Mongolia Information

Detailed topographic maps

Topographic map There are three kinds of maps available. Contact us if you are interested in any of the maps listed below. We are welcome to send you what you need for your trip.

Topographic maps ordering information

  • Physical map (1:3.000.000). It is useful to get an overview of the whole country
  • geological tectonic map (1:3.000.000). Useful for geologists
  • topographic map (1:1.000.000). Really detailed maps ideal for biking, hiking, canoeing, etc.

Something about border crossings

Here is our latest information about various border crossings in Mongolia. There seem to be promising efforts to open up new ones at Lake Hovsgul, in the Altai mountains, or in east Mongolia.

  • Altanbulag, Suhbaataar / Kyachta (Mongolia Selenge Province / Russia), road along the Transmongolian Railway: open to foreigners by road and rail.
  • Tsagan-Nuur, Olgii (Mongolia Bayan-Ulgii Province / Russia): open to foreigners, but requires permission from the Russian authorities
  • Borshoo, Davts / Khandgavt (Mongolia Uvs Province / Russia): open to foreigners, but requires permission from the Russian authorities.
  • Ereentsav (Mongolia Dornod Province / Russia): seems to be now open for interantional goods traffic (TIR transport agreement).
  • Bulgan (Mongolia/China) border crossing (Khovd Province in Mongolian Altai) will probably be open to foreigners in July/August 2004.
  • Khankh (Mongolia Khovsgol Province / Russia) border crossing (at lake Khovgsol Nuur) will be opened to foreigners probably in early 2005.
  • ZamynUud / Ereen (Mongolia Dornogobi Province / China), along the Transmongolian Railway: open to foreigners.

If you plan to use any of the less frequented border crossings, it is highly recommeded to contact Mongolian and Russian or Chinese authorities prior to the trip.

GPS-way points of intersections and wells

looking for the right track In Mongolia, roads (or more precisely: tracks) are not marked with road signs and distances are great. Often enough, one finds two tracks forking and needs a good sense of direction to have an idea which track to follow.
Also water can get a problem, especially during fall and in the Gobi desert. We had a capacity to carry 30 liters of water, and thus never had a problem. However, the planning of a tour becomes a lot easier if you know where there are wells and streams.

During our tour we took a series of 50 GPS-way points, especially at unmarked intersections and turnoffs, as well as for streams, small lakes and wells. In addition we have quite a collection of other GPS points throughout the country. Contact us for more information. A list of GPS way points is also available at GPS-Navigation Mongolei.

Information about visa formalities

Mongolian Biker For visiting Mongolia you need a visa (if you are from a Western country like Europe, North America, Australia). For stays up to one month, visas can be applied readily. For visas longer than 30 days, you need a visa support from a Mongolian agency. The most convenient way to get a visa support is through a a visa agency (travel agency, or online agencies). Note that visa formalities are a constantly subject to changes. Therefore please confirm the requirements for your country.

Visa information:
General Info about Mongolian Visa including addresses of embassies
Einreisebestimmungen Mongolei (in German, a page at Monglolei Online)

You should check out the Mongolei Online (it's in German, but has a lot of English links). It contains regularly updated information about visa formalities and a whole lot of other interesting facts about Mongolia.

Some hints on what to bring (especially for bikers and trekkers)

the trailer's tire after 2000 km Mongolia is a country with very low population density. In addition, the traditional way of life is a nomadic culture.
Traveling Mongolia is a great experience, but it does require quite a degree of "problem solving skills", as not everything is available everywhere.

Something about food

First of all: You can buy food in Mongolia - the question is what kind of food...
Supermarkets (or at least the Mongolian type) usually have stock foods like rice, western and local noodles, bread, sugar, flour. The stores in large cities like Ulaan Baatar are rather well stocked, you can get almost everything - if you search hard enough. In smaller towns the situation is very variable. If you happen to be in town when there is market, your chances of finding what you need are pretty good. On the markets you can even get vegetables (especially cabbage and tomatos), different kinds of breads, and fresh meat in addition to stock foods.
food for seven weeks
some of our food we took along
If there's no market, you have to search for the supermarket, which sometimes can be an adventure. You may have to go to different stores, before you eventually find what you need. In one town we spent exactly two hours finding 500 g of noodles (we did not even care if they were western style or local).
As cyling tourist you need a lot of food and calories, and don't want to spend days finding your food. Also you need food in a good calories to volume ratio. Therefore, we brought all the food for seven weeks with us. This meant an additional 90kg of weight to carry. This weight was distributed among the two bikes and into the one BOB-Yak trailer we used. The additional weight was no big problem.
Moreover, we were glad to be absolutely independent of the situation of foo supply in towns, and we had excellent food we designed especially for this tour.
We have a list available about the kind of food we prepare. Check it out to be inspired for your own "expedition food".
Our diet consisted of self mixed cereal, milk powder, self made pemmican, self made energy bars, power bars, self made marzipan, dried fruit, a self made trail-mix of nuts, sugar, noodles, rice, potato powder, sauce powder, spices (hard to find in Mongolia!), pudding powder, soybean oil, teabags. We ate about 4000 kcal, which was equivalent to a weight of 800 g of food per person per day. On the bikes we had capacities of carrying 30 L of water in three collapsible containers.
a Mongolian grocery store
a Mongolian grocery store
Actually, you often will be invited by Mongolians. They are very friendly and will always offer some of their drinks and food to you: Fermented horse milk (airag); a high percentage alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented horse milk (archi); tea with yak milk; dried yoghurt (hard as stone and tastes like one); dried cheese; raw butter; sometimes bread; often mutton meat cooked in fat. Often the meat is served with cooked potatoes or noodles. Spices and salt are not used a lot.
Note that Mongolia is the country with highest risk of Brucellosis, which you get from consumption of raw milk products!

Mongolia vegetation map