Mongolia, a nation bordered by China and Russia, is known for vast, rugged expanses and nomadic culture. Its capital, Ulaanbaatar, centers around Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) Square, named for the notorious founder of the 13th- and 14th-century Mongol Empire. Also in Ulaanbaatar are the National Museum of Mongolia, displaying historic and ethnographic artifacts, and the restored 1830 Gandantegchinlen Monastery.
Genghis Khan and Ulaanbaatar are the names that immediately ring the bell when you have Mongolia in mind. A beautiful, peaceful country where steppes reach beyond horizon, travellers enjoy trips on horseback or camel trek.
Many consider Mongolia to be one of Earth’s last frontiers, a destination so far and remote that only the most experienced of travelers can get there.
How to deal with this?
Plan your trip so that you spend more time in the spectacular countryside.
Planning an independent trip to Mongolia is a challenging task. The tourist trail is not well developed and lack of information makes it hard to figure out a great Mongolia travel itinerary for first-time visitors.
Unlike a lot of other places in Asia, you can’t just rock up in the country, pop into a travel agency and hop on a tour.
Useful facts about Mongolia
My friend from Mongolia Bartbayar Gurdorz says,
“Mongolian people are friendly and hospitable nomads, very different from Asians and Europeans but absorbed their best quality in their thinking, outlook and hospitality”
IS MONGOLIA A SAFE COUNTRY?
Yes, Generally, Mongolia is a safe destination for travellers. No religious, civil and political resistance or internal strife occurred there in recent years. City people will be happy to see you and nomads in the countryside will be hospitable to you.
HOW ABOUT VISAS?
For more details relating to travel laws to Mongolia, follow the link below:
Most nationalities need a visa to visit Mongolia, including Americans. Visas can be acquired at any Mongolian consulate or embassy abroad. Visas are normally valid for 3 months after the date of issuings. This means that you should not get your visa earlier than 2 months before your trip. Visas cannot be issued any longer at the airport in Ulan Bator.
If you are transiting through Beijing, most European nationals do not need visas if connecting internationally on the same day. However, be aware that some airlines do not know this rule and won’t let you board your flight to Beijing without a visa. Check with both, your local Chinese embassy and the airline you are flying with.
It is advisable to arrange for a travel insurance before embarking on a journey to Mongolia
WHAT ONE NEEDS TO BRING?
Your packing list depends on where you’ll go when you travel, what activities you’ll be undertaking, whether you’re an independent traveller and what accommodation you’ll be using. Here are some suggestions: photocopy of passport and other important documents, trousers and shoes suitable for walking as well as lightweight ones, warm jacket and clothes suitable for the city, waterproof clothing, sun hat, sun glasses, camera and spare batteries, torch and batteries for camping head, sleeping bags, water bottles, matches, pen knife, and first aid kit, medications etc.
Best times to visit Mongolia are June, July and August.
HOW TO GET TO MONGOLIA?
Only international airport Chinggis Khaan receives flights from Moscow, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and Berlin. Besides, MIAT Mongolian airline, Aeroflot- Russian airline, Korean Air- Korean airlines, Air China- CAAC have scheduled flights to/from Mongolia.
From America, the best way is via Seoul. Many travellers take the opportunity to stop over in Beijing from where there are daily connections to Mongolia.
MIAT Mongolian Airlines – http://www.miat.com
Aeroflot – http://www.aeroflot.ru/eng/
Air China – http://www.airchina.com.cn
Korean Air – http://www.koreanair.com
How to travel to Mongolia from India
1. Hong Kong and then MIAT to ULN which is cheapest so far, it’s not daily though.
2. From Delhi Air China to Beijing and then UB but the connections, especially while coming back, are very bad, almost 32 hours.
3. From Mumbai to Seoul by Korean Air and then connect ULN — Not daily and costly and not good connection time
4. From Delhi to Moscow to ULN — This routing gets costly if I want to book a direct ticket via Moscow and bypass the Russian Visa Issue. Aeroflot at least in their site doesn’t offer a budget ticket for this route.
5. From Delhi to Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek) and then Turkish Air, once again not daily and costly and additional issue of Kyrghiz visa for Indians.
HOW ABOUT MEALS?
In Ulaanbaatar you can have good dining in cosy restaurants featuring international cuisine; Italian, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and of course Mongolian meals. In the countryside, if you stay in a tourist camp you will have western styled meals and Mongolian BBQ. If you have tent camping, you will have picnic meals such as fried meat and vegetables, which can be cooked on fire outdoors.
HOW ABOUT VEGETARIANS?
If you inform our travel partner beforehand, vegetarian meals can be arranged.
WHAT ABOUT MEDICAL FACILITIES?
All provincial capitals have basic hospitals. A Traveller is required to bring his/her own first aid kit. Our travel partner cannot accept you on any of our trips without a full medical insurance including evacuation cover. International SOS has a clinic both in Ulan Bator, Mongolia and Beijing and provides various evacuation plans. All services related to medical services are your or your insurer`s responsibility.
