Tögrög (T), also spelt tugrik
Budget: Less than US$50
- Dorm bed: US$6–14
- Double room at a guesthouse: US$20–45
- Countryside camping: free
- Meal at a simple restaurant: US$3–6
- A 650km bus ride: US$18
- Double room at a standard hotel: US$30–70
- Midrange ger camp with room and board: US$45–65
- Meal at a restaurant in Ulaanbaatar: US$7–14
- Jeep hire with driver per day (without fuel): US$60–80
Top End: More than US$140
- Top-end hotel or ger camp (only found in a few areas): from US$100
- Meal at a fancy restaurant: US$15–30
- Horse trek with professional outfitter per day: US$100–200
- Land Cruiser with driver per day (without fuel): from US$150
Gentle haggling is common in markets; in all other instances you are expected to pay the stated price.
ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. Money changers are easily accessible and give better rates compared to hotels.
The tögrög has been a quite unstable currency in recent years. IMF assistance from 2017 should help the currency to stabilise. ATMs are everywhere, but only a few accept debit cards with a microchip. Credit cards are widely accepted at shops, hotels and restaurants.
Currency The Mongolian unit of currency is the tögrög (T), often spelled tugrik because this reflects the pronunciation more accurately. It comes in notes of T5, T10, T20, T50, T100, T500, T1000, T5000, T10,000 and T20,000. (T1 notes are basically souvenirs.) The highest-value note is worth around US$8.
Money changers Banks and exchange offices in Ulaanbaatar will change money with relative efficiency. Banks in provincial centres are also fine; they change dollars and give cash advances against debit and credit cards.
Payments When paying out large sums of money (to hotels, tour operators and sometimes airlines), it's fine to use either US dollars or tögrög; the merchant will act as a money changer, though the rate will not generally be very good. Other forms of currency aren’t usually accepted, although the euro is probably the next best. Cash offers the best exchange rates and you won’t be paying any commission charge, but for security purposes you can also use debit cards.
Travellers cheques These are no longer accepted anywhere in Mongolia.
Leaving Mongolia Remember to change all your tögrög when leaving the country, as it’s worthless elsewhere.
Depreciation Bear in mind that the tögrög fluctuates widely against the dollar, and local businesses often raise prices to keep up with the changes. Prices are likely to adjust upwards if the currency continues to devalue.
- Golomt, Trade & Development Bank, Khan Bank and XacBank all have ATMs in their Ulaanbaatar and countryside branches. ATMs are also found in many shops and malls. These ATMs accept Visa and MasterCard and work most of the time, allowing you to withdraw up to T800,000 per day, although the amount may depend on your home bank. Chip cards are not accepted at most ATMs – try the XAAH Bank ATMs. You could also visit the HQ of Trade & Development Bank on Peace Ave.
- Before leaving home check with your bank about fees for making ATM transactions overseas. A 3% charge is standard nowadays but some banks will only charge 1%. If you plan to use your debit card a lot, it may be worth opening an account with a bank that has the lowest ATM fees.
- Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted across the country – card readers are available even in small grocery shops and cafes. Bring one that won't charge a foreign-transaction fee. Note that some merchant names might appear as a series of numbers on your statement, so retain your receipts if you are keeping track of your accounts.
- Banks can give cash advances on credit cards, although a fee of 3% usually applies.
Traditionally, Mongolians don’t tip. However, Mongolians working in tourism-related fields (guides, drivers, bellhops and waiters at restaurants frequented by foreigners) are now accustomed to tips. If you do feel service was good, a 10% to 20% tip is appreciated.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.