As our time here in Mongolia comes to a close, we’re both shocked and unsure of where exactly the whole month went?! It feels like just yesterday we arrived in Ulan Bator after a 30 hour journey on the Trans-Mongolian Train.

mongolia train station
We made it! Arriving in Ulan Bator after a 30 hour train journey from Beijing

Now as we pack up our backpacks and make a plan for our next chapter of travel through Russia, we’ve both been reflecting on our time here with fond memories.

travel to mongolia
Wagon with food drying in the sun 

During our 30 days of traveling in Mongolia, we learned so much about the country, the culture and the customs. We were lucky to witness the biggest festival of all, the Naadam Festival and to hear traditional throat singing and see tribal dancing.

naadam festival in mongolia
Seeing the Naadam festival is a highlight to any trip to Mongolia

We helped build a ger from the ground up and were invited into gers of families who have never seen foreigners before, while being showered with gifts, food and hospitality.

local people in mongolia
Some of the many friendly local people we met on our travels here in Mongolia

We navigated our way through massive markets and pondered the past in national museums.

dinosaur skeleton mongolia
Dinosaur discovered in the Gobi Desert

We rode horses through canyons and climbed up massive sand dunes in the diverse Gobi Desert. Our 6 day Mongolian desert tour was a lot of fun and an experience we’ll never forget.

sand dunes gobi desert
The stunning sand dunes of the Gobi Desert

We used a compass and a map to independently navigate our way through an epic 8 day trek along the Chulut River. We fished, camped, hiked and walked through all sorts of terrain…while enduring torrential downpours of rain.

trekking in mongolia
Hiking, trekking, fishing and camping along the Chulut River

We saw monasteries and mountains, camels and horses, luminous lakes and rushing rivers.

tsagaan nuur lake
Beautiful Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake) in Mongolia

We encountered more goats, cows, yaks and sheep than we could possibly count and witnessed a wild owl being saved from hungry eagles and hawks.

owl in mongolia
Beautiful (but petrified) owl – he was attacked by eagles and hawks in the day time

We ate mystery meats and dairies of all shapes, sizes and flavours, which made the seriously strange street-food in China seem delicious! We sampled some seriously potent local liquors and sniffed some sketchy snuff.

food in mongolia
Dairy products, horse meat, snuff bottle and freshly killed sheep

We stayed in ger camps, guesthouses, haunted hotels, hostels and camped under the stars.

ger camp in mongolia
Our warm and comfy ger for the night!

We rode by bus, van, camel, horse, car and train.

camel riding in mongolia
Riding camels to the sand dunes in the Gobi Desert

We met some wonderful people and had nothing but positive experiences in this undiscovered, wild country.

people of mongolia
The people of Mongolia were nothing but hospitable, friendly and welcoming

The time spent here in Mongolia has been very memorable and even though we’re sad to say goodbye, we know we’ll be back to this mystifying country one day soon.

backpacking mongolia
We can’t wait to come back to Mongolia!!

Now it’s time for us to embark on our next leg of our travels, we’re hopping on the Trans-Siberian Train and taking the 30+ hour journey to the famous and beautiful Lake Baikal!

For more information on travelling to Mongolia, check out our Guide to Backpacking Mongolia.


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Mongolian Memories – A Roundup Of 30 Days Of Travel

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Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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21 thoughts on “Mongolian Memories – A Roundup Of 30 Days Of Travel

  1. Sounds like a wonderful and memorable trip. Mongolia hasn’t really been on our travel radar before, but now I think we need to plan a trip there ourselves! I love how you were able to experience so much nature and adventure. Plus, I love throat singing, so sounds like a bunch of wins 🙂

  2. What a wonderful wrap up of your 30 days. The landscape seems harsh, the people warm and the opportunity to experience “different” off the chart. Thank you for bringing this corner of the world to life for me.

  3. Your photos reminded me of how wonderful our own trip to Mongolia was. In fact, we’re hoping to go back sometime soon and spend more time in some of our favorite places. We also didn’t get to go to Naadam, so we still have that on our list! Love your pics!

  4. Thanks Jennifer,
    We had an awesome month there…and the Gobi was definitely a highlight 🙂

  5. Ya, it’s kinda one of those countries that not many people think of as a top travel destination. However, it’s becoming more and more popular…and for good reason. Our advice? Get there soon!

