Ultimate Guide to Gap Year Travel: Tips,...
Location:Northern Asia, between China and Russia
Area:1,564,116 sq km
Population:3,198,913 (July 2021 est.)
Languages:Mongolian 90% (official) (Khalkha dialect is predominant), Turkic, Russian (1999)
Religion:Buddhist 53%, Muslim 3%, Shamanist 2.9%, Christian 2.2%, other 0.4%, none 38.6% (2010 est.)
Things to Do
1. Explore the Gobi Desert
Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the vast expanse of the Gobi Desert. Discover the stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and rich cultural heritage of this remote region.
2. Visit the Mongolian Steppe
Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Mongolian Steppe, a vast grassland that stretches as far as the eye can see. Experience the nomadic way of life, witness traditional herding practices, and spot indigenous wildlife.
3. Discover Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park
Hike through the breathtaking landscapes of Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park. Explore the volcanic crater, marvel at the pristine lake, and encounter a variety of plant and animal species.
4. Experience the Naadam Festival
Witness the exhilarating Naadam Festival, a traditional Mongolian event showcasing the 'Three Manly Games' of wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and cultural celebrations.
5. Explore the Orkhon Valley
Journey to the historic Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient archaeological sites, stunning waterfalls, and nomadic way of life. Discover the rich history and natural beauty of this enchanting valley.
6. Ride a camel in the Khongor Sand Dunes
Embark on a thrilling camel ride through the towering sand dunes of Khongor. Experience the awe-inspiring landscapes, enjoy panoramic views, and witness the golden sunset over the desert.
7. Visit Terelj National Park
Escape to the tranquility of Terelj National Park, located just outside of Ulaanbaatar. Explore the picturesque landscapes, hike to Turtle Rock, visit Buddhist monasteries, and experience the nomadic hospitality of the local community.
8. Discover the Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag
Uncover the secrets of the Flaming Cliffs in Bayanzag, a mesmerizing landscape renowned for its rich fossil discoveries, including dinosaur bones and eggs. Marvel at the striking red rock formations and learn about the region's prehistoric past.
9. Explore the Amarbayasgalant Monastery
Step back in time and explore the Amarbayasgalant Monastery, one of the most important Buddhist monastic complexes in Mongolia. Admire the intricate architecture, visit the meditation halls, and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of this sacred site.
10. Trek through the Altai Mountains
Embark on a challenging trek through the stunning Altai Mountains, a remote and rugged wilderness that spans across Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Experience breathtaking views, encounter diverse wildlife, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this untouched region.
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Mongolia has a continental climate, which means that it has long cold winters and short warm summers. The winter temperatures can drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius in the northern regions, while the summer temperatures can reach up to 30 degrees Celsius in the southern regions. The average temperature in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, ranges from -15 to 20 degrees Celsius. The Gobi Desert has a colder winter and a hotter summer than the other regions.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Mongolia depends on what you want to see and do during your trip. If you want to see the lush green grasslands and the wildflowers, the best time to visit is from June to August. If you want to see the traditional Naadam festival, the best time to visit is from July 11th to 13th.
If you want to see the wildlife and the birds, the best time to visit is from May to September. If you want to avoid the cold winter and the crowds, the best time to visit is from September to October. If you want to experience the traditional winter activities, such as ice fishing, ice skating, and dog sledding, the best time to visit is from December to February.
It is worth noting that the weather in Mongolia can be unpredictable and it is essential to pack warm clothes and appropriate gear for the activities you plan to do.
Mongolia offers a wide range of hotel accommodation options to suit all budgets. In the major cities, such as Ulaanbaatar, there are several international standard hotels and resorts, as well as budget-friendly guesthouses. These hotels usually offer amenities like air-conditioning, private bathrooms, and internet access. Some well-known hotels include the Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace, the Blue Sky Tower Hotel, and the Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel.
Ger camps are a unique and popular way to experience the traditional nomadic lifestyle of Mongolia. Ger camps are a cluster of traditional gers (yurts) that are set up in the countryside or near a national park. They usually offer basic amenities like a bed, a table, and a stove, and sometimes have shared bathrooms and showers. Ger camps are a great option for those who want to experience the outdoors, and they are available in many tourist destinations in the country.
Homestay accommodation is another great way to experience the local culture and hospitality of Mongolia. Many local families offer homestay accommodation in their homes, where you can enjoy traditional meals and get a glimpse into the daily life of the local people. Homestay accommodation is available in all regions of the country, including the major cities and the remote regions of the Gobi Desert and the Altai Mountains.
Camping and Trekking
For those who enjoy outdoor activities, camping and trekking in Mongolia's nature and mountains is an option. There are several camping and trekking outfitter companies that provide camping gear, guides and support. Some of them also provide traditional accommodation options like gers, tents or yurts.
Mongolia has a railway system that connects the country with Russia and China. The Trans-Mongolian railway, which runs from Moscow to Beijing, passes through Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. This is a popular option for travelers looking to experience the scenery of the country while traveling to or from China or Russia.
There are also bus services available in Mongolia, which connect major cities and towns within the country. This can be a more affordable option for traveling within Mongolia, however, the journey can be long and uncomfortable.
Renting a car and driving in Mongolia is also an option for travelers. This can be a good way to explore the country's remote areas, but it's important to note that the roads can be in poor condition and the driving itself can be challenging.
Domestic flights are also available in Mongolia, which can be a good option for traveling to remote areas of the country that are not easily accessible by train or bus.
Horseback, camel, and bicycle
For more adventurous travelers, horseback riding, camel trekking, and bicycle touring are popular ways to explore the country's rugged terrain. These options allow visitors to experience the traditional nomadic lifestyle and the country's natural beauty.
- The currency in Mongolia is the Mongolian Tugrik (MNT).
- Currency exchange can be done at banks, exchange offices, and some hotels.
Cash And Cards
- Cash is commonly used in Mongolia, especially in rural areas. It is recommended to carry small denominations.
- Credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand.
- ATMs are available in major cities and towns in Mongolia.
- It is advisable to withdraw cash in advance if you are traveling to rural areas where ATM availability may be limited.
- Tipping is not a common practice in Mongolia.
- However, if you receive exceptional service, you can show your appreciation by rounding up the bill or leaving a small amount of cash.
Cost Of Living
- The cost of living in Mongolia is relatively low.
- Accommodation, transportation, and food are generally inexpensive.
- Be cautious of money exchange scams. Only exchange currency at reputable places.
- Avoid street vendors selling counterfeit goods.
- Beware of pickpockets in crowded areas.