Travel to/ from Mongolia
This tour starts in Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia – airport code ULN. There are several airlines that operate flights into Ulaan Baatar. For reference see below:
From Australia, NZ & U.S. – Air China, Korean Air or combine with MIAT (Mongolian national carrier) through Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing or Tokyo.
From UK & Europe – Turkish Airlines, Air China, Korean Air, Aeroflot or combine with MIAT (Mongolian national carrier) through Berlin, Moscow, Hong Kong, Beijing or Seoul.
There is also the trans-Mongolian train to Ulaan Baatar from St Petersburg, Moscow or from Beijing. These tickets are often a little hard to come by and visa processing for Russia, Mongolia and China can take a considerable amount of time so we recommend getting some advice if you intend to arrive this way and to plan early!
Individual arrival and departure transfers are included in the cost. We’ll have a driver with a Bike Asia sign waiting at the airport to whisk you off to our joining point hotel.
Pre and post trip accommodation
If you would like us to organise some extra nights accommodation either before or after the trip at our start or finish point hotel, just let us know when you book the trip.
You will need to bring money on the trip to pay for the following: some meals, drinks, activities in the free time, departure tax and of course shopping. We suggest various ways to access your cash. These include:
- Licensed money exchanges will provide local currency in exchange for all major forms of foreign currency (but please note that it will be very difficult to exchange old, well-worn notes). At these exchanges it will also be possible to change travellers’ cheques but only those in US dollars and from major companies.
- ATMs where you can use your Visa/MasterCard
- Designated banks to exchange all foreign currencies and Traveller’s Cheques.
The amount you bring is going to depend on how much you plan to spend. To give you an indication of prices
Beer would cost MNT 1000 (supermarket) – MNT2500 (bar)
Dinner at local restaurant MNT 1500 – MNT 3500
Dinner at foreign restaurant MNT 10000 – MNT 20000
The Mongolian currency is the Mongolian Tugrik (MNT). Exchange rates at the time of writing are:
1 AUD = 1440 MNT
1 EUR = 1800 MNT
1 GBP = 2110 MNT
1 USD = 1380 MNT
We also recommend that you bring US $100 in emergency funds, to be used when circumstances beyond the control of Bike Asia necessitate a change in itinerary.
Most travellers will need to obtain a Mongolian visa, either through a travel agent or direct with the Mongolian Embassy. To find the nearest embassy near you got to: mn.embassyinformation.com
If you are travelling through another country to get to Mongolia (e.g. China, Korea, Japan or Russia) you should make inquiries as to whether a visa for that country will also be needed.
New update: Transit tourists from 45 countries will be able to visit Beijing for up to 72 hours without a visa under new regulations starting January 1, 2013. Government officials announced this week that visas will be waived for transit passengers who can provide a confirmed air ticket or other travel documents detailing a third destination and who will depart the Chinese capital within three days. This means travelers from selected countries who have onward journeys don’t have to apply for a visa if they want to stay in Beijing, e.g., a Hong Kong to Beijing to San Francisco passenger. But foreign nationals traveling on a single return flight (e.g., Hong Kong to Beijing to Hong Kong) will need to get a visa before their departure.
Obtaining your own travel insurance is required in order to participate on a Bike Asia tour. It will need to include a minimum coverage of medical expenses with emergency evacuation, personal liability and accident insurance. Your group leader will need to see a copy of your insurance at the group meeting on the first day. Two well known travel insurance providers are: World Nomads and Covermore.
You will need to a good level of fitness to participate in this trip. There are 10 cycling days in total with most days cycling between 50-80km on off-road terrain. Whilst this trip does not involve a lot of long mountain climbing, on most days we are cycling on undulating terrain with climbs over valley passes, some of which are very steep. The cycling is done at an altitude between 1500 – 2500 metres above sea level.
In order to make the most of your holiday, the healthier you are the more you will enjoy it! For a list of vaccinations we recommend that you seek advice at a travel clinic at least six weeks prior to departure. Our group leader will have Senior’s Level first aid training and will travel with a first-aid kit, however it is also recommended that individual travellers have a basic first aid kit with any personal medical requirements. Our group leader is not authorised, for legal reasons, to administer any kind of drugs, including pain relief tablets, antibiotics etc so be sure to pack a supply of your favourite pain-killers. Pharmacy products vary in different countries and you may not be able to buy products that are widely available at home. Include the following: plasters, dressings, bandage, calamine lotion (a must for soothing sunburn), oral re-hydration treatment (in case of bouts of diarrhoea), insect repellent, insect sting relief, antiseptic cream and antiseptic wipes.
An integral part of travelling is to have a positive impact on the country that you are visiting. On this trip there are a number of things you can do to have a positive impact on the communities that we visit.
Dress: Mongolia is still quite a conservative country. In rural areas and temples overly revealing clothing is considered offensive. You should make an effort to dress more conservatively in these situations. Walking around a village in bike shorts is not appropriate so if you wish to cycle in just bike shorts you should have something with you, on the bike, to put on over the top (long loose shorts or a skirt/sarong). When visiting temples shorts are acceptable providing they cover the knee. Singlet tops are not acceptable in temples.
Phrase Book: A highly memorable part of your travels will be the local people you meet. In the tourist areas some people will speak English but away from these areas you should learn a few words of Mongolian. We will teach you some of the basics but if you want to really interact we recommend bringing a phrase book.
Donations: Often when coming on trips overseas people like to bring items such as sweets, pens and books for children or old clothing for families. While this is a fantastic idea, if distributed in the wrong way it can actually create more problems. Giving away anything to local people can create an expectation that visiting foreigner equals free give-aways. In some communities in Asia this has created whole villages where the only interaction is the locals asking for things. If you would like to donate anything to the communities that we visit we suggest that you give the items to us and we will then pass them on to development organizations, schools or whole communities. In this way items are distributed to those really in need by those working in the communities.
Poverty: In Mongolia there is poverty which you may see, mainly in the capital Ulaanbaatar. If you choose to give something to a beggar you must bear in mind the value of money in the country you are visiting. There are organizations which are working to alleviate this poverty and may be able to do more good with donations that you make. Your Tour Leader will be able to provide more information about this.
Support Organisations There are a number of organizations which we hope you can support in one way or another. Your Tour Leader will provide more information on these as you travel.
For more information about Bike Asia’s commitment to ethical and sustainable travel practices, please read our Responsible Travel Policy.