12 Reasons Why Mongolia is Perfect for Overlanding

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Mongolia is a special place for overlanders. Here are the reasons why:  

overlanders in mongolia

1. Endless opportunities for remote, adventurous overlanding. 

Mongolia is the 18th largest country in the world but its population is only 3 million, making it one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. 45% of the population is packed into the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

That means you can easily get away from civilization and go on trips where you feel remote like no other place in the world, while still not freezing into an ice cube.

meeting locals in mongolia

2. Its people. 

Meeting nomads in the Mongolian countryside is a unique experience. They are very friendly and extremely helpful if you’re in trouble

We heard numerous stories where nomads saved not only someone’s day but even their life! You can easily find yourself in a situation where you’re invited into a yurt for a nice yak dinner with the family.

mongolia overlanding

3. The terrain is very diverse. 

From high, snow peaked mountains and dramatic river valleys to hilly grasslands and deserts with great sand dunes, you can find everything here.

It’s not only flat meadows everywhere, contrary to popular belief.

You will need to be able to drive safely in any circumstances, since you’ll meet so many different situations.

overlanding in mongolia

4. The country’s roads. 

There are very few paved roads, making it a very special place to overland. Apart from 2 or 3 of the most important highways, roads are generally not paved (even those major highways only partially).

Most routes are only dirt tracks which you can easily tackle with your overlanding vehicle. You can choose difficult off-road areas as well, but even if you’re not into that, you can easily drive around for weeks before seeing a paved road. But as long as you have the all-terrain tires, on perhaps the best off-road rims, you’ll be fine.

lunch break mongolia

5. The wide, open space. 

Being so sparsely populated, you constantly have a sense of wide open space. It’s virtually impossible to feel claustrophobic in this country. You can have the best large tent set up anywhere, you’ll definitely have sufficient room for it.

summer in mongolia

6. The weather. 

The summer is usually hot, and although it’s the wet season, the amount of rain is manageable. Generally, the weather is fantastic during the summer. Some days you may need the best tent air conditioner, if you’re not that keen on summer heat.

This season is quite short, but you can do a lot of exploring during those months.

mongolia animals

7. The country is very safe. 

Wild camping around Mongolia is very safe. Speaking from experience, we never had an issue while we were wild camping around the country. 

Our overlander friends have had the same experience.

overlanding in mongolia

8. Mongolia is clean. 

While the country has its environmental issues like all developing nations, the country is simply too big to be polluted as badly as so many others in the region. 

Since there are so few people to pollute or litter, basically anywhere you go will be as pristine as most of the planet probably was a few hundred years ago. 

ulaanbaatar overlanders meeting

9. Meeting overlanders. 

Mongolia is a top destination for many overlanders. You can meet fellow travelers just by going through the hotspots (such as Altai Point, Oasis Guest House or River Point) or just by chance while roaming the country

While traveling 30,000 miles through three continents, we met most overlanders in Mongolia.

drive mongolia

10. Drive Mongolia. 

You don’t need to drive all the way to Mongolia if you want to overland in the country. A reliable company called Drive Mongolia makes it possible for you to fly to Ulaanbaatar, hire a 4×4 vehicle with all the necessary equipment and start your overlanding adventure. You don’t need a 6 month trip to reach the country; you can simply fly and drive. 

We’re not affiliated with Drive Mongolia in any way. We just know them, and can highly recommend Chinzoo and his team. 

drive anywhere in mongolia

11. Freedom. 

Since there’s so much space, you can virtually drive any way you want, anywhere you want. There’s no other place where you can travel this freely. You don’t even need a badass off-roader, you can simply do it in a 2-wheel-drive car. However, there is a 4×2 vs 4×4 debate going on about this in online forums.

overlanders on austrian road

The Austrian Road in Kazakhstan – not too far from Mongolia

12. Easy to travel further. 

Mongolia is in the general vicinity of plenty of other great overlanding destinations. Distance is relative but once you’re in Mongolia, you have all the Stans, lake Baikal, Russia’s Altai Region and possibly China only a stone’s throw away.

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why mongolia is perfect for overlanding

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Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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5 thoughts on “12 Reasons Why Mongolia is Perfect for Overlanding”

  1. Great reasons why Mongolia is an amazing place to go to! As you’ve said, you can go pretty much anywhere. Other than towns and villages, there are no fences – and at least in theory, you can walk/drive anywhere you want. The nomadic families are wonderful – the tradition of hospitality for guests is very real. Night-time does call for some prudence. Villages/cities aren’t good places to be out after dark (alcohol issues) and in any villages, the dogs start barking around sunset, and keep going til sunrise (enough to drive anyone to drink!). On the track, we would always sneak off to one side to camp at night – just to avoid any unpleasant surprises of drunken travelers discovering us. But if you want to experience one of the last sparsely-inhabited places, and genuine nomads, Mongolia is the place.

    • Mike, thank you for your comment. I couldn’t agree more! 
Mongolia is one of the last places where you can see such an open space and don’t meet anyone for hundreds of miles if you don’t want to. But once you come across a local nomad, he will go the extra mile to try to help you, should you need anything.

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