When Should We Visit Mongolia?
Most Mongolia visitors come during the summer months, from mid-May to mid-September. The summer offers the widest range of tours and adventures for visitors along with temperatures that range from the mid-50s to the mid-80s, depending on what region of the country you visit. (Temperatures along the north and in the west are cooler than in the Gobi, which features the hottest summer temperatures.) Mongolia Travel during a “shoulder season” – early May to late September – to find better prices and more availability than during the middle of the summer. Winter ups the ante on only-in-Mongolia vacation experiences. Have you always dreamed of watching the camel festival? Wondered what it would be like to glide quietly across a snowy landscape by dog sled, or on skis? Winter is the perfect time to experience Mongolia as Mongolians do – and to take part in our favorite annual events. In February and March, a several range of festivals and celebrations combine with warmer weather and more daylight hours for perfect winter vacation conditions.
Ports of Entry
International flights arrive and depart from Chingis Khaan airport /Ulaanbaatar/. The train passes through the frontier posts of Sukhbaatar and Zamyn Uud. The passport must be valid for six months after the exit date from Mongolia. Newly arrived visitors must fill out a declaration form with the amount of money /unlimited / they are bringing in and declare any objects of value. This form must be kept until departure. Keep all receipts for expensive purchases, especially souvenirs. Antiques and fossils can be taken out of the country with a special certificate and receipt from an officially licensed dealer. Because of increased smuggling, bags are randomly searched at train stations and airports. The export of animal furs is subject to a special authorization.
When to travel
As one of the highest and most landlocked countries in the world, Mongolia us subject to extreme continental climate-with scorching hot summers and long sub-arctic winters. The average temperature in Ulaanbaatar is -25?C /-13F/ in winter and 16?C /60F/ in summer, although the capital can boast 260 sunny days per year. The summer travel season goes from May 15 to October 15. June is usually blistering hot and dries while August is cooler but wet. Most travelers come to Mongolia in mid July for the annual National Naadam Festival. September and October are very good months to see the Gobi. Spring /March to mid – May/ can be unpleasant. Snow may still cover the steppes and mountain passes, and where it is melting there is potential for flooding.
What to Bring
Travelers should bring sturdy hiking boots to walking shoes, and a pair of sandals. A wide brimmed hat will keep the sun off your face. Light clothing -including shorts and t-shirts- are acceptable. A light rain jacket or poncho is a good idea, especially in August. A pair of long underwear /even in summer/ is useful if you will be in the mountains, and will not take up much room in your luggage. In general, it is a good idea to dress in thin layers, rather than bringing bulky articles. Sunglasses and sun block are essential, as airtight plastic bags, which protect your camera and other electronic goods from dust. For your valuables/traveller’s cheques, passport, cash etc. / wear a money belt. A handy item is one or two bandanas, which can be worn over the face during a dusty jeep ride, or used as a wash cloth. Other items to pack include: lip balm, flashlight, notebook and pens, film, spare batteries, a compass, passport photos, multiple forms of identification /keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place/, a small medical kit, and your personal toiletries /including dental floss, which will prove invaluable after a meal of mutton stew/. Once you leave the capital city, supplies become more difficult to find. Countryside shops will have little more than basic food, clothing and household items. Some essentials that are very rare or of poor quality in the countryside include: sun block, sunglasses, medicine/medical supplies, flashlight, batteries, spices, maps, camping gear, camera supplies and any electronic equipment.
The international code for Mongolia is 976, and the city code for Ulaanbaatar is 11. Do not use the city code when ringing a mobile phone. Telephone cards for local and international calls are available at the Post Office. Useful telephone numbers:
- Police 102
- Fire 101
- Ambulance 103
- Ulaanbaatar telephone inquires 109
- Airport inquires 198
- Railway inquires 194
Internet and Email
Mongolians are Internet savvy and a few entrepreneurs are learning the value of e-commerce. The Internet code for Mongolia is .MN.
You may choose variety of food supplies in Mongolia. There are a wide variety of restaurants in Ulaanbaatar serving Mongolian, Chinese, Russian, European, Japanese, and Korean and Latin American foods. Most of the larger hotels have bars and pubs.
Road transportation is currently major means of transport to and within Mongolia.
