INFORMATION ABOUT MONGOLIA
 
     
 

“WHO DRINKS WATER IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY

MUST FOLLOW THE WAYS AND CUSTOMS”

(mongolian proverb)

ABOUT MONGOLIA:  situated between China and Russia, Mongolia is well-know for its biggest steppes. 1 565 000 km2 for 2,500,000 inhabitants, lowest population density in the world: about one person per km2. Before it was totally nomadic now about 60%  of the population lives in towns. Mongolian practice a mixture of Buddhism and shamanism.

FORMALITIES: As formalities change often we recommend that you ask for the most current information at the nearest embassy.

click here for list Mongolian embassy abroad

To get visa on Irkoust / Ulan de: necessary 3/5 working days

MONGOLIAN VISA IN CHINA

The embassy is in Xiu Shui Beije street between subway stations Jianguomen and Yonganli. Open from Monday to Friday 8.30Am -11.00AM, it’s better to arrive before opening! You will find the apply forms on embassy.
You will get your visa the day after (no other choice) It’s almost impossible to have the visa the same day!

You can ask for Mongolian visa in Erlian (Chinese border) price 2013 82$

You can extend your visa on U.B:  only one time for 30 days more and only on UB :go to the Immigration office with 3 photos to write a motivation letter , 4 days delivery and if hurry you will pay 14000T for service fee instead of 7000T plus the price of 3$ for each day you want more (7days= 20$ + tax , 30 days=61$ + tax) Price 2012

IMPORTANT: when you ask to extend your visa, who help you is responsible because on the apply form you will have mentioned his address. If they ask you to phone them during your trip do it! This is not to know about what you are doing but to know if all okay and so the Police will not search about you. Tell them also you are leaving for your own country especially if you will not use their services again. This is valid for any kind of agencies as for single Mongolian who help.

INVITATION LETTER: contact in English: mejet69@yahoo.com

VISA LONG STAY: contact www.consuls.net or others agency which visa application (http://www.traveldocs.com/index.htm …)

RUSSIAN VISA: for touristic visa + invitation letter go to Legend Tour on Seoul avenue with 120$ (2016) contact:

http://www.legendtour.ru/eng/mongolia/russiavisa.shtml& http://www.nevsky88.com/Visa/default.asp

Useful information to get the tourist visa to Russian in Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar) in 2016:
The all process to get the Russian visa takes from 10 business days to 16 business days (after you will give all documents). It depends on citizenship. You can not arrange the Urgent Russian tourist visa in Ulaanbaatar.
You should have with your original passport with at least 2 blank pages (passport must be valid for at least 6 months after intended departure date from Russia, 1 photo. At out office you will fill in application form where you should write information about yourself correctly. You should have an original health insurance with you for traveling to Russia.

At the Russian consulate in Ulaanbaatar we can provide you with Russian tourist visa. For this you need to buy the tour package in Russia (minimum to reserve hotel accommodation in Russia) Invitation letter for Russia costs 25$ (2016)

Get an insurance attestation if you hold a visa card to get visa (email +/- 8j please control )
https://www.europ-cartes.com/fr/ and http://lcl.sam-assurance.com/default.aspx or ask directly to your Insurance

HOW TO GET THERE:

click here for informatio

  1. BY PLANE: connected with Moscow, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Berlin, Frankfur, Istanbul, Paris…

FROM AIRPORT TO DOWNTOWN UB

TAXI: ask before to say yes, as the fare can cost from 20 to 60$!
BUS: take bus CH-7, in Mongolian Ч:7 НИСЭХ-ТӨВ НОМЫН САН-7 БУУДАЛ. Buy near the bus stop a bus card for  around 4000tugrug and the fare untill downtown is around 500 tugrug.

