We would like to give you important advices and tips before traveling to Mongolia in this article. We found out that a lot of informations on the Internet are no longer valid or are missing :).
1. Visa policy of Mongolia (for Czech citiziens)
The citiziens of the Czech Republic are subjects to a visa requirement in Mongolia. You can apply for visa at the Embassy of Mongolia in Prague and it is issued for 30 days by default. The visa costs EUR 60 (paid by bank transfer, you have to bring a proof of payment) and it takes about 7 days to process it. All necessary information on the formalities needed can be found at Mongolian embassy in Prague
2. Cash or credit card in Mongolia?
We have read on the internet that it is not possible to pay with credit card in most places in Mongolia, but the opposite is true. Even in small towns (eg Karakorum), we have always found ATMs and card payments have been possible in almost all shops and restaurants. The only problem we encountered was that in Mongolia they prefer paying with a Visa card (Mastercard rather in large supermarkets and ATM withdrawals).
3. Best SIM card in Mongolia
You can buy SIM card in Mongolia only in the official operators´ store. The easiest solution is to buy SIM card at the airport when you arrive by plan. But if you arrive like us by train, we recommend you to walk around Peace Avenue and find company Mobicom or Unitel, which have the best coverage and tariff offer in Mongolia. We paid for Mobicom SIM card 20000 MNT for 12 GB of data + 5 000 MNT for unlimited social networks for one month (8,40 EUR).
4. What to wear in Mongolia
The weather in Mongolia can be unpredictable. From 25 degrees Celsius the temperature dropped to 0 during the week and we even experienced snowing. Therefore, we recommend taking warm clothes or sleeping bags.
5. Accommodation in Mongolia
We solved accommodation in cities through https://www.booking.com or http://www.airbnb.com . In national parks we recommend you to find place to sleep on the spot, because of bargaining on price. A typical Mongolian accommodation is a yurt. Sleeping in it is an exceptional experience that you must not miss in Mongolia!
Before you arrive in Mongolia, check the accommodation addresses and what the accommodation should look like. Often you won’t find street labels or even hostel names. We did not manage to find accommodation within two days and to date none of the hostel has contacted us back: D
6. Getting around Mongolia with local transport
There was no paved road (2019) on the way from Russia (Ulan-Ude) to Ulaanbaatar on the Mongolian side, so count on with long and squatting road. When traveling to Karakorum or south, for example to Gobi desert, there were normal asphalt roads.
Where to buy bus ticket in Ulaanbaatar? We bought bus tickets at the bus station on the day of departure (we were out of tourist season in Mongolia), but bus availability can be monitored at the official website eticket.transdep.mn
Do not try to use public transport around Ulaanbaatar. Buses are overcrowded and you would probably be stuck in endless traffic jam. We walked everywhere, with the only exception that we took a taxi. But the taxi driver deliberately took us on a longer journey, which cost us more after that and we almost missed the bus. After this experience, we didn’t really get into another taxi.
7. Tours in Mongolia
The best thing in Mongolia is definitelly nature! If you are in this country you have to definitelly visit Gobi desert, Orkhon valley, Khovsgol lake or Gorkhi Terelj national park. You don´t have to book and pay these tours in advance via internet. YOu will find in Ulaanbaatar and other cities many companies and hotels who offer tours and even for cheaper price!
Budget tours in Mongolia
We have always come as close as possible to the desired place by bus (Gobi- city Dalanzagdad, Orkhon valley – city Karakorum) and there we got a driver with an off-road car. This method is often the cheapest option. Renting a car in Mongolia without driver is quite complicated and with known companies (eg Sixt) extremely expensive. One accommodation also gave us the possibility of renting a motorbike ($ 25 per day) with which we drove towards the desert and it was also an amazing experience.
You can buy bus ticket at the bus station on the day of departure (we were out of tourist season in Mongolia) and bus availability can be monitored at the official website eticket.transdep.mn
8. Is Mongolia safe?
There is nothing to worry about in Mongolia. We haven´t met such a friendly, kind and helpful people on our travels for a long time. Nobody wanted to rub us and wehave never felt in danger during our stay (even we walked in dark shortcuts and backstreet thanks to Tomas and his navigation). Of course the exception proves the rule, but in general there in nothing to fear :).
9. Mongolian language
Is Mongolian similar to Russian and what languages are spoken in Mongolia?
First, Mongolian is not similar to Russian language but some people can speak Russian. Second, people in Mongolia speak Mongolian, some of them Russian and young generation (and some adults) can also speak English. We were positively surprised that most of young people speak English even more that in Russia! We didn´t learn any basic phrases before we came to Mongolia because it is really difficult language to remember and for pronunciation. We would reccommend you to learn Thank you in Mongolia = bayarlalaa and have online translator in case in emergency.
10. Food in Mongolia