Backpacking Mongolia

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!

Ready for an extreme adventure off the beaten path?

Mongolia offers many scenic highlights. Huge mountains rising above 4,000 meters, endless hilly landscapes full of nomads, as well as a unique culture that is sure to charm you with its hospitality. So just pack your bags and follow our itinerary!


Important Basics

Official Language ( Mongolian )
EnglishMongolian
HelloSain uu
GoodbyeBayartai
Thank youBayarlalaa
YesTiimee
NoÜgüi
Capital City

Ulaanbaatar

Form of Government

Parliamentary republic

Best Time to Visit

May to October

Fun Facts
  • There are both domesticated and wild horses in Mongolia. The wild ones are called Przewalski horses.
  • Mongolia is home to Bactrian camels and snow leopards.
  • 25% to 40% of the Mongolian population are nomads.
  • The capital, Ulaanbaatar, is considered to be the coldest capital in the world, with average temperatures ranging from -15°C to -25°C.

Cities

Ulaanbaatar

You’ll start your journey in the capital of Mongolia. More than 1 million people live in the city, so you’ll definitely feel right at the heart of the adventure. Here, you’ll also be able to enjoy the modern side of the country while still remaining in close contact with history. There are many Buddhist temples and monasteries which you can discover from the inside during public tours. You can also visit colorful markets where the locals offer a wide variety of goods, and this will be the perfect occasion to sample the local cuisine. There are many restaurants at various price ranges and small stands right next to the street, so you’ll be able to try out plenty of dishes. Your stay in Ulaanbaatar isn’t only the beginning of your journey, it’s also the perfect chance to acquaint yourself with the local culture and people. Believe us, this will happen faster than you think. You can spend the night in one of the local hostels and get a bed in a 4-person dorm for €6.

Erdenet

Welcome to the second-largest city in the country! Not only does it have a fascinating history, it’s also the trade center of Mongolia. There are many copper mines here, which you can discover through a guided tour through the underground corridors and get a small insight into the daily life of the workers. But that's not all! The major part of the country’s carpet production is also based in Erdenet. You can buy the finished product in one of the many small shops in the city. There’s so much choice that you could spend the whole day admiring them all! While the city is much quieter than the capital, you can still experience the Mongolian flair here. You can sleep in a double room in one of the local hotels for €7 a night.

Terkhiin Tsagaan National Park

Next, make your way to the center of the country, where one of the most beautiful national parks is waiting for you. The highlight of this stop is the Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake, also known as the Great White Lake. The lake has a volcanic origin, which makes it even more enjoyable. You can admire the beauty of Mongolia's nature with your own eyes for the first time. The best way to do this is on a great hike in the national park or just on the shore of the lake. If you really want to go on an adventure, head to the Khorgo Volcano. With a height of 2,240 meters, it is an absolute highlight for hiking fans. Don't worry, it hasn't been active for a long time, and the hike is one of the most beautiful ones in the country: the view alone is already worth the effort. At this stop, you will find accommodation with a nomad family. You cannot get a better insight into the culture of Mongolia.

Tsenkher

Want to bathe in hot springs in the middle of nature? You can experience this in Mongolia too. The Tsenkher hot springs form one of the first health resorts in Mongolia, so make sure you visit them. You can relax in the natural springs and just let your mind wander, or take a hike through the surrounding countryside. We recommend doing both, so you don’t miss out on anything!

Naiman Nuur

It’s really one breathtaking landscape after the next. Naiman Nuur National Park has eight different lakes, making the national park one of the most beautiful in the country. All lakes were created by a volcanic eruption several hundred years ago, and today, they’re the perfect sight to admire while hiking through the park. Another highlight is the Orkhon waterfall. Here, you’ll see Mongolia in all its glory, and you’ll be glad you came to the country. Your driver will tell you all about the landscape in front of you – you’ll get all the essential information about Mongolia, and you can be sure that you will not miss any detail. Once again, stay among one of the nomad families. You’ll sleep in a simple tent and will be treated with traditional delicacies.

