The country of Mongolia has no coastline and is situated between Russia and China. Nomadic traditions and ways of life are still very much the norm in Mongolia, providing a very different holiday experience for intrepid adventurers. With the capital of Ulaanbaatar and the vast, unforgiving Gobi Desert providing very different aspects of this little visited country, one can explore varying landscapes.
For those interested in making the fascinating journey, here are some top Mongolia travel tips to assist with planning your trip:
When to Visit Mongolia
Between the months of May and October are the best times of the year to visit Mongolia. The busiest months are typically July and August. The Mongolian winters are generally harsh, and most travellers will not enjoy the cold conditions.
Mongolia Visa Requirements
Some nationalities are able to visit Mongolia with no visa. The lengths of stay may vary depending on the country. Citizens of the USA are permitted to stay for up to three months without a visa, people from Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Laos, Turkey, Cuba, and Israel can stay for up to 30 days, and those from the Philippines are allowed to remain in the country visa free for up to 21 days.
Those from Singapore and Hong Kong are allowed two weeks. People from other countries must obtain a tourist visa. Check with your local embassy before travelling to ensure that you have the correct visa.
How to Get to Mongolia
Some visitors arrive via the airport in Ulaanbaatar, although there are few direct flights. People can transit through Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Istanbul.
Train is a popular way to enter Mongolia, with the famous Trans-Siberian Railway passing through Ulaanbaatar. Other train services are available to and from neighbouring countries, and there are also some overland bus services.
Language in Mongolia
The most widely spoken language in the country is Mongolian. In the western areas, Kazakh is also spoken. Russian is widely spoken, whereas English is not. A phrasebook or translator can be an invaluable tool when travelling within Mongolia.
Food and Drink in Mongolia
The staple food in Mongolia is mutton. It can be a very tricky country for vegetarians. A popular meal is khuushuur, a fried pancake with onion and mutton. Barbecued marmot is another local speciality. Goat and beef may also be eaten. When it comes to drinking, fermented mare’s milk is the national drink.
It has a strong flavor and is certainly a different taste! Milky tea and homemade vodka are also popular.
Top Places to Visit in Mongolia
There are several interesting places to see and things to do in Mongolia, but poor transportation links can make travelling around difficult. It is better to aim to see a few places rather than trying to cram too much into a trip and spending a great proportion of time on transport.
The capital of Ulaanbataar is worth a few days, simply to soak up the atmosphere of the city. Hovsgol Lake is stunning. One can visit the largest copper mine in the Asian continent at Erdenet. It is also the country’s second city.
Karakorum is the ancient capital of the country, and is famous for having been founded by the infamous Genghis Khan. The Altai Tavan National Park is home to Mongolia’s biggest mountain and glacier, and offers very scenic vistas. Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve is a popular spot for eco-tourism.
In the Darhad Valley you can see the Reindeer People, and in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park there are magnificent sand dunes and soaring cliffs. Horse riding is a great way to see places.
Enjoy your adventure with these top Mongolia travel tips!