Arriving in Ulaanbaatar (Again)

By Julian Dierkes

[This is a very belated posting of some writing I did in August]

Getting to Ulaanbaatar and then arriving in Ulaanbaatar continues to be somewhat of an adventure even when I’ve arrived on my 10th (I think) trip in the past seven years.

I flew into Tokyo, transferred from the Air Canada terminal to the JAL terminal, flew to Beijing (where personnel remains as surly as ever, though the in-terminal “hourly hotel” is a blessing on this kind of layover, then MIAT at 1h in the morning to arrive at ULN at 3h in the morning.

MIAT now hands out landing cards which is a real blessing as it avoids the mad scramble for the cards in the arrival and immigration hall.

My pick-up was not immediately in the arrivals area, perhaps because I was out so quickly with carry-on only, so I immediately noticed a line of sleek and formal-looking taxis waiting outside the front.

On the drive in, I noticed that the very colourful lights that decorated the last bit of the long road into town this past winter were now lining the road with white lights, while blue lights were draped overhead.

I was meant to stay at the Palace Hotel (which would have been new to me), but that somehow didn’t work out. Lots of construction visible even at night, including a huge apartment block just before the Peace Bridge.

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He tweets @jdierkes
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