A few tips on how we went about travelling through Mongolia 😉
Ulan Ude (Russia) – Ulaanbataar
Take bus from Ulan Ude-Ulaanbaatar – bus leaves in the morning and its cheaper and faster than train, you can buy tickets directly on the bus station. Cash only.
Ulaanbataar – we stayed around in capital around a week. For transportation within the city you can buy a bus card in any little shop with U Money sign and recharge your card. One ride costs 500tgk.
(Btw. Museum of Mongolia is worth a visit as well as wrestling palace is worth a visit )
We took a Bus from Dragon Station – a night bus at around 17 : 30. It’s good to buy tickets at least the same morning. You can also ask a Mongolian to buy it for you online – fast and easy way but website is in Mongolian.
We took a taxi, which cost us around 70000tgk a person. You can wait for a (Russian) van to fill and then it’s much cheaper around 10-15k tgk.
We spent two weeks in the countryside and then took horses from Bayara’s guesthouse. It cost us 30k tgk per day per guide (it splits between group) and 15k per day per horse. The route Khatgal-Tsaatal people-Tsaganuur took us 9 days.
Tsaganuur – Murun
We took a Russian van. It takes about 13h and it’s a horrid ride. Drivers fly over one big hole of a road, russian van smell of petrol. Brace yourself. It cost 35k tgk a person.
Murun – Olgii
Its not easy to find transport on this route but if you find more people you can hire a car. We paid 1mln tgk which is reasonable for 4 people. Later we decided to keep pur driver longer and drive us around in West. Its 80-100k tgk per day + petrol. It takes two days of driving.
You can take a flight that takes around 2h, there are 8 daily. It costs around 150USD return and you should book in advanced.
As we already had paid the driver both ways and we didn’t want to fly we came back the same way we came, and then took bus from Murun to Ulaanbaatar.
Ulaanbaatar – Gobi Desert
We took a bus from Ulaanbaatar (East Bus Station) to Dalanzadgad. It leaves around 17:00 and gets there around 1:00 AM. That’s the only part of our trip we pre-booked in UB, so we got picked up from the station and toured all around. In the peak of the season you can go directly to DZ and find other travellers and a driver, which should be fairly easy.
Ulaanbaatar – Erlian ( CHINA )
We decided to leave Mongolia the cheapest possible way and that is: buy a a ticket for domestic train UB-Zamyn Uud and then take a taxi or a van across the border to Erlian and from there catch a bus or train to Hohhot.
However, as we were leaving during Naadam all borders were closed. Everyday information about borders were changing, no one knew anything, and we had to change our plan half an hour before catching the train. We bought an international ticket for the next day ( international train border crossings remain open ) and we crossed border one day after our visas had expired. What to say, it almost gave me a heart attack because we heard many stories about this crossing but in the end we only had to extend our visa for one more day on the spot (and make whole train wait ).
IF YOU ‘RE CROSSING TO CHINA IN WESTERN MONGOLIA THEY WILL LOOK THROUGH YOUR PHOTOS. Just saying.