US Mongolia

Mongolia For US Visitors Mongolia appeals to a very particular kind of visitor - one who is willing to be adventurous, open-minded and wishes to experience one of most pristine and untouched nations on the planet.

Mongolia For US Visitors

Mongolia appeals to a very particular kind of visitor - one who is willing to be adventurous, open-minded and wishes to experience one of most pristine and untouched nations on the planet. Thanks to it’s sheer enormity and breath-taking natural beauty of this unique land, Mongolia has a tendency to leave a unique impression upon those who visit, and consequently tends to rank very highly among the ‘must-see’ destinations compiled by globe-trotting adventurers. Despite it’s size and other-worldliness Mongolia is surprisingly accessible for the informed traveler, and here we’ll take a look at the most important things that visitors from the States should be aware of when exploring this fascinating country.

Expect To ‘Go With The Flow’

Guests will quickly become aware that in all but the most organized touring groups that things tend to happen at their own pace in Mongolia, and that the scheduling and timekeeping many visitors are used to tend to be ‘arrangements’ rather than anything more precise or specific. Fear not though, this is simply the Mongolian way and once used to it, it’s really quite refreshing. Allow plenty of extra time when taking excursions as what means ‘just around the next valley’ means very different in Mongolian parlance due to the sheer size of the country!

Trust and Respect Works Both Ways

Mongolians have a culturally instilled tradition of respect and honor, and naturally expect this to be reciprocated in kind. Arrangements are always kept to, and you’ll find that you’ll likely receive much more in return than what you may have expected. This may for example involve a day tour of the nearby mountains - during which there’ll likely be additional opportunities to explore more than suggested on the itinerary. Likewise meals will often include extras at no additional charge. Such examples are simply Mongolians taking pride in being the hosts and representatives of their nation - of which they are rightly very proud.

Interact With The Locals

Many people who have visited Mongolia rank it as one of the friendliest places on Earth, but of course act with respect - especially when touring the nomadic areas - and ask for permission before taking photos and suchlike. Kids are especially playful and fun, and it’s always good form to offer a host family a small token gift in appreciation for their services - especially if it’s something that can’t be found locally. Good examples may be trinkets such as yo-yos and chocolates.

Distances & Journeys Can Be Long

Most of the vehicles in Mongolia are old Russian models without the creature comforts that many visitors from the US will be used to. Roads are bumpy at best and distances can be very long - but the astonishing scenery and Mongolian character will more than make up for such trivial inconveniences! Interact with the driver, make the most of break stops and enjoy such an epic experience.

Creature Comforts Are For Home

Even finding a warm shower is a rarity in Mongolia, especially outside of the main towns so expect to be ‘roughing’ it and arrange accordingly. There’s an extensive network of tourist campsites that make provision for the very basics, but besides these you’ll be dependent upon sharing the facilities used by everyday Mongolians. It’s all part of the experience, but do be prepared for a little bit of a culture shock!

Prepare To Shop & Barter

Mongolian produce - especially garments, carpets and curiosities - is of amazingly high standard. Many of the woolen garments are softer than cashmere and like everything in Mongolia is astonishingly cheap. It’s a good idea to travel to Mongolia with disposable clothes and items that can be left behind so you can return home with a rucksack full of souvenirs.

Money Advice

Mongolia is one of the best value destinations going, but that doesn’t mean that high grade services and accommodation is non-existent for those willing to spend more. Dollars are readily accepted for major purchases (accommodation, restaurant meals, high-end souvenirs etc.) alongside the Mongolian Tögrög but be aware that the offered exchange rate may not be the greatest. Banks in the main towns will all change money at better rates, while also offering cash advances on debit and credit cards. Travelers checks usually take a 2% levy when changed.

Cash is king is Mongolia so be prepared to carry enough on your person with appropriate security although crime against tourists is comparatively rare. As a general rule try to plan your expected expenditure a little ahead and withdraw a little more than you plan to when the opportunity arises.