Mongolia is one of the last unspoiled places left in the world. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling there, to give you a proper understanding of the country and the history.
Mongolia is a land of vast open spaces and stunning natural beauty. It’s a country where you can still find nomadic people living in yurts and herding their animals across the steppe.
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination that will leave you with lifelong memories, Mongolia is the place for you. In this ultimate travel guide,
we’ll cover everything you need to know before heading to Mongolia, from visas and vaccinations to the best time to visit and what to pack.
What is Mongolia?
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Ulaanbaatar, the capital and largest city, is home to about 45% of the country’s population.
Mongolia’s political system is a parliamentary republic. The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran,
the Turkic Khaganate, and others. In 1206, Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history.
His grandson Kublai Khan conquered China to establish the Yuan dynasty. After the collapse of the Yuan, the Mongols retreated to Mongolia and resumed their earlier pattern of factional conflict, except during World War II when Outer Mongolia was annexed by Japan and served as a puppet state.
Since then Inner Mongolia has been a province of China; both Inner and Outer Mongolia are also autonomous regions within China. Mongolia is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia, bordered by China to the south and Russia to the north. It has a history of nomadic empires, including the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire in world history. Mongolia’s landscape is one of extremes, with vast steppes and deserts in the west, and forests and mountains in the east.
The capital city, Ulaanbaatar, is home to about 45% of the country’s 3.3 million people. The area now known as Mongolia has been inhabited since the Stone Age by nomads who herded sheep, goats, horses, and camels.
The first written records of Mongolia date back to 1206 CE, when Genghis Khan united the Mongolian tribes under his rule and established the Mongol Empire – the largest contiguous empire in world history.
For centuries after Genghis Khan’s death in 1227 CE, his descendants ruled over Mongolia and much of Central Asia. In 1691 CE, Outer Mongolia declared independence from China; Inner Mongolia remained under Chinese control.
In 1911 CE, following a period of political turmoil during which both China and Russia vied for control over Mongolia, Outer Mongolia declared itself an independent state (the Bogd Khanate).
This lasted until 1919 CE when Chinese troops invaded and annexed Outer Mongolia. In 1921 CE, after several years of guerrilla warfare against Chinese forces led by Russian-trained Mongolian soldiers (the so-called “White Russians”), Outer
The Culture of Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south. The capital and largest city is Ulaanbaatar, which is also home to around 45% of the population. Mongolia’s landscape is one of vast steppes, rolling hills, and rugged mountains. The Gobi Desert covers a third of the country.
Traditional Mongolian culture revolves around horsemanship, herding, and nomadic lifestyle. For centuries, Mongolians were able to preserve their traditional way of life through their isolation from the rest of the world. In recent years however, modernization has begun to take hold in Mongolia, particularly in the capital city.
While horses are still an important part of Mongolian culture, many people now live in apartments and use cars or public transportation instead of horses or yaks for transportation.
However, there are still many opportunities to experience traditional Mongolian culture firsthand. One such opportunity is attending a naadam, a festival celebrating Mongolian culture and heritage with wrestling, archery,
and horse racing competitions. Other ways to experience traditional Mongolian culture include staying with a local family in a ger (traditional felt tent), learning about shamanism and Buddhism (the two dominant religions in Mongolia), or visiting one of Mongolia’s national parks such as Khustain Nuruu National Park where you can see wild horses roaming freely.
Mongolian food is a delicious mix of Chinese and Russian influences. The most popular dish is mutton stew, which is often served with rice or noodles. Other popular dishes include dumplings, fried noodles, and lamb kebabs. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, Mongolia also has plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The country’s climate is perfect for growing a variety of crops, including watermelons, grapes, and potatoes. When it comes to drinks, Mongolians typically enjoy vodka or tea. Beer is also becoming increasingly popular in Mongolia, especially among the younger generation.
Transportation in Mongolia
Mongolia is a vast, landlocked country with a limited transportation infrastructure. The best way to get around Mongolia is by private vehicle, although public transport does exist in the form of buses and trains.
There are only a handful of paved roads in Mongolia, and most of them are in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Outside of Ulaanbaatar, the roads are mostly unpaved dirt tracks. This can make driving challenging, especially during the winter when the roads are covered in snow and ice.
There are several bus companies that operate within Mongolia. These buses can be booked online or through your hotel. The bus network is fairly extensive and covers most of the country.
The only railway in Mongolia is the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which runs from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing in China. This train journey takes around three days and is a great way to see the Mongolian countryside.
Where to visit in Mongolia?
Mongolia is a land of vast open spaces and stunning natural beauty. From the snow-capped mountains of the Altai to the rolling steppe grasslands, there is much to explore in this fascinating country. Here are some of the best places to visit in Mongolia:
1. Ulaanbaatar – The capital city of Mongolia is a great place to start your exploration of the country. There is plenty to see and do here, from visiting historical sites such as the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, to exploring the bustling markets and experiencing the city’s vibrant nightlife.
2. Kharkhorin – Kharkhorin was once the capital of the Mongol Empire, and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore ancient ruins such as Erdene Zuu monastery, as well as hiking and horse riding in the nearby countryside.
3. Terelj National Park – This beautiful national park is located just outside Ulaanbaatar and is perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Terelj is home to stunning rock formations, crystal clear rivers, and lush green forests. There are also many hiking trails through the park for visitors to enjoy.
4. Gobi Desert – The Gobi Desert covers a large area of southern Mongolia and is one of the most unique landscapes in the world. Here you can find rare wildlife such as Bactrian camels
Mongolia is a country that has something for everyone. From its stunning natural scenery to its rich culture and history, there is plenty to explore in this fascinating country. We hope that our travel guide has given you some inspiration for your next trip and that you enjoy your time in Mongolia.
If you are planning to travelling to Mongolia, must travel in winter, it’s the best time.