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The Orkhon Valley, in the heart of the Mongolia

My road trip took me in the Orkhon Valley in the center of the Mongolia. The Orkhon Valley is located 320 km from Ulaanbaatar and sees past the Selenga River. There are many volcanic rocks as well as hot springs. Classified by UNESCO, the center of the Mongolia has witnessed many events of the Mongolian empire and there are many archaeological remains. Indeed, he welcomed the capital of the Mongol empire, Karakorum during the reign of Genghis Khan. The region is also known for its mineral wealth.

Orkhon Valley in the snow

It was a drastic change of temperatures between the Gobi desert and the center of the Mongolia. Indeed, we have moved from a Sun morning, rain in the afternoon, in a snowstorm at night. Let’s say that one day I realized the significant variation of temperatures described in Mongolia. At the yurt, we discovered his interest in the cold. The yurt is designed to retain as much heat as possible through the stove in the middle. When you turn on the fire, you can expect to be hot to see very hot (like a sauna). So when one comes out I can not tell you the change. After dropping our stuff, we headed towards the waterfall located 20 minutes from the camps in the blizzard.

Direction the cascade of Orkhon

The ride in the snow was magical, it was really amazing to be in such a place after living in the desert for 5 days. You walk by a white desert, nothing around us to share the sound of our footsteps on the snow. It’s magic as sensation to be in a Virgin place, without trace of man! After 20 minutes, we arrive at the waterfall. Above all, the geological change is clearly visible, even under the snow. The waterfall is surrounded by volcanic rocks such as granite, basalt, etc… The most striking contrast between the black of the rocks and the snow white. We thus contemplate the waterfall under the snow. It’s cold, but the view is magnificent. The colors red, orange and yellow in the autumn trees and the white of the snow forms a magical scene. We go back on our steps to put us away for the night.


Steppes on horseback

As a result of the snow, we cannot leave the morning on horseback. We then decide to walk in the snow-covered area. We leave only the afternoon for us toward the waterfall. Yes we go back, and I confess that I didn’t seem to see the same waterfall. Indeed the snow has completely melted, revealing all the vegetation. It is an explosion of warm colors, which is revealed to us. A rainbow completes this picture with double faces. Within 24 hours, we go from the snowstorm in the Sun. I also want to study and take a picture of the different volcanic relics of the place.

Difference within 24 hours at the same place. Really the temperature change ^ ^

We continue our overlapped until sunset. The way we travel is worthy photos and imagination we have of the Mongolia. A steppe, a few yurts with their flocks and the mountains behind. A dream discovered horseback landscape. Honestly what more? At that moment nothing.

Mongolian horse of the landscape view

Hot Springs

The next day head to the hot springs of Tsenker. Indeed, being in a volcanic geological area, the hot springs are fairly common.

The hot springs are of the up hot water from geothermal energy whose source is in the depths of the Earth. In the majority of cases, the temperature of the rocks of the Earth’s crust increases with depth. We call this the “geothermal gradient. In a volcanic area as the Orkhon Valley, water is in direct contact with a magma chamber. Water warm in depth and back then to the surface with a smell of suffer (that is often compared to a rotten egg smell).

Geothermal energy
Operation of geothermal energy. The water seeps into the Earth, heats up closer to the magma chamber, leading her back to the surface.

After a full day in the sources, to relax our bodies numb by the rode and many hours in the van to be shaken, we visit the ancient capital of the Mongol empire, Karakorum

After visiting the city that isn’t amazing, it must be admitted, it doesn’t help to visit the cities in Mongolia. We ate our last meal in a Mongolian family. It was Mongolian BBQ for the evening, singing and drinks.

Under the stars

Mongolian song

I encourage you to listen to a Mongolian singing. Their songs honoring heaven, Earth, the horse, etc. The songs are soft and melodious, when we were on horseback, we had the right to many songs to encourage a horse, thank the Earth, etc… As mentioned previously, the shamanism in Mongolia is very present. Of many gestures, words are destinations of items to thank them and show our respect. For example, they dip their finger in the drink before drinking and throw two drops to the sky to honor him. Otherwise they can also throw a drop towards the 4 cardinal points to honor. Finally, there are so many traditions, for you to discover them.

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