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Climate and Clothing - Tips for Travelling in Mongolia

Climatic Conditions

The nearest coast is thousands of kilometers away, which results in an extremely continental climate. The consequences are large differences in temperature over the year, as well as relatively little rainfall.

In addition, the larger part of Mongolia is more than 1000m (3300 ft) above sea level. Although the country spans about the same latitudes as France (or the Great Lakes in North America), it gets much colder in winter.

Summer, Sun, Sandstorms

Mongolia has about 260 sunny days per year on average, which makes a rainy summer vacation very unlikely. On the other hand, you better bring appropriate sun protection, a wide brimmed hat is highly recommended. The most rain falls in July and the first half or August. Fortunately it only does so in short and intense bursts. A good rain coat will also protect against the constant wind.

The average air temperatures in the steppe in June, July and August are around 20°C (66F), and may fall to 10°C (50F) or below at night. So you should still bring a pullover even in summer. In May and September the nights may see frost.

In the Gobi, temperatures in summer may occasionally rise to 40°C (104F). Nontheless the nights can get quite fresh.

In den Mountains temperatures will fall proportional to elevation as elsewhere.


We don't currently offer any programmed tours in winter, but here's the relevant data just to be complete: The temperatures in winter vary in the range between -20°C and -40°C. Fortunately this is a very dry chill, but appropriate protective clothing is still required. A down coat, a thick pullover, and warm undergarments are definitively necessary, also a warm hat (the body loses the most heat through the head) and lined shoes.

The extreme chill usually prevents large amounts of snow, except in the mountains. A winter with unusual amounts of snow regularly leads to catastrophic conditions, because the livestock of the nomads can't access their food anymore.

The low temperatures in winter pull the yearly average to around -4°C (20F), which qualifies Ulaanbaatar for the title of "coldest capital of the world".

General Clothing Tips

In the capital, many mongols dress in western style, so there's no danger for westerners to attract inappropriate attention. On the countryside an overly liberal style of dress should be avoided, especially by women. That way you'll avoid potentially embarrassing situations caused by a confrontion with the very traditional attitude of the locals. Btw: Even men almost always wear long sleves, and there are practically no shorts used. In the "land of the sun" this provides reliable protection against skin damage.

Cross-country car rides are inevitably bumpy, independent of the vehicle used. Female travellers may feel much more comfortable wearing a stable sports bra while enduring this.