Mongolia, a vast landlocked country in East Asia, offers a unique travel experience with its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and nomadic traditions. If you’re planning a trip to Mongolia, it’s essential to have an idea of the typical costs involved. In this article, we will explore the various aspects that contribute to the overall expense of a trip to Mongolia, providing you with insights to plan your adventure.
Accommodation options in Mongolia range from traditional nomadic ger camps to modern hotels in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The cost of accommodation varies depending on your preferences. Ger camps, which offer an authentic Mongolian experience, can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 per night. Upscale hotels in Ulaanbaatar may range from $80 to $200 per night.
Ger camps provide a one-of-a-kind accommodation experience that sets Mongolia apart from other destinations. The gers are typically furnished with cozy beds, traditional rugs, and colorful decorations, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Despite their simplicity, the gers offer a comfortable and peaceful setting for a restful night’s sleep.
Standard ger camps provide basic amenities and are usually more affordable. The prices for standard ger camps typically range from $20 to $50 per night, per person.
Mongolia’s major cities, such as Ulaanbaatar, offer a selection of upscale hotels that provide a luxurious and comfortable experience. These hotels boast modern amenities, spacious rooms, elegant decor, and a wide range of services. Prices for luxury hotels in Mongolia can range from $100 to $500 or more per night.
Mid-range hotels in Mongolia offer a balance between comfort and affordability. They provide comfortable rooms, essential amenities, and convenient locations. These hotels are a popular choice for both business and leisure travelers. Prices for mid-range hotels typically range from $50 to $150 per night
Prices for budget hotels can range from $20 to $50 per night, depending on the location and the level of comfort provided. Though I wouldn’t personally recommend them since they are utter shite and dirty.
Guest houses in Mongolia are known for their affordability, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers. Prices typically range from $10 to $30 per night, depending on the location, facilities, and level of comfort offered. Staying in a guest house allows you to save money on accommodation while still experiencing the warmth and hospitality of the Mongolian people.
Transportation Costs: Getting Around Mongolia
When planning a trip to Mongolia, it’s important to consider transportation costs as they can significantly impact your budget. Mongolia offers various transportation options, including international and domestic flights, trains, buses, and cars
Generally, flights from major international airports to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, range from $500 to $1,500 or more for a round-trip ticket. It is quite expensive, but if you plan ahead and book earlier, you could get it a bit cheaper.
Domestic flights connect major cities and towns across the country, including popular tourist destinations. The cost of domestic flights in Mongolia depends on the distance and the airline. Prices for domestic flights can range from $100 to $250 or more, depending on the route and availability. Airlines include, Hunnu Air and AeroMongolia.
Mongolia has an extensive rail network, and trains offer a scenic and leisurely way to travel through the country. The most popular train route in Mongolia is the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which connects Ulaanbaatar with Russia and China. Train tickets are relatively affordable, with prices varying based on the class of travel, distance, and the duration of the journey. For example, a one-way train ticket from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing can range from $150 to $300, depending on the class of service.
Or if you are traveling through the country, you can find tickets for as little as $10.
Buses are a common mode of transportation for both short and long distances within Mongolia. They are generally the most economical option and offer extensive coverage throughout the country. The cost of bus tickets in Mongolia is relatively low, with prices ranging from $5 to $30 depending on the distance traveled and the type of bus.
However, I wouldn’t recommend taking a bus. For safety and comfort reasons, travel via train or plane.
Car rental prices in Mongolia can vary depending on the vehicle type, rental duration, and the company you choose. On average, renting a car in Mongolia can cost around $50 to $150 per day, excluding fuel and additional insurance.
Taxi fares in Mongolia are relatively affordable compared to many other countries. The price per kilometer can vary slightly between different taxi companies, but as of the latest available information, the average starting fare is around 1,500 to 2,000 Mongolian Tugrik and 1,500 – 2,000 MNT for a kilometer. Usually getting around the city will cost you on average $3 if you go about 5kms per trip or 3 miles. Ulaanbaatar is a small city, so you can actually walk to most places.
