Welcome to the land of Mongolia! Get ready to be transported to a world of vast landscapes, nomadic traditions, and rich cultural heritage. If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting country or are simply curious about its wonders, get ready to have your most burning questions answered. Let’s dive into the FAQ!
Mongolia is a landlocked country situated in the mesmerizing realms of East and Central Asia. It’s bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west (but hey, let’s make it clear: Mongolia is not a part of China!). Mongolia is a proud and independent country, distinct from its neighbouring giants. With a whopping area of about 1,564,116 square kilometres (603,309 square miles), Mongolia proudly claims its spot as the 18th largest country in the world, boasting awe-inspiring expanses to be explored.
Picture a lively tapestry of humanity women across the vast Mongolian steppe. As of June 5th, 2023, the estimated population of Mongolia stood at 3,432,324 people.
Prepare to experience Mother Nature’s dynamic theatre as Mongolia flaunts its continental climate, teasing with extreme temperature variations throughout the year (making it the ideal environment for the development of traditional yurts – 4-season dwellings). Let’s set the stage:
• Cold Winters: Winter in Mongolia is not for the faint of heart. From December to February, temperatures plunge below-30°C (-22°F) and can even dip as low as -40°C (-40°F) in certain areas. Snowflakes blanket the landscape, especially in the Northern and Western regions, creating a mesmerizing winter wonderland.
• Dry Summers: When summer arrives, Mongolia trades its icy cloak for warmth. From June to August, temperatures dance between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F), occasionally soaring even higher. Rainfall, though scarce, adds a touch of magic to the semi-arid to arid climate, particularly in the Gobi Desert region.
• Temperature Variations: Mongolia is the master of surprises when it comes to temperature fluctuations. Summers gift you with balmy days and cool nights, while winter swings between mild periods and biting cold snaps that will make you bundle up.
• Regional Variations: Brace yourself for a climatic journey across different regions. In the northern realms, like the Khentii Mountains and Lake Khuvsgul, cooler temperatures and abundant precipitation await. Meanwhile, central, and southern regions tantalize with drier conditions and scorching summers that would make you yearn for an oasis.
• Nomadic Influence: The climate in Mongolia shapes the very fabric of nomadic life. The nomads, resourceful souls, migrate with their herds in search of grazing lands and water sources, adapting to the rugged terrain and harsh conditions that mould their unique way of life. It’s a captivating dance between humanity and nature.
Ah, the million-dollar questions! If you seek Mongolia at its most enchanting, the summer months of June to August hold the key. During this time, the weather embraces a gentle warmth, the countryside bursts into vibrant hues, and nature’s symphony reaches its crescendo. However, if you crave a taste of winter wonder, with its captivating landscapes and traditional ice festivals, consider venturing to Mongolia from December to February and brace yourself for a frosty adventure.
Now that we’ve caught your attention with Mongolia, let’s chart the course to this incredible destination. The most common way to reach the heart of Mongolia is by flying into Chinggis Khan International Airport, situated in the vibrant capital city of Ulaanbaatar. International airlines extend their wings, offering direct flights from major cities in Asia and Europe. Alternatively, if you prefer a more ground-level odyssey, hop on a train from Russia or China, or embrace the thrill of overland travel by bus or car. The journey to Mongolia can be as thrilling as the destination itself!
Mongolia reveals its treasure trove of wonders, each waiting to leave you breathless. Venture into the heart of Mongolia with stops at the following mesmerizing destinations:
• Ulaanbaatar: Begin your journey in the bustling capital city, where modernity harmonizes with tradition, and where cultural treasures abound, including museums, monasteries, and vibrant markets.
• Kharkhorin and the Erdene Zuu Monastery: Travel back in time to the ancient capital and immerse yourself in Mongolian history. Explore the ruins of Kharkhorin and marvel at the majestic Erdene ZuuMonastery, a testament to the country’s deep spiritual roots.
