Mongolia is a country located in North Asia with name that begins with letter M. The Mongolia’s economy is still in the transition from a centrally controlled planned economy to a market economy system. The main export products are cashmere, meat, hides, skins, copper and copper concentrates, molybdenum, building materials, gold and coal.
With almost 3 million residents on 1.5 million km², Mongolia is the most sparsely populated state in the world after Greenland. Almost half of the population lives in the capital Ulaanbaatar.
Entry and visa
For Austrian and Swiss citizens: For Mongolia, a passport that is still valid for at least six months from the day of departure and a visa are required.
For German citizens: Since September 1, 2013, German citizens no longer need a visa to enter Mongolia for a holiday or business stay of a maximum of 30 days.
Mongolia is a country of extremes. There is a strongly continental climate. The temperature differences between day and night are extreme and can be up to 32 degrees. The humidity is very low. With over 260 sunny days a year, Mongolia is one of the sunniest countries in the northern hemisphere. Long arctic winters are normal: until the beginning of June and then again from the beginning of August, you can expect ground frost at least at night, in the west you can fall below freezing point in the evening and in the morning. Mongolia is – especially in spring – a windy country. With north wind the temperatures drop very quickly.
Food and drink
Mongolian food is way better than its reputation. Mongolian cuisine is based on a lot of meat, generally mutton and beef. There are also rice, potatoes, carrots and pasta on the plate. Fruit and vegetables are now available at any time of the year. The water quality of Mongolia is good, but we advise caution and only drink purchased, boiled or filtered water.
In Ulaanbaatar there are many good restaurants with European, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and of course Mongolian cuisine.
No vaccinations are required to enter Mongolia. It is recommended that you contact your general practitioner or another suitable facility about 8 weeks before you travel to find out about recommended vaccinations.
The quality of medical care in Mongolia does not meet European standards. A personal pharmacy with your own medicines is strongly recommended; it makes it easier to act in the event of illness.
Clothing & cultural rules of conduct
On our trips to Mongolia, long items of clothing are important, as you often sit outside on the grass or in the yurt on small stools.
The customs and traditions of Mongolia differ from ours in many ways. Just two examples from the overview in our travel documents that we send to our customers together with the travel documents:
- Never step on the threshold of a yurt and avoid touching the upper door frame with your head!
- Fire is considered sacred. Never spit in the flames or throw rubbish, such as cigarette butts, into the embers!
And one more thing: Mongolians like to sing a lot, and it is customary for guests to also intend a few lines. So there is no harm in practicing a folk song at home.
Security in Mongolia is rated as very good by the Austrian and German authorities. Beware of pickpockets at markets, in shopping centers, in department stores and near tourist attractions.
Climate and travel time
Mongolia is a country of extremes. There is a strongly continental climate. The humidity is very low, 80-90% of the precipitation falls from May to September. With over 260 sunny days a year, Mongolia is one of the sunniest countries in the northern hemisphere. Long arctic winters are normal, even in the Gobi desert the snow remains until April. Elsewhere, lakes are frozen until June. Summers are generally warm with an average of + 20 °C. In the Gobi, however, you have to expect extreme temperatures of over + 40 °C. As soon as the sun has set, the thermometer shows quite cool and fresh conditions.
Until the beginning of June and then again from the beginning of August you can expect ground frost at least at night, in the west you can fall below freezing point in the evening and in the morning. The temperature differences between day and night are extreme and can reach up to 32 C. Mongolia is a windy country, especially in spring. Temperatures drop very quickly, especially with north winds. Don’t underestimate the extremes of Mongolia: You can wear T-shirts and sandals for one day, but in the evening or the next day you have to slip into thick woolen sweaters and socks.
It can snow in the mountains in June and September. Especially in the higher sleeping camps you may expect snow! It is also sometimes very windy. Rain comes and goes. However, the showers are usually rather short.
All about money
Local currency: Tugrik
You do not need any money during the trek as there is no way to buy anything. (Possibly with some nomad families who manufacture products themselves). Before the trek, you can stock up on sweets and drinks. After that you may need money for the souvenirs and the last few evenings (drinks). Cashmere products from the outlet can also be paid for by credit card.
Tips should rather be given in Tugrik (euros or dollars are also possible for employees from Ulaan Baatar). The Mongolian currency can be exchanged for US dollars (no old notes !!) or euros in all banks. In the case of smaller notes, the exchange rate may be worse. In hotels, ger camps and many shops, dollars, and increasingly euros, are accepted. In the countryside, money can only be exchanged in the Aimak centers. It is therefore advisable to exchange enough local currency in Ulaanbaatar before long trips. In the capital, you can also withdraw money with your credit card, sometimes with your Maestro card. Credit cards are accepted in all major hotels and shops where foreigners frequent.
In Asia and therefore also in Mongolia, drivers, porters, guides, hotel staff, etc. expect tips. The tip ultimately depends on your satisfaction and the efforts of the crew. We recommend pooling the tips of all participants at the end of the trip and handing them over to the individual members of the team.
Other essential information
Mongolia is six hours ahead of our (summer) time in Ulaan Baatar and five hours in Ulaangoom.
The voltage in Mongolia is 220 volts / 50 Hz. Since the nomads come from different areas, from where they bring everything they need with them, there is no uniform “standard” for plugs / sockets. Most of the time, however, our Austrian and German “standard plugs” fit. Taking a universal adapter with you can be useful in some cases. To be on the safe side, bring enough battery packs for your camera, headlamp, etc., as these cannot always be charged outside of Ulaan Bataar. Most yurt camps have electricity, but if you stay in tents you have to get by without electricity. Solar panels and power banks prove to be very useful on trekking trips.