In Mongolia, you will find two main types of taxis:
- Hailing unofficial taxi: You can try taking unofficial taxis by stretching out your right hand along the road palm facing down. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this option since locals might try to take advantage of you and charge your way more.
- Ride-Hailing Services: Similar to popular ride-hailing services in other countries, Mongolia also has its own ride-hailing platforms. These platforms allow you to book a taxi using a mobile app, providing you with convenience and the option to track your driver’s location. Try UBCab.
Food and Dining Costs
Exploring Mongolia’s unique culinary landscape is an essential part of any trip to this fascinating country. From traditional Mongolian dishes to international cuisine, Mongolia offers a variety of dining options to suit different tastes and budgets. Here’s an overview of food and dining costs in Mongolia:
- CU or convenience stores: If you need a quick bite for cheap, CU and GS25 offers meals for as little as $2-$3.
- Local Eateries and Cafés: Local eateries and small cafés offer affordable options, with meals ranging from $5 to $10 per person.
- Mid-Range Restaurants: Mid-range restaurants in urban areas offer a wider range of cuisine, including Mongolian, Asian, and international dishes. Prices for a meal in a mid-range restaurant typically range from $10 to $20 per person.
- Upscale Restaurants: Upscale restaurants in luxury hotels or popular tourist areas offer a more refined dining experience. Prices in upscale restaurants can range from $20 to $50 or more per person, depending on the restaurant and menu selection.
Grocery Stores and Self-Catering
If you prefer to cook your meals or have a limited budget, shopping at grocery stores and preparing your own meals is an option. Grocery prices in Mongolia are generally affordable, but fruits, vegetables, and imported goods tend to be a lot more expensive. Relatively organic meats are much cheaper and tastier.
Tap water in Mongolia may not be safe for drinking, so it’s advisable to rely on bottled water, which is widely available in stores and hotels. Bottled water prices are generally inexpensive. As for beverages, prices for soft drinks, tea, and coffee in restaurants and cafés range from $1 to $3, depending on the establishment.
Tipping in Mongolia
Tipping is not customary in Mongolia, but it’s appreciated for exceptional service. If you choose to tip, leaving around 10% of the bill as a tip is generally considered generous.
Entertainment in Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, offers a vibrant and diverse entertainment scene. From cultural performances and live music to museums and outdoor activities, there are plenty of options to keep you engaged and entertained during your visit. Here’s an overview of entertainment costs in Ulaanbaatar:
Museums and Cultural Sites
Ulaanbaatar is home to several museums and cultural sites that offer a glimpse into Mongolia’s rich history and heritage. The entrance fees for museums in Ulaanbaatar vary, but on average, you can expect to pay around $5 to $10 per person. Some popular museums and cultural sites in Ulaanbaatar include the National Museum of Mongolia, Gandantegchinlen Monastery, and the Bogd Khan Palace Museum.
Performing Arts and Cultural Shows
Attending a traditional Mongolian performance or cultural show is a fantastic way to experience the country’s vibrant arts scene. The cost of tickets for performances can vary depending on the venue and the type of show. On average, ticket prices for cultural performances in Ulaanbaatar range from $10 to $30 per person. These performances often feature traditional Mongolian music, dance, and throat singing.
Live Music and Nightlife
Ulaanbaatar has a lively nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues catering to different tastes. The cost of enjoying live music or spending an evening at a bar or club can vary depending on the establishment and the type of entertainment. Generally, you can expect to spend around $10 to $30 for entrance fees, and additional costs may include food, drinks, and table reservations.
Cinema and Theater
Ulaanbaatar has modern cinemas and theaters where you can enjoy the latest movies and theatrical performances. Ticket prices for movies vary, with weekday showings generally being cheaper than weekend screenings. On average, movie tickets in Ulaanbaatar cost around $5 to $10 per person. Theater performances may have varying ticket prices depending on the production and venue.
Parks and Recreation Areas
Ulaanbaatar has several parks and recreational areas where you can relax, enjoy nature, and engage in outdoor activities. Entry to most parks is free, but some attractions within the parks may have separate fees, such as amusement rides or guided tours.
