Landing in the post-Soviet concrete of Ulaanbaatar, you might wonder where Mongolia keeps its famous wide-open spaces.
But just wait until you catch your first glimpse of sunrise over the Asian Steppe. There’s no other view on Earth quite like it: mile after mile of rolling grassy tundra, dotted with white-domed Gers and broken up with golden dunes or the craggy peaks of Tavan Bogd. It’s probably no surprise that our Mongolia tours are all about the wilderness – soaking in the hot springs of Tsenkher or riding camels through the Khogno Khan Mountains – but you’ll find there’s more to this country than just good views. With its communist past and a (proudly) democratic future, Mongolia is ready to great the 21st Century with a smile.
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Articles on Mongolia
Mongolia travel highlights
Learn about nomadic life on a homestay with a Mongolian family
See history unfold in Genghis Khan’s city of Karakorum
Mongolian train ride
Travel through the Mongolian steppe on a memorable train ride
Spend a night sleeping in a traditional Mongolian ger
Transport in Mongolia
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Mongolia, you may find yourself travelling by:
Enjoy a memorable ride through the Mongolian desert on the back of a camel.
Watch the Mongolian steppe whiz past while rattling on a train through the countryside.
Accommodation in Mongolia
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Mongolia you may find yourself staying in a:
Spend the night sleeping in a quintessential Mongolian icon, the ger. Built to withstand the harsh elements, these portable structures of circular beauty are surprisingly comfortable.
Get in touch with Mongolian culture and cuisine while staying with a local family. Pick up some local language and learn about the Mongolian way of life while enjoying warm hospitality.
Mongolia holiday information
At a glance
Best time to visit Mongolia
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Geography and environment
History and government
Natural Wonders of Mongolia
Festivals and Events in Mongolia
Health and Safety
Mongolia travel FAQs
Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most EU countries will need a visa to enter Mongolia as a tourist for up to 30 days. Citizens of Canada will not need a visa for visits up to 30 days and citizens of the USA will not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance. There is no visa on arrival in Mongolia at land or air borders.
LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI):
Most embassies do not require a LOI. However, should you be required to present one with your visa application please contact us. There may be a fee for this service. In order for us to provide a LOI through our local partners we will require a clear, colour scan of your passport along with an indication of at which embassy you will be applying for your visa. Please allow up to 3 weeks for your LOI to be processed after which you will be able to apply for your visa.
You may be able to apply for your Mongolian visa in Beijing en-route if you have time here before your trip. Please plan carefully and check the current embassy requirements. You will need to organise this yourself and ensure you have all the correct documentation to obtain the Mongolian Visa.
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
You will need to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa (J) that covers the duration of your stay in Mongolia. Visas are usually valid for 3 months from the date of issue and enable to you to stay for up to 30 days from date of entry.
Name and address of host person or organization in Mongolia:
This will be supplied at time of booking
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
You may be required to provide a copy of your itinerary, indicating the dates of your tour, along with your application.
Tipping isn’t a local custom in Mongolia; however, the bars and cafes of Ulaanbaatar are used to receiving tips from tourists. Use your discretion and tip if you feel like it.
Internet access is widely available in Ulaanbaatar. Some cafes and coffee houses have Wi-Fi, while many hotels and guesthouses have internet connectivity. Internet availability is far less common outside of Ulaanbaatar, so expect no access when leaving the city.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Mongolia, although coverage may be patchy in remote or mountainous areas.
Flushable, European-style toilets are common in the hotels and restaurants of Ulaanbaatar. Throughout the rest of the country, squat toilets are the standard, with the exception of some ger camps and homestays, where toilets may be simple holes in the ground. Please be aware that, in most cases, soap and toilet paper aren’t provided, so make sure you come prepared.
Can of beer = 1500 MNT
Simple meal in a local restaurant = 4000 MNT
Dinner at an international restaurant = 10,000 MNT
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Mongolia. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and to peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Major credit cards are usually accepted by most large hotels and restaurants in Ulaanbaatar and other large cities, however smaller establishments may not have credit card facilities. Ensure you have other payment options when visiting small shops and markets, and when travelling through rural areas.
Travellers can access ATMs in Ulaanbaatar; however, rural regions run on a cash economy, so prepare for this when leaving the city.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 26 Feb Bituun (Lunar New Year's Eve)
- 27 Feb Lunar New Year or Tsagaan Sar (White Moon)
- 28 Feb Lunar New Year Holiday
- 1 Mar Lunar New Year Holiday
- 8 Mar International Women's Day
- 1 Jun Mothers' and Children's Day
- 11 Jul Naadam Holiday
- 12 Jul Naadam Holiday
- 13 Jul Naadam Holiday
- 14 Jul Naadam Holiday
- 15 Jul Naadam Holiday
- 29 Dec Independence Day
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Mongolia go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/mongolia/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Mongolia
1. Be considerate of Mongolia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. Before entering a place of worship, ask permission, remove your shoes and cover your shoulders with a jacket or wrap.
4. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
5. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
6. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
7. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
8. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
9. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
10. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
11. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
12. Be respectful of monks, this includes refraining from taking photos of them. Women should also avoid touching or handing items directly to monks.
The Intrepid Foundation
The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
In Mongolia, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
Lotus Children’s Centre
Providing much-needed shelter, education, food and health care to many homeless and orphaned Mongolian children, this centre, which is located just outside of Ulaanbaatar, receives no government funding and relies solely on grants and donations to continue providing this essential service.
Image supplied by Lotus Children’s Centre.
To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org