Safety and security
Travel from Russia
If you have arrived in Mongolia from Russia and need assistance, you should call +976 (11) 458133 and select the option “consular services for British nationals.” You can also send an enquiry via the web contact form.
If you are a British national wishing to travel from Russia to Mongolia, you can currently only enter Mongolia via road (including public buses, taxis and private vehicles).
If you bring a car into Mongolia you may have to pay a small fee; if you do not subsequently leave Mongolia with your car you may have to pay an import tax too (see Entering Mongolia by car).
Mongolia’s COVID-19 entry regulations apply, as set out in the Entry requirements section.
Petty crime is common, particularly in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Watch out for pickpockets especially in markets or other crowded public places. Be wary of large groups of people, including children and teenagers, who sometimes harass pedestrians for money when entering and leaving vehicles, pubs and restaurants. Tourists’ mobile phones are targeted by thieves in the street and should be carried securely. All valuables, including passports, money etc should be kept in a safe place. Do not display signs of wealth – jewellery, watches etc.
Petty crime tends to increase during festive months – New Year, Tsagaan Sar (December – February) and Naadam (July). Always be alert and always take precautions, especially during these months and when using Public Transport. The majority of crime committed against foreign nationals in Mongolia is non-violent, although violent incidents including robberies and sexual assault do occasionally occur. There have been reports of foreigners being robbed and assaulted in Ulaanbaatar, especially when walking alone at night, or using unlicensed taxis. Take additional care if away from the city centre area.
The authorities request all crimes be reported. This allows them to investigate and record crime in Mongolia. The Police will only require you report the crime, you are free to depart once the crime is reported.
Report any crime to the nearest district police station. In an emergency call the police on 102 or +976 102 from an international mobile phone. There should be someone available on this number who can speak to you in English.
Travelling across the Mongolian countryside can be difficult and potentially dangerous if you are not familiar with the terrain. Mongolia does not have an extensive road network. You may need to follow tracks in the dust, mud or sand and there will not necessarily be other traffic to follow if these give out.
People travelling in Mongolia should be aware of local road conditions, weather forecasts and have researched the areas they will travel through. The knowledge of a local guide or driver can be an advantage.
Global Positioning Systems do not always function reliably and there are large areas of the country without mobile phone coverage. It is recommended that you take back-up communications like a satellite phone, plenty of water and provisions. Make a contingency plan and make sure someone knows your route and expected times of arrival and departure.
If you are travelling to the more remote parts of the country and are not part of an organised group, we advise you use local guides and/or notify National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of your plans. NEMA has an English website on which you can email them. You are also advised to have the phone numbers for local NEMA and the Police offices in the provinces you visit.
Mongolia is a large country with varying weather conditions, you should always follow the weather forecasts when travelling. The country experiences extremes of weather, from +35C in summer to -40C in winter. Even in summer, evenings can be cold because of the altitude. Weather conditions can change without warning. There are very long distances between settlements. Take appropriate provisions, including warm clothing, blankets, food and water if you’re travelling outside urban areas. You should carry a First Aid kit and supply of prescription medicines when travelling outside Ulaanbaatar. See health
Driving in Mongolia can be difficult and dangerous. Wear seat belts and where possible avoid driving at night. If possible, use an experienced, professional driver, familiar with the driving conditions and geography of the countryside. Global Positioning Systems do not always function reliably and there are large areas of the country without mobile phone coverage.
Only 10% of the country’s road are tarmacked and there is minimal signposting. Driving standards have not kept pace with the dramatic growth in the number of vehicles and are highly variable. Vehicle maintenance can be poor, even for rental vehicles. Driving in Ulaanbaatar is hazardous as roads are heavily congested. There are a high number of accidents.
Outside Ulaanbaatar you should always be conscious of animals on the road when driving. You should plan your journey carefully taking into account your route, weather forecast and fuel stops.
If you intend to drive in Mongolia you need an International Driving Permit. You should also try to familiarise yourself with local laws.
Most UK phone networks work in cities, but the network can be weak in rural areas. Wifi is available in many hotels, restaurants and bars, especially in Ulaanbaatar but less so across the rest of the country. You can buy local SIM cards and mobile phones at a reasonable price.
Evidence suggests that domestic services (including helicopter services) in Mongolia do not always comply with international safety standards. The FCDO cannot offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.
In 2017 the International Civil Aviation Organisation carried out an audit, evaluating Mongolia’s safety oversight capabilities.
A list of incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety Network.
Flights can be subject to disruption due to weather conditions and maintenance issues. Bear this in mind when making your travel plans.
Trans-Mongolian express trains (Beijing-Moscow via Ulaanbaatar) are known to be used for smuggling. Search your compartment and secure the cabin door before departure. Do not pack something in your luggage or transport any items for someone else.
There have been occasional instances of civil and political unrest resulting in demonstrations and in some cases violence. You should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.