Tips & FAQ
Basic Facts About Mongolia
Territory: 1 566 500 sq.km.
Population: 2.8 million.
Density: 1.5 per sq.km.
Average altitude: 1580 m above sea level.
Time zones: 6, 7 and 8. Generally Mongolia is +7 hours ahead of GMT.
Capital: Ulaanbaatar (or UB in brief) which is divided into 9 districts. Ulaanbaatar has over one million citizens.
Country code: 976 for Mongolia and city code 11 for Ulaanbaatar.
Electric current: The standard voltage is 220 volts/ 50 Hz. Sockets require a two-pin type plug or adapter.
Currency: Tugrug. Exchange rate is 1 USD= 1250 tugrug as of Jan, 2011.
Hotels and tourist shops accept credit cards: Visa Card, MasterCard and American Express.
Terrain: The Gobi Desert in the south and southeast, mountains in the west, north and central area, vast steppes in the east and south.
Climate: Continental dry climate. Average summer temperature +20oC (68oF), average winter temperature -26oC (-15oF), average rainfall 200-250 mm (8-10 inch) .
Seasons: Summer (Jun, Jul, Aug), Autumn (Sep, Oct, Nov), Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) and Spring (Mar, Apr, May).
Tourism season: From middle of May to the beginning of October. July and August are the peak times.
Safety: Generally Mongolia is very safe country and relatively crime free except for pickpockets.
Working hours: Working hours 09:00-18:00 and working days Monday- Friday.
Accommodations: There are up to 5-star hotels offering over 6000 beds as well as many smaller hotels, guesthouses and hostels of varying standards. Outside the Ulaanbaatar, comfortable ger camps are available.
Food: There are plenty of excellent restaurants in Ulaanbaatar offering traditional Mongolian food as well as European, Asian and International cuisines. Mongolian food includes beef, mutton, bread, pasta, rice, vegetable and dairy products.
Health: Visitors are advised to have medical insurance policy of their native countries. SOS Medica Mongolia is an excellent International clinic in Ulaanbaatar, in case you need medical care. www.sosmedica.mn
State structure: The country is administratively divided into the capital city, Ulaanbaatar and 21 provinces.
Government: Parliamentary republic. President and 76 parliament members are elected every 4 years.
Economy: Economy is based on livestock breeding (sheep, goats, horses, cattle and camel), agriculture (vegetable and grain) and mining (mainly gold, coal, copper).
Religion: Buddhism and Shamanism (over 90%), Muslim (4%) and Christian.
Language: Mongolian (Kazakh in westernmost one province). Many young people in Ulaanbaatar also speak English, Russian, German, French and Japanese.
Mobile telephone: GSM 900 and CDMA networks are operated by Mobicom, Skytel, Unitel and G-mobile companies.
Internet: Access is available at business centers, hotels, internet cafes on the streets of Ulaanbaatar as well as some post offices of province centers.
Taxi: Every car in Ulaanbaatar is a potential taxi, however, there are official taxis with meters. Per km cost is 500 tugrugs (around 0.4 USD).
Public holidays: New Year (Jan 1), Lunar New Year or Tsagaan Sar (Jan or Feb), International Women’s Day (March 8), Mother and Children’s Day (June 1), Naadam Festival (July 11-12) and Independence Day (Nov 26).
How do I get to Mongolia?
- By Air: Airlines with flights to Ulaanbaatar: Mongolian Airlines (MIAT), Air China, Korean Air and Aeroflot. The majority of the visitors arrive from Beijing, Moscow, Berlin, (Frankfurt), Seoul, Tokyo, (Osaka), Hohhot and Irkutsk by air through Chinggis Khaan International Airport located 18 km to the south west of Ulaanbaatar.
- Visitors can also enter and leave Mongolia by the Trans-Siberian Railway connecting Ulaanbaatar with Beijing and Moscow.
Can I charge my camera battery in the countryside and what kind of power plugs can be used?
- Yes, you may charge your batteries in your own gers/ rooms or restaurants of the ger camps in the countryside. The standard voltage is 220 volts/ 50 Hz in Mongolia. Sockets require a two-pin type, European standard plug or adapter. Be sure to bring your own plug converter as most places in Mongolia do not carry them.
