Airport Taxes

Departure taxes for international travelers in Mongolia vary by airport and to be paid locally.

Baggage

On Domestic flights, passengers are allowed 44 pounds of luggage per person. On International flights, passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Excess luggage fees will be charged if you check more than the stated allowances, and these charges are your responsibility.  At most major airports, baggage carts are available for your luggage, usually for a small additional fee.

Climate and Clothing

Temperature throughout the year in Mongolia can be quite extreme. Mongolia's tourism season is from May to October because of the difficult climate at other times of the year. In the summer, the weather can range from freezing rain and snow to temperatures above 100 F/39 C, with a possibility of fog, drizzle and torrential storms. Take note that the mean monthly temperature in Ulaanbaatar is -17 F/-27 C in January and 64 F/18 C in July. Clothing that you can layer is highly recommended.

Visiting out of season is not a problem as long as you can tolerate cold weather, dust storms and difficulties in traveling. If you want to see the Naadam Festival, you'll need to come in July. However, July and August are the two wettest months of the year.

Communications

The Mongolian telephone system is in the process of being modernized but still lacks many of the services we rely on elsewhere. Dialing Mongolia is relatively simple although may take several attempts. Mongolia's national code is '976'. Making international telephone calls from Ulaanbaatar is relatively easy. Most hotels have International Direct Dial Facilities. Alternatively, calls can be made from various telephone exchanges around the city. The 'Central Post' Building located on the southwest corner of Sukhbaatar Square is the largest telephone exchange.

Cheaper calls are available if calling from other telephones in the city, i.e. offices & hotels, especially between 22.00 and 07.00 weekdays, 17.00 and 07.00 Saturdays and all day Sunday. The large telephone exchange on Sukhbaatar Square has the facilities for you to send faxes and emails. The cost for faxing depends on where the fax is being sent to. As a guide, a fax taking one minute to the United Kingdom would cost approximately MNT 3000.

Letters and parcels posted abroad can take anything from ten days to a few months to arrive at their destination, but they do usually arrive. The current rates are relatively expensive; postcards MNT 400, letters under 20 grams MNT 550. Registered mail starts at MNT 950. Parcel rates range from around US$14 to US$27, for a 1Kg parcel, depending on the destination. An express mail service is available for a limited number of countries. Prices to send a 1Kg package range from US$25 to US$40 depending on the destination. The central post office in Ulaanbaatar has a good range of postcards available. Stamp collectors will be surprised at the range of stamps available.

Internet Cafe's have become increasingly popular in the capital. Prices start at 800 Tukrig and up per hour.

Currency

Tukrig is the national currency of Mongolia. The exchange rate is approximately 1120 Tukrig for USD $1.

Most banks and the larger hotels in Ulaanbaatar will be able to change the major currencies, although US Dollars are the most widely accepted. It is also possible to change travelers cheques and get cash advances on your credit card. American Express, VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted in major tourists centers. In the Aimag centres, you'll certainly find at least one bank, but they will not be able to accept credit cards or traveler's cheques. They may be able to change US Dollars but the exchange rate will be a lot lower than that available in the capital.

In Ulaanbaatar, one of the most centrally located banks for both traveler's cheque cashing and credit card advances is the Trade and Development Bank.

Many shops and restaurants only accept local currency, be sure to exchange your money upon arrival.

Customs Regulations

Every tourist is required to complete a customs declaration form on arrival, which must be retained by them until their 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$1000 in value. The contents of checked-in baggage must be declared upon departure if the total value of those goods exceeds US$500.

Electricity

Voltage in Mongolia is 220 volts, so a transformer will be needed to operate 100-volt appliances. Electrical appliances will require an adapter that can change the shape of the plug prongs, as well as an electrical voltage converter that will allow a normal 110-volt American appliance to take 220 Volt current. 

Food and Water

Most meals are included in our tours to Mongolia. In the case of Western-style hotel dinners, drinks are never included and must be purchased individually. Tourists are advised to buy mineral water or at least boil their water before using it. Giardia and other water-borne diseases can easily be picked up. Mineral water is in good supply in the capital and many of the Aimag centres.

Health Matters

There are no vaccinations required for entering Mongolia from anywhere around the world.  However, vaccinations for anti Hepatitis, Tetanus, cholera, plaque and tuberculosis are recommended. Moreover, everyone must be supplied by health insurance service before arrival. For detailed medical information, visitors to Mongolia should consult their physicians. You can also contact the Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) 404-639-3534 for updated information.

Holidays

New year - Jan 1st

Constitutional Day - Jan 13th

Mongolian New year/Tsagaan sar - Feb 13,14th

Mother and Children's day - Jun 1 st

National day (Naadam) - Jul 11-13th

Independence Day - Nov 26th

Passports and Visas

Canadian citizens require passports and visas. In some cases, visitors are asked to supply a letter of invitation when applying for visa. A tour company can usually supply this letter, if necessary. U.S. citizens need only passports. All visitors who plan to stay more than one month must register at the Citizens' Information and Registration Center (the police). Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.

Time Difference

Mongolia Standard Time is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary except at restaurants in Ulan Bator, where waiters expect a tip, especially from tourists. On tours with private sightseeing, gratuities of $5-$10 for travel guides, $2-$3 for drivers per person per day is customary.

Bargaining - Most of the shops and markets in town have fixed prices which are often displayed on the goods. Do not try to bargain here. At the black market, tourists are unlikely to be charged very much more than the locals, unless they are buying antiques, jewelry and other cultural items. By all means try and get a price down but be reasonable. For example, as a guide, don't try for less than 60-70% of the asking price. And only start bargaining if you're seriously interested in buying.

Transportation

In each city, a local English-speaking guide will meet you upon arrival and handle all arrangements, including sightseeing commentary. All transportation is included in our tours and provided via private car and guides. Travel by motorcoach will be by modern air-conditioned deluxe coaches for large groups.

Very limited public transportation services throughout the entire territory of Mongolia.Trains go from north to south connecting Altanbulag-Ulaanbaatar-Zamyn-Uud. Other than that public transportation is basically non-existent in most parts of Mongolia, except the capital city, and privately run tracks, buses, cars connect major tourist destinations on a random basis.

What to Pack?

What you need to bring depends on where you'll go when you travel, what activities you'll be undertaking. Be sure to check the weather before you depart as temperatures greatly vary throughout the year. Even when traveling in the summer months, temperatures can be quite extreme.

Other essential items include: Valid Passport. Travelers Checks. Copy of Your Airline Ticket. Warm and Wet Weather Clothing. Your Medicines. Departure documents. Travel alarm clock. Camera(s), batteries & films. Sunscreen/Tan lotion.  Pocket size Kleenex. Extra luggage locks/keys. First Aid kit. Soft, foldable slippers. Extra set of eyeglasses. Folding Umbrella.  Comfortable walking shoes.