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A Trans-Siberian Diary: Day 6


We stopped at the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator at around 6am local time - which felt like the middle of the night to us, as our body clocks are still on Moscow time. Pretty much everyone on our carriage got off, and a new group of people got on. It seemed inevitable that we would finally have some roommates, and before long Jules and Claire entered our compartment. They had stopped off at several points along the way so were a little bit fresher than us.

Mongolia has been very scenic. The terrain this morning was mountainous and our train weaved its way through the landscape.


We saw plenty of nomadic ger camps on the steppes. As well as solitary tents, there were larger groupings with cars and brick houses.


The landscape changed by afternoon as we moved through the Gobi desert which, as you might expect, was flat, dry and sandy. We saw quite a bit of wildlife, including gazelle and camels. Passing from Mongolia to China meant more sitting around as passports were checked and the train was searched. Once this was done, it was time to have our bogies changed.

Russian rails are wider than those in China, so for our train to proceed it needed a new set of bogies (wheels). With everyone locked on board the train was shunted into a yard where each carriage was detatched, hydraulically lifted from its Russian wheels, then lowered onto its new Chinese bogies.


The process was pretty quick - perhaps it was ahead of schedule as we sat for around an hour afterwards before setting off again at around 1am. While we waited speakers at the nearest station blasted out a selection of tunes to stop us from getting bored (or any sleep) including, bizarrely, Auld Lang Syne.

Posted by shoestring 08:55 Archived in Mongolia Tagged train china border trans-siberian mongolia diary

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