To this date, visiting the Tsaatan Nomads, was the most incredible and memorable experience I’ve probably ever had. The Tsaatan Nomads reside in northern Mongolia, and as you can tell by the word “Nomad”, they’re always on the move. But generally they live in northern Mongolia. There are about 282 people in this tribe and they are totally self sufficient. The amazing thing, other than the friendliness of the tribe members, is they tend and use reindeer in their day to day life. They use the fur, milk and even make reindeer cheese, of which i tried (its pretty good, reminds me of feta cheese):) This part of Mongolia in which they settle is only accessible, either by foot or horse back, theres no road stretching this far into the wilderness of Mongolia. And to top it off, they dwell in Tipis!
I didn’t quite know what to expect and i hadn’t even done much research, hell, i dint even know these amazing people existed before Mongolia. Only through the four, cool, down to earth Israelis i met on my first day in Mongolia, did i find out about the Tsaatan nomads. Bless Noy, Liad, Stav and Yoav. So, can you imagine, you arrive in Mongolia after a 16 hour flight from Bangkok. You have no plan. And within hours of landing in Ulaanbaatar, you meet fours Israelis in your hostel and they invite you to join them to go to the Tsaatan Nomads – this is my experience, and of course i said yes, i actually ending up spending a month with these guys! just gotta love the universe. So this is how i ended up experiencing this beautiful adventure. The Tsaatan are true nomads – no running water, no electric, just themselves as a unit and their livestock. Beautiful. To reach these Nomads, you’ll need to travel 1000s of kilometres, through the wilderness of Mongolia – desserts, forests, lakes, glaciers.. this is a true adventure and any of you looking for that adventure, this is one of my best to date. No amount of words can describe this experience and it really felt like i was in a film, cos we’ve all seen tribe on TV or whatever but nothing can prepare you for the actual experience of meeting these nomads.
I would easily write page upon page about my experience but, i think its important for you the reader to experience too, i do no write so that you can just read and do nothing. But rather so you you and are inspired just like i am when i read other blogs. so heres how to get there the way i did it, and i can imagine one of the cheapest ways:
Getting there from Ulaanbataar:
Firstly, you’ll need to head to Dragon Bus station, either by local Bus 500 Tugrik (25p) or taxi. When you’re at dragon buy your tickets from the building in the corner (you’ll know when you’re there). Then ask to buy a ticket to Murun, around 15000 Tugrik (£5), this bus takes 14-18 hours (mine took 16). To get to the Tsaatan you will also need a permit, this is where it gets complicated. Its best you have a contact in Mongolia before you get there, luckily for me the Israelis had the right contacts. The first contact you’ll need is in Murun, her name is Bykaa, her Mongolian number is: 88809922. So you’re in Murun and you need to head to the local police station (locals will guide you). Next to the police station there is an army base, this is where the permit will be issued. This is where Bykaa comes in, call here once you are at the army base, and she will come and meet you (just explain you need help getting a permit. The permit costs 3000 Tugrik (£1), you will need to give your passport and money to Bykaa and she will go inside the army base army base and get the permit. In Murun, i would buy your food for the trek. remember its 5 days and you need to cook and provide for yourself. Bykaa will take you to a supermakets where you can buy your pasta, rice, veg ect.
Once this is complete, you will need to work your way up to Tsagaannuur. Bykaa, helped us to organise this. Just head down to the local market and there’ll be people with Russian vans, if the price is right you’ll find someone to take you. In Tsagaannuur you will need your second contact, Olchi: 95228845. She has a lovely local guest house, or should i sat GERsthouse, as you’ll stay in traditional nomad Gers. this cost 8000 Tugrik per night (£2.50). From here its plain sailing, Olchi will organise the trek to the Tsaatan nomads, but first she will take you to the local national park ranger, where the permit will be inspected and accepted. We did a 5 day trek, 3 days on horse back 15000 Tugrik per day including horses and guides (£5). Once you’re at the tribe, you can either stay in your own tent or use one of their Tipis 10000 Tugrik per night (£3). We took the Tipi as, this is how the locals live, and to completely experience how the Tsaatan live, you have to live like them.
