Getting Around: Transportation Tips For Mongolia - Answers & Video

Getting Around: Transportation Tips For Mongolia

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Getting Around: Transportation Tips for Mongolia

Mongolia, known for its vast landscapes and nomadic culture, offers a unique travel experience. When visiting this beautiful country, it’s important to plan your transportation to ensure a smooth journey. This article provides detailed transportation tips for getting around Mongolia.

1. Flights

Flights to Mongolia: The main international airport in Mongolia is Chinggis Khaan International Airport, located in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Several airlines offer flights to Mongolia from various destinations. Some popular airlines include MIAT Mongolian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Aeroflot.

Domestic Flights: If you plan to explore different regions of Mongolia, domestic flights are a convenient option. Local airlines such as Aero Mongolia and Hunnu Air operate domestic flights to major cities and towns in Mongolia. It’s advisable to book your domestic flights in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

  • Ulaanbaatar: The capital city, Ulaanbaatar, is the main hub for domestic flights. It connects to various destinations within Mongolia, including Dalanzadgad, Khovd, and Ulgii.
  • Other Cities: Domestic flights are available to popular tourist destinations like Khuvsgul Lake, Gobi Desert, and the western regions of Mongolia.
  • Flight Duration: The duration of domestic flights can vary depending on the distance. Flights from Ulaanbaatar to other major cities usually take around 1-2 hours.

2. Trains

Trans-Mongolian Railway: The Trans-Mongolian Railway is a popular option for travelers who want to experience the scenic beauty of Mongolia. The railway connects Ulaanbaatar to Moscow in Russia and Beijing in China. It offers a unique opportunity to witness the vast landscapes of Mongolia, including the Gobi Desert and the rolling steppes.

  • Ulaanbaatar Station: The main railway station in Ulaanbaatar is the starting point for the Trans-Mongolian Railway. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
  • Train Classes: The Trans-Mongolian Railway offers different classes, including first class, second class, and third class. First class provides the highest level of comfort, while third class offers a more budget-friendly option.
  • Duration: The journey from Ulaanbaatar to Moscow takes approximately 4-5 days, while the journey from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing takes around 30 hours.

3. Buses

Intercity Buses: Buses are a popular mode of transportation for traveling within Mongolia. There are several bus companies that operate intercity routes, connecting major cities and towns.

  • Ulaanbaatar Bus Station: The main bus station in Ulaanbaatar is the central hub for intercity buses. From here, you can find buses to various destinations, including Darkhan, Erdenet, and Kharkhorin.
  • Rural Areas: Buses are also available to travel to rural areas and smaller towns. However, the frequency of buses may vary, so it’s advisable to check the schedules in advance.
  • Comfort: The level of comfort on buses can vary. Some buses offer basic amenities, while others may have more comfortable seating arrangements.

4. Taxis

Official Taxis: Taxis are a convenient mode of transportation within cities and towns in Mongolia. It’s recommended to use official taxis, which are usually metered and have proper licensing.

  • Ulaanbaatar: In Ulaanbaatar, you can easily find official taxis on the streets or near popular tourist areas. Make sure the taxi has a working meter before starting your journey.
  • Rural Areas: In rural areas, official taxis may not be readily available. It’s advisable to arrange transportation in advance through your accommodation or travel agency.
  • Negotiating Prices: If you cannot find an official taxi, negotiate the price with the driver before starting your journey. Make sure to agree on a fair price beforehand.

5. Rental Cars

Renting a Car: Renting a car is a popular option for travelers who want to explore Mongolia at their own pace. Several car rental companies operate in Ulaanbaatar and major tourist areas.

  • Driving License: To rent a car in Mongolia, you need a valid international driving license or a Mongolian driving license.
  • Road Conditions: While major highways in Mongolia are well-maintained, some rural areas may have rough roads. It’s advisable to rent a car suitable for off-road conditions if you plan to explore remote areas.
  • Navigation: GPS navigation systems may not always be reliable in Mongolia. It’s recommended to have a physical map or download offline maps before your journey.

6. Motorcycles

Motorcycle Rentals: For adventure enthusiasts, renting a motorcycle is a thrilling way to explore Mongolia. Motorcycle rental services are available in Ulaanbaatar and some tourist areas.