Costs For Tours in Mongolia
The cost of tours in Mongolia can vary depending on several factors, including the tour type, duration, level of comfort, and the number of participants. Here are some approximate price ranges to give you an idea:
- Nomadic Homestay Tours: Prices for nomadic homestay tours can range from $50 to $100 per day per person, including accommodations, meals, transportation, and the services of a guide.
- Gobi Desert Tours: The cost of Gobi Desert tours typically ranges from $80 to $150 per day per person, including accommodations, meals, transportation, and a guide.
- Cultural and Historical Tours: Cultural and historical tours can range from $100 to $200 per day per person, depending on the duration, itinerary, and level of comfort. These tours often include accommodations, meals, transportation, and a knowledgeable guide.
- Adventure and Outdoor Tours: Prices for adventure tours vary widely based on the activities included and the level of comfort. On average, adventure tours can range from $100 to $250 per day per person, including accommodations, meals, transportation, and expert guides.
If you want to save money, you can just rent a car and travel with your Mongolian friend. That way, you won’t necessarily have to pay for additional tour costs, but the difference isn’t that much to be honest since renting a car by itself costs almost $50-$100 per day. If your friend has a car however then it’s significantly cheaper.
We also offer tours in Mongolia, so check it out as well if you want to get a ballpark for how much tours cost.
Average Petrol Prices
The average price for unleaded gasoline in Mongolia ranges from 2,400 to 2,800 Mongolian Tugrik (MNT) per liter. For higher grade petrol, it’s 3500 (MNT).
Availability of Gas Stations
Gas stations in Mongolia are predominantly located in urban areas and major towns along popular travel routes. While you can find gas stations in cities like Ulaanbaatar and other major towns, it’s essential to plan your fuel stops carefully, especially when traveling to remote areas. It’s recommended to fill up your tank whenever you come across a gas station to ensure you have an adequate fuel supply for your journeys.
Most gas stations in Mongolia accept cash payments in the local currency (Mongolian Tugrik). Credit or debit cards may not be widely accepted at all fuel stations, especially in more rural or remote areas. It’s advisable to carry sufficient cash in the local currency to pay for fuel expenses.
How Much Can You Expect To Pay Per Day?
With all that said, here are some estimates for how much you will spend per day based on your budget.
- Backpacking: If you are backpacking and broke, then $10 / night for hostel or cheap guest house, $5 for food, and $5 for entertainment + any travel ticket will do. So you are looking at around $20-$30 per day.
- Mid-range: Clean and decent hotels cost $30-$50/night, and assuming you eat out mostly $15 for food and $15 for entertainment + travel tickets, you are looking at $60 – $100 per day.
- Luxury-travel: If you have money to spare, then a 5 star hotel will cost around $80-$150/night, with food at nicer restaurants $30-40 and assuming you want to go clubbing without thinking about budget, $300-$400 per week + any travel tickets, you are looking at $200-$300/day on average.
How much does it cost to fly to Mongolia?
The cost of flying to Mongolia can vary depending on several factors such as the departure location, time of booking, and airline. On average, round-trip international flights to Mongolia can range from $500 to $1,500, but prices can be higher during peak travel seasons. It’s advisable to compare prices across different airlines and book in advance to secure the best deals.
Is Mongolia expensive to travel?
Mongolia can be considered a moderately priced travel destination. While some expenses such as accommodations and transportation can be relatively affordable, other factors like tours, activities, dining, and flight tickets can vary in price.
How much money will I spend per day in Mongolia?
On average, travelers can expect to spend approximately $50 to $100 per day in Mongolia, including accommodation, meals, transportation, and sightseeing. However, this can vary depending on your travel style, preferences, and the activities you choose to participate in.
How much do tours cost?
The cost of tours in Mongolia can vary depending on factors such as the type of tour, duration, level of comfort, and the number of participants. As a general guideline, budget for approximately $50 to $200 per day for organized tours, which often include accommodations, meals, transportation, and the services of a guide.