10 Things You Must Know before You Travel to Mongolia
Mongolian Tughrik (MNT) is the currency of Mongolia. 1 USD is equivalent with 3419 Mongolia Tugrik based on the currency of July 20, 2023. The exchange rate is floating, not constant. The Tugrik denominations commonly used are 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100 and 50.
In Ulaanbaatar, most ATM support Union Pay card cash withdrawal. And most of the places support credit cards like Union Pay, Visa and Master. And it is possible to charge commission when using ATM or credit cards. Outside Ulaanbaatar, the endless grassland and the remote ATM make it inconvenient to withdraw cash. So we advise you prepare some cash in advance, which will be convenient for your journey.
Exchanging in Mongolia is convenient, and you don’t need to prepare large amount of cash before you enter Mongolia. And it is not recommended to keep large amount of Mongolia Tugrik with you when you leave Mongolia because it becomes devalued quickly.
The largest and only international airport of Mongolia is New Ulaanbaatar International Airport. And Ulaanbaatar is the city that you enter or leave Mongolia. If you travel to Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar will be the city that you stay for the longest time.
Ulaanbaatar is the transportation center of Mongolia. The main transportation of Mongolia is highway and railway. There are 2 railways in Mongolia. One is Ulaanbaatar Railway, which is part of the Combined Transport Railway of China-Mongolia-Russia. Another one is the Border Crossing Railway of Mongolia and Russia. The main railways of Mongolia connect Russia and China.
Mongolia is a country with vast territory and small population. Most of the regions are connected by highways. And highway is the main transportation when traveling. And most of your travel will be on the way to different attractions. But Mongolia’s scenery alongside your way is worth watching, it is not a waste of time.
Chinggis Khaan International Airport
As typical continental climate, Mongolia is cold in winter and cool in summer. As typical temperate grassy climate, the average temperature of Mongolia in winter is -15℃, which is absolutely freezing cold. And the temperature difference in Mongolia is huge between day and night. The cool weather in summer makes Mongolia a paradise for avoiding the heat.
The temperature of Mongolia in spring is below zero, which is still cold. Summer in Mongolia is comfortable for many people because of the cool weather. Autumn is also a good time to visit Mongolia, though the weather is a bit cooler. The winter in Mongolia lasts a long time from November to March, accompanied by frozen temperature. In conclusion, summer and autumn will be the best time to travel to Mongolia, especially summer.
Current Forecast: Data from Weather Trends
Taking Ulaanbaatar as heart, Mongolia has been divided into 5 parts. They are Central Mongolia, Eastern Mongolia, Southern Mongolia, Northern Mongolia and Western Mongolia. The Central Mongolia and southern Mongolia are most perfect development parts. Northern Mongolia is affected by seasons. There are few tourists to Eastern Mongolia and Western Mongolia, especially for Eastern Mongolia, where locals never comes to.
Central Mongolia: Terelj National Park, Hustai National Park, Sukhbaatar Square, Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Zaisan Memorial, Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan
Eastern Mongolia: Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue
Southern Mongolia: Gobi Desert, Flaming Cliffs, Khongoryn Els, Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, Yolyn Am Valley
Northern Mongolia: Lake Khovsgol
Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar
There are hotels and hostels in Ulaanbaatar, which are comfortable and not very expensive. There are many hostels in Ulaanbaatar. It is recommended to stay near the Sukhbaatar Square, which is more convenient. If you want to experience the Mongolian yurts or gers, you can choose it when you visit the Terelj National Park.
Traffic in Ulaanbaatar
The transportation in urban area is convenient. The buses are cheap. But there are seldom taxis. The private cars have the function of taxis, whose price is reasonable. And private cars are also a good alternative. Please notice that the traffic in Ulaanbaatar is very busy. If you are going to the airport, please leave more time for yourself taking the busy traffic into your consideration.
Attractions in Ulaanbaatar
The attractions in Ulaanbaatar are more historical, like National History Museum of Mongolia, Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Zaisan Memorial and Winter Palace of Bogd Khan. Taking photos at museums or monasteries are not permitted in Mongolia. If you want to take photos at these places, please ask the staff there in advance. Please be aware of that photographing may need extra fees at museums or monasteries in Mongolia.
Food and Entertainment
If you are a mutton lover, Mongolia is your paradise, for which Mongolia has delicious and cheap mutton. The quantity of sheep in Mongolia is much more than its population. Except for mutton, beef and dairy products are with high quality in Mongolia with cheap price. Also, you can taste the delicious food in other countries in Mongolia, like South Korea, China and Japan.
If you want to experience the entertainment in Ulaanbaatar, you can go to the theatre near the Genghis Khan Square. Besides, if you like alcoholic drink, you can go to the bars to taste the alcoholic drink in Mongolia. Mongolian people often climb up to the top of the Zaisan Memorial to have a panoramic view of Ulaanbaatar at night.
6. Network in Mongolia
Actually, it is not expensive to access the Internet, which is easy and convenient to communicate with your families and friends when you are traveling in Mongolia.
It is advised that buying a phone SIM card to access the Internet, which is economical. Unitel and Mobicom are recommended for you, and Unitel is best in net speed and price. To buy a phone SIM card just needs your passport. The staff will advise you the types after knowing the days you will stay in Mongolia.
English in Mongolia is not very useful. The young people in Ulaanbaatar often know speaking English. If you want to communicate for help, you can ask the young people.
The elders and the herders on the steppes only know Mongolian. But Russian and Mongolian is similar. If you know Russian, you can communicate with them simply. The 2 languages are similar, not the same.
So in Mongolia, a guide who knows English and Mongolian is significant. TAT has professional guides who provide you perfect service during your trip in Mongolia.
The cashmere in Mongolia is in high quality. After all, Mongolia is a country whose quantity of sheep is much more than population. Among the cashmere brands in Mongolia, Gobi is famous and with high quality. Maybe the cashmere clothes in Mongolia is not so fashionable like other countries, but its cashmere is really good and not so expensive.
If you want to buy something for gifts to your families and friends in Mongolia, you can choose beef jerky, dairy products, alcoholic drink and chocolate of Gobi. The Gobi chocolate is Mongolia’s own brand, which is worth trying. And the dairy products are recommended to buy because they are high quality at the cheaper price.
9. Prohibition of Alcohol and Smoking
Every 1st day of each month is a non-alcohol day in Mongolia by government law. The whole Ulaanbaatar doesn’t sell any alcohol at those days. You should obey the laws and rules when you travel to a country. Please do not drink or buy any alcohol at the 1st day of each moth in Mongolia.
Smoking is forbidden in public in whole Mongolia. When you are eating, on the train of Mongolia or at the railway station, you are not permitted to smoke. And you should not smoke near the schools. Smoking in the public in Mongolia will be fined.
Respect local customs and pay attention to manners when traveling to a country are very important. Be in Mongolia, respect the customs here.
- Mongolian people are always quiet when they are eating, please don’t make loud noise when you are eating in Mongolia.
- Pay attention to your behaviour when you enter a monastery in Mongolia, keep respectable in the monastery.
- If you enter a monastery and want to worship, please take off your hats or sunglasses to show your respect.
- Avoid talking about national and political issues which may cause something unpleasant.
- Please don’t touch head and hats of Mongolian people because they don’t like their head or hats touched by others.