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Golden Eagle Festival in Mongolia (Shutterstock)

Once the heart of a nomadic empire where every child grew up on horseback, Mongolia’s soul is found in its untouched countryside — sprawling mountains carve across the west, Lake Khovsgol rests at the north, the Gobi Desert stretches southward, and vast grasslands blanket carpet much of its land.

The snowy Altai Mountains, with an average altitude of 3,000 metres, are home to the Kazakhs, who hunt with eagles. Lake Khovsgol and its nearby national park host a collection of precious species, from ibex to brown bears. In the Gobi Desert, rare Bactrian camels migrate in groups, while local valleys are settled.

In the capital, Ulaanbaatar, also known as the world’s coldest capital in winter, the hospitality of the fierce-spirited Mongolians offer a warm welcome to all tourists. Get a close touch to their vibrant culture in Buddhist monasteries like the Gandantegchenling Monastery and the enduring legacy of Genghis Khan.

Naadam festival takes place during summertime, amidst the picturesque view of sheep and horses grazing on grasslands. Here, nomads showcase their expertise in traditional sports: horseracing, wrestling, and archery.

Visitors can join in with traditional ways of life with a horse or camelback journey, find rest in a Mongolian yurt steeped in history, and marvel at the mesmerising Milky Way during beautiful summer nights. It is then that the nomadic spirit of wilderness and resilience comes to life.

Mongolia is more diverse than people realise. Come here for the unspoilt landscapes and unchanged culture. But be prepared for long distances.

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Ulaanbaatar (known as UB)
3.3 million
Int. dial code
Travellers can visit visa-free for up to 90 days
Time zone
220 AC, 50 Hz
Mongolian togrog (MNT). There are limited opportunities to change money or use credit cards outside Ulaanbaatar.

When to go to Mongolia

Summer (June-August) is the best time to pay a visit when lakes and grasslands defrost and the country restores its vibrant state. The Naadam festival is also celebrated in July.

Autumn (September-October) is a pleasant season with still-warm weather and fewer tourists, and the landscape adorned in golden hues. It is also an ideal time to explore the Gobi Desert, which can be scorching hot in summer.

The continental climate and high altitude of Mongolia sees its long, harsh winters, where temperatures in the northern parts can drop to -40°C. Snow can be found in the desert.

International airports

Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport (UBN) is about 52 km south of the city.

Getting around Mongolia

Domestic airlines, trains, and buses offer transportation options within the country.

Public buses serve Ulaanbaatar while taxis are scarce.

Regional buses operate from the capital to various provinces and cities, but there may be limited services to remote areas like Western Mongolia. Most people choose to fly here from Ulaanbaatar, as travelling by car can take more than 36 hours.

When renting a car, anticipate long-distance driving as landmarks are spread far apart. Some roads may be icy during winter and spring, and road conditions can be rough. English is not widely spoken in Mongolia, so travellers should be prepared for communication challenges.

Travelling by horse or camel also isn’t unusual in remote areas.

Health and safety in Mongolia

While Mongolia is considered a safe country, travellers should remain vigilant, particularly in crowded areas, as they are sometimes targets for pickpockets and also unprovoked attacks.

In Ulaanbaatar, high levels of air pollution, especially during winter, can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, sinusitis, or asthma.

Altitude sickness is a concern in some parts of Mongolia, especially in high-altitude regions.

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