Currency and Banks
The Mongolian national currency is the Tugrik (T or MNT). All major currencies can be exchanged at banks and licensed exchange centers in Ulaanbaatar. Exchange rate MNT 2500=US$1.00 as of Dec, 2017.
Every tour must full in a customs declaration from which should be retained until departure. This allows the free import and re-export of articles intended for personal use for duration of stay. It is prohibited to import and export.
- guns, weapons and ammunitions without special permission
- explosive items
- radioactive substance
- opium, hashish and other narcotics
- pornographic publications
- publications, records, films and drawings against Mongolia
- research materials, paleontology and archaeological findings, collection of various plants and their seeds, birds, wild and domestic animals, wool, raw skins and hides and furs without permissions of appropriate Mongolian authorities.
All visitors should ensure that they come to Mongolia with suitable medical insurance.
Medical services are available everywhere. All necessary expenses connecting with medical treatment have to be paid by patient.
Time and Electricity
Local time in Ulaanbaatar is GMT +8 hours. Mongolia observes daylight savings time in the summer months. The standard voltage in Mongolia is 220 volts/50Hz. Electrical sockets accept two round prongs, similar to those used in Russia and Europe.
Time is allowed for shopping in Ulaanbaatar and at the tourist camp. There are many duty free shops where convertible currencies are acceptable. Wide range of goods may be bought for foreign currency at favorable prices-typical Mongolia souvenirs, wines, furs, garments in cashmere, camel wool blankets, national costumes, boots, jewelry, carpets, books records, horns, etc. In all other local shops local currency must be used.
How to get to Mongolia
The tour begins and ends in Ulaanbaatar. The costs of international flight or train tickets are not included in the tour price. Please let us now, if you need help with arranging your connection to Ulaanbaatar.
A passport valid for at least 6 month is required. Visas are required for visitors from most foreign countries, so please check if your country is exempted from Mongolian visa or not. All visas are valid for 3 months from the date of issue.
Temperature and weather
As Mongolia is a land of extremes the winter temperatures can drop as law as to – 40 °C, while temperature in summer can rise beyond +30 °C. Mongolian weather is rather stable. Summer days are long, warm and often windless. An occasional shower may occur, so it is important to keep your cycle schedule flexible. July and August are usually the warmest months of the year, with average temperature of + 25°C during the day. However, at night the temperature can drop to + 5 °C. July and August are also the period of the highest humidity in the country. Fortunately rainfalls are usually short-lived and light.
Money and Currency
The Mongolian currency is the togrog (MNT). Foreign currency such as Dollars and Euro can be exchanged at banks and exchange offices in Ulaanbaatar. However notes must be relatively new and undamaged. There are ATMs in Ulaanbaatar, which accept Visa and MasterCard, but it is safer to have a debit card linked to your bank account. Remember to change all your togrogs when leaving the country, as you will not be able to do this anywhere else. While all the entrance fees to the sites and national parks, which are a part of the itinerary, are included in the price of the trip, we recommend you to have few extra togrogs per day in case you want to buy something or visit a place that is not among included in the trip plan.
Bring approximately US$ 100 to be spend on miscellaneous expenses. If you intend to buy souvenirs, you should budget accordingly. Not all credit cards are accepted in Mongolia, so please check with your bank if you will be able to use them here. Apart from Ulaanbaatar the access to ATM may be restricted, thus be prepared to also have cash. Tips for the trek personnel are left to your discretion.
Gifts for local nomads
We would recommend you to bring some inexpensive gifts for local nomads you will interact with during your trip. Markers, pens, drawing books, and practical things to be used in a household usually help to break the ice, and make friends with both adults, and children.
Voltage: 220V AC 50Hz
Plug: European two round – pin
Reading: A good quality guide book on Mongolia. The Lonely Planet Mongolia will likely be accessible in your local bookshop.
We advise you however to bring also your own basic kit, including plasters, Panadol, Advil or Tylenol, and all prescribed medications that you are taking. We also recommend you to take a series of vaccinations against typhoid, polio, tetanus, and Hepatitis A. A certificate for Yellow Fever is required if arriving from an infected area within the prior six days. Please speak to your doctor/physician for the most recent information.