Gobi

Off we go on a desert adventure! The Gobi Desert puts you right in the middle of one of the largest desert regions in the world, with just over 2.3 million square kilometers. As far as the eye can see, it’s only red sand and visible heat radiating off the ground. However, there’s so much more than an endless sandy landscape. There are many temples that were built in the dunes over the years, so make sure you visit them. You can visit the Dunhuang Temple or the Hohhot Temple, both representing the religion of Buddhism in Mongolia. You will also encounter many nomads on your journey through the desert. An absolute must-do is spending the night in the desert under the stars. You’ll be able to cross that off your bucket list!

Orkhon Valley

This area of Mongolia is under the protection of UNESCO and for good reason – it’s a real nature paradise, with small waterfalls, a cooling river that winds its way through the landscape, and great views over the fields. The Tövkhön Monastery invites you for a visit, so come get your daily dose of history! In the valley, you will find the former capital of the kingdom of Genghis Khan, known as the Karakorum. You can definitely take it easy here, the area offers excellent activities for nature lovers and history buffs, or you can choose to simply relax and take a short walk.

Khogo khan

This mountainous region is far off the beaten tourist track, and that is precisely why it is an absolute highlight for every backpacker. This is where the steppes and the taiga meet, and you will get to see the country’s natural beauty from a brand-new side. You can discover the unique local flora and fauna while hiking through the area. The holy mountain of Khogo Khan is a great place to take pictures, and your driver will be happy to tell you the story of the mountain.

Khustain Nuruu

Before heading back to the capital, we’re ending this trip with a visit through the Khustain Nuruu National Park. The park is home to an extremely rare special breed of horse, only found in the wilderness of Mongolia. You can also discover the horses’ natural habitat by going on a hike. Don’t forget your binoculars, so you can admire the horses from a distance.


Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar

You’ll start your journey in the capital of Mongolia. More than 1 million people live in the city, so you’ll definitely feel right at the heart of the adventure. Here, you’ll also be able to enjoy the modern side of the country while still remaining in close contact with history. There are many Buddhist temples and monasteries which you can discover from the inside during public tours. You can also visit colorful markets where the locals offer a wide variety of goods, and this will be the perfect occasion to sample the local cuisine. There are many restaurants at various price ranges and small stands right next to the street, so you’ll be able to try out plenty of dishes. Your stay in Ulaanbaatar isn’t only the beginning of your journey, it’s also the perfect chance to acquaint yourself with the local culture and people. Believe us, this will happen faster than you think. You can spend the night in one of the local hostels and get a bed in a 4-person dorm for €6.

Erdenet

Erdenet

Welcome to the second-largest city in the country! Not only does it have a fascinating history, it’s also the trade center of Mongolia. There are many copper mines here, which you can discover through a guided tour through the underground corridors and get a small insight into the daily life of the workers. But that's not all! The major part of the country’s carpet production is also based in Erdenet. You can buy the finished product in one of the many small shops in the city. There’s so much choice that you could spend the whole day admiring them all! While the city is much quieter than the capital, you can still experience the Mongolian flair here. You can sleep in a double room in one of the local hotels for €7 a night.

Terkhiin Tsagaan National Park

Terkhiin Tsagaan National Park

Next, make your way to the center of the country, where one of the most beautiful national parks is waiting for you. The highlight of this stop is the Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake, also known as the Great White Lake. The lake has a volcanic origin, which makes it even more enjoyable. You can admire the beauty of Mongolia's nature with your own eyes for the first time. The best way to do this is on a great hike in the national park or just on the shore of the lake. If you really want to go on an adventure, head to the Khorgo Volcano. With a height of 2,240 meters, it is an absolute highlight for hiking fans. Don't worry, it hasn't been active for a long time, and the hike is one of the most beautiful ones in the country: the view alone is already worth the effort. At this stop, you will find accommodation with a nomad family. You cannot get a better insight into the culture of Mongolia.