  • Riding Experience: It’s important to have prior experience riding motorcycles before renting one in Mongolia. The terrain and weather conditions can be challenging.
  • Protective Gear: Always wear appropriate protective gear, including helmets, jackets, and boots, to ensure your safety while riding.
  • Route Planning: Plan your routes carefully and consider the distances between fuel stations and accommodations, especially if you’re traveling to remote areas.

7. Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking Culture: Hitchhiking is a common practice in Mongolia due to the vast distances and limited transportation options in some areas. However, it’s important to exercise caution and use common sense when hitchhiking.

  • Safety: Only hitchhike during daylight hours and avoid isolated areas. Trust your instincts and decline rides if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Communication: Basic knowledge of the Mongolian language or carrying a phrasebook can be helpful when communicating with drivers.
  • Sharing Expenses: It’s customary to offer some money for fuel when hitchhiking in Mongolia. Discuss and agree on the amount before accepting a ride.

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8. Rideshares

Rideshare Apps: Rideshare apps like Uber and Gett are available in Ulaanbaatar, offering convenient and reliable transportation within the city.

  • Availability: Rideshare services are primarily available in Ulaanbaatar and may have limited coverage in other areas of Mongolia.
  • Mobile Data: Make sure to have a reliable internet connection to use rideshare apps. Local SIM cards with data plans are easily available in Mongolia.
  • Fare Estimates: Rideshare apps provide fare estimates before confirming your ride, ensuring transparency in pricing.

9. Public Transportation

City Buses: Public buses operate within Ulaanbaatar, providing an affordable mode of transportation for locals and tourists.

  • Routes: Ulaanbaatar has a well-established bus network, covering various neighborhoods and popular tourist areas.
  • Fares: Bus fares are relatively low in Ulaanbaatar, and tickets can be purchased directly from the driver or at designated ticket counters.
  • Timings: Buses generally operate from early morning until late evening, but the frequency may vary depending on the route and time of day.

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10. Walking and Cycling

Walking: Walking is a great way to explore the city centers and smaller towns in Mongolia. Many tourist attractions and landmarks are within walking distance of each other.

  • Comfortable Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes, as you may need to walk longer distances, especially in Ulaanbaatar’s city center.
  • Safety: Follow pedestrian rules and be cautious of traffic, especially when crossing busy roads.
  • Exploring Neighborhoods: Walking allows you to discover hidden gems, local markets, and interact with friendly locals.

Cycling: Cycling is gaining popularity in Mongolia, especially in Ulaanbaatar. Some areas offer bike rentals and dedicated cycling paths.

  • Bike Rentals: Bike rental services are available in Ulaanbaatar, allowing you to explore the city on two wheels.
  • Safety Gear: Always wear a helmet and follow traffic rules while cycling in Mongolia.
  • Exploring Nature: Cycling offers a unique opportunity to explore the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar and enjoy the beautiful nature surrounding the city.

11. Horseback Riding

Horseback Tours: Horseback riding is an iconic experience in Mongolia, allowing you to immerse yourself in the nomadic culture and explore the vast landscapes.

  • Tour Operators: Many tour operators offer horseback riding tours, ranging from short rides to multi-day treks.
  • Experience Level: Horseback riding tours cater to all experience levels, from beginners to experienced riders.
  • Equipment: Tour operators provide necessary equipment, including horses, saddles, and guides.

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12. Conclusion

Exploring Mongolia’s stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage requires careful planning of transportation. Whether you choose to fly, take a train, ride a bus, hire a taxi, rent a car, or opt for more adventurous options like motorcycling or horseback riding, there are various transportation options available to suit your preferences. Remember to consider the unique terrain, weather conditions, and distances when planning your journeys in Mongolia. By utilizing the transportation tips provided in this article, you can make the most of your travels and create unforgettable memories in this beautiful country.


– MIAT Mongolian Airlines:
– Turkish Airlines:
– Aeroflot:
– Aero Mongolia:
– Hunnu Air:
– Trans-Mongolian Railway:
– Ulaanbaatar Bus Station:
– Uber:
– Gett:
– Ulaanbaatar Public Transportation: