Mongolia

Mongolia, the renowned birthplace of the Great Khan, is a wonderfully diverse landscape of steppes and shifting desert where travellers can ride wild horses and experience nomadic culture and rural wilderness.

Where your wild, nomad heart runs free…

With a fierce, unfettered beauty that promises to delight even the most intrepid traveller, Mongolia is an enormous country of snow-licked mountains, stunning gorges, dense pine forests, crystalline blue rivers and steppe-lands as far as the eye can see.

Whether you are trekking on the back of a Mongolian horse through lush countryside, riding a camel as you scale a sand dune or hiking on the banks of the Great White Lake, exploring this expanse is a heady treat for the senses. But it’s not just these big moments that will captivate you.

The nomadic pastoralist way of life – still practiced by around 40% of the population – forms an enchanting backdrop. Travellers can get back to nature and learn how to properly milk cattle from a nomadic breeder, or embrace the communal lifestyle and master the art of making traditional dumplings – little moments that will touch your heart.

Life here also means moving in harmony with a rich diversity of wildlife. It’s a place pulsing with the past, where age-old customs and festivals are celebrated with pomp and circumstance. Most of all, it is a beautiful, unspoilt destination where the rewards for those who make the effort to get here are, like its sky, immense.

With a fierce, unfettered beauty that promises to delight even the most intrepid traveller, Mongolia is an enormous country of snow-licked mountains, stunning gorges, dense pine forests, crystalline blue rivers and steppe-lands as far as the eye can see.

Whether you are trekking on the back of a Mongolian horse through lush countryside, riding a camel as you scale a sand dune or hiking on the banks of the Great White Lake, exploring this expanse is a heady treat for the senses. But it’s not just these big moments that will captivate you.

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The nomadic pastoralist way of life – still practiced by around 40% of the population – forms an enchanting backdrop. Travellers can get back to nature and learn how to properly milk cattle from a nomadic breeder, or embrace the communal lifestyle and master the art of making traditional dumplings – little moments that will touch your heart.

Life here also means moving in harmony with a rich diversity of wildlife. It’s a place pulsing with the past, where age-old customs and festivals are celebrated with pomp and circumstance. Most of all, it is a beautiful, unspoilt destination where the rewards for those who make the effort to get here are, like its sky, immense.

Reflections from Mongolia

Discover the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky” from our experience makers and fellow escapists

The Kazakh eagle hunter
and his golden bird of prey

“On our last day in the Altai, we met an eagle hunter named Khairatkhan. There are around 250 eagle hunters left in the world practicing this vanishing art and most reside in the Mongolian Altai. Hunters ride their horses with their eagles perched on their arms up to the top of the hill for a better vantage point before releasing the birds to hunt foxes, rabbits and occasionally, wolves. He said that they raise and feed these golden eagles even before they can fly. But these eagles are born wild so once they’re released, they will never return.”

– Kay Lam

Nomadic migration
on horseback in the Altai

“We were the first outsiders to horse trek with two Mongolian Kazakh families migrating 100km across the Altai from their winter home to their summer home. We rode semi-wild horses and herded over 300 animals through gorgeous terrain over three days, which was nothing short of magical.

On day two, we set up camp by a glacial lake located across the Chinese border in Khorimdik Valley. None of our crew or guides had ever been to this remote and magical location before, and we had only come to know of it through our nomadic family.”

– Yohei Ueno

Janibek, the horse-riding prodigy

“We met seven-year-old Janibek in the Mongolian Altai during his third consecutive year of assisting his family with their summer migration. He’s the eldest son. He got into the saddle at the tender age of three and he’s since become a regional champion racehorse rider. He rides like he’s one with his horse and he made it look so effortless, we couldn’t look away.”

– Hoirul Hafiidz

A Mongolia Journey

Get inspired for your perfect escape with this journey previously crafted for a fellow traveller