• The Gobi Desert: Surrender to the allure of the world-renowned Gobi Desert, a surreal landscape of towering sand dunes, mystical rock formations like the Flaming Cliffs (Bayanzag), and untamed beauty. Brace yourself for camel rides, camping under starlit skies, and the silence that envelopes this otherworldly realm.
• Lake Khuvsgul: Behold the crystal-clear waters of Lake Khuvsgul, a majestic oasis nestled amidst lush forests and rolling hills. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature, embark on a boat ride, and witness the serene beauty that makes this destination truly unforgettable.
• The Altai Mountains: Let the grandeur of the Altai Mountains steal your heart as you explore its rugged peaks, alpine lakes, and picturesque valleys. This pristine wilderness beckons adventurers with its hiking trails, wildlife encounters, and a sense of awe that only mountains can inspire.
Prepare to be immersed in the captivating world of Mongolian nomadic culture – a living, breathing heritage that thrives to this day. To truly embrace this way of life, venture into traditional ger (yurt) camps, connect with nomadic families, and witness the rhythm of daily activities centred around herding livestock. Immerse yourself in their customs, savour traditional dishes like buuz (dumplings), and partake in cultural events such as the Naadam festival, an impressive display of the ‘Three Manly Games’: wrestling, horse racing, and archery. This is your chance to become part of a timeless tapestry that embodies the spirit of Mongolia.
Yves, the founder of Groovy Yurts, has a deep connection with Mongolia and often finds himself drawn back to this captivating land to visit friends. He highly recommends reaching out to Undral, the owner of Woodpecker Inn & Tours, for unforgettable privately guided tours of Mongolia, including the incredible ‘Gobiand Grassland Mongolia 7-8 Day Tour.' And if you’re seeking a truly unique adventure, Cheke Tours offers thrilling motorbike explorations of Mongolia that will make your heart race!
Yes, exploring the Gobi Desert is a remarkable adventure. Traverse vast stretches of sand dunes that seem to reach the horizon, encounter the famed “Singing Dunes” that create melodies in the wind, and witness the extraordinary rock formations of the Flaming Cliffs (Bayanzag), where fossil treasures lie hidden beneath the surface. Keep your eyes peeled for elusive creatures like the majestic snow leopard or the resilient Bactrian Camel. Take a camel ride, set up camp under the starry sky, and let the enchanting silence of the desert embrace you.
Be sure to explore the hearty flavours of Mongolian cuisine. The food tends to be an acquired taste, as boiled meat and dairy products take centre stage in this culinary journey. For strict vegetarian or vegan diets, dishes may take more prep work.
The flavours of Mongolia are an essential part of your exploration of the country! Indulge in traditional dishes like khokhhog, wheremeat is cooked with hot stones, or savour the unique experience of boodog,where marmot or goat is cooked inside its own skin. Additionally, don’t miss out on khuushuur (fired meat dumplings), airag (a tangy fermented mare’s milk), or suutei tsai (a traditional milk tea).
Tip: Don’t hesitate to take a few spices along to adjust to your own taste.
As you prepare for your Mongolian adventure, it’s essential to be informed about visa requirements. While most visitors require a visa to enter Mongolia, citizens of several countries, including Canada, the United States, and most European nations, can enjoy visa-free entry for a specified period. However, visa regulations can evolve, so it’s crucial to check the specific requirements based on your nationality before you set foot on this captivating land.
Rest assured; Mongolia is generally a safe country for intrepid explorers like yourself. As with any destination, it’s advisable to exercise necessary precautions and be mindful of your belongings. When venturing into remote areas, consider travelling with a reputable tour operator or guide who can provide valuable insights and ensure safety. Mongolia’s warm hospitality awaits you, ensuring that your journey is as secure as it is awe-inspiring.
As you navigate the frequently asked questions about Mongolia, we hope we’ve painted a vivid picture of some of what the country has to offer. Mongolia is a land of awe-inspiring landscapes, vibrant traditions, and a warmth that lingers long after you’ve bid it farewell. We can personally vouch for this.
Photo Credit: https://www.starsinsider.com/travel/232541/explore-mongolia-the-land-of-the-nomads