Tsenkher

Tsenkher

Want to bathe in hot springs in the middle of nature? You can experience this in Mongolia too. The Tsenkher hot springs form one of the first health resorts in Mongolia, so make sure you visit them. You can relax in the natural springs and just let your mind wander, or take a hike through the surrounding countryside. We recommend doing both, so you don’t miss out on anything!

Naiman Nuur

Naiman Nuur

It’s really one breathtaking landscape after the next. Naiman Nuur National Park has eight different lakes, making the national park one of the most beautiful in the country. All lakes were created by a volcanic eruption several hundred years ago, and today, they’re the perfect sight to admire while hiking through the park. Another highlight is the Orkhon waterfall. Here, you’ll see Mongolia in all its glory, and you’ll be glad you came to the country. Your driver will tell you all about the landscape in front of you – you’ll get all the essential information about Mongolia, and you can be sure that you will not miss any detail. Once again, stay among one of the nomad families. You’ll sleep in a simple tent and will be treated with traditional delicacies.

Gobi

Gobi

Off we go on a desert adventure! The Gobi Desert puts you right in the middle of one of the largest desert regions in the world, with just over 2.3 million square kilometers. As far as the eye can see, it’s only red sand and visible heat radiating off the ground. However, there’s so much more than an endless sandy landscape. There are many temples that were built in the dunes over the years, so make sure you visit them. You can visit the Dunhuang Temple or the Hohhot Temple, both representing the religion of Buddhism in Mongolia. You will also encounter many nomads on your journey through the desert. An absolute must-do is spending the night in the desert under the stars. You’ll be able to cross that off your bucket list!

Orkhon Valley

Orkhon Valley

This area of Mongolia is under the protection of UNESCO and for good reason – it’s a real nature paradise, with small waterfalls, a cooling river that winds its way through the landscape, and great views over the fields. The Tövkhön Monastery invites you for a visit, so come get your daily dose of history! In the valley, you will find the former capital of the kingdom of Genghis Khan, known as the Karakorum. You can definitely take it easy here, the area offers excellent activities for nature lovers and history buffs, or you can choose to simply relax and take a short walk.

Khogo khan

Khogo khan

This mountainous region is far off the beaten tourist track, and that is precisely why it is an absolute highlight for every backpacker. This is where the steppes and the taiga meet, and you will get to see the country’s natural beauty from a brand-new side. You can discover the unique local flora and fauna while hiking through the area. The holy mountain of Khogo Khan is a great place to take pictures, and your driver will be happy to tell you the story of the mountain.

Khustain Nuruu

Khustain Nuruu

Before heading back to the capital, we’re ending this trip with a visit through the Khustain Nuruu National Park. The park is home to an extremely rare special breed of horse, only found in the wilderness of Mongolia. You can also discover the horses’ natural habitat by going on a hike. Don’t forget your binoculars, so you can admire the horses from a distance.

