31 Jul - 01 Aug 2012 Erlian

East Asia
People’s Republic of China aka Red China
Inner Mongolia
Erlian aka Erenhot City
Jia’s Good Luck Hotel +864792222899
Adequate twin room with private bathroom for CNY 88.- or US$ 13.80 per night.
Helpful and friendly staff.

Click below for an interactive satellite view of Jia's Good Luck Hotel in Erlian and for directions:
Note the random 0 - 500 m misalignment between Google’s maps and satellite views of the motherland, courtesy of the paranoid Chinese Communist Party.

Exploring the megalomaniac micropolis of Erlian aka Erenhot, (i) a buzzing frontier settlement in the middle of nowhere, with wide six-lane boulevards which expand right into the tundra and with umpteen plus massage parlours which mainly cater for the vast number of shady cross-border traders, and (ii) an important stop on the Trans-Mongolian Railway where international trains change bogies, and thereafter preparing our scheduled "visa run" to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s wild capital city, and by far the country's largest city with a population of c. 1,200,000 souls.

Buying two seats in a border-crossing minivan from Erlian’s Jeep Station to Zamiin-Uud’s train station (8 km, 1 ½ hours including the painless and uneventful border-crossing, CNY 70.- or US$ 11.- per person), visiting the Tibetan Buddhist Dogdolgunsellin Monastery in Zamiin-Uud and eventually taking the daily overnight train from Zamiin-Uud to Ulaanbaatar (575 km, 16 hours, MNT [“tugrik”] 9,600.- or US$ 7.15 per person for “hard seats” which turned out to be reasonably comfortable “hard-sleeper” bunks): Sain bainuu, Central Mongolia.”

Facing China
© Konni & Matt

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