Based on a tip we got from the internet for the Trans-Mongolian journey, we decided to take a train to Ulan Ude, Russia and then bus to Mongolia rather than take the train. The train is a 24-hour ride, whereas the bus allows you to get a good night sleep in Ulan Ude and then a 12-hour bus ride, and costs about 1/4 of the cost of the train. Despite this tip, Ulan Ude is worth the stop to see the Ulan Ude Lenin Statue, or more specifically the LARGEST LENIN HEAD IN THE WORLD!
We met a couple of Swiss men that were sharing our 2nd class train cabin from Irkutsk to Ulan Ude. It was a scenic ride past the southern end of Lake Baikal.
We hung out with the Swiss guys for the afternoon in UU. We saw the largest Lenin head in the world and had beers at the Irish pub and dinner of dumplings at a local diner. UU was really a nice stop – felt like Europe and Asia alike.
For the next leg of the TransMongolian trip, we decided to take the bus to Mongolia.
Traveled Aug, 2012