Voltage: 220V, Frequency: 50Hz
Tughrik (MNT) exchange rates
UTC +7 hours/ +8 hours
What to expect
Mongolia is a fascinating destination with a strong, proud heritage. The people are traditionally nomadic, and for centuries have roamed the wide stretches of grassy plains. Despite this, Mongolia's cities are rapidly modernizing and offering the people more opportunities for employment and trade.
Mongolia's people are friendly and warm, and eager to extend their hospitality. Perhaps get to know more about the traditional Mongolian way of life with a homestay in a traditional dwelling called a ger.
The accommodation options and services standards in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, can be of an international standard, though most of the country features basic facilities and service standards, along with some uncomfortable roads. A flexible attitude will help you make the most of your time in Mongolia.
From Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne
approximately 13 hours
approximately 11 hours
Banks, public offices and some tourist sites will be closed on the holidays listed here. As major holidays are set according to the lunar calendar, dates change every year. Please check with our Australia-based Asia specialists for details.
1 January is New Year's Day
, a public holiday. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
January/ February (two months after the first new moon following the winter solstice) is Tsagaan sar or White Moon
, which is the Mongolian Lunar New Year. Families and friends visit each other and exchange gifts, dress in traditional costumes and perform traditional rituals such as burning candles.
8 March is International Woman's Day
, a public holiday celebrating the contribution of women to Mongolian society.
18 March is Men’s and Soldiers Day
, marking the establishment of the country's military. Women around the country give thanks to the men in their family on this day.
1 June is Mothers' and Children's Day
, a day of celebration for families with parades, concerts and traditional food eaten. Rural-dwelling Mongolians often travel to the nearest town to partake in activities their children enjoy, such as going to the cinema.
11-13 July is Naadam Festival
, a three day national holiday where traditional games are played. People compete in three key sports - Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery, and the associated parades, costumes and crowds are quite a spectacle.
26 November is Independence Day
, celebrating Mongolia becoming an independent country in 1924 after centuries of Chinese rule.
31 December is New Year's Eve
, a time of much celebration in Mongolia, as in the rest of the world.
Health & Fitness
Travellers to Mongolia should take precautions as they would elsewhere in Asia. In remote areas medical facilities can be particularly basic. Some of the diseases known to exist in Mongolia include malaria, hepatitis A & B, typhoid, tuberculosis, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, rabies and HIV/ AIDS.
We recommend you take adequate preventative measures to minimise your risk of exposure to these health risks. We strongly recommend you consult your preferred doctor for the most up-to-date health advice at least one month prior to travel.
Citizens of the US travelling to Mongolia for less than 90 days do not require a visa. Citizens of Australia, UK, EU Countries, New Zealand and Canada along with most other nationalities require a visa to visit Mongolia. Tourist visas must be acquired from a Mongolian embassy or consulate in your home country before arrival. Visas are valid for all international points of entry into Mongolia.
Please note Mongolian visa regulations may change, and you need to ensure you have a valid visa before you travel. We strongly suggest that you check with the relevant embassies in your country of residence for up-to-date visa requirements and relevant information.
Safety and security
Mongolia is generally a safe country, however petty street crime in towns and cities is on the rise as tourist numbers increase. We recommended you take taxis rather than walk at night. Taxis are mostly metered and inexpensive, but make sure the driver activates the meter and is clear on your destination.
To assist in finding your way back to your hotel, make sure you obtain a hotel address card to show taxi drivers. Many drivers cannot read or speak English. Throughout your stay, always keep a photocopy of your passport, airline tickets and credit card numbers.
These documents should be kept in a safe place separate from the originals. You should leave valuables in hotel safety deposit boxes wherever possible. We recommend you wear as little jewellery as possible and keep your spending money close to your body in a secure place when out on the street.
When travelling on trains, you may wish to take extra precautions with your valuables by using a money belt. Read our safety guidelines for further information.
Odyssey Guide Mongolia by Carl Robinson
is a beautifully illustrated book providing insights into Mongolia's fascinating history and rich culture.
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
tracks the story of Genghis Khan and his descendants by the only Western scholar to be allowed into Genghis Khan's burial site.
In the Empire of Genghis Khan, A Journey Among Nomads by Stanley Stewart
is a humourous account of the author's adventure crossing Mongolia on horseback.
