Visiting Mongolia was a dream that we had in mind for a long time, but which seemed unattainable to us. To try to convince yourself that this dream is finally within your reach, here are some tips and practical information for traveling in Mongolia.
Adjusting to the weather in Mongolia
All sources on the internet warned that the weather in Mongolia was changeable and harsh. This was our biggest problem before departure when preparing backpacks. When you leave with only a backpack and unless you’ve been a porter in another life, it is hard to prepare for all types of weather and especially so for all 4 seasons of the year which Mongolia is known to have within a single day. Therefore, choosing the right clothes, especially if you are going on a trekking tour in Mongolia is vital.
At the very last moment our visit was delayed by a month (from August to September), so we got to discover Mongolia at the end of the summer. As expected, the weather swung from 25° C in the capital of Ulaanbaatar to snow near lake Khövsgöl in the north of the country. Even the difference between day and night temperatures was a good 20° C which was just inconceivable.
Luckily, we had done our homework well and had prepared thermal layers (tights and top), a fleece, a waterproof Gore-Tex jacket, woolen hats and gloves all of which proved to be more than practical. While in Ulaanbaatar before heading out to countryside we learnt about forthcoming snow in the north and for the safety sake bought some extra layers at a local market.
Conclusion/tip for travelers: When visiting Mongolia even in summer bring warm clothes! Alternatively, you can complete your wardrobe in Ulaanbaatar. There are markets and shops that sell local clothes or cheap Chinese knock offs of major outdoor brands.
Walking in Mongolia
We only experienced a few nights camping in Mongolia. We had our 3-season tent; a stove and sleeping bags with a comfort temperature of zero degrees (see our article on the choice of camping equipment for more details). For the season we were there (end of September), this turned out to be just sufficient. On some cold nights however, we had to sleep with double layers on.
For the sleeping bag, it is better to have something that drops below 0 degrees. It is preferable to bring a good quality one from home rather than acquiring on the spot, because light down sleeping bags are rare and those available are very expensive.
For the stove, the times when gasoline-compatible burners were advocated are a distant past. Nowadays, propane or isobutane screw-top cans are widely available in Ulaanbaatar but don’t hope to find any outside of the capital, so you will need to stock up before leaving on your adventure.
And finally, Mongolia has all chances of becoming a select post COVID destination for active travel as the country has not had any domestic transmission with less than 300 all imported cases. When international travel revives Hiking tours in Mongolia will be popular. Known as 2nd after Greenland least populated country in the world it is a place to practice a good deal of social distancing even when traveling.