Trans-Siberian Wonders: Extensions to Mongolia

11.10.2019
Mongolian Yurt
 

Eager to discover a destination that is out of the ordinary? Then distant and vivid Mongolia should definitely be at the top of your Trans-Siberian travel plans as this country is among the most popular and often chosen extensions by those wishing to set off on an adventure along the world's longest railroad. Boasting the combination of rich and many-sided heritage, eventful history, and unique traditions, this off-the-beaten-path Asian gem is certainly worth a visit.

 

What you Didn't Know about Mongolia

A place still cloaked with mystery and magic, gorgeous Mongolia welcomes globetrotters from all over the world with open arms. To start your acquaintance with Mongolia, we've collected some facts and answers to the most frequently asked questions about this amazing place!

So, is Mongolia actually a country? With the population of only about 3 million people, Mongolia is a sovereign country in eastern Asia, bordering China and Russia.

Is it cold in Mongolia? Speaking about the weather, the Mongolian climate is strongly continental with warm summers and long and freezing winters.

Which currency is Mongolia using? The official currency in Mongolia is the Mongolian Tugrik available in paper banknotes and coines. While planning your Mongolia trip, please keep in mind that cards, especially credit cards, are not accepted everywhere.

Mongolia money
 
Mongolia eagle-hunting

Did you know that during the existence of the Mongol Empire (the largest empire in history!), the Mongols were known as one of the most powerful nations in the world? Over the years, locals didn't lose their mighty and energetic spirit thanks to countless traditions carefully passed from one generation to another for hundreds of years. The art of horse-riding is especially worshipped in Mongolia as the horseman armies led by Genghis Khan were the greatest pride of the country in the 13-14th centuries.

So, while exploring this incredible region, you can spice up your Mongolia travel plans by even visiting a horse breeding family or riding a horse (as this ancient custom is still an integral part of people's daily lives). Another one-of-a-kind activity that can be experienced in Mongolia is eagle hunting. Don't miss the chance to learn more about this unusual practice going deep into Mongolian history when the golden eagles were meant to help people with hunting.

 

Top Things to See and Do in Mongolia

During your trip, paying a visit to the heart of the country, delightful Ulan Bator, is one of the absolute must-dos! Being the major hub of the region, the capital city is a place where Soviet and Eastern aesthetics collide in an organical mix. Remember, we mentioned that Mongolian weather is pretty extreme? Although Ulan Bator isn't even located close to the Arctic, to everyone's surprise, it has the title of the world's coldest capital!

An unmissable Ulan Bator landmark is the glorious Gandan Monastery (or the “Great Place of Complete Joy”).

Designed in Oriental style, this 200-year-old Tibetan monastery is still inhabited by local monks. Although the Gandan Monastery is open for travelers, this remarkable architectural jewel is the most significant center of Buddism in entire Mongolia.

Although the city of Ulan Bator itself can be called a true Genghis Khan memorial, as numerous museums and statues scattered around town and are dedicated to the hero of the country, without a doubt, the greatest of them is Mongolia's 40-meter (131 ft) statue of Genghis Khan.

This grand landmark that's set in the outskirts of the city offers breathtaking panoramic views from the observation platform placed right on the hero's cap peak.

 

Besides many-sided culture and unique architecture, Mongolia is well-known for its rich natural heritage. Local landscapes are covered by vast steppes, sparkling rivers, and picturesque mountains, including the Khangai and the Altai Mountains that are just waiting to be discovered. To enjoy the allure of the local nature to the fullest, don't miss the opportunity to visit one of the traditional ger camps where you can even spend the night in a Mongolian yurt. Definitely an experience not to miss!

Speaking of places to learn more about the nomadic steppe life of the locals and where you can stay in a yurt (especially if you are a nature-enthusiast), your Mongolia itinerary won’t be complete without visiting the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. The so-called “Mongolian Switzerland” boasts spectacular nature and houses countless unusually shaped rocks, including the famous Turtle Rock standing out with its unusual appearance.

While in Mongolia, pay attention to the colorful ribbons, beautifully hugging the sacred piles of rocks. Do you have a dream? We are sure you do. Here, in Mongolia, you can make your wish come true!

There is a legend that if you tie a ribbon on one of the rocks and leave a coin as a tribute to the spirits, their magic will help you to reach your most desirable goal!

 
 

What to Know Before Going to Mongolia

What is the best time to visit Mongolia? We mentioned above that the local climate can be quite harsh, so planning your Mongolia journey for the warmer summer months is definitely a good decision. One more reason to choose summertime for your vacation is the world-famous traditional Mongolian Naadam Festival which takes place annually in mid-July.

Unfortunately, Mongolia isn't an absolutely visa-free country. We recommend checking the visa requirements during your trip planning to avoid unpleasant situations. Travelers from the majority of countries, including the USA, Canada, and Brazil, don't need to have a tourist visa to travel around Mongolia if the duration of the trip is from 14 to 90 days. The citizens of Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, have to obtain a visa in advance in the official consulate or embassy of Mongolia. It's important to mention that your passport must be valid at least six months after the date you cross the Mongolian border.

If you are wondering what to pack for your Mongolia adventure, for your convenience, we've collected some tips! To be always ready for the fast-changing weather conditions, make sure to have a pair of comfortable walking shoes and gumboots, a windproof jacket, a raincoat or umbrella, and some warm clothes.

Mongolia-horse-riding
 

If you are planning to visit Mongolian national parks or go hiking, having a mosquito repellent spray and sunscreen is also a must. Speaking about Mongolia electricity, please pay attention, that sockets in Mongolia are only for 220V devices. So you'll need a special plug adaptor to charge your phone or camera.

 

All the mentioned above is just a small part of all hidden Mongolian treasures. Being among the less discovered corners of the planet, this magnificent country will surely surprise you. Don't miss the chance to witness the charm of this unique Asian destination yourself during one of the rail tours to Mongolia or even dedicate your whole trip solely to this country. All in all, our dedicated travel specialist will be more than happy to plan your getaway, thus, feel free to contact us for the details.

 
 

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