Modern Mongolia, Reclaiming Genghis Khan by Paula Sabloff
is a factual look at Mongolia, with Mongolian and American perspectives offered, some of a scholarly nature.
Modern Mongolia, From Khans to Commissars to Capitalists by Morris Rossabi
is a look at the political economy of Mongolia over the last decade.
Lonely Planet Mongolian Phrasebook
is an essential guide to the key phrases that will help you navigate the intricacies of travel in Mongolia, from basic greetings to ordering food.
Useful words & phrases
Hello (literally 'how are you')
Sain bai-na uu?
I'm fine.How are you?
Sain ta sain bai-na uu?
Excuse me/ I'm sorry
Thanks (this is a bit curt)
What is your name?
Ta-ny nee-riiig khen ge-deg ve
My name is...
Mi-nii ne-riig ...ge-deg
What country are you from?
Ta a-li ul-saas ir-sen be?
How old are you?
Ta khe-den nas-tai ve?
I am ...years old
Can I take your photograph?
Bi ta-ny zur-giig avch bo-lokh uu?
Do you speak English?
Ta an-gliar yair-dag uu?
Arrival and departure transfers
Road travel in Mongolia is in mini-buses or mid-sized coaches in the cities, and comfortable 4WD vehicles in the countryside. Road conditions in remote locations may be bumpy, and less developed than in Western countries.
Train travel is another aspect of your journey in Mongolia, with a two night stint on the Trans-Mongolian Railway, where accommodation is in 4-berth soft-sleeper compartments. Other modes of transport include domestic flights, your own two feet for hiking and exploring towns and cities, as well as camel and horse riding.
Internet services are widely available in Mongolia's tourist centres. Hotels often provide internet which can be more convenient, though often costs more than seeking out an alternative beyond your accommodation. In Ulaanbaatar, you can find international phone and fax facilities, though they can be expensive.
Most hotels offer international direct dial, and reverse charge calls can be made from many cities. International mail usually takes at least 14 days to reach its destination, and is slightly cheaper to send than in Western countries. Parcels are usually inspected by customs staff at the post office prior to be being sealed, and you can purchase boxes for packaging at most post offices.
Food & drink
Mongolia offers a simple cuisine based more on practicality and substance than flavour. It features influences from neighbouring Russia and China, and focuses on dairy products, meat, rice, bread and a small amount of vegetables and spices. It has evolved to suit the peoples' nomadic lifestyle and the often harsh climate.
Mutton is a common dish in rural areas, and is usually served with rice or bread and some vegetables, or consumed as a dumpling filling. Meat and noodle stews are common, as are soups. Dried meat is eaten as a snack.
Popular dairy products in Mongolia include cheese, yoghurt, curd and fermented mare's milk, which may be offered by families in the countryside as a welcome drink. In summer, fresh blueberry jam is a local treat. Tap water is not safe to drink in Mongolia, however is readily available and cheap. Local brands of vodka and beer are also available.
We believe tipping is a great way to show your appreciation for receiving great service, and while it is accepted practice in Asia, it should never feel like an obligation. At the beginning of each trip, your Western tour leader or local guide will ask for a small sum (around 50 cents a day) to cover tips for hotel porters and boat crews throughout the trip.
This helps prevent over tipping and having to always carry small change. We are confident that you will be extremely happy with the service you receive from our guides, drivers and tour leaders, and in many cases will choose to show this through a tip, so we do not include compulsory tipping for any Travel Indochina representatives on any of our trips. The choice to tip is always completely up to you.
As a landlocked country, swimming is not the first activity you may think of when considering activities on offer in Mongolia. There may be opportunities to swim in hotel swimming pools, particularly in Ulaanbaatar, however the usual safety precautions apply.
If travelling with children, be particularly cautious. There are also swimming opportunities in some of Mongolia's scenic lakes. As these are unpatrolled, it is important to be aware of your own limitations and to stay in sight of others.
While we only offer a couple Small Group Journeys in Mongolia each year, we have endeavoured to include some special touches which highlight our commitment to responsible tourism.
During a journey through Mongolia, you will have the opportunity to visit a local home and share a meal with the family, in traditional style and in a way which highlight Mongolians' hospitality to visitors in this regard. Learn more about our focus on responsible travel.