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Getting around by air


Airfares to Mongolia peak between June and August. Overlanders should consider purchasing an open-jaw ticket. This option could involve, for example, flying into Bĕijīng and then flying out of Moscow. This allows you to travel slowly along the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Departure Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.

Flights to & from Ulaanbaatar

FromAirlineFrequencyOne-Way/Return Fare
BĕijīngAir ChinadailyUS$193/330
BerlinMIAT2 weekly (via Moscow)US$560/1024
BishkekTurkish Airlines3 weeklyUS$470/850
ÈriliánHunnu4 weeklyUS$58/102
FrankfurtMIAT3 weekly (summer only)US$475/820
HohhotAeroMongolia5 weeklyUS$125/250
IrkutskAeroMongolia4 weeklyUS$141/248
Istanbul (via Bishkek)Turkish Airlines3 weeklyUS$590/1050
MǎnzhōulǐHunnu3 weekly (summer only)US$126/216
MoscowAeroflotdaily (summer), 3 weekly (winter)US$490/760
MoscowMIAT2 weeklyUS$533/787
SeoulKorean Air6 weeklyUS$325/510
SeoulMIAT6 weeklyUS$339/478
TokyoMIAT4 weeklyUS$454/666
Ulan UdeHunnu2 weekly (summer only)US$336/454

Transiting at Beijing or Incheon

Flying to Mongolia usually requires one or two stops en route, and you are likely to spend some time in either Bĕijīng International Airport (PEK) or South Korea's Incheon International Airport (ICN). Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) and Istanbul's Ataturk Airport (IST) are possible stops if you are coming from Europe. Here is what you need to know while in transit:

  • Your luggage allowance is determined by the airline that provides the longest segment of the journey. This applies only if you check your baggage all the way through to Ulaanbaatar. If you pick up your luggage midway through the journey you will be subject to luggage restrictions when you check in with MIAT or Air China.
  • With an onward ticket, most nationalities can now stay in China for 72 hours without a visa. Luggage storage is available at the airport in Bĕijīng for about Y30 per bag. Terminal 3 also has a small, scruffy hotel on the arrivals level where you can stay in between flights (rooms start from Y100 per hour). Better hotels are a short bus ride away. The airport is open all night. A free shuttle bus connects Terminal 3 and Terminal 2. Free internet is available but you'll need to get a password from the information desk.
  • If you want to pop into Bĕijīng for a few hours, take the Airport Line light rail (Y25), which runs every 15 minutes to Dongzhimen subway station.
  • Incheon airport is amazingly transit-friendly. It has a comfortable lounge with big sofas where you can sleep, free internet, free showers and even free city tours that can last from two to six hours! The airport also has a hotel – see www.airport.kr for details.
  • When leaving Mongolia, if you are catching a connecting flight via Bĕijīng, you must be able to show proof of your onward ticket at the counter in Ulaanbaatar and in Bĕijīng (so have a printout handy). If you cannot show an onward ticket and you have no visa for China, you won’t be allowed on the flight.

Airports & Airlines

Ulaanbaatar’s Chinggis Khaan Airport is Mongolia’s major international airport; the code is ULN. At the time of writing a new airport was under construction 52km southwest of Ulaanbaatar. It is expected to be complete in 2018.

Flights to/from Ulaanbaatar can be pricey, as there is a limited number of carriers. The main carriers are MIAT, Air China, Korean Air, Turkish Airlines and Aeroflot. Apart from to major cities like Bĕijīng, Seoul and Moscow, there are flights to smaller destinations in China, Russia and Kyrgyzstan. These include an Aero Mongolia flight to/from Hohhot four times a week for US$125 one way. Other regional flights to places like Mǎnzhōulǐ, Ulan Ude and Èrlián, however, change with the seasons.

High-season (June to August) prices for midweek travel are cheaper than on the weekend (Monday and Tuesday flights are generally cheaper than Friday and Saturday flights). In July and August, most flights are full, so book well in advance.