Doing it “yourself” is always cheaper than going with an “agency”. Its harder most times, but with the challenges come the experience. Also this way you know the money is going directly to help the locals. With one of those agency things i can imagine it can cost you into the thousands but doing your way or the way i did it will be a lot cheaper:
Bus from Ulaanbaatar to Murun – £5
Permit from army base – £1
Russian van from Murun to Tsagaannuur – £22
3 nights at Olchis Guest house – £15
5 day trek w/ guide and horses – £25
2 nights in Tipi – £6
Food budget per day – £5
Total, roughly 10 days – £79.
Not just, was the meeting of the Tsaatan nomads a great memory of mine, but the whole journey leading up to finally meeting them, that was an adventure itself, from riding a Mongolian horse through forests, over mountains, camping next to a glacier and riding through the mongolian landscape in a old russian van. Honestly, Mongolia is the least developed country I’ve been to (mostly outside of Ulaanbaatar). But everything still runs, being a nomad is in the Mongals blood, and you can really see how strong that culture is. Most people still work the land and their livestock, and everything flows, life still runs.
There’ll be times when your driving through the wilderness and you don’t see another should for whole days, it is true wilderness. The true land of the nomads, the land of the blue skies. Thank you – Bayrlalaa – баярлалаа
Its free, kind of unlimited (depending on you) and use able anywhere you wish it to be. So what could it be? Well, its an open mind. Yep, an open mind. Some of you will know why an open mind is good for travelling, but for those who don’t or are wondering what to take travelling. That’s it, an open mind, and obviously some other things (a bag, your passport?), but for me an open mind is the most important.
An open mind, allows you to be more compatible with your environment. Opening you up. By opening up, you allow yourself possibilities, you’re opening that next door that leads to many others. And I guess this compliments living in the moment. When these two are played with while you’re travelling, or just in general life, something happens in your life. A change. A revolution. Wherein life picks up that excitement again, like being a kid again. So if somebody asks you to go somewhere you wouldn’t have gone to before, say yes, be open to that. See what it brings. Now I know that it might not be all daisies and butterflies, but just play with it. From my experience, it has been the best thing to take with me far better that any guide book, like the universe is guiding you.
But its also about understanding that people do things differently, there’s different cultures. Now, I also understand that what you see while travelling is not necessarily what you might want to see, but, I think that its also important to grow as a person. And to grow your OWN opinions about this world, through ones own experience. I really think that alot of peoples opinions about the world are not their own, and i think that alot of our own opinions (including my own) may be forced upon us through various means like the media or Facebook. I’ve found countless times, that if you’re open and willing to live in the moment you will find yourself having great experiences, you otherwise wouldn’t have had if you had a closed mind. I’ve found myself chilling with, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, rasta, drug dealers, gang members and loving families. Mostly by being open minded and living in the now. And most of the time they are normal people, just like me and you. I find when I play with these ideas, and when they play out, I get the same tingling, energy running through my body feeling. A really nice, full of energy feeling. And after countless times of this playing out and me feeling this. I just simply cannot do anything but believe in this energy. I believe people have different names for it, but at the end of the day do we really need a name for it? As long as we know that’s its there and have the ability of using it.
So if you’ve got a trip coming up soon, have a play with these two ideas together, see how things play out. You’ll begin to see alot more so called “coincidences”. It’ll become more exciting and you’ll be open to experience all that is out there, or most of it. And I guess at the end of that day, it depends how open or how much you want to play with the idea. Anyway, peace and love brothers and sisters.
“I believe in having a more open mind and including others who don’t share your faith and having dialogue with them. And just having a pure heart and being a good person can bring you closer to God. Because once you believe in one particular religion fully and not others, that requires you to start disliking people who don’t share your views.”
There’s a lot of things I’ve learnt from travelling, from people skills to money management. But the most important thing I have learnt, and am still learning, is to simply LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Now, I understand that you can learn this anywhere, as all it requires is yourself, but I feel like without travelling I wouldn’t live in the NOW as much as I do. You see, travelling throws you in at the deep end, and go even deeper if you travel by yourself (which I do alot). I’ve discovered, through my own experience, that when i plan things too much, the plans don’t really turn out so much. And that when I DONT plan too much, is when I have the best experiences and meet the best people.