U.B -Beijing 250euro difficult to find seat in summer

GETTING THERE FOR LOW PRICE:

buy a ticket to Moscow+Moscow-Irkoustk+ Irkoustk -Ub (train)

2. BY TRAIN AND BUS

Information:http://www.seat61.com/Trans-Siberian.htm#Trans-Siberian_timetable

  • FROM RUSSIA

with the TRANSIBERIAN: Moscow - U.B=5days. You need a transit visa for Russia and the train ticket costs less if you buy it on Moscow (No agency feet) Not daily except Irkoust-UB-Irkoust. More information: http://www.seat61.com/Trans-Siberian-timetable.htm
http://www.nevsky88.com/Transportation/Train/default.asp & http://poezda.net/en/index

Yaroslavski railway station a moscou pour : Irkutsk, , Trans-siberian trains

How to read your train tickets? http://www.legendtour.ru/eng/train-ticket/train-tickets.shtml

TRANSIBERIAN transiberian map: click here! & information Transiberian here (French)

Advice to buy a train ticket in Russia
If you want to stop often on the way Moscow-UB it’s possibile to buy train tickets from town to town according your need. If you buy a direct train ticket Moscow-Ub you can’t stop without loosing your ticket. You must know that there is different trains who run toward UB except the last part from Ulan Ude in Russia and UB in Mongolia. So you can take as well: Moscow –Irkoust, Moscow –Vladi, Moscow-UB.
Time table: all times are express in Moscow time (different time between Russian towns) If you buy a train ticket leaving at 10AM it will be 10Am Moscow time, so you must calculate your local time in the town you are. All clocks in all railway stations in Russia are with Moscow time!
Train tickets: all tickets will have your name, so you can’t sell it or leave another day than the one mentioned on your own ticket. You will have to show your passport when leaving.
So if it’s quickly to buy a train ticket, the fact they must write manes take time and so long time to wait. It’s better to go one day before to buy train ticket.
The booking offices don’t sell tickets for all destination: one will sell for a destination and other one for another destination . it’s difficult to find the right booking office as often you will have to go out the railway station to find the right one.                       
On summer It's difficult to find seats, better to reserve several months before departure. Tickets are on sale 45 days before the day you want to take the train,, If you buy the ticket through an agency ask before and so be on waiting list, so you will have more opportunities to get the train when you desire. Not daily

On Moscow you can buy tickets at CHISTYE PRUDY subway. Prepare on Cyrillic all you want to ask (prices, time table, information…) nobody speak English but as not so much people they will have more time for you!

Transiberian to much expensive? No seat available? You might use the local solution! You will need an average of 2-3 days more than Transiberian (4-5 days according way).
In Moscow buy a train ticket for Perm or Yekatarinburg ,Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyark, Irkoust, Ulan De, Ulan Bator; according time table in that way you will reach Mongolia. Better to know some Russian to buy tickets in railway stations, if not buy a vocabulary and ask for translate some sentences in Russian to can buy tickets easy in the railway stations (same for UB- Moscow)
Time table: http://www.baikalcomplex.com/trans.htm#transSib

If your dates aren’t fixed you can find easier some solution.
Railway station in Russia: all booking-offices are not open with same horary and close on different time each others! Employees aren’t nice at all and can’t speak English .
Solution: use “servis tsentr” (service center), you will find them in all big railway station in Russia, employees are nice and sometimes knows some English, they will buy for you railway tickets charging some rouble.
Sometimes in the big towns you can buy tickets in some special booking offices and also outside the railway station in some travel agencies.
As even employees will say you the train is full you can try to ask directly to the hostess chief of the train (the provodnitsa): tell her your destination and the normal price of the fare you want to pay, if there is free seat, you will enter into negotiations and so arrive to find a solution!

MOSCOW - IRKOUSTSK: 88 hours Don’t reserve in platskart seat: 1-4, 33-38, 53+54 (toilet, samovar) Seat from 38-52: double bed: the one down will become during the day a table and if you are tall better to not reserve those seats. for this destiuation no need in summer to reserve, trains are daily. when arriving in Irkoustk you can take the bus for Ub as to across the border you will wait 6 hours by train and only 2 by bus

BUS: Irkoust –Ulan De- UB and return: in each town go to travel agencies or bus station to get tickets and information.