Mongolia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home – Ulaanbaatar
Home – Ulaanbaatar
Flight
350
4-person dorm
6
2. Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar
-
4-person dorm
6
3. Ulaanbaatar – Erdenet
Ulaanbaatar – Erdenet
Bus
7
Double room
7
4. Erdenet
Erdenet
-
Double room
7
5. Erdenet - Terkhiin Tsagaan
Erdenet - Terkhiin Tsagaan
Tour (car)
Accommodation in a nomad family (price per night + help with meal preparation)
4
6. Terkhiin Tsagaan
Terkhiin Tsagaan
-
Accommodation in a nomad family (price per night + help with meal preparation)
4
7. Terkhiin Tsagaan – Naiman Nuur
Terkhiin Tsagaan – Naiman Nuur
Tour (car)
Accommodation in a nomad family (Prices and conditions as stated above)
8. Naiman Nuur
Naiman Nuur
-
Accommodation in a nomad family (Prices and conditions as stated above)
9. Naiman Nuur – Gobi
Naiman Nuur – Gobi
Tour (car)
Tour accommodation (tent)
10. Gobi
Gobi
-
Tour accommodation (tent)
11. Gobi – Orkhon Valley
Gobi – Orkhon Valley
Tour (car)
Tour accommodation in a homestay
12. Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
-
Tour accommodation in a homestay
13. Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
-
Tour accommodation in a homestay
14. Orkhon Valley – Khogno khan
Orkhon Valley – Khogno khan
Tour (car)
Accommodation in a nomad family (Prices and conditions as stated above)
15. Khogno khan
Khogno khan
-
Accommodation in a nomad family (Prices and conditions as stated above)
16. Khogno khan – Khustan Nuruu
Khogno khan – Khustan Nuruu
Tour (car)
Tour accommodation in a homestay
17. Khustain Nuruu
Khustain Nuruu
-
Tour accommodation in a homestay
18. Khustain Nuruu
Khustain Nuruu
-
Tour accommodation in a homestay
19. Khustain Nuruu – Ulaanbaatar
Khustain Nuruu – Ulaanbaatar
Tour (car)
4-person dorm
6
20. Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar
-
4-person dorm
6
21. Ulaanbaatar – Home
Ulaanbaatar – Home
Flight
350

Total price.

Flights 700,00
Transportation 20,00
Tours 80,00
Accommodation 38,00
Total838,00

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Reise erstellen?

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eigene Reise erstellen?

Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Bread and spreads: in Mongolia, breakfast is very classic and straightforward. It’s typically locally produced honey on bread. Simple but very tasty and the perfect occasion to try out local products.

Soups

Munx Tenger: this flour soup is made with dumplings or noodles. It is served with boiled vegetables and is adequately seasoned.

Main courses

Buzz: small dumplings filled with meat and prepared in the traditional Mongolian way, with tasty herbs and onions and served with a dip and salad.

Khuushuur: this warm pastry is typical street food. The dumplings are filled with mutton (or vegetables) and then fried. It tastes great together with some salad and a sweet and sour sauce.

Khorkhog: also called Mongolian barbecue. Heated stones are placed on the table, and guests can cook and fry their vegetables and meat in various pots.

Tsuivan: a noodle dish made of meat and vegetables. The taste is refined with onions and leek. A classic dish in Mongolia.

Drinks and snacks

Boortsog: this dessert consists of deep-fried balls, usually made of butter dough and topped with butter and honey.

Airag: this is fermented mare’s milk. Locals drink it daily and it’s said to be very healthy.

Mongolia

The exchange rate for 1,000 Mongolian tugrik (MNT) is around €0.29 (as of May 2022). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of Living

Food

Free time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Have a seat. In Mongolia, it is considered to be polite to sit down. In Western countries, the standing position is the respectful one, but here it's just the opposite. So when you arrive, greet people and take a seat if you find a place to sit.

Accept the food and drink that is offered to you. Dairy products and tea are often offered to guests, so unless you have a good reason, make sure to accept. You don't have to feel embarrassed as this is considered an integral part of hospitality.

If you accidentally step on someone's feet at a market, shake their hand as an apology. This is not the rule, but the locals attach great importance to it, and therefore you should also do it. This doesn’t happen often, but you never know, considering how big and crowded the cities are.

Don'ts

Don’t say thank you more than once. When you're offered something, it's impolite to say thank you several times. Accept it with a smile and move on. In Mongolia, saying thank you is slightly overrated and isn’t done often. Don't worry, you’ll still be considered as polite and respectful even without saying thank you.

Your index finger should stay in your pocket. Don’t ever point at people! It’s a part of the religion, and by pointing at someone, it’s believed you’re passing on evil and terrible curses.

Don’t underestimate the local vodka. You will surely soon find yourself in the situation where you are offered a home-made vodka, which is a specialty after all. But don’t underestimate it, it’s very strong! Make sure to take a little sip first. You can always get a second glass!

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert Koch Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Travel documents must still be valid for 6 months at the time of entry. Please also inform yourself on the current entry regulations regarding the Corona virus. Current information about this can be found at your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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