Mongolia is a stunning country with the friendliest people and a vibe that is completely it’s own. Compared to the rest of the world, it’s relatively unexplored. I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to get around, and there are certainly some things I wish I had known prior to arriving in UB. I hope these tips help.
1. During summertime, it’s HOT during the day, but FREEZING at nighttime.
2. The roads are not roads. They are paths, if you’re lucky.
3. That being said, the ceilings in the cars are padded for a reason.
4. Public transportation (outside of Ulaanbaatar) is sparse and quite inconvenient.
5. I should have learned some Mongolian or Kazakh.
6. You should really enjoy mutton. You will eat a lot of it.
7. Airag (fermented horse milk) is not as easy to come by as anticipated. When you can find it, however, it gets guzzled. It’s very low in alcohol and given to children. Don’t worry if your driver is chugging it.
8. Mongolians apparently do not get carsick (if you do get carsick, BRING MEDICATION).
9. Bring more SD cards (seriously- so much beauty to take photos of!).
10. It’s worth having a Mongolian SIM card.
11. Booking hotels outside of UB will be nearly impossible if you do not have a phone.
12. Even if you do have a phone, it will be very difficult without knowing Mongolian/Kazakh.
13. Going on a solo trek is not as easy as you’ll think it is. There is a LOT of pre-work to do (permits, paperwork, park passes, and sometimes, GPS).
14. When trekking, your feet will never be dry. There is a lot of rain.
15. You will never have enough time in Mongolia. You’ll always find something else to see.
If you have the chance to go to Mongolia, GO. The landscapes are some of the most beautiful, and the culture is still so well maintained. If you want to see Mongolia, I say go now, rather than later, as the country is changing with the rise of tourism.
Thank you, Mongolia, for the loveliest adventures!