Self Drive in Mongolia
We specialize in organizing self –drive tours throughout Mongolia
The number of our Clients interested in exploring a self-drive option, while on holidays in Mongolia, is steadily growing. Renting a car and driving on your own allows you more freedom and flexibility in arranging a route and visiting sites located out off the beaten track. It also gives you an opportunity to adjust your plans as you go and explore the country at your own pace, which makes your experience more individual and unforgettable.
Our company offers private self-driving tours tailored to your needs and wishes. During our trips you can explore the amazing Mongolian landscape while being backed-up by our personnel, who will serve you with a good advice and a technical support, be in it the sands of the Gobi Desert, endless steps of Eastern Mongolia, wilderness of northern taiga or even snow-capped peaks of the Altai Mountains. Our safari-like trips will make you enjoy your visit to Mongolia in a much more adventurous way than the tours provided by regular tour operators, and let you experience the best of what this magnificent country has to offer.
We offer you a complex support, including obtaining a visa and all necessary permits and documents, as well as, a service of highly qualified guides, if you required such. We will also recommend you a route and sites worth of visiting if you decided to design your own itinerary.
Use our experience to your own benefit and enjoy one of the most amazing holidays of your life!
Mongolian roads are divided into:
State roads connecting the capital Ulaanbaatar with the provincial (aimag) centers, more important towns, and border crossings. These roads are almost always paved.
Local roads connecting provincial centers with district (soum) centers. Few of these roads are paved and connected with state roads.
Internal roads connecting district centers to smaller settlements. These roads are, in overwhelming majority, ground roads.
Mongolia has a road network of approximately 49 000 km. The roads connect 21 major cities (provincial centers) and more than 160 smaller towns and villages (soums and bags). Out of 11.219 km of state roads and 37.859 km of local roads, overwhelming majority consists of poorly maintained gravel or ground roads. The percentage of those poor quality roads reach around 50% in the case of the state roads and 97.7% in the case of the local roads.
The above-mentioned road conditions make Mongolia a country difficult to explore on your own. One of the most important things to remember when self-driving here, is to make often stops to rest and stay outside of the vehicle. This means that you should always remember to include some extra time for shorter and longer breaks when estimating the distance and time necessary to cover it. We will help you to arrange them at interesting sites or picturesque places to make them into a really pleasant and relaxing activity. Another thing you will must pay attention to is speed: on average it should not be higher than 35 km/hour in Northern Mongolia (taiga and mountainous areas) and 55 km/hour in the Gobi Desert. Driving faster is unsafe and can cause serious damage to your vehicle.
While there are more and more bridges being built in Mongolia, there are still places where you will have to drive through a ford or use a cable ferry. The number of such occurrences will depend on your itinerary.
Mongolia is a country with a high number of livestock. The animals are used to roaming freely and often cross roads in the most random places. Be careful and pay attention to them, especially early in the morning and in the evening. We recommend against driving in the night.
Since the majority of roads in Mongolia have no indicators and often split in numerous smaller tracks, which make impossible to choose a proper way if you do not know the area, you will need a GPS, and good road maps. You can rent a GPS from us. We also can assist you with buying a Mongolian road atlas and good quality physical maps.
Self-driving in Mongolia requires four-wheel drive vehicles (4WD), known also as 4×4 or all-wheel drive vehicles (AWD). These cars are specially modified to allow a comfortable drive in areas with poor quality ground roads and rough terrain such as the Gobi Desert and the Altai Mountains. With their large tires and high suspension 4WD cars help also to reduce shaking caused by driving on unpaved surfaces, make crossing rivers and streams easier and lower the danger of getting stuck in a mud or sand.
Currently we provide our clients with a number of Toyota Land Cruisers model 80, 105, and 100. All our vehicles are well maintained and regularly serviced. Although our fleet is not equipped with roof tents, we offer an option of renting all necessary camping gear, including tents, sleeping pads, kitchen utensils, fresh water and fuel containers, medical kits, etc. We also offer an option of hiring a chauffeur if you request one. We are sure that by renting our 4×4 vehicles you will be able to enjoy your adventure to the fullest, while traveling in the safest, most comfortable way possible in Mongolia.
Currently available: Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series, Lexus 470 and Ford Everest.” – gedgiig khaasan. Ter sedevet ug kompanid yamar mashin baidag yum be gej todorkhoigui baina. Neg hesegt maniahand Land Cruiser baina gej bichsen.
You can choose an area you want to explore and prepare your own route. We will check it for you and let you know if your ideas are feasible or not. We will also recommend you sites to visit, and camping places. If you prefer to have your route designed by us, just let us know what your preferences are.
One of the most adventurous destinations to explore in Mongolia is the Gobi Desert. The region has a variety of rough terrains, magnificent landscapes and remote, rarely visited sites. Moreover, it is partly connected with Ulaanbaatar with an asphalt road, which means you will not get exhausted before reaching the area of your interest. We recommend to choose this region for your Mongolian adventure.
Booking a vehicle
If you wish to rent one of our vehicles, please send us a booking inquiry, including the dates of your stay in Mongolia. We will check the availability of our cars and let you know if we can provide you with a vehicle for the requested period of time. We will provide you also with information on the models of available vehicles and their rental rates. In order to secure a vehicle, an advance payment of a 50% deposit based on rental rates is required. The remaining 50% of the rental fee can be paid upon arrival to Ulaanbaatar.
All our cars have a vehicle and third party liability insurances. However, certain parts such as spare tires are not included under this protection. Therefore, our Clients are required to pay a $1500 refundable deposit to cover costs of damages caused to those parts by irresponsible driving. The deposit can be paid in advance or upon arrival to Ulaanbaatar via wire transfer, credit card or cash. Moreover, our liability insurance can cover up $10.000 of the damage costs, and we can further increase this amount upon your request.
