Zamiin Uud – A Dusty Border Town

Every so often a foreigner will pass through the tiny border town of Zamiin Uud, located along the southeast corner of Mongolia on the pretense of what many refer to as a “visa run” – a literal sprint to the border when three months of unalienated stay is depleted. This past weekend, I accompanied a couple friends on a 48 hour trip to Erlian, the small Chinese city across the border, to see what the hype was about. The experience was cramped and peculiar, but also spectacularly adventurous.

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Onboard the Trans-Mongolian: Train 276, watching the sunset spray purple across the steppe hills was something only scenes that a romanticized version of the Darjeeling Limited could conure. The faint tick-tock of spinning iron drifted across the cabin – 4 square meters of table, bunks, and luggage.

Once we arrived in China, the immediate and only thing on our mind was food – pork sandwiches, street cart food, scallion pancakes, dumplings and green tea. The day in Erlian was short, as our train departed for Ulaanbaatar in only 6 hours. Naturally, we stocked up on groceries. And so ended our expedition through the snow-capped hills, onwards and upwards to Ulaanbaatar, home.

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One thought on “Zamiin Uud – A Dusty Border Town

  1. And that’s all? What about crossing the border there and back, troubles with visas…? I want a long story that will do our adventures justice!

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