Immersive Mongolia Experiences

  • Immerse yourself in nomadic culture
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    Life in the Mongolian steppe is a singular experience where you can try your hand at herding animals, cooking buuz (dumplings) and khuushur (pies), picking up archery and collecting dung for fires for a true taste of nomadic life. By night, you'll fall quickly to sleep in basic or boutique gers (complete with ensuite bathroom facilities) set up right next to a family.
  • Experience a nomadic migration across the Mongolian steppe
    anemptytextlline
    Reconnect with nature and yourself in a true-to-life herd migration. Hike or horse ride across the rugged Altai mountains or in Central Mongol while shepherding livestock in the same way they would move in the wild. Learn how to set up your own ger, vaccinate the animals and embrace the expanse as yours, and yours alone. For a gentler expedition, you could do a self-migration with your own yak cart.
  • Follow in the hoof steps of Genghis Khan
    anemptytextlline
    There are few better ways to explore Mongolia than on horseback. Past Buddhist ovoos, across wildflower meadows and through ger clusters, taking in your surroundings from the saddle will give you a new perspective of the land - and a newfound respect for this revered animal. In a nomadic migration, you'll even learn how to lasso and track animals who stray from the herd.
  • Delve and delight in the sights of culture
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    Beyond the natural wonders of the "Land of the Eternal Blue Sky" lies a cultural heritage waiting to be uncovered. From the modern city of Ulaanbaatar, to the ger districts sitting on the periphery, up to the mountains to explore ancient ruins and back down to a ger camp for underprivileged children, you'll be sure to leave Mongolia with a richer sense of self.
  • Hunt with eagles in the realm of the Mongolian Kazakhs
    anemptytextlline
    Stand amazed by the bond between man and bird in its full glory as a bona fide Kazakh eagle hunter and his family play host to you. Visit nesting sites and learn about the ancient skill of eagle hunting during the peak of wintertime when the fearless bird of prey is in full hunting mode.
  • Participate in the swirling vibrancy of Mongolia's festivals
    anemptytextlline
    Watch on in rapture as the strongest wrestlers, fastest horses and expert marksmen come together to compete in the Naadam Festival. In the countryside events, you can even get your game face on and compete for a regional wrestling title. There's also the Eagle Festivals - Ulgii and the more intimate Sagsai (where you'll start your day riding into the venue with eagle hunters, for one) - which showcase Kazakh hunters and their skilful golden eagles.
  • Meet the last reindeer herders on Earth
    anemptytextlline
    Make the journey to the remote taiga regions where the Tsaatans - around the last 44 families on Earth who herd reindeer - live, and witness how they care for these beautiful animals. Stay in a tepee, learn how to milk the deer, chop wood and do as the herders do in a day's work. You may even get to see antler or ski carving.
  • Pedal through Mongolia's eastern aimags
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    An epic cycling journey through the birthplace of Genghis Khan awaits. Feel the wind on your face as you cruise through stunning lakes, stone monasteries, nomadic gers, quaint towns and dramatic outcrops featuring ancient petroglyphs on a two-wheel tour of east Mongolia.
  • Frolic lakeside in the beguiling wilderness
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    Take a boat ride across the azure "Blue Pearl of Mongolia" and check-in to a lakeside camp, where you can spend a few days doing as many activities as you wish on your own time like hiking, horse-riding, kayaking, rafting and more. Cap off each day with an icy dip in the lake before warming up in a homemade sauna; and watch the sunset on the water's edge, followed by a delicious feast.
  • Take sand by storm in the Gobi Desert
    anemptytextlline
    Bash through golden, "singing sand dunes" before grabbing onto the saddled humps of Bactrian camels bred by a local nomadic family in the largest desert in Asia. Here is also where dinosaur fossils were - and still are being - discovered, so tread lightly and imagine you're wearing a fedora à la Indiana Jones.
  • Move in harmony with varied wildlife
    anemptytextlline
    When we think of Mongolia, we imagine packs of horses pounding the Earth like the nomadic empires of history. Today, you can still observe the Przewalski horses - the world's last truly wild horses - and other awe-inspiring species of wildlife in their natural habitat. An animal watcher's paradise, you could also come face-to-face with Argali sheep, ibexes, steppe rat snakes and marmots if you're lucky.

Mongolia Regions

Mongolia Travel Tips & Insights

Mongolia’s landlocked location lies between China to the south and Russia to the north. With an average altitude of 1,580m above sea level, Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world.

The western Altai gives way to the fertile central heartland, with the forested north fading into endless green steppes in the east, and the arid southern Gobi making up the country’s five distinct ecoregions.

Ulaanbaatar, in north central Mongolia, is the capital city.

The capital of Ulaanbaatar is 1,350m above sea level, with the distinction of being one of Eurasia’s most elevated capitals. Mount Khuiten (4,653m) in the west marks Mongolia’s highest point, with the lowest being Khökh Nuur Lake (532m) in the east. Altitude is not something to worry about though – most trips do not have significant variations in altitude (unless you’re trekking at high altitudes).

We will advise you accordingly depending on the nature of your journey and the regions you are visiting.

The currency in Mongolia is the Tögrög (MNT). It is not possible to obtain MNT outside of Mongolia so after you arrive, use US Dollars, British Pounds and traveller’s cheques to exchange for local currency (traveller’s cheques are accepted in fewer places). You can withdraw money at ATMs in Ulaanbaatar and over the counter at some banks. Credit cards are accepted in many shops, while in the countryside, only MNT is accepted. US Dollars are accepted in some places in the capital.