  6. Thanks Joanne,
    It was definitely an “out there” kind of country. We love off the beaten path places and there are many opportunities to do independent and different things in Mongolia!

  7. Thanks Corinne!
    Mongolia is definitely one of those places that you could go back to…and back to again! There’s so much to see and do and everything is so spread out that it takes awhile to get in between each spot. Naadam is awesome, you’ll have to time it so that you’re there for it 🙂

  8. I’m glad I randomly came across this post. It brought back a lot of memories from my trip through Mongolia a few years ago. Mongolia is such a wild and untamed place, yet so full of kindness and wonderful experiences.

  9. Couldn’t agree with you more Ryan! Mongolia is an unbelievable place to travel…we want to go back!

  10. This is quite inspiring. Never been to Mongolia and my curiosity to say the least has been piqued, just wondering how it’ll work out traveling solo.

  11. I’ve heard nothing but incredible things about Mongolia, but the food really does scare me (and I’m not usually one to not try new foods!). The pictures really do show an interesting place, to say the least!

  12. Hello goat friends… Very interesting post, my partner and I will be going on the trans-siberian in june and will aim to arrive in Mongolia beginning of July, in time for the naadam festival. We were hesitating staying three or four weeks. It seems like four weeks will be plenty of time to see all the wonders of Mongolia. We are still in the primary stages and have not planned anything for Mongolia yet. What do you think of all inclusive tours ? I heard it is quite difficult to backpack in Mongolia and you need a guide, a car and a driver… did you do this or all by yourself ? Many thanks

  13. It would be no problem being solo. You’d meet people at guesthouses in the cities who you could partner up with if you wanted to go on different excursions (Gobi Desert, Lakes, etc.) Or, you could just travel by yourself!

    Mongolia is amazing.

  14. haha, ya, you don’t exactly come to Mongolia for culinary reasons! They eat out of necessity, not out of joy for food (in the countryside anyways). They eat every bit of the animal, which is a good thing, but not something we’re used to. There’s no seasoning on anything either. I personally didn’t enjoy many of the dishes, but Nick was fine!


  15. Hello Seb,

    It really depends on what you want to see and do when you’re in Mongolia. We arranged our Gobi Tour when we got to Ulanbaatar. That’s the best way to do it, you’ll pay less money and you can see the driver and vehicle you’ll be taking.

    We took local buses between Tsetserleg and UB. We took a shared car from Tsetserleg to the small village of Chalut Sum where we started our 8 day solo trek.

    We hitch hiked back from Tsagan Nuur (White Lake) to Tsetserleg.

    We took a local bus to and from Teralj National Park to UB.

    So, as you can see…it can be done, but it can also be a bit difficult depending on where you want to go! If you want to go up to see the Reindeer Tribes, I’m pretty sure you need a guide and driver (but check into that to make sure). If you want to go to Hogsvol Lake, you can take a bus…a very long one. You can also do tours there, again, you can book in Mongolia.

    I hope this helps! Naadam Festival is awesome.

    In Mongolia, we trekked by ourselves without a guide along a river for 8 days. We took a jeep, driver and 4 other friends on a 5 day Gobi Desert tour. We

  16. Hi Nick , greeting from Malaysia here . I read all your Mongolia posts , all your journeys were amazing ! Just wonder will Mandarin accessible in Mongolia ? I am keen to plan a trip to there ( most likely next year September) . I am having dilemma to choose inner Mongolia or from central to outer Mongolia . I have limit travel time which around 10/9 days . Do you have suggestion or information can share for my trip planning ? As of your experience any interesting place that I can’t miss ?
    Thanks a lot

  17. Hello!
    Thank you for your kind words.

    Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region in China and they speak Mandarin.

    The country of Mongolia is different. There are many things to see there! The Gobi Desert is a highlight, so is visiting the reindeer tribes, any of the stunning lakes and of course, doing some trekking! They don’t speak Mandarin though in Mongolia, they speak Mongolian.

    I hope this helps.

  18. Fantastic post and photographs! Mongolia is a more diverse landscape than I imagined. Thank you for the detailed information on festivals and activities.

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