What to know before travel to Mongolia

What to know before traveling to Mongolia?

12 things to know before traveling to Mongolia

In this guide we have compiled information and tips which we hope you will find helpful in preparing for your trip to Mongolia.

1. Are vaccines and medications necessary?

Mongolian Ways is not authorised to provide professional medical advice. We recommend that you take advice from your doctor prior to booking your tour if you are concerned about what precautions you should take. If you are taking regular medication, please bring a sufficient quantity to last for your entire trip as some medications are difficult to find or are non-existent in Mongolia. Please ensure that you carry your medications in your on-board flight bag, rather than in your checked-in luggage.

2. Is insurance required?

Each participant on our tours is required to have valid travel insurance, including Medevac (Medical Air Evacuation), with a limit that would allow them to be flown back home for medical treatment. Your insurance policy should also cover extreme activities, from off-road driving, to horse and camel riding, and also rafting and water activities.

We encourage you to read your insurance policy carefully, and to look for activities which are excluded, or limitations imposed on your policy due to predetermined medical conditions. If you are suffering from a medical condition, please consult your insurer to check whether you will be covered on your trip. 

3. What is Mongolian currency?

The local currency is called the Tugrug (₮). As of April 2021, the exchange rate is about 2848 Tugrugs to the USD. The preferred foreign currency for exchange purposes is USD or Euro, but Pounds Sterling, Russian Rubles, and Chinese RMB can also be exchanged in many places in Ulaanbaatar. If you bring US dollars, make sure the notes were printed after 1996 (the large heads rather than the small ones). 50 dollar and 100 dollar notes will get a better exchange rate than smaller notes. Some exchange facilities are open 24/7. We recommend changing money only in banks, hotels, and exchange facilities. You can bring credit cards for emergencies, but they are only accepted in hotels and high-end restaurants in Ulaanbaatar.

4. What are the personal expenses?

All travel expenses, including meals, accommodation, entrance fees, all shows, etc. are included in the price of the tour. Personal expenses, such as purchasing souvenirs, additional food and beverages beyond those provided, laundry and communication costs are to be met by the traveler. Based on our experience, 50 US dollars or equivalent would be sufficient to cover such expenses, but if you need your beer or glass of wine at the end of a day, or you are likely to purchase many souvenirs, or you just want to be on the safe side, you could change 100 US dollars. We recommend changing enough money before leaving Ulaanbaatar, as exchanging money outside the city is difficult. If you have money left over at the end of your trip, you can always exchange it at Chinggis Khan Airport before leaving the country.

5. Is tipping accepted?

While tipping is not necessary, it is widely accepted. We adequately pay all service providers throughout the trip but, as in any country, tipping shows your gratitude for pleasant and efficient service.

6. What documents do I need?

  • Passport - Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months, with at least 3 empty pages.
  • Mongolian visa - There are different requirements, depending on which passport you hold. Visit our Mongolian visa article for detailed information. 
  • Medical record and release from liability: everyone traveling with Mongolian Ways must complete and sign a trip application which includes these two documents.

7. Can I connect to the internet?

In Ulaanbaatar, there is no problem connecting to the internet. There are plenty of internet cafes, and all hotels are equipped with Wi-Fi router and business centres that have internet facilities. Outside the city, you will be able to connect only in the provincial capitals. Unless you are going on a remote expedition, you will visit a provincial capital on average once every three to four days.

8. Will my cell phone work in Mongolia?

Yes, your phone will work in Mongolia and if you have international roaming service, you will be able to get a signal in Ulaanbaatar, its surroundings, and in the provincial capitals. Most SIMs/chips purchased in Mongolia are also able to provide data connection, which means you would be able to use internet on the move.

9. How is food on the trip?

On most of our tours, all meals from arrival to departure are included. We recommend that you also bring your favorite snacks, energy bars, and snacks or nibbles you might want to keep you going during the long driving days. If you are a coffee or tea drinker, or you like a particular food and it is tinned or wrapped, we recommend that you bring these along too. Fresh food items such as vegetables, sausages, cheese, etc. are restricted from being imported into Mongolia, and would most probably be confiscated upon your arrival in the country.

10. What is the electricity supply like?

The current in Mongolia is 220V, the same as in the EU. The sockets are mostly two thick or sometimes thin rounded pins. As there is not a standard plug fitting in Mongolia, you might find different sockets, so bringing a multi-pin adapter is essential. Please bear in mind that the supply of electricity in the countryside is unstable, so we highly recommend that you carry sufficient batteries to run your equipment for 2-3 days without having to charge from the mains. A small slimline portable battery pack for charging your cell phone might also be a good idea.

11. What about photos and video?

Mongolians like to pose for photos, but always make sure you ask their permission before you shoot. They will be extremely happy if you send them copies of the photos, so bringing big, white, blank stickers on which they can write their address is a good idea. With this in mind, please take into account that most people working in markets won’t be very sympathetic if camera lenses are aimed at them, so we recommend that you avoid taking photos in markets altogether. If you are a camera enthusiast and shooting on film rather than using digital, bring sufficient rolls with you, as not all types are available in Mongolia. A polarizing filter is also very useful, along with spare batteries. If you are using a video camera or a digital camera, you can recharge your batteries in most Ger camps.

12. Any personal safety and security advice?

We recommend following these simple rules to keep yourself safe:

Carry your money, passport, flight ticket and medical insurance in a well-hidden money belt. It is recommended to make two copies of your passport, flight ticket, and insurance policy. The copies should be kept:

  • With you, separate from the original document.
  • With a friend or family member back home.

If you are in any doubt, please feel free to contact us for information and advice.

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