Recently me and a friend decided to go to rototom reggae festival, in Spain. We also contacted a friend I have in Switzerland and said we would come and visit. So we had the flight booked to Spain and out of Switzerland, we were going to book transport from the festival to Spain. But we decided not to. I knew we would get to Switzerland, but I didnt know how. So I left it open to the universe to decide, plus its more exciting that way. Fast forward a bit and we have two days left to try and organise transport to Switzerland. And then we randomly met two German guys (big up Karim and Nikolai) that were sat next to us on the beach. And you guessed we met them through the power of the herb. And they just so happened to be driving to Frieburg in Germany, close to Switzerland. After talking about 5 minutes, they agreed to take us to Basel in Switzerland. Yahhh man! We met two good friends, camped on a beach in the south of France and blazed it up all the way to Switzerland. Bless.
You see i believe there’s a natural flow of the universe, and it flows through us. And every time our ego tricks us into fear, the flow gets suppressed. If you think about it, the reason why we plan is because of fear. I think this because, the only reason I let the universe decided how I would get to Switzerland was because I wassnt of scared of the unknown, the universe. I trusted in the flow, the flow provided and always does. Another great example of why I believe and trust in the universe/Zen/jah/holy spirit.. Whatever you want to call it, is; the first day we arrived in Spain, Alicante. We went on a herb adventure, I just knew the universe would provide. So after a few hours of walking around Alicante with our backpacks, there was no luck! Even the guys selling sunglasses didnt have any! But we kept on going, we believed. And then boom, we randomly ended up at one of the little parks Alicante has, and we decided to enter it, as we walk in there was two girls sat on a bench, so I asked them, I asked them if they knew where we could get weed. They both looked at each other, then one turned to me and said “we can share ours with you?”. This was just beautiful, trusting in the universe and seeing what it has for you, and most of the time its better than you can ever imagine. We ended up talking for an hour and becoming friends. Much love Julia and Michela .
There’s plenty more examples of great experiences I’ve had from living in the moment, and kind of just surrendering to the universe. I think when you surrender yourself to the universe, you are literally letting the universe carry you down the river of life. And I think planning things, especially when travelling, kinda puts up a barrier up against the flow. Don’t get me wrong I still plan, but less often, like now I plan as far as the destination. I know I’ll get to most places, but I let the universe decide how I get there. And for me, from countless experiences, this is a great way of living. Ive met amazing friends, been touched with the most amazing love, and pretty much every time the craziest experiences happen. All when the ego barrier is down. When there’s no fear.
One of the best experiences of the flow of the universe, that I’ve been apart of would be, hitchhiking in Cancun, Mexico. I had been robbed in Nicaragua and had got out with an emergency passport and a flight to Europe. So I ended up in Cancun airport at 10pm, I decided to sleep until morning and get the bus (as it was cheaper and didn’t run late) into Cancun centre. I had 10$, some biscuits and a few cigarettes. I woke up at about 7am, did some meditation and went on my way. I couldn’t find where the bus was so I started walking on the main road out. Singing “don’t worry” by bob Marley. I honestly said to myself “everything is gonna be alright”. I honestly thought i cant wait to see what going to happen, and after 10 minutes walking, I decided to stick my thumb out and, would you behold, a car stopped. To cut a long story short, I ended up staying with a Mexican family in Cancun for 3 days. They really were a present from the universe. And now I have a second family in Mexico! Bless Alexia, Arelly, Letty, ari and Rafael.
Im not saying its always gonna be amazing but, if you trust in the flow of the universe, of living in the now, you’ll be OK. And just wanted to share my experiences and I ask some of you try this, just try it and see what happens. I hope this can help you with your travels. The best plan is no plan. Peace and love.
Poste Rojo is probably the most impressive hostel I’ve had the please of staying at. Located just outside of Granada, Nicaragua. This place lies in the thick, dense, volcanic jungle, and the coolest thing it its a treehouse. Plus its really not that hard to get there or that exapensive. Let’s get into some details:
How to get there:
So once you’ve made it to Granada (one bus from Managua). There’s a few options of getting there, first is:
Free transport from parque central , Granada. Opposite the horse carriages and hammock shop. Then theres the way I did it, which was by taking any bus going in the direction of Rivas, then tell the driver to stop at Pozo De Oro. The station in Granada is called hospedaje la libertad. I think this journey cost me around $1, this takes around 15 minutes. And once you’ve been dropped off just wait for a rickshaw to stop and then ask then to take you to Poste Rojo, it’ll take about 5-7 minutes, through fields, forests and a few little villages. This cost us like $4 for two people, and then.. There’s a 150m steep walk up through the amazing Forrest. Definitely take a drink! And you’ll know when you arrive, you’ll see it! Another option would be taking a taxi directly from Granada. I don’t know how much it is but I can’t imagine it being more than $20?
