Frequently Asked Questions
Clothing, Packing, Tipping, Electricity
Ulaanbaatar is modern city with fast paced development, there is no danger for westerners to attract any attention against their clothing. In the countryside, explicit and liberal style clothing should be avoided for women traveler. Local men in the countryside tend to wear long pants and simple shirt even in hot summer days. Mongolia has a continental weather with sudden change of temperature during the days. You expect to experience four seasons in a day, therefore rain and wind proof jacket is necessary in summer. Even in the summer it can be quite cold in Mongolia and during the night you’ll need warm clothes, especially when you’re camping. Depending on what parts of Mongolia you will visit, layers are strongly recommended such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, pullovers, lightweight windbreakers and finally warm jackets. Do not forget scarf, gloves and woolen hat in the countryside. Driving in the country road is fun with many bumps and female travelers may feel much more comfortable wearing sport bras.
A trip to Mongolia needs a lot of preparation, especially when spend more times in the countryside. The essential pack includes Swiss knife, head lamp, leak proof bags to protect from dust and rainwater. A pair of binocular is very valuable when you observe wildlife and birds. Batteries and films are easily available at the stores in Ulaanbaatar but it is recommended to bring extra supplies from your home country. Mongolian nomads are very excited to be photographed and extremely delighted if you give them photos. Polaroid style camera is very helpful tool to make contact with nomads. First-aid kit is of course in the packing list; the heavy consumption of meat brings some stomach problems during your time in the countryside. Toiletries and washing things are advisable to bring.
Like many modern societies, tipping is part of modern life in Mongolia recently. Leave small amount with meals and drinks. Tip concierges and bellboys for help with luggage, typically 1 USD per bag. Most importantly, drivers and tour guides are underpaid and count on tips to supplement their home income.
Visiting nomad family – Mongolians are famous for their hospitable nature on the open steppes. You are always welcomed anytime of the day to the nomadic family’s gers. Mongolians enjoy visitors and are happy to share a few minutes of their time with the weary wanderer. It is customary that any visitor who is welcomed to their ger is offered a seat and some milk tea. It is polite to take a sip at minimum. Nomads do not expect anything in return, but you can always thank them by offering small gifts which is the traditional way. The usual gifts that you should consider bringing with you are T-shirts, scarves, sewing kit, knives, toys, crayons, balloons and candies for their children
People in the Mongolian steppe are much less aware of time and locals have very relaxed attitude about it. If you need something urgently, you need to stress a little bit otherwise you need to wait few more hours, days or months. Drivers never say exact arrival time for next destination because of their superstitious belief.
Mongolia uses 220V/50HZ electricity. Electrical sockets in Mongolia are one of the European standard electrical socket types; “Type C” Europlug and the “Type E” Schuko. If your electrical appliances’ plug does not match the shape of the sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter to plug in.