How about the currency in Mongolia?
- Mongolian national currency is Tugrug. Exchange rate is 1 USD= 1250 tugrug as of Jan, 2011. All major currencies can be freely converted at banks, licensed exchange centers and hotels in Ulaanbaatar. Traveler's checks are hard to cash.
Can I use my credit card and US dollars everywhere in Mongolia?
- ATM machines are widely available in major parts of Ulaanbaatar. Hotels and tourist shops accept credit cards: Visa card, Master card and American Express. Credit cards are not acceptable in the countryside.
- You can use USDs in hotels, tourist ger camps, souvenir shops and tourist shops. Important: damaged or older (produced before 1996) USDs are not accepted in most places.
Mobile telephone and Internet service?
- Internet access is available at business centers, hotels, internet cafes on the streets of Ulaanbaatar as well as some post offices of province centers.
I am a vegetarian. Can I find vegetarian meals during my stay in Mongolia?
- Plenty of excellent restaurants in Ulaanbaatar offer traditional Mongolian food, European, Asian and International cuisines as well as vegetarian meals. Vegetarian meals are also available at tourist ger camps in the countryside. Please just let us know if you are vegetarian.
Medical care and Safety?
- Generally Mongolia is very safe country except for pickpockets in crowded and touristy places. It is not required to get vaccination against hepatitis, plague etc. Visitors are advised to have suitable travel insurance/ medical insurance with an insurance company of your country. Please do not forget to bring any medications you may need. SOS Medica Mongolia is an excellent International clinic in Ulaanbaatar, in case you need medical care. www.sosmedica.mn
What is the typical Mongolian souvenir?
- There is Mongolian cashmere, wool and felt products, antiques, handicrafts, national clothes, art works, oil and water color paintings, colorful rugs, wooden toys and puzzles, post cards and stamps, leather and fur products. Visitors taking antique and fossils out of the country are required to have an official documentation to do so. Licensed antique shops provide the necessary documents (receipt) upon purchase. Alternatively, permission can be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Science & Culture in Ulaanbaatar.
Tips on Mongolian Traditions
- A Mongolian ger (traditional tent) entrance is not as tall as a regular entrance, so please duck to avoid hitting your head when you enter the ger.
- Do not touch the hot stove or chimney when the stove has a fire burning or the embers are still hot.
- When you visit a nomadic family, presenting the children or hostess with a gift it will be greatly appreciated. The gift can be small and useful like a notebook, pen, candy, biscuit etc.
- After entering a ger, always move around the stove in a clockwise direction.
- Bowls of food and drink will be offered to you with the host’s right hand or both hands. Receive them also with both-hands or your right hand. It is not necessary to eat or drink it all, just tasting will be fine.
- When you enter, the hostess will meet you with a bowl of airag (mare’s fermented milk) or a cup of tea in her hands. You should unroll your sleeves if they are rolled up and take the bowl or cup with both hands.
- After entering the ger wait for the host to show you to your seat. The Mongolians observe a strict ritual of seating in the ger. The north side is for the host, the left side is for the hostess and right side is for the guests. The entrance is always on the south side.
- Mongolian men traditionally offer each other their snuffboxes. It is rude to refuse.
- Whistling in the ger or leaning against the upright supports is very bad luck!
- Never roll up your sleeves in the ger as it means that you are ready to fight with the host.
- Hosts will often wish you well. A suitable reply is wish that their sheep or horses grow up to be strong.
- A guest is supposed to tell the host where he/she is from and if he/she enjoys Mongolia. A host would be considered rude to ask if the guest did not offer the information freely.
- Do not shake someone’s hand with your gloves on. Remove them even it is so cold.
- Squat or kneel on the floor and if seated on a stool, tuck your feet underneath and do not stick them straight out in front of you.
- When handing a knife or scissors to someone, always give them with handle towards the person you give it to. You want the sharp end towards you.
- A hunter never enters the ger with his gun but leaves it outside the ger.
- In some places, displaying deep respect, the Mongolians may welcome you with a long stretching khadag (silk) and a silver cup full of milk. It is not necessary to drink all the milk and you may just try it and pass to the next person.