Cheap. That’s the answer. Very cheap, especially if youre camping. If you bring a tent you can camp for $5 a night. Alternatively theres a dorm bed for $9 a night. They also provide meals for $5. Also the great thing is they have a kitchen, with a fridge and gas stoves!
What to take:
If you want to save money. I would take a tent, and buy food for the amount to days you’re going to stay at Posted Rojo. There’s a really cheap market right near the bus station when you can get everything! I think we took $20 worth of food for 2 of us, for 3 nights. I nearly forgot the most important part, some herb to smoke. Buy before. In Granada we got around 5g for $10 off a street seller, alot of them came up to me, so it was easy. But if not, just walk up to a young kid in the main square, and ask for ‘mota’ they’ll know what you’re talking about, after that it’s up to you to sort the price out. So for 3 nights in an epic tree house hostel, with a good amount of food and herb, it cost 2 people, roughly, $50! That’s £32! Now to me that’s fucking worth it.
The environment and whats there to do you might ask?
Well, the answer is forests, howler monkeys, hammocks, tree house parties, zip lining and volcano hiking! So the amazing thing is you’re staying in a treehouse hostel, and then you’re surrounded by jungle, and to add to that you’re basically on a volcano, and to top it off you’re woken up every morning by howler monkeys haha. Mad shit.
Poste Rojo regularly holds jungle parties, and there’s nothing like partying in the middle of a jungle, in a treehouse. There’s also zip lines 15 minutes drive, i forgot how much we paid but it wasn’t more than $10 to get there. And to zip line it cost $20, which is pretty fair I think. You’re up there for a good 20 minutes.
Now, there’s a main treehouse, then there a long suspended bridge taking you to another treehouse/hammock area/chill spot. And my favourite one is the little watch tower thing, its a little climb up via ladder. Once you’re up there the views are epic, sitting up there with a joint, watching the sun set, laying in a hammock was a memory that will be with me for a long time.
Now you’re probably thinking I’m getting paid to write this, the way I’m explaining this place, but honestly this is my true opinion. This place is epic and the family that own it are great and the people that work there too. It’s a must if you’re in Nicaragua. If you just want to go into the jungle, cook some good food, have a smoke in nature and explore the jungle. Then this place is for you! Peace.
If there were 3 words to describe Jamaica they would be, reggae, beaches and yes, Marijuana!
Before I booked my flight to jamaica, I obviously knew there would be, beaches, reggae and weed. But nothing can really prepare you for jamaica. It has the best beaches I’ve ever seen (sorry Thailand). It has the best music my greatful ears have heard and it has great tasting organic weed. Yes, it is truly paradise. Now, obviously there are some dangerous parts, and I mean SOME. it’s really not as dangerous as you think, in fact it’s one of the countries I feel really safe in. I really think that’s down to language, because I’ve travelled and the one thing that gets you is the language barrier. But in jamaica they speak Patois, which is literally English, but cooler. So if you speak English, you can connect with the locals on a deeper level, you can actually have a good conversation and its so surprising how much you can learn off people! Anyway, that’s enough of me talking about how good Jamaica is. Right now the important thing is, WEED.
SO the weed. Jamaica really surprised me when I came to the green, I saw a few outdoor grows there, and all their weed was organic. Now as well of most of it being organic I got some pretty decent size nugs, some bigger than my fingers! All of the weed seems to taste different, its kind of like Amsterdam, but instead of choosing which strain you want, its more of a roulette. There was some blue dream I got in Kingston and that was one of the best I’ve smoked, its was super fruity and the high was soft but long. Let’s get into some details:
Where to get and Price.
