Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise normal safety precautions in Mongolia.
Violent crime is increasing in Mongolia, particularly in Ulaanbaatar. Criminals have assaulted and sexually harassed foreigners during the day and in busy areas. Crime is more common during major festivals and the summer tourist season. Be aware of your surroundings.
Pickpocketing and bag snatching are common, especially on public transport and in crowded areas. Criminals posing as police have robbed travellers in the Sukhbaatar Square area of Ulaanbaatar. Be alert to thieves, especially on public transport.
Protests can turn violent. Avoid large public gatherings.
Mongolia's weather is extreme. Temperatures vary from 35°C in summer to -40°C in winter. Winter lasts from October to March. Snowstorms can also happen outside winter months. Make sure you have adequate clothing and footwear year-round. Weather conditions can change quickly.
Earthquakes, flooding and fires sometimes occur. Follow the advice of local officials.
Full travel advice: Safety
Rabies is a risk. It's fatal without immediate treatment. Avoid dogs, monkeys and other mammals. Get medical help straight away if an animal bites or scratches you.
HIV/AIDS is common. Take precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to the virus.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), hepatitis and measles. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid raw or undercooked food.
During winter, the air in Ulaanbaatar is very polluted. If you have breathing problems, speak to your doctor before you travel.
The standard of medical care is poor, particularly outside Ulaanbaatar. Bring basic medical supplies with you. You'll have to pay up-front, even in an emergency. If you're seriously ill or injured, you'll need medical evacuation. Ensure your travel insurance covers this.
Full travel advice: Health
Don't use or carry illegal drugs. Severe penalties include long jail terms.
Always carry your passport. If you live in Mongolia, also carry your residency card.
Mongolia doesn't recognise dual nationality. Always travel on your Australian passport. Dual nationals living in Mongolia may need to do national service. Contact the nearest Mongolian embassy for details.
Same-sex relationships are legal. However, LGBTI travellers may face violence, discrimination and harassment. Avoid public displays of affection.
Full travel advice: Local laws
You need a visa to enter. Contact the nearest Mongolian embassy for details. Carry proof of your onward or return ticket. You'll need it to enter the country.
If you're staying longer than 30 days, register with the Office of Immigration in Ulaanbaatar. You must do this within 7 days of arriving. If you're on a working visa, ensure your employer has registered for you. Working visa holders must de-register before leaving the country.
If you're travelling to Mongolia by car, get approval from Mongolian Customs Office (English) before you enter.
Australian driver's licences and international driving permits aren't valid in Mongolia. For short trips, use taxis or hire a car with a driver. If you're staying more than 12 months, apply for a Mongolian driver's licence.
Take care as a pedestrian. Drivers don't always give way, even at marked pedestrian crossings. Heavy snow can cause black ice on footpaths and road crossings.
Authorities sometimes restrict access to some regional districts for quarantine reasons. Speak to Mongolian authorities or the nearest Embassy of Mongolia if you plan to travel to regional areas.
Full travel advice: Travel
Violent crime is increasing in Mongolia, particularly in Ulaanbaatar.
Criminals have randomly assaulted foreigners, even during the day and in busy areas.
Criminal attacks have included:
physical assaults on foreign men in the company of local women
harassment and sexual assault of foreign women
Crimes against travellers are most common during the:
Tsaagan Sar Festival in January or February
Naadam Festival in July
summer tourist season
Pickpocketing and bag snatching is also common.
Thieves are at work on public transport and in crowded areas in Ulaanbaatar, such as:
Chinggis Khaan International Airport
the Gandan Monastery
the State Department Store
the Naran Tuul Covered Market ('Black Market')
the Central Post Office
the Ulaanbaatar Railway Station
Be alert to thieves when using public transport.
Travellers on trains between Mongolia and Russia are also a common target for thieves.
Pay close attention to your belongings, particularly in crowded areas and on public transport.
Criminals posing as police officers have robbed travellers. This has happened in the Sukhbaatar Square area of Ulaanbaatar. Mongolian police officers are required to have name tags on their uniforms and carry ID. It is appropriate to ask to see ID.
Criminals have targeted travellers using taxis to rob and harass them.
Only use licensed taxis, preferably booked through your accommodation.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Be alert in areas with large crowds.
Temperatures vary from 35°C in summer to -40°C in winter.
Winter is long and severe. It lasts from October to March.
Many accidents happen during winter due to black ice, especially in urban areas. Pedestrians are involved in these accidents too.
Snowstorms can happen outside winter months. Make sure you have adequate clothing and footwear at all times of year.
Weather conditions can change quickly, even in summer. This increases your risk of hypothermia.
Mongolia experiences earthquakes.
The rainy season happens between July and September. Flooding may happen.
Forest or grass fires can be a risk in the drier months.
If a natural disaster occurs:
follow the advice of local authorities
monitor the media for the latest information
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas:
contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305
ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's is legal in Mongolia. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
The range of medicine available in Mongolia is limited.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating:
what the medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
Authorities could refuse you entry or prosecute you if you arrive without a prescription for your medication.
Avoid contact with dogs and other animals as they may carry dangerous diseases, such as rabies.
If an animal bites or scratches you:
wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes
get urgent medical help
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
avoid ice cubes
avoid uncooked and undercooked food, such as salads
To avoid waterborne diseases, such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis), don't swim in fresh water.
Get urgent medical help if you suspect food poisoning, or have a fever or diarrhoea.