Mongolia Visa Information
For all information related to consular matters, please contact by telephone or email the nearest diplomatic or consular office of Mongolia. Visa can be obtained from Mongolian embassies, consulates, honorary consulates and Permanent Missions overseas. If you have no chance to obtain Mongolian visa in your living area you may obtain visa upon arrival at the ChinggisKhaan International airport, Sukhbaatar and Zamii-Uud border points with the support of travel agency.
What documents are needed to apply for Mongolian visa?
Following are the documents required:
- Passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry to Mongolia
- One completed visa application form
- One passport-size photo
- Travel itinerary from a travel agency (for the tourists wishing to stay over one week up to 90 days). For tourists desiring to stay in Mongolia for more than 30 days up to 90 days, it is required to have a letter of invitation from a travel agency of Mongolia.
What is duration of validity of the Mongolian visa?
Single entry/exit and transit visas are valid for entry within 90 days from the date of issue. Multiple entry visa is valid for a period of 6 months.
Important: Those who are planning to stay over 30 days are required to register at the Office of Immigration, Naturalization and Foreign Citizens. Please, contact the entity that invited you to Mongolia regarding this matter.
Fees charged for Mongolian visa.
A) Single entry-exit visa - US$25; for urgent service (within a working day) US$50,
B) Multiple entry-exit visa valid for six months - US$65; for urgent service (within a working day) US$130,
C) Multiple entry-exit visa valid for one year - US$130; for urgent service (within a working day) US$ 260
D) Visa extension valid for one week - US$15; for urgent service (within a working day) US$30; US$2 per a day exceeding a week.
List of countries and regions with non-visa regime for all types of passport holders:
- Hong Kong - 14 days for all type of passports. There is no visa fee for diplomatic and official passports. Ordinary passport holders pay visa fee if they travel for more than 14 days.
- Israel - 30 days for all type of passports
- Kazakhstan - 90 days for all type of passports
- Malaysia - 1 month for all type of passports
- Philippines - 21 days for all type of passports
- Singapore - 14 days for all type of passports
List of countries with non-visa arrangement for diplomatic and official passport holders:
- Bulgaria - Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Czech - no visa within 90 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Hungary - no visa within 30 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Mexico - no visa within 90 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Republic of Korea - no visa within 30 days. Ordinary passport holders need vis.
- Romania - Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Russia - no visa within 90 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Slovakia - no visa within 90 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Thailand - no visa within 30 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Turkey - no within 30 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa.
- Vietnam - no visa within 90 days. Ordinary passport holders need visa and no visa fee.
- China - no visa for all type of passport holders. Private travellers need visa.
- Laos - no visa for diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders within 90 days. Private travellers need visa.
- DPRK - no visa for diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders. Private travellers need visa
- Yugoslavia - no visa within 90 days for diplomatic, official passport holders. Ordinary passport holders with the consulate mark indicating the business purpose.
- Cuba - no visa for diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders within 30 days. Private travellers need visa.
List of countries without visa fee:
- India - All type of passports need a visa, no visa applications, photos and fees required
- USA- no visa fee required, but consular service fee US $131 is charged on reciprocal basis from US nationals applying for following type of visa : T- (Employees of representative offices of foreign entities or entities with foreign investment), HG- (students or trainees), TS-(immigrants), B-(business travellers), O-(employees of international NGOs), BH-(journalists).
Mongolia has consular conventions with the following countries:
Afghanistan, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, DPRK, Hungary, Laos, Romania, Russia, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam, Yugoslavia.
Mongolia has treaties on mutual legal assistance with the following countries:
Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Czech, DPRK, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, ROK, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Vietnam.
Where I can get additional information? What is the address and contact of Mongolian embassies, consulars and Permanent Missions?
a) Mongolian Embassies.
NEW ZEALAND (Wellington)
SOUTH KOREA (Seoul)
CZECH Republic (Prague)
UNITED KINGDOM (London)
USA (Washington D.C)
INDIA (New Delhi)
b) The Permanent Missions of Mongolia.
USA (New York)
Please contact us for consular addresses and more info.