Your vehicle will be equipped with the following elements:
-Two spare tires,
-Toolkit with necessary spare parts,
-Camping equipment including tent(s), camping table, gas stove, camping chairs,
– Kitchen utensils including pots and pans and cutlery.
In case of a breakdown that you cannot fix on your own, we will provide you with assistance, and try to have your vehicle repaired as soon as possible. If the breakdown is serious and cannot be fixed in a short period of time, we will provide you with another car from our fleet.
The challenges you will face while self – driving in Mongolia are:
1. Majority of roads outside of Ulaanbaatar is ground or gravel roads. Many of them separate in numerous directions, which force you to choose a proper one. Driving will also likely include crossing fords and moving on a sandy or muddy terrain.
2. Mongolian road maps are of poor quality and you may face difficulties while using them.
3. There are very few road signs, and most of them is in Cyrillic letters.
4. The vehicle service is very limited in the countryside.
5. Due to rough road conditions vehicles tend to break down frequently.
6. If your car breaks down between villages you may be forced to wait for a while to receive help.
- In many places mobile phone reception is very limited.
- Outside of Ulaanbaatar very few Mongolians speak English, so you may face communication problems.
- It takes some time and preparations to learn how to navigate in Mongolia.
- The cost of hiring a car with a chauffeur is lower than the cost of renting a car for a self-drive. Moreover, you will have to possess an international driving license, and you have to purchase a local insurance.
Some of the above problems can be reduced by choosing either an option of hiring an English speaking guide or a local driver with some basic English language skills and his own car. You can also try sharing your trip with other tourists and dividing the costs between each other.
There are several types of accommodation you can use while driving through Mongolia. However, finding a decent place to stay overnight is often a gamble if you do not plan your trip well in advance.
Along the main roads and tourist routes you will find a number of tourist camps (lodges), where you will be able to rent and stay in a Mongolian ger (yurt). However, if you decide to leave the beaten track behind, you will be left with no other option but to camp or stay with local nomadic families. In the really remote areas, staying in a tent will be your only option. We can assist you with booking a place in ger camps, or provide you with a tent rental option.
Gers used in tourist camps are the traditional felt dwellings of nomadic herders. Each ger is furnished with a stove and a set of furniture such as beds, a table and stools. Normally ger accommodation is based on double occupancy. All ger camps have a restaurant, western style toilets and showers. Staying in one of them will allow you to have a taste of the traditional nomadic lifestyle, while enjoying some comfort after a long day of driving. Our personnel can pre-book a ger for you, and issue an open-date voucher which will allow you to keep your driving schedule flexible.
Staying in a tent offers even greater flexibility than pre-booking a ger in a tourist camp. You can bring one yourself or rent it from our company, together with additional camping gear such as sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and tourist showers. Apart from national parks, where a fee is required, you will be able to camp in the countryside without any additional costs. This will allow you to set your camp during any point of your drive. Remember however, that camping might be challenging and you will not be able to reach the same level of comfort as in a tourist camp.
Homestays with local nomadic families
If you wish for more interaction with Mongolian nomads, you can choose to stay with local nomadic families. Depending on your route we might be able to arrange some of those stays in advance. While staying with a family, you will be allowed to stay in their additional ger, or if they do not have any (some herders are very poor), to set your tent near their household.
The Mongolian diet is based mainly on meat and dairy products, although vegetables are starting to gradually play more important role in the local diet.
While grocery stores in Ulaanbaatar offer a wide range of products, your choice is greatly reduced once you leave for the countryside.
Outside of Ulaanbaatar there are three options: cooking yourself, hiring a cook, or eating in local restaurants and tourist camps.
Preparing meals yourself is the cheapest option, and similarly to staying in a tent, allows the greatest flexibility. You will be able to buy the majority of your supplies in Ulaanbaatar and refill them with products accessible in small local stores you will pass on the way. Be aware however that the countryside stores provide only the most basic food such as meat, potatoes, bread, and noodles. Our company will provide you with necessary kitchen utensils.
Hiring a cook is another option you may want to explore. A cook will prepare for you three meals per day. Depending on your preferences they can be based strictly on Western cuisine or include Mongolian dishes. Meals for vegetarians and allergic clients can be arranged upon prior request. Hiring a cook will allow you to concentrate on resting and sightseeing, rather than on preparing meals. For larger groups hiring a cook assistant might be also necessary.
If you decide to drive along major roads, and stay on the beaten track, you will be able to stay overnight and eat in local tourist camps where meals are provided by restaurants. Although the quality of the dishes served in those facilities is getting better each year, the choice is still rather narrow due to their sometimes very remote locations. Most tourist camps offer only one set menu choice per day. A certain choice of alcoholic beverages is also available.
The most authentic Mongolian cuisine is offered by small restaurants located in towns and along the roads, as well as, by Mongolian nomadic families. I you decide to try one of those options, you will likely be served some traditional Mongolian dishes such as buuz, khuushuur, tsuivan, and banshtai tsai. Be aware however that all of them based on mutton or beef, and might be difficult to digest for a first-timer.
Due to the lack of paved roads and street lights you should try to avoid driving in the countryside after dark. It can be rather dangerous, since a large number of livestock and wild animals roam after dark.
Remember to purchase a good road map and a GPS. It is very easy to get lost in Mongolia, and the chances that local nomads will be able to communicate with you in English are very low.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will assist you the best we can, and make sure you will enjoy your experience with us. We can guarantee that with us your stay in Mongolia will become a lifetime of memories.