The best time to travel in Mongolia is between the summer months of May and October. However some interesting festivals take place in the winter, which are becoming an appealing attraction to travelers. Those are the Golden Eagle Festival in October, the Camel Festival and the Ice Festival in January/February.
While in Ulaanbaatar the capital city we use the various different hotels and hotels in Ulaanbaatar have improved significantly in the past few years. We use primarily following 2 hotels as they are the best available in the town, such as Shangri-La, Kempinski Khan Palace.
For those wishing more comfortable lodging, we have trips offering ger camp accommodation wherever we go. Gers, the traditional dwelling of nomads, are round felt tents, which are spacious and with proper beds and sheets.
Usually 2-3 people share a ger. We try to provide single accommodation where possible, but in the high season it is not always available. Ger camps have a large dining ger to serve meals and a bar for drinks in the evening. There is a communal facility for hot water running showers and flush toilets.
While joining our expedition tours, you will camp in tents. Depending on the request from the client we can provide the classic camping gears with tents, mattresses and sleeping bags. But we can also easily increase the comfort by providing large tent with enough space where you can stand and walk around and sleep on the real bed with proper beddings with duvet and pillows. We bring toilet tent and shower tent for privacy and comfort and our field kitchen produces one of the best meals in Mongolia that is hard to believe it is produced out in the wilderness. We pay attention to little details that makes big difference when camping and to avoid hustling with tents and camping gears, we bring camping assistants who set up the camp for us so when we arrive after day activity we can shower and enjoy drinks and meals without having to work. After all you are on a HOLIDAY!
Our trips are designed to accommodate two general levels of comfort and activities.
“G” trips are appropriate for any age or level of fitness. We may suggest a day hike or offer an opportunity to ride horses or camels as part of the trip. These activities are not arduous or demanding.
Adventure activities offered on expeditions (“E” trips) are however of moderate to advanced level of difficulty. Mongolian horses are small but with good stamina, well tempered and relatively easy to handle. If you have a reasonable level of fitness and have ridden a few times before, you are eligible for a horseback-riding trip. We provide Australian saddles for riding. The two-humped Bactrian camels in Mongolia are extremely comfortable to ride. No prior experience is necessary.
The clients are mainly driven in 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps or vans, suitable to the Mongolian roads and conditions.
On trips away from the capital city, (where clients fly to the local destinations) we work with local drivers with well-maintained vehicles and who have years of experience of driving off road. They know their area very well. Our drivers are excellent navigators too. Clients are always amazed how the drivers know their way in the middle of nowhere, with no traffic signs or sometimes no track at all. There is almost no need to drive at night, (15-17 hours of day light in the summer) however, if necessary the drivers are able to use the star position for navigation.
When you first meet our drivers they might appear not very friendly, (because Mongolians usually don’t smile to strangers!) but very quickly you will realize that you are in good hands of friendly, supportive and confident people. They are fun companions to travel with.
Mongolians have a reputation for their meat eating habit. Some countryside nomad might get offended to be served by vegetable dish, they might say, “I am not a goat!”
But we in the travel business are aware of different dietary needs of our clients. The meals are varied, nutritious, hygienically prepared and tasty. We use lots of fruit and vegetables. Mutton and beef are the main consumption in Mongolia additionally our cook serves chicken and fish as well.
The cooks also have some good recipe’s for vegetarian dishes. The vegetarians and others with specific dietary requirement should notify us before coming so that our cooks can prepare accordingly.
Breakfast is full course with tea, coffee, fruit juice, egg, bread, butter, jam, cheese, a fruit salad. On cool mornings we serve cooked breakfast. Lunches are usually light with vegetable salad and sandwich, chocolate bar and drink. Dinners are usually big with vegetable salad, main course, and desert.
Mongolia is a remarkably sunny country that enjoys in average 280 sunny days a year. While the country re-known for its cold winter (it can be as cold as 40"C below zero), Mongolian summer is very warm with an average temperature of 20"C above zero. Because of its continental location and high altitude, temperatures can vary, especially in the Gobi desert and in high mountains. There is a low precipitation, the highest rainfall period is in July and August, however there are still days of glorious sunshine during this time. As a general guide here is some information about temperatures.
The average temperatures in May-June:
In the South of the country (Gobi) +15+20C during the day & +10+15 during the night. In the northern half of the country the temperatures range from +10+15 during the day & +5+10 during the night.
In the south of the country the average temperatures vary from +25+35 during the day & +18+20 during the night. In the north +20+25 during the day & +15+20 during the night.
In the south the temperatures are from +15+25 during the day & +10+15 during the night. In the north they are from +10+20 during the day and +5+10 during the night.
Visitors must have a Mongolian visa to travel to Mongolia, except when bilateral arrangements provide for waiver of visa requirement. The citizens of the following countries travel to Mongolia without a visa within the timeframe listed.
- USA- 90 days,
- Kazakhstan - 90 days
- Malaysia – 30 days
- Israel - 30 days
- Philippines - 21 days
- Hong Kong - 14 days
- Singapore - 14 days
If the citizens of above listed countries travel in Mongolia longer than the listed days, they need to get the visa.
MIAT is the national carrier of Mongolia operating out of Berlin, Moscow, Irkutsk, Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, and Hoh Hot. Apart from this airline the following airlines have scheduled flights to/from Mongolia: Turkish Airline, Korean Air, Air China and Aeroflot.
We highly recommend all our clients to make their own travel insurance from reputable insurance provider with air evacuation included. There is Ulaanbaatar branch of the SOS international hospital operates for medical assistance.
There is no limit on foreign currency, traveler's checks brought to Mongolia. Foreign currency must be registered at Mongolian customs. The Banks have a network of branch and exchanging bureau at most hotels. The travelers’ checks must be signed at the desk of the cashier. Previously signed checks are not accepted for exchange. There are duty-free or souvenir shops where convertible currencies are accepted. Diners Club, American Express, JCB, Master and Visa Card are accepted at the hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. ATM is alsowidely available in Ulaanbaatar and bigger towns.
Classic and national opera, ballet and play, folk concert and circus are main evening entertainments offered to visitors. Ulaanbaatar has a thriving nightlife with a number of very lively night clubs, pubs, and dance clubs.
Mongolia is the best place to buy yak down and cashmere products: sweaters, gloves, scarves, dresses, blankets, etc. As the country is a one the world’s leading producer of yak down and raw cashmere it offers very competitive prices as well as good design and quality.
Variety of art crafts is of interest to foreign travelers. Mongolia has a unique nomadic culture and arts/culture became one of its largest export items.
The standard voltage in Mongolia is 220 volts/50 Hz. Sockets require a European two-pin type plug or adaptor. While on expeditions 12V converters to 110V or 220V would be handy to charge your batteries from the vehicles.