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Mongolia – Top Travel Tips – TSTC
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Top Travel Tips for Mongolia

Our biggest tip would be to just make sure you visit Mongolia! Such a is usually a once in a lifetime experience but should not be missed, at the very least as a stop along the Trans-Siberian Railway. In addition to this rather obvious travel tip we have a few more below!

Travel Beyond Ulaanbaatar

Particularly if you are visiting Mongolia as a stop on a Trans-Siberian trip you will often only have a couple of days before catching the train on to your next destinations. In this case do not be tempted to just stay in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar but make sure you get out to a ger camp outside the city so that you can experience the real Mongolia that exists in the grasslands and open steppe.

Be Prepared for All Weather

Mongolia has a short summer and long winter and almost non-existent spring an autumns. Although the winters are guaranteed to be very cold the summers (June, July and August) are usually quite pleasant with good daytime temperatures and cool evenings. However, it is not unheard of to have sudden periods of cold weather and even snow in the summer and temperatures can even vary enormously throughout the day so make sure you bring clothing that can be worn in layers.

Bring Cash Euros or Us Dollars

It is not easy to obtain Mongolian currency in advance of your arrival in the country which means you will need to exchange on arrival. Ulaanbaatar has a few ATMs but outside of the capital you won’t find any. At tourist ger camps they will usually accept Euros or USD cash as payment for extras such as drinks. These currencies are also best for exchanging cash (along with Chinese Yuan or Russian Roubles if you are arriving or departing by train). We don’t recommend using travellers cheques in Mongolia.

Spare Camera Batteries

Most tourist ger camps will have electricity which is usually supplied by generators or solar panels. However, supply is not always 100% reliable so always bring some fully charged spare camera batteries so you don’t run out of juice in the middle of nowhere (which is usually a very pretty and photogenic place!)

Stick to Bottled Water

Tours will usually provide you with plenty of bottled water and we strongly recommend you use only this for drinking or brushing teeth to avoid any unpleasant stomach issues.

Advise Well in Advance About Any Dietary Requirements

Once the ice is broken local people are often very hospitable. However, some can take this too far and insist you join them in a mortal drinking of Vodka competition which you will lose. Any truly hospitable Russian will not pressure you to drink if you don’t wan to. Do note however that having a friendly toast or two with a meal is quite normal.

Advise Well in Advance About Any Dietary Requirements

These days Mongolians in the tourist industry do understand what vegetarian food is but do make sure that you let us know on booking if you do have any dietary requirements as the default setting for Mongolian meals is very much meat based.

Be Patient

It is often said that Mongolia runs on its own time and, particularly outside of Ulaanbaatar, the rhythms of life are quite different to what you may be used to at home. This means things can take quite a bit longer to be done than you may be used to. By far the best way to approach this is to accept it and remember that you are on holiday to wind down – not get wound up!

Spend as Long as You Can in Mongolia

Mongolia is remote and not easy to get to try and spend as much time as you can in the country. Even adding just a few days to the standard Trans-Siberian stopover will allow you to see more of the country and it is highly unlikely you will regret this additional time.

Check Visa Requirements

Visa requirements for Mongolia can and do change at short notice so always double check the situation at least 2 weeks before you start your trip.

Book Well in Advance

The tourist season in Mongolia is very short – from mid-May to early September peaking in July and August. During this time there are rarely enough hotel rooms or air and train tickets for everyone so it is essential to book as far in advance as possible. Mongolia isn’t the worst place to get stuck in in the world but sadly most of us are on fixed and busy schedules.

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