Region: Central Asia
Religion: The principal religious faith is Tibetan Buddhist Lamaism. The link between Tibet and Mongolia was established in the time of the great Mongol Empire when Tibetan lamas were represented at the court of Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan. By the 16th century, it had become the dominant religion in the country. During the 1920s and 1930s, religious freedom was suppressed by communist rule and this was not restored until 1990. An estimated 4%-5% of the population are Muslim, most of them being ethnic Kazakhs living in the far west. Christian missionaries are currently active in the country.
Language: Over 90% of the population speak Khalka Mongol, which is part of the Ural-Altaic family of languages. These languages include Finnish, Turkish, Kazakh, Uzbek and Korean. Since 1944, Russian cyrillic alphabet has been used to write Mongolian.
Area (sq. km):
1,565,000 square meters
Time: GMT +8 hours.
Telephone: The international dialling code for Mongolia is +976
Electricity: In Mongolia, the voltage is 220V, but the sockets are designed to accommodate two round prongs (European-style).
Mongolia is not a great place for those who are fussy about their food. The quality and choice are very poor outside of Ulaanbaatur and most Mongolians eat little more than greasy boiled mutton with lots of fat and flour! It is particularly hard to be a vegetarian; vegetables are rare and usually pickled in jars. There is a range of dairy food such as yoghurt, milk, fresh cream, cheese and fermented milk drinks, but it is hard to get biscuits, and eggs are also rare. Noodles and rice are sometimes served with the meat. Several foreign-run restaurants (ie. Japanese, French, African, Korean and Indian) have started up in Ulaanbaatur, and this has now made the gastronomic experience somewhat better in the capital.
On a Peregrine tour, most of your meals will be catered for, as part of the trip. Our cook will provide a far better selection than what is stated above. In fact we will make every effort to ensure that you will eat as well if not better than anyone else in Mongolia!
Shopping: The most popular items for foreigners seem to be Mongolian clothing such as jackets and boots. Landscape paintings are also popular, as are the colourful postage stamps for stamp-collectors. It is very difficult to buy much outside of Ulaanbaatar. Please note that it is generally illegal to export antiques out of Mongolia and customs officers will confiscate anything looking older than 80 years. When purchasing ‘old-looking’ items and antiques, a receipt from a licensed shop should permit export of the item.
Visa: Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do currently require a visa for Mongolia. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.