Mongolia Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Mongolia in 2024
Welcome to Mongolia

Mongolia Country Information

Mongolia is a vast and enchanting land in Central Asia’s heart. Known for its nomadic heritage, rugged landscapes, and rich cultural traditions, Mongolia offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. The country’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring, checking the Gobi Desert to the Altai Mountains. Immerse yourself in the fascinating nomadic lifestyle, meet friendly locals, and witness the enduring traditions of horseback riding, traditional music, and throat singing.

Geography

Mongolia, located in Central Asia, is a landlocked country surrounded by China and Russi. With an expansive area of approximately 1.5 million square kilometres (603,909 square miles), Mongolia is known for its vast, rugged landscapes and diverse geography. The country encompasses vast steppes, rolling hills, deserts, and the famous Gobi Desert in the south. The Altai Mountains in the west provide breathtaking vistas and house the country’s highest peak, Khüiten Peak. Mongolia is also home to numerous lakes, including Lake Khövsgöl, known as the “Dark Blue Pearl,” and the pristine Terelj National Park, offering stunning natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor adventures. The country’s geography is a testament to its nomadic heritage and offers a captivating mix of untouched wilderness, nomadic culture, and breathtaking natural wonders.

Climate

Mongolia experiences a continental climate with distinct seasons and extreme temperature variations. Winter temperatures plummet well below freezing, especially in the northern regions. Mongolia is known for its harsh winters, locally called “dzud,” characterized by heavy snowfall and strong winds. Summers, however, are relatively short but can be hot and dry, with temperatures reaching high levels, particularly in the Gobi Desert. Spring and autumn bring milder temperatures, occasional fluctuations, and rapid weather changes. Precipitation levels are generally low throughout the country, with most rainfall occurring during summer. Mongolia’s unique climate offers a challenging yet awe-inspiring environment shaped by its vast landscapes and nomadic way of life.

Culture

Mongolia’s rich cultural heritage is deeply rooted in its nomadic traditions and the enduring spirit of its people. The country is renowned for its nomadic lifestyle, which is still practised by a significant portion of the population. Traditional Mongolian culture is celebrated through various customs, such as the art of horseback riding, traditional throat singing, and wrestling, which are showcased during the vibrant Naadam Festival. Mongolian cuisine offers a taste of the nomadic diet, with hearty dishes like buuz (steamed dumplings) and airag (fermented mare’s milk). Shamanism and Buddhism have long-standing influences on Mongolian spirituality, and monasteries and temples hold historical and religious significance. The country’s vast landscapes, from the sprawling steppe to the pristine lakes and mountains, have shaped the nomadic way of life and continue to inspire Mongolian art, music, and poetry. Mongolia’s cultural tapestry is a captivating fusion of ancient traditions, folklore, and a strong sense of community, offering visitors a unique and immersive cultural experience.

Economy

Various sectors, including mining, agriculture, and services, drive Mongolia’s economy. The country is rich in mineral resources, particularly coal, copper, gold, and uranium, contributing significantly to its export earnings. Mining is crucial in Mongolia’s economic growth, attracting foreign investment and driving infrastructure development. Agriculture, especially livestock herding, remains a vital sector, with nomadic herders raising livestock such as horses, sheep, goats, and camels. The services sector is also expanding, driven by tourism, transportation, and telecommunications. Mongolia’s strategic location between China and Russia provides opportunities for trade and transit, contributing to its economic development. However, the country faces challenges such as maintaining sustainable growth, reducing dependence on mining, and promoting economic diversification to create more inclusive and resilient growth for its population.

Population

Mongolia’s population is estimated at around 3.3 million, with diverse ethnic groups, including the dominant Khalkha Mongols, Kazakhs, and Buryats. The country’s economy is closely intertwined with its population, with many individuals engaged in traditional nomadic herding, subsistence agriculture, and small-scale businesses. However, urbanization is increasing, particularly in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, where a significant portion of the population resides. Rapid urbanization and the growth of the mining sector have led to a concentration of economic activities in urban areas, resulting in socio-economic disparities between urban and rural regions. The population’s well-being and economic prospects depend on efforts to address income inequality, improve access to education, healthcare, and basic infrastructure, and create employment opportunities to ensure sustainable and inclusive development for all Mongolians.

Religion

Mongolia’s predominant religion is Tibetan Buddhism, specifically the Vajrayana tradition. Buddhism has deep historical roots in Mongolia and significantly shapes the country’s cultural, social, and spiritual landscape. Monasteries, known as “children,” hold immense importance, serving as centres of religious practice, education, and community gathering. Mongolians participate in various Buddhist rituals and ceremonies, and the teachings of Buddhism, including compassion, mindfulness, and the pursuit of enlightenment, influence their way of life. Shamanism, known as “Tengerism,” also coexists alongside Buddhism, particularly among rural communities, emphasizing a spiritual connection with nature and ancestral worship. Religion in Mongolia provides a spiritual foundation, guiding moral values, and offers its people a sense of identity and belonging.

Languages 

The official language of Mongolia is Mongolian, specifically the Khalkha dialect, which is spoken by most of the population. Mongolian is an Altaic language with a rich history and a unique script called Cyrillic Mongolian. However, due to Mongolia’s diverse ethnic makeup and cultural heritage, other languages, such as Kazakh, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese, are also spoken. Kazakh is primarily spoken by the Kazakh minority in western Mongolia, while Russian retains influence due to historical ties. It is commonly said among older generations and in specific professional and business settings. Mandarin Chinese has gained prominence recently due to Mongolia’s proximity to China and increasing economic ties. English is also becoming more prevalent, especially among younger generations and those in the tourism and business sectors. Mongolia’s linguistic landscape reflects its multiculturalism and evolving global connections.

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If you need to stay longer in Mongolia, you must apply for a visa extension. It can be done online.

Yes, Indians must require a visa to travel to Mongolia, and the visa must be acquired before the date of travelling.

Applying for Mongolia eVisa 5 days before the travelling period is advisable.

Summer sessions, from June to September, are the best time to visit Mongolia.

The Mongolia visa is valid for 150 days.