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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 28 Apr 2014
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Mongolia - 2 final questions

Hi all,
first let me introduce myself as I am new here. My name is Alex, I live in Mainz, Germany which is near Frankfurt. So pretty much in the middle of Germany.
After browsing through a number of threads I wanted to send a pm to a user but couldnt as I am new.
So here I go posting my question.

This year in August I will ride to Ulan Bator.
All is set !
Bike is fully prepared and ready to go.

As I havent been in Mongolia before I have (stupid? simple?) questions:

1. The plan is to enter Mongolia in the west.

My idea to get to Ulan Bator is via:
Ölgii, Khovd, Altai, Buutsagaan, Bömbögör, Bayankhongor, Nariynteel, Arvaikheer, Bayan-Ulaan, Rashant, Erdenesant, Lün to Ulan Bator.

As I am not a big Navigation-eletronics-fan - I haven got one.
All I have is a map from World-mapping-project which looks well.

Question 1:
How good are my chances to find the right roads (as I assume there wont be a lot of direction-marks along the way) without getting lost or totally out of my way ?

Question 2:
Is it a fair assumption to say that I can do these 1800 km in 5 days ?

any responses also happily to my email axel.scholl at gmx.net

Thank you in advance for your help !
Regards, Axel
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  #2  
Old 28 Apr 2014
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The route you mention is the 'Southern Route', and you don't need a navigator to follow it. Just stay on the main tracks. 1800km in 5 days would be fine, as the later stages are now asphalted.

This is however a pretty un-interesting route across Mongolia, though the scenery from the Russian border to Khovd (passing Tolbo Lake) and around Arvaikheer is nice. If you have only 5 days, it is about your only option however.

Good luck

Daniel
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  #3  
Old 28 Apr 2014
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@danielsprague: Thank you !
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  #4  
Old 28 Apr 2014
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I personally would not try to navigate Mongolia without a GPS. Communication is difficult at best. In larger cities maybe 1 in 50 people speak english. In the smaller cities basically no one spoke english. I even had a hard time finding people who spoke Russian. Any signs are written in Cyrillic.. so if you can't read Cyrillic it can be tough to try to figure out where you are compared to the map. Even on the southern route, you can get off course. Also, the most up to date maps are from Openstreetmap.org. You download them for free and put them on the GPS.
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  #5  
Old 28 Apr 2014
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Hi
I hate to be contradictory but I think a map is by for the best option, if you can get one in Cyrillic it will be a bonus, you don't have to be able to read it, as long as the locals can, then when you stop to ask directions they will be able to read the map and point you on your way. That won't happen if it's in English. Also, and this may be obvious, don't pass up the chance to fill up even if you only did 50 miles ago, it's easy to take the wrong route, it's half the fun but soon becomes stressful if you are running low on fuel, and just because the next town to have fuel is within your range doesn't mean it will actually have fuel. hope this helps.
G.
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  #6  
Old 28 Apr 2014
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I can't understand why people don't just learn cyrillics. They aren't overly difficult and they make navigation so much easier because you can actually use the road signs.

Even if there is a lack of signs, at least when you do see one it will mean that you know what way you are going.
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  #7  
Old 29 Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liammons View Post
I can't understand why people don't just learn cyrillics. They aren't overly difficult and they make navigation so much easier because you can actually use the road signs.

Even if there is a lack of signs, at least when you do see one it will mean that you know what way you are going.
You don't actually need to learn cyrillic all you need to do at road signs is match the letters up to that on your map to that on the road sign and you are away........... its pretty basic stuff and i never had problems when doing this

Also i agree with having a map in the local language rather than English as when you stop to ask for directions on the English map not many understand but if you was to show the map in there local language then everyone you meet becomes a local expert, also its a great way to meet people and a conversation starter (even if you cant understand each other)
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  #8  
Old 30 Apr 2014
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Thanx a lot to you all!
Furtunately I am confident with reading cyrillic as I have been in Russia a few times.
First day is rocky but after a week I will be "local" (or at least close :-) )
BTW - I have NOKIA smartphone and guess what - Mongolia is on there and I can even navigate with that phone using geo-coordinates. (as I just found out)
So I will store the geo-coordinates in the phone + the map and I am all set !

Thanx again & regards from Germany,
Axel
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  #9  
Old 1 May 2014
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Hi! Axel,
I will travelling Mongolia between 13 - 26 August 2014, covering some 2000+ km (hope not too much to chew). Me and 5 others ( all Malaysians) will be renting bikes from the local dealer in UB.
Hope to see you on the road if your time scale match mine and our track cross each other somewhere.

Safe Ride


Amzah
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  #10  
Old 1 May 2014
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Talking about roadsigns in Mongolia, in my thousends of km experience in this country I can simply say: It doesn't matter in Cyrillic or Latin. Simply because there are no roadsigns apart from UB and around.

GRTZ,

JP
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  #11  
Old 1 May 2014
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Hi Amzah,
most likely we wont meet.
My schedule is to depart Novisibirsk on 29.July.
That'll take me to Mongolia on 30. July

But just in case - I will check out the Blue Wulf Ger Camp in Ölgii on Wed 30.July we can go for a or

Axel
@JP: I love your comment ! "Language dont matter - there are no signs"
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  #12  
Old 2 May 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesleyDRZ400 View Post
You don't actually need to learn cyrillic all you need to do at road signs is match the letters up to that on your map to that on the road sign and you are away........... its pretty basic stuff and i never had problems when doing this

Also i agree with having a map in the local language rather than English as when you stop to ask for directions on the English map not many understand but if you was to show the map in there local language then everyone you meet becomes a local expert, also its a great way to meet people and a conversation starter (even if you cant understand each other)
Well that is true, but I realised after a couple of days of doing that I was starting to 'make sense' of certain signs to places I wasn't looking for so I just tried a bit harder.

There just seems to be an attitude that its hard to learn or not worth the effort from a lot of people. It pays off when you are trying to decipher menus and get things in shops in a hurry which people seem to forget. Its no more or less useful than learning a few basic words of Russian.

Its a fairly universal language, I met a Bulgarian man in Romania last year, he spoke Romanian, Bulgarian, Italian and a bit of Russian. I speak English, French and about 10 words of Russian. Even so it was enough for us to communicate. Considering we were both lost, but heading in opposite directions(!!) whilst hiking it proved rather useful!!

As for NOT having a map in the local lingo, well that is not a good idea. Unless you can write the name of your destination.
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  #13  
Old 4 May 2014
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Axel,
No worry that. Thanks for your tentative dates and whereabout. Who knows things change and we cross each other. I will leave some marks behind.
Safe ride.

Amzah
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  #14  
Old 19 May 2014
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Im not saying dont take a map but i managed Tsagaauunnr to UB with my pocket compass and no map other than a times mini atlas :-) (all of Mongolia was about 8cm)

Just took the most easterly track any time there was a choice. Have no idea of the actual route taken but it was fun! As said before there are no signs really. Well we found 1 really nicely handpainted one.

It was a fair few years ago and this summer ill be older and more sensible and be using a smart phone and OSMaps i think they are great for what they are.
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