  • Irkoust – Ulan De – Irkoust: each 2 hours from 7.30AM to 9.00PM with mini bus of 15 seats
  • Ulan de – UB – Ulan De: 12 hours per way, custom time: 2 hours
  • Ulan Ude - Suhbatar
  • Ulan Udé -Darkhan
  • Ulan Udé - Altan Bulag
  • Kyakta - UB
  • Guzinoozersk - UB

OPTION BUS AND TRAIN: Irkoust – UB- Irkoust and return: according train and clas from 150$ to 400$ (2012) 36hours (2 nights) trip, 6 hours waiting for customs. From Irkoust train arives at 6.00AM in Ulan De and you might take  at 7.30AM the bus to Ub from the bus station at 15 minuts walking fron train station. Customs take 6 hours by train trip and only 2 hours by bus trip. IRKOUSTSK /ULAN UDE: if possible choose the window on the train, real wonderful view on the lake

IRKOUSTK: http://nerpahostel.com good place and they give many information about the aerea. baikal lake on May is still icy only from june you can go to Olkhon island.

  • FROM CHINA
     

Beijing-U.B. with TRANSMOGOLIAN: 2/3 times /week according to the season.
Agency: http://www.oceantravelcn.com/ . They will provide for air, bus or train tickets, support for visa ...real good agency,

On Bejing transmongolian train lives from the railway station called “Central Station”Sometimes on guide books called as railway station of Bejing. This n^means nothing as many railway stations in Bejing! The one who interest usi s near BEIJING ZHAN SUBWAY (LINE2) and also called “Beijing Railway station” (situaed SE of the forbiden city) chek!!!!

If you can’t get tickets you can choose this solution from Bejing:

BUDGET OPTION: BEIIJING – UB - BEIJING

- Budget option, costs about 650 instead of €200-350 (price 2016)
- Take the bus departure 4PM (please control) price > 30 euro to Erlian, a border city on the China/Mongolia border where it's possible to ask for a visa for Mongolia. Another bus station, 2km South of LuiliQiao join each day Erlian for same price and departure 5PM (control price and time departure)
- The ride takes about 12 hours, you will arrive early in morning in Erlian. You will find easy and hotel to finsh the night and also jeeps wait to help you to across the border, as to accorss the border you must be in a car (no walking, no bicycle) cost is on 2014 120 yuan per ehad + luggage, bike...
- Also a train exist from Beijing to Erlian: just control about time table and price to railway station (120 yuans price 2014)
- opening border at 9.30AM
- from Erlian ( Chinese border) possible to take the noon bus to Zamyn-Uud ( Mongolian side)
- From Zamyn-Uud you can take the daily local train to Ulaanbaatar ( leaves 4PM from Zamyn Uud arrives at 7am in UB cost around 20 euro, control price and time table)
- Same on the way UB-Beijing (UB- Zamyn Uud daily train  4PM and Sun/Thu direct UB- Erlian, 12/15h trip)

Other solution: Beijing- KHOKH KHOT  - UB and way back change in Jinning 2/week (UB-KHOKH KHOT : Mon/Fri)
http://www.chinatripadvisor.com/english/

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-trains/ 
http://www.china-train-ticket.com/

PS: Some difficulties to buy on UB train tickets for Moscow and Beijing for Transiberan and Transmongolian , be careful if you don’t have time to wait because it isn’t possible to reserve seat for all trains. Be careful also at the beginning of university as students will reserve seats so long time before as they return in China or Russia to study.

PS: Don't rush out of the train, it is then that the pickpockets operate! Some board the train to rob the unaware. Look after your luggage, and  DO NOT use porters!

TODAY NEW  (2016)

In few years UB changed a lot. The difference between rich and poor is big, new rich expose their new status by buying luxury car and all kind of things. Downtown  you can see big construction with 15 and more floors. You can find different kind of hotel and also most ore luxury 4-5 stars, same with restaurants. Luxury shops are now opened and you can find every kind of goods. The traffic is heavy all the day with almost only luxury jeeps.
A lot of mines opened and this permitted Mongolia to increase quality of life for some communities, even Mongolia have big projects as new roads, railway lines, new airport… still a lot remains to do. Basis salaries increased and also increased basic food and life.Towns are more modern and are loosing Sovietic personality. Also because roads are better goods and petrol arrive everywhere. As even more expensive than UB usually goods can be find everywhere.

