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Country Guides for Asia

Mongolia

Mongolia The idea of Mongolia conjures up visions of Genghis Khan on horseback riding across the arid steppes of the desolate Gobi Desert. The term "Gobi" does refer to an arid rangeland but only 3% is actual sand, the rest being rocky mountains and valleys. This ecosystem supports goats, camels and rare animals such as snow leopard, ibex, wild sheep, and the mazaalai bears. More than half of the population is semi-nomadic, living in villages during the brutal winters and spending the brief summers in traditional yurts. Accommodations and transportation are fairly simple by western standards. The travel season is from May to October but dry desert winds can arise spontaneously, and the short rainy season is from late July through August and can turn jeep trails pretty muddy.

Language: Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian

Major International Airports:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
Ulaan BaatarBuyant Ukha AirportULN9 miles W

The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in East Asia depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region. However, in highly developed areas of Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.

Travelers’ diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Travelers to some areas in China, Hong Kong S.A.R. (China), North Korea, and South Korea may be at risk for malaria. Travelers to malaria-risk areas in China, North Korea, and South Korea should take an antimalarial drug. The risk of malaria in Hong Kong S.A.R. is so limited that taking an antimalarial drug is not recommended. There is no risk of malaria in Japan, Taiwan, Macao S.A.R. (China), and Mongolia.

Dengue, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

If you visit the Himalayan Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, use sunblock rated at least SPF 15, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.

There is no risk for yellow fever in East Asia. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG), except travelers to Japan.
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Japanese encephalitis, only if you plan to visit rural areas for 4 weeks or more, except under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • If you visit an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Those traveling to Mongolia are at risk from Lyme disease and relapsing fever transmitted by tick bites, Japanese encephalitis from mosquito bites, and leishmaniasis from sandfly bites. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

The water supply in Mongolia is contaminated with viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Travelers should treat water before drinking to avoid potentially serious health problems.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

SAFETY AND SECURITY: There have been no significant acts of terrorism, kidnapping, criminal incidents, or extremist activity directed against U.S. interests in Mongolia. There are no regions of instability in the country. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the protests and street demonstrations that occasionally occur in Ulaanbaatar, as the demonstrations may become unruly.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

CRIME: Over the past few years there has been a significant rise in crime in Mongolia, particularly in Ulaanbaatar, the capital. Violent crime is increasing, and it is not advisable to walk alone through the city after dark. The most common crimes against foreigners are pick pocketing and bag snatching. Travelers should be especially cautious when taking public transportation and in crowded public areas, such as open air markets, the State Department Store, the Central Post Office, and Gandan Monastery. U.S. citizens who detect pickpocketing attempts should not confront the thieves, as they may become violent.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and to explain how funds could be transferred.

Although the investigation and prosecution of a crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney, if needed. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.



Source: U.S. Department of State

Mongolia has an extreme continental climate with cold, long winters and short, warm summers. It is a very dry country, with annual precipitation levels ranging from around 11" in the north, to 5" or less in the south (some regions in the Gobi typically receive no rainfall at all for years at a time).


City
Annual
Precip. Days
Annual
Precip. Totals
Dalanzadgad465"
Darkhan8713"
Erdenet9915"
Ulaan Baatar8711"

Mongolia's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Please note: Not all electrical sockets in this country provide grounding. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required for American visitors. No visa is required for Americans visiting for fewer than 90 days. Visitors planning to stay in Mongolia for more than 30 days are required to register with the Immigration, Naturalization and Foreign Citizens Agency in Ulaanbaatar during their first week of arrival. American visitors who fail to register and who stay longer than 30 days may be stopped at departure, denied exit, and fined. Americans planning to work or study in Mongolia should apply for a visa at a Mongolian Embassy or Consulate overseas. Failure to do so may result in authorities denying registration, levying a fine, and requiring that the visitor leave the country. For current information about visas and registration requirements travelers should contact the Embassy of Mongolia at 2833 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone: (202) 333-7117 or http://www.mongolianembassy.us

Travelers arriving or departing Mongolia through China or Russia should be aware of Chinese and Russian visa regulations. American citizens are not permitted to transit through China or Russia without a visa. For more information on China, see the Consular Information Sheet for China; for more information on Russia, see the Consular Information Sheet for Russia at http://travel.state.gov. Travelers planning travel to Russia should get visas prior to arriving in Mongolia. They are difficult to obtain in Mongolia.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Mongolia is 8 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Mongolia would be 1:00 am

The unit of currency in Mongolia is the togrog/tugrik (MNT).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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