About Mongolia (MN)
One of the world’s largest and most remote countries, Mongolia (MN) is landlocked between China and Russia, and renowned for its overwhelming emptiness and traditions of nomadic life.
It’s also the least densely populated country on the planet, with the majority of residents concentrated in the sprawling capital of Ulaanbaatar and the popular tourist region of Arkhangai. Traditional Mongolian culture is one of its most attractive features, and visitors have ample opportunities to experience some of the elements of the nomadic lifestyle.
City life is surprisingly modern and vibrant in the capital city, and despite its inhospitable climate, Mongolia receives a perpetual flow of visitors year-round. Some of its holiday festivals attract tourists from around the world, including the Summer Naadam, dedicated to the “three manly sports” of archery, horse racing, and wrestling — not coincidentally, the best time to visit Mongolia.
Getting around can be much more efficient and comfortable for visitors who rent a car in Mongolia. Nearly all foreign visitors embark on their Mongolian experience in Ulaanbaatar, where you’ll find many of the major city driving hassles found in the West: congestion, crazy drivers, and confusing road signage — mainly, congestion; Mongolians have adopted the Chinese embrace of the automobile and driving on roads that weren’t built to accommodate the increased volume of traffic.
Outside of Ulaanbaatar, it’s smooth sailing — kind of. Road conditions in Mongolia tend toward the rough end of the spectrum, punishing the newest and most advanced suspension systems of modern vehicles.
Otherwise, your Mongolian car rental will give you the independence to explore the majestic countryside at your own pace. The majority of urban developments are accessible by paved roads, but you’ll need an SUV to reach the more remote destinations.
Be advised that fuel stations are hundreds of miles apart, driving at night is strongly discouraged, and a fairly decent sense of direction is necessary for driving in Mongolia.
Choosing your car
Cheap car rentals in Mongolia are available from Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, Sixt, and Hertz. Select from economy hatchbacks, minicars, compact, intermediate, and fullsize 4-door sedans, midsize and fullsize SUVs, and 7-12 seater minivans. Most rentals are found at Ulaanbaatar Airport.
Tips and advice
Mongolia car rentals — even the newer vehicles from the major vendors — may have a break down. So do a thorough inspection of the vehicle to making sure that all the primary features are working properly before you leave to save yourself inconvenience.
Download some maps on your mobile device, just in case the GPS doesn’t pick up on your location.
English is not widely spoken anywhere in Mongolia.
Your Mongolia car hire does not include Collision/Loss Damage Waiver or Theft Protection, nor does it include unlimited mileage.
It’s against the law to honk your car horn at livestock on the roads in Mongolia.
Have a detailed chat with your car hire provider about your travel itinerary. Some regions of Mongolia are restricted to foreigners, and hence, foreigners driving rental cars.