Mongolia is a state in Central Asia. It borders Russia and China. The capital city is Ulan Bator.
Mongolia has an extreme continental climate. The summers here are hot and winters are severe. It is better to come to Mongolia from May to September.
The official language is Mongolian. The citizens of the country are the Buddhists, but they do not forget their ancestral animistic beliefs.
Those who like city entertainments and excursions should visit Darkhan with its historical and architectural monuments. In the old district of Darkhan, there is a world famous Buddhist Gandantegchinlen Monastery. Mongolia attracts those who prefer out-of-town holidays. The tourists can visit the Hustai National park near Ulan Bator where the locals restore the population of wild Przewalski’s horses. Anyone can go to Erdenet and visit the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, where you can go horse-riding and visit the National Amusement Park.
In the Khovd Province, the travellers can see the monuments of ancient civilizations such as the Fortress Sangiin Kherem, petroglyphs and old writings. In Mongolia, there is the deepest lake in Central Asia and this is the Lake Khövsgöl. This lake is good for fishing.
The hallmark of Mongolia is a unique Gobi Desert covers the third part of the entire country. Under the guidance of experienced tour guides, the tourists can go horse-riding or have a camel-riding tour across the desert.
The citizens of Russia are very lucky because Mongolia is the closest neighbouring country of Russia. So the Russian tourists can choose any means of transport to get to the country.
The European tourists can take direct flights by international airlines.
Aeroflot and MIAT offer direct flights from Russian cities to Ulan Bator. There are also transit flights with a stop in Germany, China, and South Korea.
There is a rail connection between Mongolia and all CIS countries. There is a route from Moscow to Ulan Bator and to Beijing.
There is a bus running between Russia and Mongolia. Two international buses offer such routes as Ulan Bator — Irkutsk — Ulan Bator and Ulan Bator — Ulan-Ude.
The citizens of CIS countries can get to Mongolia by their own cars along the transit road through China.
The Russian tourists can travel to Mongolia visa-free, but their stay in the country should not exceed 30 days.
The visa-free regime is valid for the citizens of Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia.
Citizens of many European Union countries can also travel to Mongolia without obtaining a visa.
Be aware that if you want to stay in Mongolia for more than 30 days, you should register in the passport office. At the end of the travel, you should be taken off the registration list, otherwise you will be fined.
The travellers must declare foreign currency when entering the country. The import of national currency is limited to 815 tugriks.
We also recommend declaring imported photo and video gadgets, valuable jewelry, and sports equipment.
It is prohibited to import:
- metal detectors;
- items having archaeological value;
- meat and fish;
Exported skins of animals, gold jewelry, items having cultural and historic value must be declared. The tourists are not allowed to export meat and fish.
Various types of meat are typical for the Mongolian cuisine (mutton, goat, horse meat, and camel meat) as well as dairy products. The locals almost never eat fish and vegetables. The foodies will discover new unusual tastes.
Rice, potatoes, and pasta are typical side dishes in Mongolia. Being in Mongolia, you should try traditional Mongolian dishes such as Boodog (goat cooked with hot stones in its stomach), Gorgod (steamed meat with vegetables), and Tsusan Khiam (mutton blood pudding with onion and flour).
The tourists can try Mongol Arkhi, Light liquor made from fermented milk, low-alcohol beverages Airag and Shimin Arkhi.
The traditional Mongolian cookies Boortsog and pancakes Gambir will make your mouth water.
The peculiarity of the Mongolian cuisine is dairy products. The tourists can try cow and sheep milk, mare and camel milk. Milk is the main ingredient for preparing fermented milk drinks and the Mongolian cheese Byaslag.
A special Mongolian drink is tea Suutei Tsai. The ingredients are typically water, milk, tea and salt. The tourists can be also served fried tail fat. The Mongols drink only salted tea and this can be shocking for the foreigners.
The national currency of Mongolia is tugric. In circulation are:
- the coins (from 20 to 200 tugrics);
- bank notes (from 1 to 10.000 tugrics).
Sometimes, one can pay for a purchase with US dollars.
The tourists can exchange currency at banks in the capital city or in exchange offices. The most convenient currency for exchange is US dollars. All the exchange offices are located within large cities so make sure you have enough tugrics if you are planning to travel across the country.
American Express, Visa and MasterCard and traveler’s checks are accepted only in Ulan Bator. Cashless payments are not accepted beyond the capital city. We recommend taking traveler’s checks in US dollars so that not to pay additional costs.
The level of criminal activity in the country is tense.
Details of interest
Celebrations and festivals will give you better insight into the country.
The biggest and most impressive celebration is the Mongolian festival Nadam which takes place in the middle of July. Traditionally, men compete in the national sports such as wrestling, archery, and horse-riding.
Tsaggan Sar is the Lunar New Year in Mongolia. This holiday symbolizes the renewal of nature. Usually, sports, music and cooking competitions are held.
In June, in the Gobi desert, everyone can take part in the International Festival of Live Music and in October in the Festival of Hunting Eagles.
Sightseeing in Mongolia
A travel to Mongolia is a good chance to see the UNESCO sites:
- The Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape.
- The Uvs Nuur Basin.
- The Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai. These ancient drawings describe the hunting and they are around 4.000 years old.
The best choice of souvenirs and gifts in Mongolia is in Ulan Bator. There you will find souvenir shops with pictures depicting Mongolian steppes, miniature models of yurts, embossed metal jewelry, national clothes, shoes and headwear.
Souvenirs with ethnic symbols are very popular among the tourists.
Mongolian cashmere is an extremely popular gift but it is better to buy it in brand shops.
The objects of everyday Mongolian life can be bought in the capital city on the market Khar Zakh.