Internet arrive slowly to countryside and now in 80% of Mongolia you can have telephone, but it’s only near the villages you can use your mobile. In the ger now it’s easy to see mobile near saddles! The “connecting people2 promise since 2000 is now on the way and Mongolian like really much mobile especially in UB and big towns.
Now Governement gives a piece of land free once in your life if you want to settle near a village or town except UB now you can see new areas where inside the wooden fences you can see small wood houses, they take the place of the ger as Mongolian consider wooden houses more confortable than the ger for a settle life near the towns. Soon Mongolian couldn’t build t a wooden house to protect forests so they will build in cement. Foreigner people for small loan can rent small wooden houses or buy to a Mongolian resident.
Roads are better but still many bad tracks. Roads are build to go to Rusia, as weel to Kharakorim, Moron…many sign roads when new roads.

Outside UB asphalt increase, roads are better permitted to small car or Asiatic jeeps to reach some towns quickly and without mechanic problems.Out of a total of 50,000Km of roads in Mongolia only about 10,000Km  (20%) are asphalt paved roads. In 2014 it was expected that over 2000km of new paved roads will connect east and west Mongolia to the capital city Ulaanbaatar.All other roads are gravel and dirt roads. The majority of paved roads are roads leading out of the capital city Ulaanbaatar.If you want to reach some remote areas or go to places untouched it’s better to have a stronger Russian jeep as more resistant and easy to repair. Before to go on tour with an independent driver / agency ask according the trip you want to do which vehicle they will use, this can help you to choose well and not to have to change program as vehicle not good for what you was intentioned to do. Maybe for same trip you might pay more if made with Asiatic jeep than a Russian one.

A new telephone line across the country and so now in some places you can use the mobile!
Nomads are a little more rich and so you will often ger with a parabolic and sun panel giving some electricity. Some nomads become owners of  some guest ger (1-3 guest gers), this happen in most visited areas and this help them to increase their quality of life. Generally guest ger are basic, no toilet and no shower.

TRAVELING IN MONGOLIA:

Traveling in Mongolia is not always easy as depend also how you will discover this country and how many days you have vacation. Traveling by jeep can be sometimes tiring because of bad climate or bad roads, so better to not want to make many KM! prefer do less Km but take time to enjoy countryside and its nomadic life. Agencies and especially independent drivers really often don’t have a shop downtown so it could be difficult when on UB to choose the best one for you.

1. BY LAND: public transportation isn't reliable: delayed, canceled… Roads are running tracks in very bad condition. Vehicles can be rented from private owners for about 50 cents $/km in town. BUT WRITE ALL DESTINATIONS WITH CYRILLIC LETTERS as nobody will understand you (ask at your hotel), also good for all the taxi running in U.B. For longer stay the price will depend of what kind of deal you can make, the number of persons, the price of gasoline. Often you will find different prices: one for local people, one for Russian (a little more expensive) and one for others (more expensive).

  • RENT A JEEP: around 130-140€/day/jeep all included (petrol and driver) for 4 people plus the driver. If you rent a mini bus (van) enough for 6 p with all luggage. The price can be higher than for a jeep Sometimes the drivers are not well versed in directions so they will make all kinds of excuses not to take you somewhere: the truth is that they don't know where you want to go. So inquire beforehand and be sure they are familiar with all the places you want to go so you are not disappointed. Some drivers won't want you to sleep in yurts but instead insist you go to tourist camps.
    With a good driver, taking a guide is not necessary, as a good driver can make you discover all you want to see.
    Don’t even think of renting a vehicle without a driver because no street lights and no road sign! GPS won't help you much, the drivers use their instincts and use landmarks such as mountains, forests… and in case of a problem they will ask the nomads who will welcome you with airak or milk salt tea…
  • BE AWARE: if you take a tour organized by a guest house, they will prefer to look at the real costs than the quality of the tour you will do: no possibility or really difficult to ad days or finish before the tour, also difficulties to change the itinerary as even for few KM, so ask what is included on the price as often a low price doesn’t include the driver, the gasoline, the food or depend of the number of people going on tour and sometimes at least the price will be almost the same or higher then a independent renting. Example if they ask you for 45€ day/person all including and you are 3 persons you will pay 135€ day, so more than with a honest independent driver without the freedom to do as you want and choose your itinerary and how long you want to rent. If on the price taxes for national parks are not included be sure to not pay for all your trip more than 15€ per person. Be aware if food included, as many tourists talk to not have had enough to eat during the trip, so take with you some more food! If food not included in the price, it’s better for you as you can choose what you want and the qualtity you need, , you will spend around 4-5€ day so this can't justify some high prices you will find as on the way outside UB you will never find famous restaurants!
 

