Mongolia: Tips

General

The language is Mongolian. It is hard to find people outside of cities which are speaking English. This is one of the reason to get a driver/guide for your tour. Mongolia is not a country in which tourism is well-developed for individual tourism which means there are no signs to attractions, streets or google maps entries etc.

Going to Mongolia means getting yourself into an adventure. Nether knowing if the current weather conditions are good to drive to your considered location. Be also prepared that due to the size of the country driving become a main part of the trip in average 5-7 hours a day.

Transportation

As the infrastructure, away from the main highway that runs through Mongolia, is none existing the streets are usually graveled roads or driving directly in the desert or other grass.

I guess this is one of the reason why it is not possible for a foreigner to rent a car in Mongolia and drive on your own.

During the travel in Mongolia your driver was an earlier rally driver, and he had a lot of fun driving around in his 4×4 wheel drive. In Mongolia the drivers come with their own car. 

Do not expect that everything works perfectly, due to the none existing infrastructure, the driver often had to be creative and find alternative ways to come to the desired destination. Mainly by asking local living nomads where to drive next.

Even that in Mongolia only driving with a 4×4 wheel drive makes really sense, due to the fact that water crossings are daily businesses, many locals driving around with none 4×4 wheel drives. Helping them out to free their car was a daily procedure.

Accommodation

Find a detailed article about this topic here.

Money

This is a bit tricky. The Biggest tip is, get all the money you need for the trip in Ulaanbaatar. I was not able to get any other ATM working for me, in the smaller cities we passed during our trip.

Some bigger yurt camps, with restaurant and souvenir shops, accepts credit cards. But in general you would need cash. Remember the most of the time you are in the middle of nowhere anyway.

Hiking

Mongolia is a nature destination. It is possible to see the desert, gorges, waterfalls and a lot of untouched nature. There are many places you can hike around and explore.

Nether the less, Mongolia is more popular for horse back riding and not for hiking. This is the reason why hiking is often not that pleasant because the path are shared with lancers and it is not that popular either. We were often recommended getting on a horse instead of hiking 10 to 20 kilometers. So booking a pure hiking vacation in Mongolia may leave you disappointed. 

Travel Duration

As the country is huge the recommendation would be 3 weeks at least, if you have more time the better. As said driving will take away a lot of time during the travel in Mongolia.

Special

Two things that stayed in my mind when thinking back are open door and toys for kids. Let me try to explain this.

In Mongolia people will always in invite you in their yurt. In there they will tell you about their story and offer some yak milk and sweets. This was really a nice experience, to see how open and welcoming the Mongolians are.

The toys for kids and adults are interesting. One main part of the Mongolian tradition is to have goat bones with which you can play different kind of board games.

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