Rugged Mongolia is an adventure destination where travelers can experience vast, untouched landscapes and learn about nomadic culture.
An Open Country
Mongolia existed in a Soviet bubble for most of the 20th century. Now a generation beyond the fall of communism, Mongolia has emerged as a young democracy with a promising economy based on mining, agriculture and tourism. Some revenue is being funneled back into improving tourist facilities, including a new international airport near Ulaanbaatar. Visas are relatively easy to acquire; a handful of nationalities won’t even require one. Mongolia welcomes all travelers, particularly those with an independent streak that delight in making their own way.
Mongolians are fully aware of the unique beauty of their country. Ask locals and they will probably start gushing about the spectacular countryside, vast steppes, rugged mountains, clear lakes and abundant wildlife and livestock. Some areas are so remote you could drive a full day and see almost no signs of human habitation. It’s this true wilderness experience that many people find so appealing, and city residents from Ulaanbaatar frequently hit the road to camp. Protected areas cover almost a fifth of the country and the government is looking to increase that figure.
Mongolia's nomadic culture is famous – visitors can sleep in a herder's ger (traditional felt yurt), help round up the sheep, ride horses and simply "get back to nature." The legacy of Chinggis Khaan and resurgent nationalist pride sharpens the experience. A culture of tremendous hospitality welcomes respectful travelers here. When traveling in Mongolia, however, keep in mind that guests are expected to reciprocate any forms of generosity, so when visiting families, always have a ready supply of gifts for the kids.
Not Just Grass & Horses
Once half nomadic, Mongolia is changing rapidly as its citizens flock to Ulaanbaatar and other big cities for work and study opportunities. Whether they are rural or urban, Mongolians take pride in their country's democratic institutions of civic participation. Mongolia is eager to be part of the global community, sending its troops on peacekeeping missions around the globe and promoting itself as a country to host northeast Asian peace talks; visiting now puts you in the middle of these dramatic transformations.