CALCULATE WELL BEFORE  FINAL DECISION AS MAYBE YOU CAN SAVE MONEY!!!
This can happen also with independent drivers they will ask more if you are less than 2 person or only 2 by example. Also is good to optimize the renting, so we recommend you to ask more and more what is including on the price, if price by person or per vehicle telling how many persons you will be and so make the addition.
Often drivers will not drive you to nomad families to sleep at night and so where you can divide nomadic life under the ger, same for guest house who organize or agencies, you will sleep under your own tent and no difficult to have contact with nature and nomadic life. Sometimes they will choose to stop in guest ger who is a good choice as gers beyond to nomad and so you will participate at local business. As even now many agencies in UB it’s always difficult to localize them or to find the one good for you, or to compare them often because no time to search them. As advice we can give is to search information before you go in Mongolia and so choose the agencies or independent drivers who can be the right choice for you without doing definitive reservation and so when it will be time, or also in UB, make the better choice for you. In summer, july-august, it’s the high season and so it will be difficult that the agencies or independents drivers you think okay for you have a drivers for you. Maybe you will have to wait some days before to leave, or to short your program or to accept the first driver you will find without have the choice to compare with others.  An advice could be to reserve if during your search you think to have find the right person for you and so no have surprise after.
It’s also important to verify the qualities of your driver, it’s not easy, some drivers say they know all but outside UB they have difficulties or don’t know what to show you on the area you choose to visit.
Language problem is easy to jump as the kindness of your driver as well a phrase book and speaking by hand will help to communicate easy, so no need really an translator.
Another point to think is the difficult life you can have if you join a group in a guest house as not everybody have same ideas and same interests.
BE AWARE: since some years now you can find Japanese jeeps and mini bus, if more confortable than the traditional  Russian WATZ, you have to know that modern vehicles are electronic and if you have some engine troubles it will be really hard to repair on countryside. The traditional Russian WATZ always can be repair anywhere in countryside as only mecanic. It’s also an important point to verify with your agency or independent driver as according where you want to go as even if Japanese jeeps are 4wheels  they can’t go any where especially if your choice is a difficult destination.

            *NEED A DRIVER? we can recommend you Mejet who has been a wonderful traveling companion and was always ready to help us. Mejet, for 110-115€/day/jeep, including petrol and driver, the price is to divide between your own group. He will show you his marvelous country which he knows perfectly. You can be sure that almost every night will be spent in ger (sometimes in cool season it can be an idea to go on guest ger who beyond to nomad families where you can heat all the night the ger: according the program you choose and also according the choice offer by the area you will be you will do the better choice)
Mejet will pick you up free on your arrival and he can arrange your accommodation in his small guest house, but the important with him you will always decide about program, how many days, stop, changing program on the way of course all of this according  logic!
Mejet will help you by choising your program, will show you where can be the difficulties and find with you the right solution according your needs and time you have to visit Mongolia. He can propose you some ideas as well some programs where nobody go and of course not the agencies or programs make by guest houses. Just contact anf feel free to express yours ideas, doubts and desires!
You will have from Mejet help for everything: the can go with you for formalities if necessary, buy/reserve air plane/train tickets, to buy specific things, medical problems…
 CONTACT FOR THE DRIVER: www.mongoliatours.org
E-mail: mejet69@yahoo.com
Tel/Fax: ++ 976 11 45 41 67 (English, Russian) mobile ++ 976 99 164 335

BE AWARE THAT MEJET RECEIVES A LOT OF REQUESTS…SO DON’T WAIT TOO LONG…AS SOMETIMES TO FIND GOOD DRIVERS IS NOT SO EASY …AND AUGUST IS FULL SOON EVRYWHERE

TIP: according your satisfaction and of course you aren’t obliged…

Public transportation is almost non-existent. Actually a bus system runs to the major cities but later if you want to visit the area you need a private vehicle and you can have serious difficulties to find one out of U.B and cities 8only few agencies and English is not fluently.

