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Country Reports

Mongolia Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

The enormous and sparsely populated (3.2 million inhabitants) country of Mongolia presents certain travel conditions that potential visitors should be aware of. While poor, this landlocked country (Russia to the north, China to the south) has enjoyed spectacular economic growth in recent years.

POLITICS

It should be noted that the political environment is relatively unstable in Mongolia.

SECURITY

Over the last few years, crime rates in public spaces of the capital Ulaanbaatar have been on the rise. Foreigners, often targeted by thieves, should be particularly vigilant at Sükhbaatar Square and along Enkhtaivan Avenue, as well as on trains to and from Russia.

HEALTH

It should also be noted that health and medical conditions in the country are less than ideal. Hospitals are relatively scarce, poorly equipped, and often staffed by unqualified personnel. Hospitals also suffer from a chronic lack of medications and staff. Travelers are advised to avoid using medical services in Mongolia if at all possible. Travelers, especially those with respiratory problems, should be aware of the high levels of air pollution present in the country, particularly in industrialized regions.

NATURAL RISKS

The western part of the country occasionally experiences seismic activity; several earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or higher were recorded in the 20th century. The last major earthquake took place in December 1957 in Gobi-Altay.

TRANSPORTATION

Entry into the country by road requires advanced authorization from Mongolian authorities. Additionally, travelers entering the country by train are strongly encouraged to travel first class. Occasionally extreme meteorological conditions, particularly during winter months, can cause disruptions (delays and cancelations) to flights to, from, and within the country; furthermore, domestic carriers do not always adhere to international aviation security standards. According to recent reports, a number of travelers have had their luggage stolen – sometimes violently – by taxi drivers and thieves waiting at taxi stands. On a similar note, travelers are advised against using “shared taxis,” which are fairly unreliable. Road conditions in the country are frequently poor and far below European standards; snow storms in winter months can seriously hinder access to rural areas. Foreigners visiting the country in winter should also be conscious of the risk of hypothermia as temperatures can fall to -40°C (-40°F). Finally, it should be noted that after having exempted nationals from 42 countries from needing visas for visits of less than 30 days in 2014 and 2015, the Mongolian government reestablished this requirement effective January 1, 2016.

Climate

Mongolia's climate is dry and sunny but sudden changes in temperature can be extreme no matter the season.

Sandstorms can strike in the spring. Temperatures are mild in the north during the summer months and hot, even scorching, in the south (Gobi Desert). Rain is most common in the summer. Temperatures quickly become cold in the autumn with snow arriving as early as September. Winter is harsh (-30°C to -40°C) with little snow.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +976 Police: 102 Fire Dept.: 101 Ambulance: 103

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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