Travel guide to Mongolia

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» Mongolia
Mongolia has constantly been under either Chinese or Russian control, but today it is an independent state with its own constitution. The landscape surrounding the capital has not changed in centuries. Wide-open spaces and a trackless terrain attracts many adventurous travellers.

Facts

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Local name
Mongol Uls
Capital
Ulaan Baatar
Size
1.565.000 km2
Principal Languages
Khalkha Mongol
Principal Religion
Tibetan Buddhism
Inhabitants
2.650.952 (2000)
Government
Republic
Geography
Mongolia borders on Russia in the north and China in the south. The country is divided into four areas that consist of mountain forest, steppe, mountain steppe, half-desert and desert. Most of the country is highland, but the actual mountains are in the western region of the country.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

The best period to visit Mongolia is between May and the beginning of October. In the northern part of the country July is the best month to travel in, and it is also during this month that the Naadam Festival is held.

Literature

Lonely Planet Mongolia Travels in Northern Mongolia

Local conditions

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Currency

Tögroög (T or MNT)

Net cafes

Internet cafés as such do not yet exist in Mongolia, but there are some places in the shopping centres where you can "rent" a computer that has access to the Internet.

Tipping

It is becoming more and more common to tip in Mongolia, but as yet there are no special amounts for particular services.

Timezone

When it is 12:00 in England it is 20:00 in Mongolia.

Weight and Measures

In Mongolia the following weight and measure schemes are used: Weight: kilo Length: metre Fluids: litre

Photography

Taking pictures is prohibited in temples and convents. In certain areas you can pay a fee so you can take pictures.

Drinking water

All tap water should be considered hazardous to your health. The water you use to drink, brush your teeth with, or make ice cubes out of should be boiled first.

Electricity

In Mongolia the following power source is used: 220V, 50Hz

Behaviour

It is expected that you act decently in temples and convents and that you show respect for the locals. Otherwise common courtesy will get you far in Mongolia.

Business Hours

Shops are open from 10:00 to 18:00 (Monday - Sunday). Office hours are from 9:00 to 18:00 (Monday - Friday).

Food and drink

Flesh is the main ingredient of the Mongolian kitchen, and it is mostly beef or lamb that is served. One Mongolian speciality is Boodog; a whole goat is killed and baked from the inside and the bones and sinew are pulled out through the throat. Mongolian vodka is pretty potent and the local beer is good, though it is rather expensive.

Disabled travellers

If you are in a wheelchair then it is very difficult to get around in Mongolia. Most of the roads are not paved, and the hotels and attractions do not have any special facilities for the disabled.

Holidays

New Years Day, January 1st International Woman's Day, March 8th Children's Day, June 1st Independence Day, July 11th-13th The Proclamation of Mongolia, November 26th Alternating Holidays The first three days of the fist month of spring are holidays. Lunar New Year, January or February

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

There are very good camping conditions at the more than 75 camping grounds that are spread out across the country. The have both bathing and toilet facilities.

Hotels

Most hotels are in the capital, and the quality is quite different between those in the city and those in the country.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts can only be found in the capital.

Hostels

Youth hostels and dormitories can only be found in the capital.

Local transport

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Planes

There are over 80 airports in Mongolia with paved runways. The flight schedule is regularly changed, and it is not possible to go to all provinces and towns by air.

Bus

The buses are slow and uncomfortable. The drivers are often drunk, so it is your own risk if you decide to take the bus.

Trains

There are trains that run between North and South, and the route is part of the Trans-Mongolian-Railway that connects Russia and China.

Taxi

Taxis only drive on the streets that are paved - and they (both) are few and far between.

Car rental

It is not a good idea to rent a car in Mongolia, because the roads are in poor condition and it is difficult to find petrol.

Other Transport

Jeeps are an important form of transport in Mongolia because of the bad roads. It is not recommended that you rent your own jeep.

Find your travel arrangement to Mongolia here

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