Mongolia is a country situated in East Asia, which is actually bordering huge nations China and Russia. The country is quite wide enough that covers a wide expanse of open space of fields and mountainous cold area. The country is famous for its wandering residents which travels the expanse of whole Mongolian nation and is great for backpacking in Mongolia
Led by Genghis Khan, Mongolia was once the most powerful empire in early 13th and 14th centuries. The country has expanded rapidly its territory during the era of who was used to be known as a brilliant and dominant leader. But of course the story behind the great man from Mongolia is quite intriguing and interesting already to start with. With the brilliance and intractable skills of the great Genghis Khan, current archaeologists and scientists are still unable to locate his grave as Khan has planned for death.
The story about rise and fall of communism of Mongolia is an intriguing history to explore too, aside from its stunning picturesque nature scenery. Below we’ll explain about solo travel to Mongolia and some tips for Mongolia backpacking by yourself.
Solo Backpack Trip To Mongolia
Backpacking in Mongolia is quite popular now because travelers are not bounded by strict and scheduled tour. Although traveling with someone can be a little bit cheaper because you can split your expenses with someone. However, traveling in backpack has more doable schedule, itineraries, and activities. It is easier to move around. Although convenience is not really expected in backpack traveling, it is best for solo Mongolia vacation.
Traveling alone to Mongolia is like also experiencing how to wander around like a legit Mongolian local. Hoping form one place to another and experiencing different traditions and culture in Mongolia.
Tourism In Mongolia
Although Mongolia is now beginning to make a name to its tourism industry, the country’s economy has been thriving from its agriculture, and mining industries as they have just started democratic government.
Currently, tourism is also pulling off the economic status of the country because there are quite a lot of tourists who are interested to explore the wonderful land of Mongolia, experience their nomadic culture, and discover their rich Mongolian history.
How To Go Around Mongolia?
There are 16 airports in Mongolia, one of which is an international airport. Another international airport is about to open in NUBIA (Ulan Bator International Airport). Now, you can book your flight to Chinggis Khaan International Airport (what used to be called as Buyant Ukhaa Airport), and have your flight be connected to other airport provinces in Mongolia you would like to explore.
For first time solo travel to Mongolia, it is best to travel first and explore the capital of Mongolia – the Ulaanbaatar. There are quite a lot to see and do in Ulaanbaatar.
After reaching the airport you can take a taxi or bus going to your hotel or where you would like to start to hunt for your lodging place. Taxis are faster but it seems it’s more expensive. Just make sure you ride the legitimate taxis so you will not have to be ripped off with overpriced cab fee. There are few licensed taxi lines around Ulaanbaatar like the Noyon taxi, Ulaanbaatar taxi, 1616 taxi , iTaxi, and Telecom taxi.
There are bus and minibus that can also take you around the city. Railway system is also much alive around Mongolia. If you decide to travel on a cross country adventure visiting other provinces in Mongolia, you might also try railway system aside from airplane ride. It is an added adventure to have a great view of the great stunning expanse of the country side as you ride the train conveniently.
There are also ferry and boat transportation passing though long lakes and rivers. However, the waterways are frozen during winter time from October to April.
Things To Do In Mongolia As A Solo Backpacker?
Quick Tours Of The National Museum Of Mongolia And Zaisan Memorial
You can just drop by and learn few things about history of Mongolia at the National Museum of Mongolia. The museum was just recently built in 1971, and was organized in order to give awareness and educate locals and tourists about a summarized history of Mongolia in just one location. Basically, Mongolia is such a huge country that people cannot possible travel and wander off through the significant civilizations and historical development of the country. It shows exhibits of arts, cultural, educational, and even scientific objects that may represents their history’s time table.
Make a hasty visit also on Zaisan Memorial. In honor of the fallen heroes during World War II, the memorial was built. The shrine memorial is located in far southern part of Ulaanbaatar City, also shows sculpture and painting showing the friendship between Mongolia and USSR. The painting shows dense history of the war from independence over Nazi Germany, victory over Japanese Kwantung Army, and also even the ground breaking launching of first Mongolian space flight into the space by Jugderdemidiin Gurragchaa. Clibing the memorial is quite an adventure itself because it is situated a top hill. The top view is worth it because it will give a good view of the whole Ulaanbaatar City.
