"Jostling and Jolting Through Mongolia" Top 5 Page for this destination Mongolia by hayward68

Mongolia Travel Guide: 1,168 reviews and 3,879 photos

On Our Way

The scent of the gasoline we carried in the van was in the air as we bounced our way along the countryside in Mongolia. We were here for two weeks, ten days of which would be spent travelling from Ulaanbaatar down to the Gobi Desert eventually making our way to Sainshand. As I looked up I came to the conclusion that "Land of the Blue Sky" was an appropriate name for this country. We'd arrived in the middle of April while snow was still on the ground in areas. The winds were cold and the nights freezing but it was still really early in the tourist season so we were the only foreigners to be seen for days at a time.
Our van was stocked with food for a few days plus plenty of water. Our Mongolian driver spoke only a couple of words of English but our guide was quite fluent. It was just the four of us, including my friend and I, and I hoped that we would get along reasonably well.

Experiencing Nomadic Life

We would be staying with both nomadic families and cheap hotels and I looked forward to learning more of nomadic life. It seemed hard to believe that people, in this day and age, still live this type of nomadic existence, moving their animals and belongings as the seasons changed. I'd watched several documentaries depicting Mongolian life and I was quite eager to see it for myself.

The Gobi Desert

The Gobi desert was the ultimate attraction for me. I've been fascinated by deserts for a very long time and the Gobi had been calling my name. To walk the dunes was a dream that I hoped to fulfill and my excitement grew the closer we drove to the South Gobi.

I'm not going to give you all sorts of history and political information about Mongolia. You'll want to buy a guide book before traveling to this country and all that will be in there. I'd suggest the Bradt Travel Guide, it is much more extensive than the Lonely Planet guide and the customs tips are great.

I'll add some travelogue pictures at a later date. Ulaanbaatar will be a separate travel page.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Inexpensive to travel, ancient culture and cheap cashmere!
  • Cons:Expensive visa, dirty capital city
  • Last visit to Mongolia: May 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 21, 2006
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Reviews (23)

Comments (31)

  • OliviaPRibeiro's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2015 at 5:27 AM

    Hi! what an amazing trip!! I planning to travel in May, but I have only a week for it. Would you have some contact with good and cheap (we are backpackers) local guides?
    Thank you so much!

    • hayward68's Profile Photo
      Jan 23, 2015 at 5:26 PM

      Thanks! Just sent you a message with the details that I had.

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    10 days to travel 245 miles? Not my type of destination. It's an interesting country, but I would not have the patience to travel so many days, just to get to one destination. I watched a travel show on Mongolia, and these two backpackers said if you want to travel in Mongolia you need a lot of time, and money. They had neither, and were pretty much stuck in Ulaanbaatar. Not to mention limited hotels, no signs, almost no English speakers, and its massive size with miles and miles of nothing. This does not sound like an easy place to travel.

    • hayward68's Profile Photo
      Dec 11, 2014 at 6:57 AM

      I have no idea how our driver knew where he was going in some spots. He was navigating by landmarks as there weren't really roads the remote areas, just tire tracks in the dirt. I think once you get off the main roads then trying to find your way around would be next to impossible. Also, if you want to stay with nomadic people you have to know somebody who can take you to them, even we had to drive around a bit trying to find where they had moved to. If you're in the main towns and can get to them then it's easier but having a guide makes it much easier, especially since my Mongolian only consisted of a couple of words.

    • briantravelman's Profile Photo
      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      There aren't many landmarks either.
      And yes, the country is HUGE, and mostly wild. That's a large area to get lost in, and its so remote no one may find you for months or even years.

      Yeah, a guide is a good idea if you don't speak the language. Or at least a phrase book. Do they speak Russian up there?

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    I too love deserts and camels, and I thoroughly enjoyed your page. The baby camels are so cute, and I was fascinated to read about your stays with the nomadic families. Mongolia is on my wish-list and your photos have made me want to go more than ever!

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    Such an interesting page with wonderful pictures! Thank you! I want to do a trip on the Transsib in a few years time and have a stop in Mongolia :-)

  • Florida999's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    I would love to travel around with some Mongolian nomads and live in a ger/yurt!! This looks like a trip I would like, but sounds like it's hard just to get there

  • melosh's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Great tips. I am going this April so your commentary seems especially appropriate.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    ~ Hi, Laura! What a wonderful trip! It's a wonderful page indeed! I wish I could go there some day too! ><><><><><><><

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    What an incredible experience to in gross yourself in, besides the sand in the shoes. You did a wonderful job of presenting the country and its culture.

  • omidamini's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2009 at 2:33 AM

    Wow,Your Mongolia pagevery nice.I hope see you here in my country.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2009 at 2:54 AM

    While I only dream of riding through Mongolia, I like reading about it. Your pages illustrate the mental image I have of an empty, but not barren nor desolate land. I also like camels. wonderful packing tip. thanks


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