There is absolutely no doubt about it, for the vast majority of people, Mongolia is truly off the beaten track. The closest most people have been to this great wilderness is probably a documentary on TV or an extreme adventure program, but great rewards await those who are willing to step out of their comfort zone.
Getting there could be the first problem, the country is so vast and inaccessible for the main part that people struggle to work out how to get there. Luckily, there is a relatively easy solution. People who enjoy their stay in Mongolia, often choose holidays on the Trans Siberian railroad. With a full itinerary from an experienced tour operator and a number of departure points throughout Russia and China, booking a tour is the epitome of convenience. But, what if you are travelling independently? Where do you stay? What do you eat? In this article, we’ll look at a few accommodation and dining options should you ever find yourself in Mongolia needing something to eat and somewhere to sleep.
Food in Mongolia
Aside from the capital city Ulaanbaatar which has a smattering of ‘international’ restaurants, the cuisine of Mongolia is either Chinese/Russian influenced or traditional. The traditional diet of the average Mongolian predominantly consists of meat, animal fat and dairy products. This is not the ideal choice if you enjoy a diet rich in fruit and veg. Mutton is the predominant meat with steamed dumplings filled with meat, a popular snack in the city and urban areas. Horse meat is often eaten in the form of stews and noodle soups. The most popular alcoholic drink is Vodka, of which there are several brands both local and imported. A popular sweet dish, mostly eaten at parties and celebrations is boortsog, a type of biscuit. Outside of the city, your choice will be severely limited so if you have a specific diet, you’d be well advised to bring your food with you.
Accommodation in Mongolia
The standard of accommodation in Mongolia has risen significantly in recent years and there are a selection of hotels, guesthouses and local homestays at many places frequented by tourists. Ger camps are extremely popular with tourists with access to proper toilets and hot showers. However, be aware that the Gers outside of the tourist areas are essentially family homes with none of the mod cons. This said, staying with a local family in their Ger is an experience you will never forget and, aside from the language barrier, are warm and friendly people.
Booking your Trip
As previously mentioned, the best way to see Mongolia in all its splendour in comfort is by booking a holiday on the Trans Siberian railway. This is an experience in itself and will allow you to get the very most of your stay in this relatively untouched wilderness. Your tour operator will be able to recommend the best places to stay and will usually facilitate any excursions out into the wilds as well as organising any accommodation, transport and food.
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