TRUCKS can take passengers but really trying and no intimacy and autonomy!

MINIBUSES AND COLLECTIVE JEEP: in the steppe there exists a good network but they only cluster towards the capital or aimags capitals. leave only if full and they almost never stop along the way to take passengers. Be aware as trip by bus can be tiring as they optimize the trip by taking many passengers, and on long trip as by example UB- Olgy there is 2 drivers and they drive nights and days non stop and the trip takes 3 days.
The collective jeeps to not make a mistake with the tour by jeep organized by the guest houses with “private driver” leaves from the bus station in UB or from the Black Market (in the others towns ask, but generally it’s from the market), 6 to 12 persons for a real cheaper price and go faster than the busses but only go in the capitals of the different areas (U.B-Tseterleg: 12 hours trip for 400km=15$, Tseterleg-Tariat: 10 hours trip= 10$) prices 2008
You can go in countryside by local bus because every towns or village have a bus stop where to find a collective taxi to go next village or town. This means that from all sun it’s always possible to go to capital of aimag and from capital of aimag to UB.  Departure aren’t daily. The taxi will go only if full or you have to buy all the seats or to pay for the remain seats, in that case the taxi will go immediately towards the destination. Be aware this doesn’t mean that the bus will be only for you. Drivers always know about people who are waiting for such opportunity! Price will depend of the KM to do, petrol price, if you rent all for yourselves and your capacity to bargain. The difficulty will be to understand each other especially if you want to rent for some days or special destination as nobody will speak English.  Except Kharakorim as this town is a sun and there is daily and direct busses , but of coure Kharakorim was ancient capital! To travel in that way request more time e in any case will not you permit to go out of the village towards nomadic families as of course no bus will drop you in front them or make ger to ger (except if you rent only for you the taxi)
To reach Kharakorim regular bus leaves from “Dragon Centre” and you will make a comfortable trip. The problem is to buy a ticket as always in Mongolia you have to fight to buy tickets! So if you can’t buy one you will have as solution to take the really crowdly   and more expensive micro bus (2010: 17$ and for bus 12.000Tg)

Bus Stations
There are four main departure stations in Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator and run also during naadam).

  • Dragon (Songino Khairkhan)- buses going north and west.
  • Teevriin Tovchoo - vans going north.
  • Bayanzurkh- buses going south and east.
  • Narantuul (Black Market) - vans going west and north.

bus: more information & prices click here

TRAIN: only a railway line crosses the country from North to South going to Irkutsk in Siberia or Beijing in China. There are 3 routings, one for Edernet, the other to Sharyn Gol and the last to Baganuur. Not expensive at all. Mongolian Railways tour bureau. room 331 PO box 376 Ulaanbaatar 13 Mongolia
UB- MOSCOU: 2-3 times week
UB- IRKUSK:  everyday
UB- PEKIN: 1-2 times week
UB -ERLIAN: Sun/Thurs
UB- ZAMUN-UUD: Everyday; 15H journey
UB- ZAMUN-UUD: Fri/Sun; Express 12H
UB- SUKHBAATAR: Everyday; 8H journey
UB- KHOKH KHOT: Mon/ Fri
Can change so just inform you again!

PLANES: flights to major cities with private lines. Luggage limited at 15 kg (3$/kg extra).. Be careful: flights can be delayed and cancelled because of bad weather or damage to the runways. Reserve as soon as possible your tickets as often tour operators reserve all the seats! Price are higher now (Mongolian will pay 3 time less than you).Khatal only in summer.
If you arrive by plane in local place you can find some taxi waiting passengers.

 

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