The answer to where can you get weed in jamaica is, everywhere! Literally you can buy it from most street shop. You can go up to pretty much anyone on the street and i ll bet you they’ll have or someone that does. So if you can get it anywhere, the next thing would be the price. At most of the street shops it costs around 50 cents a gram, that’s local price. When you buy it from the shops they’ll try and sell you it for 1 dollar a gram or more, but if you know the real price it helps a lot with bargaining. Now, in places like Montego bay, Ocho Rios or Negril. The street sellers will really try ripping you off, but just by knowing the street price I was always able to get it for 50 cents a gram. A lot of the time if you “buy in bulk” you’ll get it a lot cheaper. One time, I was with some friends and we travelled into the blue mountains, to hagleys gap. And up there we managed to get a pound for 30 dollars, that’s 400+ grams!! Other instances when you had over 5 or 10 dollars you’ll get a big bag of good bud.
Obviously, if you want top top stuff it gets more exspensice, but nowhere near as costly as the UK. In Kingston I bought 7 grams the blue dream for 50 dollars, but that was some of the best I’ve smoked in my life. In negril I would say we paid about 1 dollar a gram for good stuff.
Where’s the best?
“The best is in the west” you’ll hear this everywhere in jamaica. This is meaning orange hill, in negril, the west part of the island. There has been a long, famous history among weed smokers and orange hill. I wanted to see for myself, so I went. I picked up what looked like some purple strain off a rastaman at westend, in negril. He was part of one or the orange hill farmers association. Is was so beautiful and fluffy and I got about 20 grams for 10 dollars. I wasn’t fortunate to see a field in orange hill, but I know there’s people that will take you, I don’t know what the price was, but I heard good things!
In Kingston, I had the best weed. It was blue dream, a hybrid blueberry indica and saitva haze, originally from Cali. It was grown out doors 100℅ organic. The only downside is it was $50 for 7 grams. But one spliff is all you’ll need for a good few hours. I don’t want to name the guy I got it off because I don’t think he’ll appreciate is, as we built a good friendship. What I will tell you is he only supplies high grade 100℅ organic bud. Also its better of you go on your own little ‘weed finding adventure’, that’s how I found him:)
How illegal is, or should I say was it?
When I was in Jamaica, i got stopped by the police. I was shitting it, because I had a bag of weed on me, maybe 20 grams. Anyway he ended up searching me, he saw the weed and I was like fuck, but to my surprise he said ‘no worries Mon, on ya way’. I know that when I was there I think you were allowed to carry 56 grams, but recently its become legal. With the first ‘legal’ plant being planted in the university of Kingston. But most likely if I were a traveller or tourist, white and didint have dreads, I reckon the police man would have tried to make some money on me. I would have paid it of course.
I also spent around a month in Kingston, going to reggae party after reggae party, and never getting bored of ital, natural juices, reggae and weed. At EVERY reggae party I went to, most people were smoking, and the police never came. It’s everywhere on this island and I think the authorities have realised that they can’t stop it, so they’ve thought ‘if ya can’t beat them, join them’. Without a doubt it you walk 10 minutes in Kinston you get asked of you want ‘high grade’.
Jamaica really is a smokers paradise, and for me it it simply a paradise. Jamaica is the only country that I’ve travelled, that I could see myself living in. And that’s a big thing for me, because until jamaica I’ve never really felt at ‘home’, even in England. I guess what did it for me was the locals, as I said, the language barrier is basically dissolved. This paves the way to a deeper connection with them, and with the addition of Marijuana, you really do get close in a short space of time. I’d just like to thank the guys at Durham hostel – Kingston, Marvin – treasure beach, ‘doctor love’ -Negril, seven mile beach, ‘redeye’ -treasure beach, Brady and beth – hagleys gap and the rasta Mon that gave us food, shelter and smoke. Bless up.
There lies an abandoned shopping mall in the heart of Bangkok, closed off to the public and no way in. After the mall was shut down after a fire, the whole bottom floor became a natural pool of water catching rain water. But it became a breeding ground for mosquitos, so the locals took it in their interest to add Koi. Years after there are hundreds of Koi that live on the bottom floor, making it even more exciting and interesting.
