Distant and little-visited Mongolia is a land of breathtaking beauty; in addition to the snow-capped Bayan-Olgi Mountains and the vast Gobi Desert, visitors are also interested in the developing hotel and restaurant scene in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. There is a lot of history and culture to discover in Mongolia. Everywhere you come across historical temples and ruins. Outside of the big cities, most of the locals still live in the tradition of the Malchin (shepherds). They transport their goods by camel and live in yurts, just as people did in the days of Genghis Khan, the most famous of all Mongolians. The wilderness of Mongolia is a real playground for adventure tourists: fishing, jeep tours, horse and camel riding, mountain biking and bird watching are just a few of the activities available. Outside the capital, the infrastructure is still in its infancy, but you don’t leave civilization right away. Internet access is available even in small villages, and it is not uncommon to see Mongolian nomads with mobile phones.
Arriving by plane
According to top-medical-schools, the national airline MIAT – Mongolian Airlines (OM) flies several times a week from Frankfurt/M. non-stop to Ulaanbaatar. Turkish Airlines (TK) connects Frankfurt/M., Munich, Vienna and Zurich via Istanbul with Ulan Bator. Other airlines that fly to Mongolia are: Aeroflot (SU), Korean Air (KE) and Air China (CA).
Frankfurt/M. – Ulaanbaatar: 8 hrs 50 mins (non-stop); Munich – Ulan Bator: 15 hours 50 minutes; Vienna – Ulan Bator: 14 hours 15 minutes; Zurich – Ulan Bator: 15 hours 5 minutes (each with a stopover; the journey time varies depending on the length of stay.)
approx. €11 (US$12), included in the ticket price.
Arrival by car
From the Russian Federation there is a connecting road from Irkutsk to Ulan Bator; from China there is a border crossing at Erlian. Tourists need a special permit from the Mongolian authorities to enter the country by car. Bus: There are daily bus connections between Ulan-Ude (Russian Federation) and Ulan Bator. Toll: The few paved roads are subject to tolls. Documents: In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required.
Arrival by train
The Trans-Mongolian Railway branches off from the Trans-Siberian Railway (Moscow-Vladivostic) at Ulan Ude and runs once a week via Ulan Bator to Jining and Beijing in China. There are other regular rail connections between Ulan Bator and Beijing and Moscow (journey time: 36 hours). Trains operating on international routes have sleeping and dining cars.
Traveling by plane
Domestic flights are operated by AeroMongolia (M0) and Hunnu Air (MR). Most provincial capitals are served. The hub for all flights is Ulan Bator.
Traveling by car/bus
The Mongolian road network has a total length of around 50,000 km. The main roads connect Ulan Bator with the provincial capitals. An east-west highway is under construction. Gas stations: The gas station network is well developed. Toll: The few paved roads are subject to tolls.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Approximately 5,000 km of the entire road network is paved. Paved roads are mainly found near the larger cities. However, most of the roads are gravel roads. All-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for cross-country journeys; these are available from Drive Mongolia, among others. Driving at night should generally be avoided.
Car hire with a driver is available through local tour operators; Driving yourself is not necessarily advisable due to poor road conditions, inadequate signage and poor maps. The minimum age for drivers is 18 years.
Regular taxi companies charge fares based on distance; they are increasingly working with English-speaking drivers. Private taxis often charge far too high fares; Therefore, the fare should be agreed in advance. Hotels provide information about the current prices.
Long-distance buses of various sizes, from minivans to large capacity buses with around 45 seats, travel between the country’s cities. All buses are usually very well occupied to overcrowded.
Traffic regulations: – alcohol limit: 0.0 ‰; it is frequently checked, with severe penalties for non-compliance; – Telephoning at the wheel is only permitted with a hands-free system; – Seat belts are compulsory for drivers and helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists. Speed limits: – in residential areas: 20 km/h; – otherwise in built-up areas: 60 km/h; – extra-urban: 80 km/h; – Motorway: 100 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted first.
In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required.
Traveling in the city
Buses and trolleybuses operate in Ulan Bator. Taxis are available everywhere; however, it is advisable to use official taxis.
Locally on the way by train
The route network of the Mongolian Railway covers 1,815 km. The main route Sühbaatar – Darhan – Ulan Bator – Saynshand – Dsamyn-Uud runs from north to south. Another route connects Bayantumen in the east of the country with the Russian border at Chuluunkhoroot. The trains are slow but cheap.