"Saagar's Mongolia info" Top 5 Page for this destination Mongolia by Saagar

Mongolia Travel Guide: 1,196 reviews and 4,002 photos

Why Mongolia?

Mongolia has seen 70 years of experiments in communism and the people have survived it with their pride relatively intact and their backs straight. Many didn't fare too well during that period, however, and must be remembered as you travel. Every family has lost someone to failed governance. And many haven't done well after the breakdown of communism either. This last century's history alone vouches for a place worth visiting. Mongolia's history of political experiments continues to this day with independence, democracy, neoliberalism, turnaround-socialism, a political party which main goal seems to be to promote vegetables and many other intriguing things in a land of few people and wide landscapes. Its distant history is equally enigmatic, Djinghis Khan and all that.
Mongolia is easily reachable these days, despite what you think: it remains in our minds a very remote place. Yet, the clock rightly does ticks somewhat differently in Mongolia.
In this reachable land, there are still some of the most remote peoples and places on earth. And the most wonderful and diverse landscapes and scenery. Travelling is difficult at best, but with time and patience and a lump of money at hand and stomach for living on what the land offers, the travel experience here is just fantastic.

Mongolia has really opened up, and the bewildering websites and info offered by various travel agents and entrepreneurs show some interesting Mongolian incursions into cyberspace. There are some reliable internet portals and sites really worth checking out before you go. Among these are: the Mongolian official tourism portal , the urban focus set by Ulaan Baator city site , and the news and features offered by "Mongolia Today" . UNDP has a lot of info on their massive pages, too, mostly country development information, facts, figures and indicators: UNDP

What do people come here for?

The landscapes: the steppe, the taiga, the mountains and the Gobi. This is what lures people here in addition to what I mentioned above, Mongolia's many strands of enigmatic history and culture(s).

There are the visitors with eyes for trophy hunting and fishing, too, but not overtly many. They will normally fly or helicopter in and out and remain in a camp when not out fishing or hunting. Other tourists will bump along the roads or what goes for roads across the steppe, the Gobi, in the central Altai mountains and the northern and western valleys.
The fans come here for the big sports festival Nadaam, and some come for the nomadic or pastoralist lifestyles that can be withnessed in the Gobi (camels, goats), the central parts (horses, goats, sheep) and the northern parts (reindeer, sheep, horses).
Mongolia is a premium adventure tourism destination, but with deep dislike for the word "destination", I would urge some good reading and pre-departure research into the history, culture and ecology, so that as a visitor you can get a feel for life and living here, and how the nature's cycles and violence steers peoples outlook. Let the adventure be a whole one, so that Mongolia is not reduced to a place or object of visit only, but a place to behold and to learn from. I was deeply moved by my visit there, and sincerely hope others can be moved, too.

Mongolia visit modes

Mongolia in Transit:

A common way of getting to Mongolia is by the Transsiberian Railway on the Trans-Mongolian route. Easy; once you have a ticket with a designated stop in Ulan Bataar, and a visa to go with it, this is just so simple. Once there you can hook up with a travel agent to set up your program unless you have a pre-booked one, or you can try to find your own way (not easy, given the language and other complexities).

With limited equipment in your baggage and perhaps limited time before you're supposed to chug on with the Trans-Sib, you can do a few very interesting things on a day trip basis around UB, such as seeing UB, monasteries, wild horses. Give it 5 days and you can catch a glimpse of the Gobi, Erdene Zudd/Kharkhorin, Terelj National Park and so much steppe you want. You can also do the same stunts on a transit by plane (e.g. MIYAT flies Berlin/Moscow-UB and UB-Seoul/Osaka/Beijing).

A designated Mongolia visit:

If you come on a designated Mongolia trip, things are different, and you can load up with necessary specialist survival tools for Mongolia from home.
For the wilderness trip you will need to have the support of a local travel agency who can help you out with logistics and equipment, permits and guide/mechanic/ driver/ interpreter.
On a budget, you can come a long way onto the steppe and into the wilderness by means of a shared jeep and driver-guide. If you in addition are happy with the local food, then you'll be fine.
There are three main challenges with Mongolia: the food, transportation and the language. The more money you are willing to spend the less you may encounter of these issues or problems. There are helicopters and private charter planes and fully catered trips to be had for those with the cash. However, that may also be an indication of your distance to people. In my experience, Mongolians were delightful aquaintances, and an experience to come close to people should not be missed.

Of delightful things to do in Mongolia, there is hiking, horseriding, fishing, photographing (the light on the steppe and in the mountains and desert is just fantastic) and enocunters with remote wilderness and interesting people.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Splendid wilderness and steppe landscapes, fantastic history and culture, some great places to see and experience.
  • Cons:Difficult transportation, limited food options, uncertain schedules.
  • In a nutshell:An experience that will put a beautiful face on the enigmatic Mongolia.
  • Last visit to Mongolia: Sep 2003
  • Intro Updated Apr 17, 2007
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Reviews (84)

Comments (32)

  • Maria81's Profile Photo
    Nov 12, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Stunning place and definitely on our 'must see list'

  • Oct 13, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    yurt is actually a Mongolian word, comes from the word yurtunts which means universe. Why western think Mongolians hate Russian. Many Mongolians study in Russian schools and pay about $1000. Why not to pay the same and study in an English school?"

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    This is a fascinating country and its unique style of life has allowed the culture to prevail. Great job of capturing that and wonderful pictures.

  • aracari's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2009 at 4:42 AM

    Thanks - the movie is "The Story of the Weeping Camel," and it is a great film.

  • illumina's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    Great page - I leave on the same train tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to it!

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2009 at 4:20 AM

    Got to love those roads! And the bits about the diseases thrilled me to no end. still might go there though, thanks for the good advice.

  • xenab2's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2009 at 8:48 AM

    Great pages ... excellent, informative, useful info. Mongolia has been top of my list for a long time and I finally get to make my first visit there this July for about 4 weeks or so. Your pages should help no end with my planning. Thank you. Xb

  • LuisGuimaraes's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2008 at 1:38 AM

    great intro. This is what intros should be: factual though opinionated, vast, comprehensive and personal. Just great, I now have a sense of what I can await from Mongolia. The details, I can check out later. This helped me understand IF I wanna go there.

  • tess11's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2007 at 6:36 AM

    Great page with the best info I;ve seen yet and the best desciptions og Ger camps. Im doing Mongolia as part of a trip next year.

  • GenuinelyCurious's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2007 at 2:45 PM

    Cool photo of the marmot hunter


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