Explore The Countryside
If you wanted to camp out on the grandeur beauty of the amazing picturesque country side view, you can travel and go to Gorkhi-Tereli National Park. It is few kilometers away from Ulaanbaatar metro, and is quite a popular for tourists because of the stunning nature view. The park has also hot springs were you can enjoy warm baths. Watch wildlife thrive around the rich natural beauty of Mongolia has to offer. There are camels, brown bears, migrating birds and other magnificent creatures you will only see in Mongolia. You can camp here all together with other tourists to feel the cool breeze air of mountainous and greenery pastures of Mongolian valley. Few kilometers away from the park there are also convenient restaurants, and souvenir shops. There are also other nature activities like camel and horse ride rentals.
If you have more time, you can also visit the World Heritage UNESCO certified Bogd Khan Mountain which is stripping between Sacred Mountains Burkhan Khaldun and Otgontenger. The natural park area has significant cultural and traditional value in the history of Mongolia. During the Qing Dynasty, the local government declared the natural mountain beauty as a Bogd Khan protective site.
Explore The Novelty Quirky Museums And Parks
You will also find unlikely museum in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia such as Beatles Monument (yes, built by fans of UK based band Beatles), Children’s Palace, Hunting Museum, National Amusement Park, 976 Art Gallery, and a lot more.
Visit Ancient Temples And Palaces
Know more about the history of Mongolia by scheduling a trip to the Winter Palace of Bogd Khan. The temple is now a museum for all the relics and items during the Bogd Khan era. There is about eight original palace residence in the area in late 1800’s however the Winter Palace is the only ones left.
The Choijin Lama Temple is also worth visiting too. This is a Buddhist monastery in Ulaanbaatar. It was built around early 1900’s in honor of the State of Oracle Lama Lubsanhaidub (Losang Kedrup). You will find the structure very complex because of the main area of the building is connected to five branch temples. The temple survived from communism up to this day. The temple shows intricate details of craftsmanship and artistic skills because of the valuable collections of religious antiquities and Cham Dance masks, expensive silk embroideries, paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures. You will aslo find the properly embalmed dead body of Baldan Choephel on the right of the statue of Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav.
The Gandantegchinlen Monastery or Gandan is popular name for locals, is an old Mongolian monastery which was originally built around 1840s. It was recently restored around ealy 1990’s. There are about one hundred fifty monks that peacefully live in the old monastery. The monastery is dubbed as the “Great Place of Complete Joy”. There are quite a few of gigantic statue found inside the monastery which includes the world’s tallest indoor statue Avalokiteśvara. The statue is made out of bronze. Around the Gandan, there are slo other structures and significant buildings for Buddhism belief.
Roam Around The Downtown Area And Sükhbaatar Square
Formerly known as Chinggis Square, the Sükhbaatar Square is built in honor of their greatest leader Genghis Khan. There is a huge portico monument of the considered founding father of Mongolia, at the square where you can take picture and stroll around to see other important shrines, and historical structures.
Additional Tips On Solo Backpack Travel In Mongolia
Mongolia is quite a safe place. There has been no recorded violence over tourists over the years. But as a basic rule for all tourists, especially solo backpacker; one must be always vigilant with people you encounter and your things. Generally, locals in Mongolia are hospitable, friendly and polite.
- Read updates on the current political situation and new law implemented in Mongolia
- Obtain all necessary legal documents. And every time you leave your hotel or lodge houses, you must carry your passport and visa all the time. This is standard to all countries you visit. Just in case you will be subjected to random check.
- Make sure you healthy and fit to travel.
Mongolia is such a cold country, especially during winter season so you might have to prepare yourself to be exposed with throat and lungs infections.
- Plan your trip
- Organizing your trip for the day saves you time, money and effort.
- Bring necessary clothes and other stuff
Make sure you are able to check the weather so you are more prepared of what clothes, medical kid, footwear, and other things you need to prepare. Traveling on backpack solo adventure means you have limited luggage to carry in order to move freely and easily.
- Learn few Mongolian words to help you start an amiable impression with locals
- GPS Device and camera to document your solo backpacking trip
- Be armed with all the traveling by digging in authentic Mongolian food! Enjoy great meal!