Five Things to Remember When Traveling to Mongolia

Five Things to Remember When Traveling to Mongolia

Five Things to Remember When Traveling to Mongolia

Visiting another country can bring with it all sorts of adjustments. There is much to consider when traveling internationally, from acclimating to a new time zone to being mindful of local etiquette and culture. Whether this is your first trip to Mongolia or you are a repeat visitor, here are some things to remember when traveling to this vast nation. 

Time Differences

Most international travelers suffer from jet lag of varying degrees when traveling out of their home country. Therefore, one of the most important factors to consider is the time difference you will experience upon arriving at your destination.

Mongolia comprises three time zones — Choibalsan, Hovd, and Ulaanbaatar. However, two of these zones — Choibalsan Time and Ulaanbaatar Time — keep the same time. Hovd Time, adhered to in Western Mongolia, is one hour behind. Additionally, as of 2016, Mongolia no longer observes Daylight Savings, which might further affect any jet lag you experience. 

If traveling from Los Angeles or New York, you will experience a 16- or 13-hour time difference, respectively. For example, if it is 4:30 p.m. in New York right now, it will be 5:30 a.m. the next day in Ulaanbaatar. That’s quite a difference! 

Those traveling from Paris or Germany will experience less of a time difference, as they are only seven hours behind Ulaanbaatar Time. And those traveling from Singapore will experience no time difference at all! The same goes for travelers from Hong Kong or Shanghai. 


Another main factor to consider is the weather you'll encounter when traveling to a new destination. Mongolia has what is defined as a “continental climate“ due to its landlocked position. This lends itself to extreme variations in temperature across the seasons. Despite stark differences in temperature, however, Mongolia enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine per year, living up to its name as “The Land of the Blue Sky.” 

In the winter, you can expect temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius (-40°F), with Ulaanbaatar ranked as the coldest capital in the world. Conversely, the temperature can rise to 40 degrees Celsius (104° F) in the Gobi desert during the summer months from June to August. It has been said that you could experience all four seasons in Mongolia in one day, so be sure to plan accordingly. 

Certain regions of Mongolia are also known to be extremely windy. This is particularly apparent in the Steppe or Gobi desert. With no trees to provide shade or covering, both regions are fully exposed to the elements. The Gobi can also experience intense sandstorms in the spring months. Therefore, it is important to bring a scarf, bandana, or similar face and neck covering, as well as sunglasses, no matter the time of year. 


One of the most challenging elements of travel can be conquering language barriers. This prohibits many people from traveling to stunning destinations around the world, as they feel ill-equipped to communicate with the locals. In Mongolia, around 90% of Mongolians speak Khalkha Mongolian. In addition to the other dialects spoken amongst various ethnic groups, Kazakh is also spoken in western provinces

Russian is one of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in Mongolia due to its link both geographically and historically. Additionally, Mongolia and Russia share the Cyrillic alphabet, which may make navigation easier for Russian speakers. 

If you are traveling as an English speaker, you may run into someone who can speak English in the city. However, this is less likely in the countryside. To ease stress, our tours include guides that can help you navigate your travels and optimize your experience. 


Mongolians are naturally warm and kind people with a high regard for customs. This is especially true if you're welcomed into their home, or “ger.“ 

Upon entering, step over the threshold and move to the left. Also be mindful of where you sit. The women typically sit on the eastern side near the kitchen facilities, while the men sit on the western side. The northern side opposite the door is reserved for an altar and prized possessions.

Bringing a gift is a nice gesture should you be afforded this experience. Accepting whatever is offered to you during your visit is also polite, even if it is not to your liking. Always pass items with your right hand and steer clear of the two posts in the middle of the structure — it is considered unlucky to walk between them. 

Have Fun! 

Lastly, the most important thing to remember when traveling to Mongolia is to have fun! Mongolia is a special place. It is one of the few countries whose culture and traditions have remained largely untouched for centuries. The vast terrain and deep-seated traditions amid the backdrop of the blue sky will provide you with endless opportunities for a memorable vacation. 

Contact us to book your tour today!