We recommend a per person cash amount of US$300 (based on a two-week trip), with the option to use credit or debit cards for big ticket items like cashmere, leather goods, musical instruments, fur or antiques.

Mongolia has one international airport in Ulaanbaatar, with another slated to be open in 2019. Most visitors will transit at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and catch a connecting flight to Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN). For our Singapore visitors, the average flight time from Singapore to Ulaanbaatar is 10 hours.

For travellers transiting in Beijing, please note that there is one airport in Beijing with three terminals. We recommend that you allow at least 2.5 hours for the transfer in Beijing if transferring between terminals, and 1.5 hours if no terminal change is required. For more information, please refer to the Beijing Capital International Airport website.

Alternatively, visitors can opt to transit at Incheon International Airport (ICN) or Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), and catch a connecting flight to ULN.

For Singapore passport holders, tourist visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days in Mongolia. For all other passports, please check here.

If you are transiting through Beijing airport and there is less than 72 hours between your scheduled (flight) arrival and departure times, you will not need a Chinese visa. This rule currently applies to air passengers from 53 countries. Please refer to this link to see if you qualify.

When checking in without a Chinese visa, you may need to clarify with the check-in staff that you don’t need one.

If you’re transiting through Beijing on your return leg and have a single-entry visa, please ensure that the visa is not stamped when you transit through Beijing on your outbound leg. It is your responsibility to inform the customs officer of this.

You must complete a customs declaration form upon arrival, which must be retained until departure. This allows the free import and export of articles for personal use during your stay. The contents of checked-in baggage must be declared on arrival if the total value of those contents exceed US$5000 in value. The contents of checked-in baggage must be declared upon departure if the total value of those goods exceed US$500.

A US$12 airport tax is levied on all passengers departing from Mongolia.

The best time to go to Mongolia is during the summer and autumn seasons from May to September. You may experience the occasional snowfall and chilly climate of spring in May, as well as some showers and light drizzles during the rainy season from July to August. Dust storms are an occasional occurrence in Mongolia, especially in the Gobi and steppe areas, but such experiences are quite a sight to behold.

Winds blow hot and cold depending on your location and changes in temperature can occur suddenly when the wind direction changes. In the summer, the average temperature ranges between 15-25°C. Temperatures can reach a sweltering 40°C in the Gobi Desert in summer, while Khövsgöl’s temperature plummets to a bitter -52°C in wintertime. Such extreme temperatures can be uncomfortable and you are advised to avoid travelling to these places during these seasons.

In the city, enjoy modern comforts in hotels near the iconic Chinggis Square. These properties would be a great base to explore from. We’d be happy to recommend other options based on your budget and comfort levels too.

In the countryside, we encourage our travellers to allocate part of their journey to a family homestay with our local friends. Most of our furnished gers don’t have full bathroom facilities but are nonetheless very comfortable. However, if you want a boutique ger with ensuite bathroom facilities, we will happily arrange one for you.

Alternatively, you can stay in a private, traditional ger at a ger camp or “countryside hotel”, complete with a stove and nearby western-style bathroom facilities, including hot showers.

And if you prefer to spend a night out in the wilderness under the stars and surrounded by nature, we can arrange for you to camp out in your campsite. All necessary equipment and sleeping bags will be provided.

The terrain in Mongolia is not the easiest to traverse, as the unspoilt nature in Mongolia means no paved roads! You will travel in Russian UAZ furgons, delica vans or landcruisers that are hardy and absorb most of the impact of bumpy roads in the wilderness. They are spacious and well-ventilated, with padded seats to make your journey as comfortable as possible. Fret not as time will pass by swiftly and our journeys will take into account meal breaks, opportunities to explore sites of interest, mingling with nomadic families, and of course, bathroom breaks.

We advise you to visit your doctor at least a month prior to departure to discuss vaccinations for the following: tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, tuberculosis, tick-borne encephalitis and rabies. Exact requirements will depend on the regions you are visiting, activities you are participating in and the length of time you are spending in Mongolia.

For more information, refer to this website.

Mongolia’s landlocked location lies between China to the south and Russia to the north. With an average altitude of 1,580m above sea level, Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world.

The western Altai gives way to the fertile central heartland, with the forested north fading into endless green steppes in the east, and the arid southern Gobi making up the country’s five distinct ecoregions.

Ulaanbaatar, in north central Mongolia, is the capital city.

The capital of Ulaanbaatar is 1,350m above sea level, with the distinction of being one of Eurasia’s most elevated capitals. Mount Khuiten (4,653m) in the west marks Mongolia’s highest point, with the lowest being Khökh Nuur Lake (532m) in the east. Altitude is not something to worry about though – most trips do not have significant variations in altitude (unless you’re trekking at high altitudes).

