Frequently asked questions about Mongolia

  1. Can you travel with children?
  2. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  3. Do I need a visa?
  4. Do i need to bring a sleeping bag/mat?
  5. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  6. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  7. Travel guides and maps
  8. What about my passport?
  9. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  10. What is the accommodation like?
  11. What is the best time to travel?
  12. What is the recommended currency for Mongolia?
  13. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  14. What kind of luggage should I take?
  15. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

1. Can you travel with children?

Yes, children can travel with their families on a Shoestring tour. We recommend the easiest tours which are listed as ‘Category A’ where the distances covered are short and there is a slow traveling speed. But please check with our friendly sales team if you are unsure.
We would define a child as being under the age of 18. They would only be allowed to travel provided they do so with an adult family member or close relative.

Children under the age of 8 we recommend not to travel as they simply would not be old enough to enjoy the experience nor cope with the nature of travel that we provide.

The tour prices are the same for both adults and children.
 

2. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
It is not necessary to bring sleeping bags or bedrolls as these are provided.
3. Do I need a visa?

Many European citizens currently require a visa for Mongolia but these things can change so please click here and check out the current situation. Make sure you inquire with plenty of time before departure. 

You should apply directly to the Mongolian embassy or through a specialist company such as CIBT.

4. Do i need to bring a sleeping bag/mat?

A sleeping bag/mat is not necessary as bedding is provided but you could bring a sleeping bag liner.

5. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and then contact your GP or a specialised health clinic to make an appointment to get your injections and pills. Please make sure that you arrange this at least six weeks before departure to allow time for a full program of injections. Two weeks should suffice for people who have already had a few vaccinations. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

6. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller of the same sex (when possible) unless you have booked a single room (at supplement). Around the time of the Naadaam Festival in Ulan Bator however, we cannot give this guarantee because of the limited accommodation available at the time. If you have booked a single room it cannot be honored during Naadam. The single room is only valid in Beijing, Hohhot and Ulan Bator.

7. Travel guides and maps
If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.
8. What about my passport?
You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.
9. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
The most famous festival is the Naadam Festival. This annual event is celebrated throughout the country from 11th-13th July and in Ulan Bator most of the festivities take place in the Naadam Stadium. It is a jubilant period where family bands are strengthened and all sorts of sporting competitions are held including horse riding, archery and wrestling. Tsagan Sar (White Month) celebrates the Mongolian New Year and is celebrated in January or February.
10. What is the accommodation like?

In China we travel by train. We have reserved berths in the second class, with three bunk beds. The lower bed doubles as a sofa during the day. Bed linen is provided.

In the main cities you will stay in a centrally located hotel, in 2-person rooms with private shower and toilet.

While travelling through Mongolia you sleep in ger (nomadic) camps. The camps usually have a restaurant and shared washing facilities. Usually four people sleep in one ger


11. What is the best time to travel?
Mongolia is a land of extremes. Humidity is low and the sun is intense. However, the winters can be of arctic standards. There is a short rainy season from the middle of July until September, although the downpours are short and light. Due to the high altitude, even summer nights are cool. Mongolia is a windy country, especially in the spring. The Gobi Desert can experience 40°C summers, while in the winter it can reach -30°C or even lower temperatures. The nights can be very cold there, even in the summer. On the steppes, the weather is always chilly. The average temperature in July is just 10°C, while in the winter temperatures of -50°C are not uncommon. Ulan Bator has long, cold winters (from October to April) and temperature can drop to -30°C in January and February. During the short spring (May-June) it warms up again to give a pleasant climate by day and cool nights. In this season there can sometimes be strong winds. The summer (July-September) is p
12. What is the recommended currency for Mongolia?

Taking traveller's cheques is not recommended. In Ulan Bator, you can withdraw cash with your credit card (Visa and MasterCard) but not with your debit card. You can exchange Euros, US dollars and Russian Rubles at bureaux de change or banks.
 

13. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
Take a good, windproof coat, a fleece, a scarf, headgear and gloves. These will certainly come in useful during your stay in Mongolia, where it can get rather cold in the evenings. For the train journeys, bring comfortable, light clothing as it can become extremely hot in the trains during the summer months.
14. What kind of luggage should I take?
We strongly recommend that you carry your luggage in a rucksack with inner framework, and that you restrict your baggage to a maximum of 12 kg. A compact weekend bag is also suitable. Due to the limited stoage space on the trains and buses, we advise against bringing suitcases on any of our holidays. We also advise that you bring practical clothing which covers the body (and is not too revealing).
15. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
As long as you are polite around the locals you will have no problems. The Mongolians have certain rituals and superstitions. They will never write with a red pen. Spilling milk brings bad luck. If you are ever offered vodka, dip your right ring finger in the vodka and sprinkle it once in the air (to the heavens), once in front of you (to the wind) and once toward the ground (to the earth).