During winter, from October to March, the air in Ulaanbaatar is very polluted. This is because people burn coal and rubber for heating.
Speak to your doctor before travelling if you have breathing-related problems.
The standard of medical care is poor, particularly outside Ulaanbaatar.
Bring basic medical supplies with you.
Doctors and hospitals require cash payment before treating you, even if it's an emergency.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to get proper care. Medical evacuation can be very expensive. You'll probably need to pay up-front. Delays are common while waiting for approvals.
Severe weather and snowfall can delay or stop medical evacuations from remote places.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include long prison terms in local jails.
By law, you must always carry your passport when travelling in Mongolia.
If you live in Mongolia, you must also carry your residency card.
If you're involved in legal action, authorities might not let you leave. You may have to wait until the issue is resolved. This includes when criminal investigations have started after commercial disputes.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Mongolia doesn't recognise dual nationality.
If you're a dual citizen, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
Always travel on your Australian passport.
If you're a dual national who plans to live in Mongolia, you may need to complete national service. Contact the nearest embassy of Mongolia before travelling.
Same-sex relationships are legal.
However, the Mongolian National Human Rights Commission has reported LGBTI individuals can face violence and discrimination.
Members of the LGBTI community have also reported harassment.
Avoid public displays of affection.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
You need a visa to enter Mongolia.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
You must show proof of a return airfare or onward travel to enter Mongolia.
If you're staying longer than 30 days, you must register with the Office of Immigration in Ulaanbaatar within 7 days of arriving.
This includes people on working visas. Confirm your employer has registered on your behalf.
If you don't register, authorities can fine you.
If you have a working visa, you must de-register before leaving Mongolia.
You may need an HIV/AIDS test if you:
plan to work, either paid or voluntary
marry a Mongolian national
If you're travelling with a child who isn't yours, you must show a notarised letter. The letter must be from the child's legal guardian granting you permission to travel with the child.
Authorities have strict rules about importing:
some technological equipment
The Mongolian Border Protection Authority (Mongolian) will check the equipment. It will work out if tax applies.
These rules also cover items being donated, such as medical equipment.
They don't apply to common personal items, such as laptops and tablets.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is Mongolian Tugrik (MNT).
Some banks in Ulaanbaatar exchange Australian dollars. Check the banks' websites before you travel.
You can generally exchange:
However, these currencies may not be accepted everywhere.
US currency dated before 2000 may not be accepted in Mongolia, even by banks.
Bank notes of different amounts are exchanged at different rates. Lower value notes receive a lower rate.
Outside Ulaanbaatar, carry MNT.
There are few ATMs, especially outside Ulaanbaatar.
Some smaller shops, supermarkets and restaurants don't accept credit cards.
If you travel between Mongolia and China, you must follow China's entry and exit rules. This is the case even if you are only transiting through China.
The Embassy of China in Mongolia can only issue a visa for China to residents of Mongolia.
If you're going to China, you must get a visa before you travel.
You can't drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike with an Australian driver's licence or International Driving Permit (IDP) in Mongolia.
For short visits, use taxis or hire a car with a driver.
If you plan to stay more than 12 months, apply for a Mongolian licence.
For this, you'll need to provide:
copy of bio data page of passport;
copy of driver’s licence
car registration papers;
travel route and Mongolian contact numbers.
Mongolian Customs Office will make a record on the foreign citizen’s visa stamp that the citizen has entered with a car, which will be checked when the citizen leaves the country.
Mongolian Border Protection checks the visa in addition to asking for car related documents and requires advance notice if a large number of foreign citizens enter the country by car at the same time.
Driving in Mongolia can be dangerous, especially at night, due to poor:
local driving practices
There are few sealed roads outside of Ulaanbaatar.
You're 4 times more likely to die in a traffic accident in Mongolia than in Australia.
Many accidents happen during winter due to black ice, especially in urban areas. Right-hand drive vehicles cause for many accidents on rural roads. Pedestrians are often injured.
Take care as a pedestrian. Drivers don't always give way, even at marked pedestrian crossings.
To protect yourself when driving beyond city limits, take:
a GPS or compass
communications equipment, such as a satellite phone
emergency medical supplies
Communication and medical facilities are often poor outside cities.
For most of the year, heavy snowfall can:
restrict access to many regional areas
greatly increase risks of car travel between towns
To drive safely while travelling during snowy periods:
allow for additional travel time
make sure your insurance policy covers delays and cancellations
Severe weather and snowfall can also restrict medical evacuations from remote places.
Take care as a pedestrian during severe weather. Heavy snow can cause black ice on footpaths and road crossings.
Dust storms during May and June can affect visibility when driving.
If you ride a motorcycle, always wear a helmet.
Taxis can be dangerous. Book a reliable, licensed taxi company through your accommodation, restaurant, or venue.
Local transport providers may not carry accident liability insurance. This includes bus and private car operators.
Always use seatbelts, even if others don't.
If appropriate safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Mongolia's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Access to some regional districts is occasionally restricted for quarantine, including:
Restrictions can change.
Speak to the Mongolian authorities or the nearest Embassy of Mongolia if you plan to travel to regional areas.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
The Mongolian Tourist Information Center may also be able to help.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
You can get consular help from the Australian Embassy in Mongolia.
Shangri-La Centre, Level 20
Olympic St 19A, SB District
Ulaanbaatar 14241, Mongolia
Phone: (+976) 7013 3001
Facebook: Australian Embassy in Mongolia
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.