Mongolia Travel Facts

By | May 14, 2022

Based on map by DigoPaul, Mongolia is a coastless country bordering only China and Russia. The country is characterized by the Mongolian steppe and impressive landscapes such as the Gobi desert. There is hardly any tourist infrastructure, but those who love nature and freedom will find an impressive travel destination in this simple country. However, the sometimes extreme climatic conditions should not be underestimated.

Capital City Ulaanbaatar
Size 1,564,116 km²
Resident 3,031,330
Official Language Mongolian
Currency ugh
Time Zone UTC+7/+8
Telephone Area Code +64

Fast facts to know

  • Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world.
  • About a third of all dinosaurs known to science have been discovered in Mongolia.
  • Mongolia is considered to be an underdeveloped country in terms of tourism.
  • 18th largest country in the world with 3 million inhabitants (of which 2 million live in the capital).
  • There is hardly any infrastructure worth mentioning.
  • System of international health insurance does not work in Mongolia.
  • The telecommunications system is relatively poorly developed in Mongolia.
  • Many Mongolians live as nomads who mostly make a living from animal husbandry.
  • A passport that is still valid for at least 6 months is sufficient for entry; the passport with all valid stamps should always be carried with you.
  • A visa is required to travel to and from the People’s Republic of China.
  • Mongolia is a free, democratic country.
  • Mongolians are known for their friendliness and no-nonsense personality.
  • Almost 85% of the land area is over 1000 m above sea level.
  • Tourists (self-drive) are advised not to travel without a local driver.
  • Support from a travel company specializing in Mongolia is recommended.

Exciting cities in Mongolia

  • Ulaanbaatar
  • Karakorin
  • kobdo
  • Dalanzadgad

History of Mongolia

  • 500,000 years ago first settlement by early ancestors of today’s humans.
  • 3rd century BC BC: Xiongnu tribe invades southern Chinese states, leading to the start of construction of the Great Wall of China.
  • In the 12th century, the quarreling Mongolian tribes were united and formed into a state.
  • 1206 Genghis Khan is recognized as the leader of all Mongols.
  • 15th to 20th centuries: Mongolian tribes repeatedly attack the Chinese Empire.
  • Until the beginning of the 20th century, Mongolia remained relatively peaceful and stable.
  • Outer Mongolia became independent in 1911 with Russian support.
  • 1915 Outer Mongolia receives a certain autonomy status with the Treaty of Kyachta – but remains subject to Chinese sovereignty.
  • 1919 Mongolia is again fully incorporated into the Republic of China.
  • 1921 Proclamation of an independent monarchy.
  • 1924 Introduction of Communism.
  • From 1990 peaceful transition to a democratic parliamentary system of government.

Climate & travel weather in Mongolia

  • Extreme continental climate.
  • Long, arctic cold and dry winters.
  • Humid, warm, partly hot summers.
  • Pronounced daily and annual temperature fluctuations.
  • The difference between day and night can be more than 30°C.
  • Extreme winter temperatures of below -40°C prevail in the Gobi desert, while the Gobi warms up in summer with maximum values ​​of 45°C.
  • Precipitation mainly in July and August.
  • Low rainfall throughout the year.
  • Quite windy all year round, humidity very low.
  • Very sunny with 260 days of sunshine per year.
  • Recommended travel time:
    • June and September (20-30°C, green landscape).
    • Gobi Desert: September.

Ideas for excursions in Mongolia

  • Bogd Khan’s winter palace
  • Ulan Bator State Museum
  • Monastery of the Living Buddha
  • Natural History Museum
  • Worth seeing monasteries:
    • Erdene Zuu
    • Schant-Hid Monastery
    • Zomut monastery
    • Amarbajasgalant Khiid
    • Gandan Monastery
  • Char Balgas ruins
  • Zhenker hot springs

Eating & Drinking in Mongolia

  • Few Soviet and Chinese influences, mostly original Mongolian recipes.
  • The most important meal is breakfast.
  • Lunch is the largest meal of the day.
  • Mutton and beef are the staple foods.
  • Traditional dishes usually only consist of meat and flour.
  • There are a variety of dairy products.
  • Noodles or rice are rarely served as side dishes.
  • Fruit and vegetables are hardly available.
  • Marmot meat is considered a delicacy, sometimes goat and horse meat is also served.
  • Fish is hardly on the plate.
  • Tea is very common, especially Süütei, a salty tea.
  • Kumyß (Airag) is a sour-tasting, fermented mare’s milk with up to 3% alcohol.
  • National, popular types of vodka are Genghis and Bolor.
  • Hospitality is very important. Offered food should not be rejected, but you don’t have to empty the bowl either.
  • Empty bowls are refilled immediately.
  • Groceries are handed over and received with the right hand, while the left hand symbolically touches the right elbow.
  • Hygienic conditions are often poor, water should only be boiled and drunk.
  • Typical dishes:
    • Buutz (steamed dumplings filled with meat).
    • Khailmag (sweet, delicious porridge, similar to semolina pudding.
    • Boortsog (reminiscent of shortcrust pastry, crunchy, buttery, not too sweet).
    • Tarag (yoghurt).

Particularly scenic

  • Bogd Khan National Park
  • Gurwansajkhan National Park
  • Hustai National Park
  • Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
  • Khorgo Volcano National Park
  • Gobi desert
  • Uvs-Nuur basin
  • Hubsugul Lake
  • Orkhon Valley
  • The holy mountains: Tsetssegum, Chingeltej, Singino Khajkhan and Bajansurk
  • Mongolian steppe
  • The “flaming cliffs” of Bayanzag
  • Bizarre rock formations of Zagaan Suwarga

Mongolia Travel Facts