We will advise you accordingly depending on the nature of your journey and the regions you are visiting.

The currency in Mongolia is the Tögrög (MNT). It is not possible to obtain MNT outside of Mongolia so after you arrive, use US Dollars, British Pounds and traveller’s cheques to exchange for local currency (traveller’s cheques are accepted in fewer places). You can withdraw money at ATMs in Ulaanbaatar and over the counter at some banks. Credit cards are accepted in many shops, while in the countryside, only MNT is accepted. US Dollars are accepted in some places in the capital.

We recommend a per person cash amount of US$300 (based on a two-week trip), with the option to use credit or debit cards for big ticket items like cashmere, leather goods, musical instruments, fur or antiques.

Mongolia has one international airport in Ulaanbaatar, with another slated to be open in 2019. Most visitors will transit at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and catch a connecting flight to Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN). For our Singapore visitors, the average flight time from Singapore to Ulaanbaatar is 10 hours.

For travellers transiting in Beijing, please note that there is one airport in Beijing with three terminals. We recommend that you allow at least 2.5 hours for the transfer in Beijing if transferring between terminals, and 1.5 hours if no terminal change is required. For more information, please refer to the Beijing Capital International Airport website.

Alternatively, visitors can opt to transit at Incheon International Airport (ICN) or Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), and catch a connecting flight to ULN.

For Singapore passport holders, tourist visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days in Mongolia. For all other passports, please check here.

If you are transiting through Beijing airport and there is less than 72 hours between your scheduled (flight) arrival and departure times, you will not need a Chinese visa. This rule currently applies to air passengers from 53 countries. Please refer to this link to see if you qualify.

When checking in without a Chinese visa, you may need to clarify with the check-in staff that you don’t need one.

If you’re transiting through Beijing on your return leg and have a single-entry visa, please ensure that the visa is not stamped when you transit through Beijing on your outbound leg. It is your responsibility to inform the customs officer of this.

You must complete a customs declaration form upon arrival, which must be retained until departure. This allows the free import and export of articles for personal use during your stay. The contents of checked-in baggage must be declared on arrival if the total value of those contents exceed US$5000 in value. The contents of checked-in baggage must be declared upon departure if the total value of those goods exceed US$500.

A US$12 airport tax is levied on all passengers departing from Mongolia.

The best time to go to Mongolia is during the summer and autumn seasons from May to September. You may experience the occasional snowfall and chilly climate of spring in May, as well as some showers and light drizzles during the rainy season from July to August. Dust storms are an occasional occurrence in Mongolia, especially in the Gobi and steppe areas, but such experiences are quite a sight to behold.

Winds blow hot and cold depending on your location and changes in temperature can occur suddenly when the wind direction changes. In the summer, the average temperature ranges between 15-25°C. Temperatures can reach a sweltering 40°C in the Gobi Desert in summer, while Khövsgöl’s temperature plummets to a bitter -52°C in wintertime. Such extreme temperatures can be uncomfortable and you are advised to avoid travelling to these places during these seasons.

In the city, enjoy modern comforts in hotels near the iconic Chinggis Square. These properties would be a great base to explore from. We’d be happy to recommend other options based on your budget and comfort levels too.

In the countryside, we encourage our travellers to allocate part of their journey to a family homestay with our local friends. Most of our furnished gers don’t have full bathroom facilities but are nonetheless very comfortable. However, if you want a boutique ger with ensuite bathroom facilities, we will happily arrange one for you.

Alternatively, you can stay in a private, traditional ger at a ger camp or “countryside hotel”, complete with a stove and nearby western-style bathroom facilities, including hot showers.

And if you prefer to spend a night out in the wilderness under the stars and surrounded by nature, we can arrange for you to camp out in your campsite. All necessary equipment and sleeping bags will be provided.

The terrain in Mongolia is not the easiest to traverse, as the unspoilt nature in Mongolia means no paved roads! You will travel in Russian UAZ furgons, delica vans or landcruisers that are hardy and absorb most of the impact of bumpy roads in the wilderness. They are spacious and well-ventilated, with padded seats to make your journey as comfortable as possible. Fret not as time will pass by swiftly and our journeys will take into account meal breaks, opportunities to explore sites of interest, mingling with nomadic families, and of course, bathroom breaks.

We advise you to visit your doctor at least a month prior to departure to discuss vaccinations for the following: tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, tuberculosis, tick-borne encephalitis and rabies. Exact requirements will depend on the regions you are visiting, activities you are participating in and the length of time you are spending in Mongolia.

For more information, refer to this website.

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