This Mongolia tourism information page gives you more detailed
information about Mongolian currency, banks in Mongolia,
electricity of Mongolia, water quality in Ulaanbaatar city
and how and where you can shopping in Mongolia.
The Mongolian currency is the Tugrug (T or MNT),
which is available in denominations of 10, 20,
50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 Tugrug Notes. Almost all bigger notes carry the face of
the nation's father Genghis Khan. The exchange rate is changing but quite stable. The rate as of July 2012 is US$1 = MNT1300.
For an up-to-date exchange rate ask Selena Travel managers.
Make sure you bring USD bank notes printed after 2002 to ensure you don't have a problem at banks, and exchange centres in Mongolia. Most banks and the larger hotels in Ulaanbaatar
will be able to change the major currencies, although US
Dollars are the most widely accepted. It is also possible
to change traveler’s cheques and get cash advances
on your credit card. American Express, VISA and MasterCard
are the most widely accepted. In the Aimag centers, you'll
certainly find at least one bank, but they will not be able
to accept credit cards or traveler’s cheques. They
may be able to change US Dollars but the exchange rate will
be a lot lower than that available in the capital. In Ulaanbaatar,
one of the most centrally located banks for both traveler’s
cheque cashing and credit card advances is the Trade and
Development Bank. If you have US dollars in cash, you can
get better rates of exchange from the licensed moneychangers.
A number of different currencies can be exchanged.
The official language of Mongolia is Mongolian,
although English is now beginning to be widely used by many
residents of the capital. Mongol is the language of most
of the population of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia and of
separate groups living in other provinces of the People's
Republic of China.
The modern Mongol language developed after the Mongol People's
Revolution of 1921 on the basis of the Khalkh dialect. The
Cyrillic script was introduced in the 1940's and do now
most Mongolians use the alphabet. However, there have been
several calls during the last ten democratic years for the
traditional script to be reintroduced. There are a total
of 35 letters in the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet. There
are many phrasebooks and dictionaries available in the capital
The power supply in Ulaanbaatar is now very reliable
and there are only the occasional blackouts. Electricity
is 220V, 50Hz. The sockets throughout the country accommodate
the European-style 2-pin plugs.
In the countryside, the power supply still has frequent
interruptions. In many cases this is due to the cost of
fuel. Wiring in many places needs updating and so care should
The Mongolian telephone system is in the process
of being modernized but still lacks many of the services
we rely on elsewhere. Dialing Mongolia is relatively simple
although may take several attempts. Mongolia's national
code is '976'. Making international telephone calls from
Ulaanbaatar is relatively easy. Most hotels have International
Direct Dial Facilities. Alternatively, calls can be made
from various telephone exchanges around the city. The 'Central
Post' Building located on the southwest corner of Sukhbaatar
Square is the largest telephone exchange.
International Call Charges (from communication offices)
Cheaper calls are available if calling from other telephones
in the city, i.e. offices & hotels, especially between
22.00 and 07.00 weekdays, 17.00 and 07.00 Saturdays and
all day Sunday. Domestic Calls also have the same discount
rates available. Calls are charged according to distance
from Ulaanbaatar and range from MNT 174 to MNT 261 per minute.
Calls within the city are around MNT 5 per minute. The large
telephone exchange on Sukhbaatar Square has the facilities
for you to send faxes and emails. The cost for faxing depends
on where the fax is being sent to. As a guide, a fax taking
one minute to the United Kingdom would cost approximately
Mobile phones or hand/cell phones are very popular in the city as well as the countryside. Especially in the countryside, the government is preferring the installation of cell phone base stations over laying land lines, as cell phone base stations are easier to install. Mongolia's Communication Authority has announced a plan to connect all sum center and a number of other settlements to cell phone services.
Mobile Users: Mobicom: 1,050,000 Skytel: 255,000 Unitel: 375,000 G-Mobile: 175,000 (2009).
In end of 2009, the total number of mobile users was estimated at 1,850,000.
Letters and parcels posted abroad can take anything
from ten days to a few months to arrive at their destination,
but they do usually arrive. The current rates are relatively
expensive; postcards MNT 1400, letters less than 20 grams
MNT 1200. Registered mail starts at MNT 3500. Parcel rates
range from around US$18 to US$30, for a 1Kg parcel, depending
on the destination.
Courier services such as DHL, TNT or UPS are available in Mongolia.
Most of Mongolia's economy is based on natural products. Hand woven carpets, leather, clothing and articles, woolen clothing, furs, cashmere, camel hari products, Mongolian oil and water paintings, and wooden toys, puzzles and games. There are a numder of souviner shops. The most popular items
are paintings, antiques, handicrafts, carpets, books, cashmere,
traditional Mongolian clothing, leather goods, wall hangings,
puzzles, and postcards, snuff bottles and woodcarvings.
The food markets are well stocked on Mongolia, Russian,
East and West European products although they may be a little
more expensive than you expect.
Many of the shops throughout Mongolia are in fact small
kiosks within larger shops. You will find that many shops
sell the same things so you'll have to look hard to find
exactly what you want. Along the streets of Ulaanbaatar
you will find many 'Tuuts', small kiosks that sell snacks
and general provisions.The most adventurous traveler may
wish to go out to the infamous “black market”,
which is a giant flea market on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar.
Almost anything can be bought at this market, which is always
Visitors should be aware however those pickpockets are a
problem here and therefore care should be taken with wallets
and purses. Time is allowed for shopping in Ulaanbaatar
and at the tourist camp. There are many duty free shops
where convertible currencies are acceptable. Wide range
of goods may be bought for foreign currency at favorable
prices-typical Mongolia souvenirs, wines, furs, garments
in cashmere, camel wool blankets, national costumes, boots,
jewelry, carpets, books, records, horns, etc. In all other
local shops local currency must be used.