good problem to have.
After spending some time in Ulaanbaatar, we headed back out of town to spend the night in another yurt. This one was the king of all yurts with a huge living area, a marble bathroom complete with hot and cold running water, a small kitchen area, and, most important of all, heat!
It is hard to imagine that this wide open view from our yurt is just an hour drive from downtown Ulaanbaatar. Even though the capital city is home to about half of Mongolia’s population, it still has fewer than 1.5 million residents. The terrain of Mongolia varied vastly from the tree covered hills northeast of Ulaanbaatar to the Gobi in the south, and finally the hilly and treeless steppe to the west of Ulaanbaatar.
We did a bit of hiking out near out yurt, as much hiking as an almost three year old can do anyway, and spent the rest of the day just enjoying the middle of nowhere.
Amazingly, the HS Khaan Resort may have had the highest service level of any hotel that I have ever stayed at. The staff easily outnumbered the guests and we had all of our meals prepared by a French-trained Japanese chef; he did such a fantastic job that we even ordered an extra entree as dessert! For any aspiring Mongolia tourists, this place is definitely a must stay.