Located a short drive away from Terelj National Park is the huge 131-foot stainless steel Genghis Khan statue. Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, there aren’t any buses that run directly from the national park to the statue site. So, we only had one option: the good old, sticking the thumb out routine. This was our first time hitchhiking and it was surprisingly painless and very easy. In this post, we will tell you exactly how we hitchhiked to the statue.
Getting Our First Ever Ride
From our camp in Terelj National Park, we walked back about 30 minutes along the uneven, dusty pathway to the main road. Armed with our maps.me app, we knew in advance the direction we needed to head in. Important Note – Make sure you have the name of the statue written in Mongolian or at least have a picture of it to show on your phone, so drivers know where you are going. The road from the national park to the statue is kind of like a V shape. You need to head in one direction, to head back in the same direction when you reach the top.
This was our first ever time hitchhiking, anywhere in the world! After exchanging a few giggling sessions between us, 15 minutes past and we had successfully got our first hitch. Our first ride was with a young Mongolian Family that were heading into Ulaanbaatar. Upon reaching the petrol station on the left, after about 30 minutes driving, we kindly thanked our driver and family and hopped out to get onto the next road.
The Road to Genghis Khan Statue
This is the last leg of the journey to the statue. We waited all but 2 minutes to be picked up by a young Mongolian lad that played some cool Mongolian tunes along the way. As we approached we could see the huge Genghis Khan statue in the distance. Even from a distance it was impressive and we couldn’t wait to get up close. When we had arrived, we hopped out and crossed over the road. We were pretty hungry, so instead of going straight to the Genghis Khan statue we went to the one restaurant by the side of the road. Not breaking our tradition that we had done through the whole of Mongolia, we ordered the usual potato, rice and carrots. After filling our belly’s, we were ready to see the statue.
Entrance to Genghis Khan Statue
To get into the grounds of the Genghis Khan statue is completely FREE. As you walk along the pathway you will also see mini statues, that represent the Mongolian army on horseback. There are also a few shops to buy souvenirs. On the right-hand side, there are a few horses where you can try your hand at archery on horseback. Myself, having had a bad experience on horses wasn’t too keen on the idea but, of course, Jake was. We paid about 10,000 Tugrik ($4) to shoot 6 arrows whilst on the horse. For budget backpackers this may seem unnecessary but what a cool thing to do in Mongolia right?
Inside the Genghis Khan Statue
The giant statue of Genghis Khan himself is impressive and you can even go inside of the horse and climb the steps before coming out to a panoramic view of the surrounding fields and nature. However, to go inside there is an entrance fee of 6,000 Tugrik ($2.50). After paying the entrance fee, you will have the opportunity to walk around the mini museum and see the giant boot, before climbing the stairs to the view.
Heading Back to Terelj National Park
After spending around 2 hours admiring the Genghis Khan statue, browsing the shops, and shooting some arrows, we were ready to head back to camp. Of course, as we hitchhiked to the statue, we needed to hitch hike back. It was just as easy to hitch hike back as it was there. For the first leg, we got picked up by 2 Mongolian work men who didn’t speak a word of English. They moved out their wooden planks for us to get in the back next to, what I think, was a couple of wolf skins. After a few attempts at conversation, we had made it back to the petrol station.
For the second-leg of the journey, we were picked up by a Mongolian Grandma and Grandad. They chatted to us all the way back about their family and life in Mongolia. They were even kind enough to go out of their way and take us all the way to our camp. After we arrived we quickly took a photo and waved goodbye. All in all, our first-time hitchhiking was a success and we will definitely be doing it again.