But, if you like a bit of adventure and a challenge, you’ll be lucky enough to experience this place. You’re probably waiting of me to tell you the exact address and location, but me and two Aussie friends made an agreement that we wouldn’t tell anyone the exact address, fearing that tourism would spoil the place. What now? well, i can’t tell you the exact address but i can give you clues. I want you to experience trying to find this place out of your own determination and lust for adventure. So ill tell you this:
– its walking distance from Khao San road. Khao San rd is probably the busiest street for travellers and wanderers alike. Most travellers stay around or on Khao San rd.
– The whole building is pretty sheltered from outside interference, meaning that its pretty hard to spot this place.
– Its surrounded by many stalls but there is weak spots, you might have to pay off a local to keep quiet but its worth it..
So if you’re feeling adventurous and you’re in Bangkok, id say go for it. The shopping mall is totally abandoned and probably the least known attraction in Bangkok with no tourists there, and in Bangkok, thats a real positive.
Ps take some bread if you want to feed the fish. Peace
Gili Trawagan is by far one of the best islands I’ve had the privilege of staying on. For you that don’t know about the Gilis, they are a group of 3 super small islands off the coast on Lombok, Indonesia: Gili air, Gili meno and Gili Trawagan. The biggest of the 3 is Trawagan, it’s also the busiest. Air is the smallest and is chilled. And Meno is just in between.
I spent 2 weeks on Gili T, and this wasn’t enough. And it was hard leaving the island! After spending 2 weeks there you get to know the locals and other travellers, and after a while it feels like one big community. So if you’re planning to visit Indonesia, I would highly recommend the Gilis, especially Gili T. Here is some info:
Getting there: We travelled from Padangbai, Bali. And it cost around 20$. You can also get there from Sanur in Bali. But the price was roughly double. The cheapest option from Bali is from Padangbai. The boat journey takes around 2-3 hours, and is pretty comfortable.
Costs on Gili T:
Accommodation – Straight off the boat we managed to find a home stay that was 12$ per room per night. I was sharing a room so it worked out at 6$ per night with breakfast. This was one o the cheapest we heard of on this island. The home stay is called izzi home stay and is about 2 streets inland from the main strip.
Food – One of the best places to eat on the night is the night market, located right on the main strip directly opposite the pier. Food cost around 2-3$ for a meal and a drink. It’s all really good local food with lots to choose from. Another place that we found really good was Ocean 2. Because after 6pm it was like a kind of happy hour were all pasta dishes are 2$ any pizza 3$ plus there was free salad and soup! It’s located just past Sama Sama bar. And for a more expensive meal, Irish bar was really good for lasagne. But it cost around 5-6$ for each dish.
Night life – By far the best bar for me was Sama Sama reggae bar. For the simple reasons that is was cheap, amazing live music and really chilled people. The music stops around 2am and turns into a Dj set, but I didn’t really like the music they played. We also found Irish bar and surfers bar good for big parties. Each place plays more house/electro music. For the cheapest bar jiggy jig is the place. Located just off the main pier.
Drugs: From what I know I n Indonesia magic mushrooms are legal so you can pretty much but them anywhere. A shake will cost around 10$. A good place to get one is Rudy’s, on the main strip. And If you like weed, on Gili it’s very easy to get as there are no police on the island.
Things to do:
Doing nothing on the beach – When you’re on a paradise island, doing nothing is amazing! Just taking in the natural views and feeling the sun on your skin. The best places to do nothing are surfers bar, located towards the south part of the island. The west part of the island is a lot less busy so it’s ideal for relaxing.
Surfing – The first time I tried surfing was Gili T at surfers bar, and is was out of this world. Just pure adrenaline and excitement. I would recommend it to anyone. For board hire it was 5$ for 1 hour. Lessons are also available.
Snorkelling – The snorkelling here is amazing. The water is so clear and there is so many colours! The average snorkelling trip will cost 10$ for the full day and will stop off at 4-5 snorkel spots. Seeing a turtle is quite common! You can book the trip at most places on the island.
Walk the hill – Gili T is the only Gili island with any sort of elevation in the middle. The hill is only a 15-20 minute walk to the top, and surprisingly has really nice views of the islands and Lombok. So if you’re bored of the beach one day, take a hike up the hill!
So far Gili T has been my most memorable and favourable beach and island experience. The place was paradise. And if you travel with a good group of people that are on the same level, your experience will be better!