Mongolia is a reasonably safe country in which to travel, but given the infrastructure of the country, the state of the economy and other development problems, you are bound to run into bumps along the way. With a bit of patience, care and planning, you should be able to handle just about anything.
When visiting Mongolia, forget your fear and anxiety: This is a country you can travel around without a care in the world! The Mongolian people are very tolerant and little inclined towards violence.
Mongolia is undoubtedly one of the safest countries in the world! Consequently, a woman travelling alone has nothing to fear with respect to personal safety.
The best idea is to carefully plan your trip so you don't end up facing unexpected problems. Because in addition to the chance of getting lost, there is also quite a strong possibility of encountering wolves and other animals – the Mongolian countryside is quite wild and untamed.
Courteous nomads live in harmony with each other. There are no religious conflicts, guerrillas or even any natural disasters. Mongols are a welcoming people who are curious and ready to help anyone in need. Terrorism
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Mongolia, attacks can’t be ruled out.
Mongolia’s dry, cold climate and sparse human habitation means there are few of the infectious diseases that plague tropical countries in Asia. The rough-and-tumble landscape and lifestyle, however, presents challenges of its own. Injuries sustained from falling off a horse are common in the summer season. In winter, the biggest threats are the flu and pneumonia, which spread like wildfire in November. If you do become seriously ill in Mongolia, your local embassy can provide details of Western doctors. Serious emergencies may require evacuation to Seoul or Beijing. If in the countryside, make a beeline for Ulaanbaatar to have your ailment diagnosed. The advice here is a general guide only; be sure to seek the advice of a doctor trained in travel medicine.
Advice Health care is readily available in Ulaanbaatar, but choose your hospital and doctor carefully. Private hospitals with modern facilities are now available in the capital. The best advice will come from your embassy. Before You Go
Prevention is the key to staying healthy while abroad. A little planning before departure, particularly for pre-existing illnesses, will save trouble later. See your dentist before going on a long trip, carry a spare pair of contact lenses and glasses, and take your optical prescription with you. Bring medications in their original, clearly labelled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is also a good idea. Western medicine can be in short supply in Mongolia. Most medicine comes from China and Russia, and the labels won’t be in English, so bring whatever you think you might need from home. Take extra supplies of prescribed medicine and divide it into separate pieces of luggage; that way if one piece goes astray, you’ll still have a back-up supply.
Bites & Stings
Bees and wasps Stings are usually painful rather than dangerous. Calamine lotion or sting-relief spray will give relief and ice packs will reduce the pain and swelling. However, people who are allergic to bees and wasps may require urgent medical care.
Snakes Mongolia has four species of venomous snakes: the Halys viper (agkistrodon halys), the common European viper or adder (vipera berus), Orsini’s viper (vipera ursine) and the small taphrometaphon lineolatum. To minimize your chances of being bitten, always wear boots, socks and long trousers where snakes may be present. Don’t put your hands into holes and crevices, and be careful when collecting firewood.
There are four border crossings open to foreigners, three on the Russian border of which the main one is Altanbulag, and at Zamyn-Uud near the small town of Erlian on the border with China.
Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Mongolia visa-free:
For up to 90 days: Belarus, Brazil, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau SAR, Serbia, Ukraine and the United States. Ukrainian citizens need an official or private invitation to qualify for visa-free entry.
For up to 30 days: Canada, Cuba, Germany, Israel, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, Turkey, Singapore and Thailand.
For up to 21 days: Philippines
For up to 14 days: Hong Kong SAR
For other foreign nationals, the process for obtaining a thirty-day visa or tourist visa is relatively painless, requiring a visa application form, a small fee at your local Mongolian embassy, passport sized photo and flight / train and accommodation bookings, or an invitation letter that is arranged through tour companies. However, the citizens of Indonesia, Russia, China and Taiwan and some other countries need to get an official invitation letter that is issued by the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after confirmation by the tour company or firm or individual who is inviting you. Longer visas are available; it requires an invitation letter from a Mongolian company or individual.
Citizens of countries where a Mongolian Embassy or Honorary consulate of Mongolia doesn't exist, can apply for a Mongolian visa at the Mongolian borders - Chinggis Khaan Airport, Zamyn - Uud and Altanbulag. It requires your official permission letter that is issued by Immigration Office in Ulaanbaatar according to your invited person or entity's request, exact arrival date and time, flight or train number. Once you got the permission, you have to bring the copy of permission, passport sized photo and visa fee of c. US$105 per applicant and then you can get the visa at the airport. For most cases, it is easy to seek a help from licensed travel company that can get permission for you from Immigration Office in Ulaanbaatar.
Also, it is possible to acquire an expedited visa in a matter of hours at the Mongolian consulate in Erlian, though there is a steep $50 US fee for this service. A similar service is available in the Mongolian consulate in the Russian city of Irkutskand Ulan-Ude. Indian nationals are required to apply for a visa, although the visa fee is waived.
You won't get more than 30 days on a tourist visa. In Mongolia you can extend your visa for another 30 days maximum.
The Embassy of Mongolia in the UK website is useful for updates.
The Embassy of Mongolia in China website allows you to print off the application form you will need if you are applying for your Mongolian visa in China, although the consulate does have them too. If you going to stay more than 30 days you have to get registered at Mongolia Immigration.
As of September 2013, the consulate in Irkutsk does not require an invitation letter anymore and will issue even one-year multiple entry visas without a fuss.
The national currency in Mongolia is the Tugrug.
During the trek, you do not need any money as there is no way to buy anything. (Possibly with some nomadic families who produce their own products). Before the trek, you can stock up on sweets and drinks. After that you may need money for souvenir shopping and the last evenings (drinks). Cashmere products from the outlet can also be paid by credit card. Tipping should rather be given in Tugrik (for employees from Ulaan Baatar also Euro or Dollar are possible). The Mongolian currency, Tugrik, can be exchanged in all banks for US dollars (no old notes !!) or euros. For smaller notes, the exchange rate may be worse. In hotels, ger camps and many shops, dollars, more and more euros, are accepted. In the countryside, money can only be traded in the Aimag Centers. It is therefore advisable to exchange sufficient domestic currency in Ulaanbaatar before traveling longer. In the capital, you can also use your credit, and sometimes your Maestro card, to raise money. All major hotels and businesses where foreigners travel frequently will accept credit card.
The power voltage in Mongolia is 220 volts / 50 Hz. Since the nomads come from different areas, from where you bring everything you need, there is no standard "standard" for plugs / sockets. Taking a universal adapter may be useful in some cases. For safety's sake, bring enough battery / batteries for your camera, headlamp, etc., as they cannot always be charged outside of Ulaanbataar. Although most of the yurt camps have electricity, you do not have to worry about electricity on tent nights. Solar panels and power banks are very useful for trekking trips.