Mongolia Tour 15 Days- curated by our trusted travel partner: http://tuguldurtengertravel.com/
Day 1 Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
You will be greeted at the airport and escorted to the hotel. After resting you enjoy the first day exploring the city. Take a city tour including visits to Chinggis Khaan central square and National Museum of Mongolia. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at hotel
Day 2 Travel to Equestrian Statue of the Chinggis Khaan and Terelj National Park
We will drive to the east side of Ulaanbaatar to enjoy visiting the Equestrian Statue of the Chinggis Khaan. It is the biggest equestrian statue in the world. Then we will drive to Terelj national park, which is one of the most wonderful protected areas. Then we visit the sacred rock that looks like a turtle and Aryabal meditation temple. Explore the most beautiful scenery of Terelj National Park. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
Day 3 Travel to Tsagaan Suvarga
On the way we will enjoy seeing a picturesque granite rocky mountain called “Baga Gazar” we have lunch. Then continue to travel to Tsagaan Suvarga, an ancient stunning place with unusual formations. It is said that the area used to be underwater. Hike to the beautiful natural places at sunset. Stay overnight in tent camping.
Day 4 Travel to Yol Valley
We will drive to Yol valley, a national park that is an amazing place for hiking. Enjoy walking through the gorgeous valley while watching Yol birds (Lammergeier) wild animals (if we are lucky) and visiting the local Gobi museum. Stay overnight in Ger camp
Day 5 Travel to Sand dune (Gobi Desert)
Drive to Khongor sand dune that is Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. We will enjoy the activities of Gobi desert including trying riding two-humped Bactrian camels an hour, visiting nomadic camel herding families, hiking in sand dunes, and watching incredible views from top of the dune mountain when sunset starts. Stay overnight in Ger camp
Day 6 Travel to Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs)
We will drive to the Flaming Cliffs, which is a world renowned Paleontological site, to enjoy exploring red sandstone bluffs where hundreds of dinosaur fossils have been found and this area where dinosaurs lived here 60-80 million years ago. This area is most famous for yielding the first discovery of dinosaur eggs in the world. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
Day 7 Travel to Ruin of Ongi Monastery
Today we will drive toward central Mongolia. Enjoy walking through the valley of Ongi river and visiting the ruins of the Ongiin Khiid monasteries. It is a ruined and partially rebuilt monastery founded in 1760. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
Day 8 Travel to Eight lakes National park
Today we will drive to enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Mongolia. Then we will reach the Eight lakes that are located 2400m above sea level, are connected underground to the rivers and surrounded by volcanic rocks. We enjoy exploring eight lakes national park and visit local nomadic families with yaks. Stay overnight in a tent camp near an amazing lake.
Day 9 Travel Orkhon Waterfall
We will drive half a day and visit and enjoy one of the biggest waterfalls in Mongolia is Ulaan Tsutgalan falling down 25m in the Orkhon valley, a rare and favourite site among tourists. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
Day 10 Travel to Tsenkher Hot Spring
On the way we visit Tuvkhun monastery that was built by Zanabazar who was the first leader of Mongolian Buddhism in 1653. We will go hiking for about 3hours to visit an amazing monastery on top of forest mountains. Then we will reach natural hot spring erupts from underground with water of +85 degrees (+38 degrees Celsius). Many tourists like to relieve their fatigue by bathing in the hot spring. Enjoy a relaxing time at hot natural springs. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
Day 11 Travel to Kharkhorum city
We will drive to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia. We will visit Erdene Zuu monastery (1585-1674) on ruins of Kharkhorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire where Chinggis Khaan established in the 13th century. It is one of the largest Buddhist monasteries and the first center of Lama Buddhism in Mongolia. We will visit “Kharakhorum” , a newly opened local museum and explore around Kharakhorum town. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
Day 12 Travel to Ugii Lake
Today we will spend one day with a beautiful Ugii lake that is noted in Ramsar Convents. We will visit a local horsemen family to enjoy horseback riding around Ugii fresh water lake of vast steppe and walk along the lake shore to view the local bird species. There is also an opportunity to swim in Ugii Lake. Stay overnight in the tourist Ger camp.
Day 13 Travel to Khustai National Park
We will visit “Khustai” national park to see rare Takhi that is the world`s last truly wild horses . Enjoy small hiking and photographing the charming landscapes. Stay overnight in tent camp.
Day 14 Travel Back to Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast, we will travel back to Ulaanbaatar. Shopping for cashmere and souvenirs. We will see an amazing traditional art performance in the evening. Enjoying farewell dinner. Stay overnight at a hotel.
Day 15 Departure from Mongolia
After breakfast you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport or train station.
The most important festival in Mongolia is the Naadam festival celebrated on the National Day in July and a few days before or after. The festival honors the three main arts – wrestling, archery and horse riding.
The other important festival is Tsagaan Sar, the Lunar New Year which is celebrated with traditional foods and rituals.
Travel and don’t stop!