Not your usual vacation: seeing Mongolia for the first time

photo by CC user Vidor on

Heading Mongolia for the first time next year? This nation is one of the most pristine and beautiful places left on this planet, but sure ain’t Kansas.

Check out the tips we’ve laid out for you below so that you can have a great experience in Mongolia in 2016…

Try to time your trip so you can attend Naadam

It may be the busiest time of year, but planning your trip to Mongolia so that you are in the country during early to mid July will ensure that you get to witness this nation’s most culturally significant festival.

Naadam is Mongolia’s national holiday, and it is during these three crazy days where you’ll get to witness this nation’s best athletes compete in three sports that are core to their national identity: horse racing, archery and wrestling.

Ulaanbaatar hosts the biggest and most popular competition by far, but if you want to get closer to the action, attending a Naadam event in one of the provincial capitals will allow you that privilege.

Be patient when traveling from one place to another

It should go without saying, but Mongolia is not a first world country. Many of the transport vehicles in use have been on the road for ages; the fact that they are still running is a testament to the skill that this nation’s mechanics possess.

However, the cars, trucks, vans you will be using to get around the country break down often, which can add hours or even days to your journey.

Additionally, some transports will wait around hours past the scheduled departure time to try and get as many fares as possible. Bring a book or an e-reader – you’ll be glad you did.

Before leaving, practice some key travel phrases in Mongolian … and Russian

Many travelers from English speaking nations carry around the mistaken notion that worker in the tourism industry in all nations will be at least somewhat proficient in the world’s most spoken language.

This isn’t the case in Mongolia, which has had a long history of collaboration with Russia. While you should try and win over your local hosts with some key Mongolian phrases, learn the same ones in Russian, as Mongolian is a particularly tough language to speak.

Make sure your travel insurance policy covers emergency evacuation

Mongolia’s solitude and lack of development compared to the West is its biggest draw card, as many fall over each other for the chance to lose themselves in its massive blue skies, endless fields, and deep blue lakes.

Should anything go seriously wrong with your health while you are out in the countryside (or the cities for that matter), you’ll need to be evacuated to cities in Japan or China with the facilities needed to stabilize your condition.

This service is horrendously expensive, so read your policy line by line to ensure the provision is there before heading out to Mongolia.

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