The ticket from Beijing to Erlian cost 200Y, and the guy told us he usually charges 220Y. The bus was late as it had arrived from somewhere else and we were surprised to see a sleeper bus which means 180 deg flat beds. The walkways were narrow so it might be difficult to pass if you’re carrying backpacks, and the luggage has to be stowed at your feet. Overall the bus ride was comfortable and took 12h to reach the border town of Erlian.
We met an Argentinean girl Paula at the bus station who was also going in the same direction. The three of us shared a cab to the Chinese border control. It is cheaper to hail a city cab from outside Erlian bus station, just ignore the touts and walk outside.
At the border, we met several other foreigners who were also waiting to cross the border because it opens at 8.30am. We manged to get a minivan to transport all of us to the Mongolian side.
After the Chinese customs, we boarded the minivan which drove across to Zamyn-Uud on the Mongolian side. The van did not want to drive us to the Zamyn-Uud train station, but he helped us to get a minibus which transported us and several others.
Since we arrived at 11am and the daily train to Ulanbaatar only leaves at 7.05pm, we got our train tickets (22850T for hard sleeper) and walked around the area. There was nothing much to explore so we had lunch at the restaurant and sat there to chat or play cards for the whole afternoon until they chased us away because the evening crowd had arrived and we were taking up too much space.