Mongolia tour or independently

Mar 21st, 2015, 10:44 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Mongolia tour or independently

Would like to go to Mongolia but not sure if a tour is advisable or whether traveling independently will be too challenging. I am female and will either be traveling in my own or with another female companion. Thoughts? Suggestions? The time of year we will be traveling is July.
lyntay is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2015, 06:57 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Suppose it depends on what you mean by independently. I traveled solo, but I had a car, driver and guide for the time I spent outside Ulan Bator. That was ten years ago, but I doubt that the public transport situation has improved.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 11:43 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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I would recommend traveling with a company and pre-arranging your travel plans - at least if you are planning to travel far outside of UB.

I went to Mongolia in 2008 with Nomadic Expeditions (which I highly recommend) and everything went smoothly. They also have options without a group and travel with a guide. (extra money of course)

If you are staying in or around UB, I don't think you would have any issues finding transportation or guides. The infrastructure and signage is fairly easy to navigate. But once you get out of town, it's a completely different story.

Once in some of the smaller towns and airports, I was surprised about the lack of transportation into town. In the Moron airport - there just wasn't anyone around. No taxis, and no people to talk to.

Also, consider that a lot of places - there just weren't any roads. There were established tracks, but not proper roads. And those parts are very beautiful - so you will want to go there.

Think carefully about any independent driving outside of UB. Our guide was laughing at the maps that were available and saying that many of them weren't that accurate. So get advice on the correct one to use. Also, many people weren't the greatest drivers - apparently the testing for new drivers is fairly lax.

On the upside - I felt very safe in Mongolia. Even in the middle of nowhere, there were herders around and someone to help you out. Everyone was quite friendly and interested in speaking with you.

You might want to consider doing a hybrid trip, and only do part of the trip independently. Get a feel of the country with a guide or a company - then breaking out on your own the second half of the trip.

But you will love it there - Lake Hovsgol was my favorite local - but Mongolia is a very diverse country geographically.

Have a great time.
SavTrav is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 08:08 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 446
Yeah, the biggest danger in Mongolia is stepping on a broken vodka bottle. They are very common.
I was there 2006 and found it interesting. Rode the camel and horse, ate the fatty foods, slept in yurt compound far in the countryside, saw UB rising up with country yurts on every corner and smoking pick-up trucks moving people , noticed many dogs (except in korean neighborhoods), and enjoyed the nice summer weather. We rode in a small van on some good hiways, mostly empty hiways. Found few restaurants in villages, very unlike China. Rode on train from Beijing to UB which can recommend.
jobin is offline  
Apr 28th, 2015, 06:52 PM
  #5  
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Hi Jobin,
We are thinking we will take the train from Beijing to UB. Did you book from out of country or while in China?
lyntay is offline  
Apr 29th, 2015, 02:23 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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From in China. Give a try for a ticket where ever you are. It's a good ride. Do all you can to exit the train when the wheels are changed at the border. If i remember correctly this happens about 2 am. That's the time to look around the small town, grab a cold beer and enjoy the deep, dark countryside.
jobin is offline  

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