Should You Go to Mongolia in Winter?


As much as that title sounds like a joke, I promise it’s not! You can definitely go to Mongolia, but it’s not without its challenges. Let’s look and see if you’re intrepid/crazy enough to brave the weather. Although if you’re living on the East Coast of the US right now, you’re probably well-suited for a Mongolian trip already!

First, keep in mind that if you go in the summer, you still need to be responsible enough to keep the fire in the yurt going all night in order not to freeze. The importance of this cannot be overstated in winter. On the upside, it’s much cheaper to go to a yurt in the winter, and you probably won’t need to share you’re sleeping space with anyone else. The host family will probably be more attentive to you, too.

Second, of course staying in a lonely yurt is not the only option. The Ice Festival is held each February and is astounding. Lake Khovsgol freezes over, and nomads and locals come together to ice wrestle (!), dog sled and horse sleigh, as well as build huge ice sculptures and hold skating competitions. There are not a lot of tourists or English spoken, but if you can handle -35C and a hefty price tag (we’re talking thousands if you want to take an all-inclusive tour), it’s worth it.

The last wintry must is the Thousand Camel Festival. Nomads compete in races and polo on their camels, as well as compete to load and unload a yurt off a camel. You can even place bets, and it’s easy to get over the language barrier since the camels wear the medals they’ve won in previous years.

So, should you go? Sure, if you have the money and plenty of Gore-Tex!

Have you been to Mongolia in winter? What would you suggest?


About Author

Maureen always knew she wanted to travel. In college, she studied and traveled through the Caribbean and Central America, and the first time she fell in love was with Mexico City. After graduating, she spent several years teaching EFL in Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia and traveling in every spare moment. She's currently living in Hong Kong, and getting lost while traveling is her main hobby.

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