Through July 2017 we travelled from Ehrenhot to Altanbulag in Mongolia.
Here some practical information about the journey. For more ample details and pics see our respective blogs.
Kindly note all information given is based on our personal perceptions and observations. Of course you might experience it in a different way.
Procurement of Visa:
Through visaworld.ch in Luzern/ CH. Within 7 days, costs CHF 140 (1 entry).
Entry at Ehrenhot: quick and efficient.
Exit: Border at Altanbulag opens after 9am. Arrived at 7.30am and already had 15 cars in front of us. Procedures normal. Delay as Russian border takes longer than Mongolian one.
On the road:
Never encountered any problems, police keeps a very low profile towards foreigners.
Other bureaucratic highlights:
Used OSM maps on the GPS, MapsMe and Google Maps in towns. Worked very well.
On dirt tracks plenty of other tracks in and out of villages. You never find one 100% according to the GPS. Once you have the proper direction just follow the different parallel tracks approximately with an eye on the GPS. On the OSM map often a marked road in reality is an electricity line. Only once we had to drive according to common sense. No road on the GPS, google maps and maps.me.
Ehrenhot – Choir: after finding the proper way out of Zamiin-Uud good tarmac.
Choir – Ikh Gazariin Chuluu – Mandalgobi: plenty of parallel sandy tracks, good to drive on.
Mandalgobi – Baga Gazariin Chuluu: track, slightly corrugated.
Mandalgobi – Dalanzadgad: tarmac with very bad parts.
Dalanzadgad -Yolyn Am – Dugany Am – Bayandalal: up to Yolyn Am tarred road; rest tracks, slightly corrugated in the canyons.
Bayandalal – Khongoryn Els – Bulgan – Bayanzag – Mandal Owoo – Ongiin Khiid – Saikhan Owoo – Arvaikheer: up to the tarmac (50km before Arvaikheer) tracks. In the south, as long as you’re driving on sandy tracks – very badly corrugated. The further north of Saikhan Owoo the better the tracks.
Arvaikheer – Kharkorin – Tsetserleg – Tariat: Arvaikheer – crossing with Kharkorin road: some bad parts, from there up to Tariat good tarmac.
Kharkorin – Tsenkher hot springs: bad parts around the river crossing south of Tsetserleg, rest +/- ok track.
Jarganlantiin Am – Erdenemandal – Tsetserleg – Rashaant – Ikh Uul: good tracks, bridges feasable, steep pass after Rashaant (there seems to be a detour), new bridge for Selenge river.
Mörön – Khatgal: brand new tarmac.
Mörön – Bulgan: good tarmac.
Togoo Uul – Saykhan – Olziit – lake Uugi Nuur: good tracks, no road on OMS maps between Saykhan and Olziit, just follow approx. the river southwards. New bridge in Olziit over Orkhon river.
Lake Uugi Nuur – Dashinchilen: good tarmac.
Dashinchilen – Khogoo Khan Uul – main road to Rashaant: sandy but good tracks.
Rashaant – Ulaanbaatar: good tarmac.
Ulaanbaatar – Nalaikh – Terelj: first part good tarmac, after the crossing towards the the park as well as in the park potholes and bad parts.
Ulaanbaatar – Sükkhbaatar – Altanbulag: good tarmac.
As we encountered some problems on the way here addresses of a good workshop:
Ulan Baatar: Auto Sky Service. GPS: N 47.928580, E 106.909890. Good mechanical service. Speaks some english, organises spare parts. Makes also Wheel alignement. Clean and well organised place. Workshop is used by the Mongolian Landcruiser Club.
Camping everywhere possible and allowed. Avoid groups of drunken guys nearby.
Alternatively Ger Camps in all Tourist destinations. Mostly pretty expensive for what they offer. Nevertheless, much cheaper than the prices mentioned in Lonely Planet. Most of them could be cleaned a little more often.
Other accomodation: in towns only, mostly rather non descript.
Mongolia is definitely not exactly the gourmet’s delight. Except if you like goat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And each time as an appetiser, main and desert.
Supermarkets are surprisingly well stocked. Big choice of European products. Mainly from the German Supermarket Edeka. Good bread everywhere – what a relief after China.