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Communication - Tips for Travelling in Mongolia

The following tips are mostly useful in the capital Ulaanbaatar, and to some degrees in some of the Aimak centers. On the countryside, everything is different, and communication is either done in person, or through people relaying messages.

Conventional Telephone

The phone networks in the capital are in good shape, and even international connections normally work well in both directions.

From the west, some super-cheap predial codes or calling cards may sometimes give suboptimal results. Those providers use digital technology to pack as many connections on a simple wire as possible (multiplexing). From a certain point, this will reduce quality so much that it may be hard to understand the other person.

Mobile Phones

The mongolian mobile phone operators use the widely adopted (except in the USA) GSM standard. From a technical point of view, there should be no obstacle to use roaming with a european or asian mobile phone. This assumes, that the phone company at home has closed a roaming contract with a mongolian partner that allows to affordable rates. And of course you should only expect to connect in or near Ulaanbaatar. On the countryside, satellite phones or AM radios are the communication devices of choice.


In the capital, as well as in many Aimak and Sum centers, more and more internet cafes are established. This turns e-mail into one of the most reliable and cost effective ways to stay in touch with the rest of the world.

Mail - Letters and Packets

Nobody in Mongolia owns a letterbox, and consequently no mail gets delivered to the door. Anyone who wants to receive mail needs a P.O. box. This means that giving someone your street address won't allow them to send you anything. As a tourist, it is advisable to have the hotel handle your mail, or go directly to the post office.

Nonetheless, mail transport to and from the west usually works just as it should.

Radio and TV

Terrestrial TV distribution (only in larger cities) tends to be boring, unless you understand the language or are fascinated by hours after hours of wrestling matches. On the other hand, features from the countryside may be a visual pleasure all the same. Increasingly, Gers are topped by satellite dishes, which bring international programming into small homes.

There are a few FM stations in Ulaanbaatar and probably in a few other cities. In between, only AM reception is possible.