Frequenty Asked Questions
How to get Mongolia
There are a few places with flights into the capital, Ulaanbaatar. National air carrier MIAT Mongolian airlines operates daily flights (during some peak season - twice a day) from Beijing and Seoul, twice a week flights from Hong Kong, Berlin, Moscow and Tokyo (during some peak season - from Narita). During peak summer season it increases flight frequencies and operates direct flights from Berlin. There are branch offices in Berlin, Moscow, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing.
There are almost daily flights from Seoul on Korean Air as well as other flights through Beijing. It is also possible to fly to Ulaanbaatar through Tokyo's Narita Airport. There are also direct flights from Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. Don't buy a non-refundable or unchangeable ticket if you are going to Mongolia, because flights don't always actually happen. You can also fly in from Beijing, with MIAT Mongolian airlines being the cheapest, then Air China after that.
How about transportation in Mongolia?
All transportation is included in our tours and provided via private car and guides. Travel by motor coach will be by modern air-conditioned deluxe coaches for large groups. We provide Japanese minivan, Toyota Land Cruiser and Russian minivan for our clients’ travel in Mongolia.
Very limited public transportation services throughout the entire territory of Mongolia. Trains go from north to south connecting Altanbulag-Ulaanbaatar-Zamyn-Uud. Other than that public transportation is basically non-existent in most parts of Mongolia, except the capital city, and privately run tracks, buses, cars connect major tourist destinations on a random basis.
How is weather like in summer?
The ideal Mongolia travel season starts in May and hits its highest peak in July, during the Naadam holiday, and in August when the weather is most favorable for traveling. This is the best time if you like the culture and can bear the crowds of other tourists. It is not a good time if you want to get away from your busy lifestyle because you will experience traffic, busy schedules, waiting in lines, etc. Temperature throughout the year in Mongolia can be quite extreme. Mongolia's tourism season is from May to October because of the difficult climate at other times of the year. In the summer, the weather can range from freezing rain and snow to temperatures above 100 F/39 C, with a possibility of fog, drizzle and torrential storms. Take note that the mean monthly temperature in Ulaanbaatar is -17 F/-27 C in January and 64 F/18 C in July. Clothing that you can layer is highly recommended.
September is also a very good time to visit, and October is not too late to travel to Mongolia. It is still warm during the days but a bit chilly during the nights. In the autumn, Mongolia is not very crowded, and this is time for late-comers and last-minute, unplanned trips. You will get to sightsee, enjoy the culture, and taste mare's milk, a bitter and at first somewhat unpleasant drink, throughout the country.
Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate. However, if a roommate is not available, a single supplement charge will be added.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRIP
Whole Journeys will work with each traveler to explore the variety of experiences that fit their individual needs and interests. We will help travelers determine the appropriate level of activity as it relates to regional terrain, types of accommodations, and cultural challenges or differences of each destination such as language, religion, and local customs. We will guide you through our programs and help create a fulfilling itinerary for each traveler.
Tipping is not customary except at restaurants in Ulan Bator, where waiters expect a tip, especially from tourists. On tours with private sightseeing, gratuities of $15-$20 for travel guides, $10-$15 for drivers per person per day is customary.
Bargaining - Most of the shops and markets in town have fixed prices which are often displayed on the goods. Do not try to bargain here. At the black market, tourists are unlikely to be charged very much more than the locals, unless they are buying antiques, jewelry and other cultural items. By all means try and get a price down but be reasonable. For example, as a guide, don't try for less than 60-70% of the asking price. And only start bargaining if you're seriously interested in buying.
Mongolia Standard Time is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Mongolia is very much a cash-based society. The Mongolian currency is the Tugrug, abbreviated to MNT. You can use credit cards in some hotels, shops and restaurants in Ulaanbaatar. ATMs are becoming more common in towns, and some international debit cards can be used to withdraw Mongolian Tugrugs. US dollar travelers’ cheques can be cashed easily and converted to Tugrugs. You can transfer money to Mongolia using commercial means like Western Union or Money Gram. Many shops and restaurants only accept local currency, be sure to exchange your money upon arrival.
What kind of food will I have?
As a rising capital city of the Mongolia, there are many modern Italian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Japanese, Latin American and Mongolian restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, where is available to be served western and eastern standard meals or Mongolian traditional cuisines. Most of the old style restaurants serve Russian food, and this type of food is common in the tourist camps in countryside. Small local restaurants and cafes serve Mongolian food such as buuz and khuushuur (steamed and fried beef, mutton dumpling) and others.
The main components of Mongolian meals are beef, mutton and milk products. The most popular drink is milk-tea, which is bit a salty and served every time. Also you will be offered with many kinds of milk products such as airag mare's fermented milk, yogurt, and milk cream butter etc in Mongolian family in countryside.
The Mongolian telephone system is in the process of being modernized but still lacks many of the services we rely on elsewhere. Dialing Mongolia is relatively simple although may take several attempts. Mongolia's national code is '976'. Making international telephone calls from Ulaanbaatar is relatively easy. Most hotels have International Direct Dial Facilities. Alternatively, calls can be made from various telephone exchanges around the city. The 'Central Post' Building located on the southwest corner of Sukhbaatar Square is the largest telephone exchange.
Cheaper calls are available if calling from other telephones in the city, i.e. offices & hotels, especially between 22.00 and 07.00 weekdays, 17.00 and 07.00 Saturdays and all day Sunday. The large telephone exchange on Sukhbaatar Square has the facilities for you to send faxes and emails. The cost for faxing depends on where the fax is being sent to. As a guide, a fax taking one minute to the United Kingdom would cost approximately MNT 3000.
On Domestic flights, passengers are allowed 15kg of luggage per person. On International flights, passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Excess luggage fees will be charged if you check more than the stated allowances, and these charges are your responsibility. At most major airports, baggage carts are available for your luggage, usually for a small additional fee.
Do you arrange private tour?
A private tour is run exclusively for you, your own families or friends with no other strangers. You may choose an ideal pre-made private tour on our website. Alternatively, we can customize an itinerary in line with your specific wishes. In particular, you will benefit from the following advantages.