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An update from Evaneos

Living costs in Mongolia: plan a big budget

Day-to-day living in Mongolia is easy. Food is much cheaper than in the UK and there's accommodation for all budgets; At the same time, enjoying this utopic land can cost a fortune, particularly when it comes to transport!

Get your currency changed

It's recommended you carry cash during a trip to Mongolia, as debit/credit cards are only accepted in the capital. 

On arriving in Ulan Bator, the first thing most people do is exchange their money for Tugriks, the Mongolian currency. You can only do this in the capital, so don't forget to do so before setting out to explore the country!

As for exchange rates, £1 equals 3,062 MNT (as at 16th September 2015), so you can find yourself, rather disconcertingly, with stacks of cash (30,000 MNT for a tenner). At the same time, Mongolian money functions with notes only; coins are not really used nor are of any great use, except, for example, for when a cashier is obliged to give you 1MNT in change at the checkout.

Day to day living in Mongolia                  

Getting by in Mongolia on a limited budget is easy enough, be it the cost of accommodation or buying food. Make the most of eating out, as the restaurants will satisfy any famished tourist for little cost. If you need to buy day-to-day items (cooking utensils, walking boots, saddles, yurts, mechanical parts), you're best off going to the capital's Black Market - a favourite with locals looking for bargains. But, keep an eye out for pickpockets!

All the same, plan a big budget

Although the above information is true, be prepared for the fact that Mongolia is a country that will pull on your purse strings. That is if you don't pull on them yourself. And that's not by spending on souvenirs or special treats. Mongolia can quickly bleed your bank account, especially if you're a solo traveller. Transport and petrol are very expensive. During your trip to Mongolia, you'll find travelling by Jeep shockingly expensive. For info, Jeep drivers often accept US Dollars if you don't have Tugriks on you - but best to avoid this, as you could get ripped off. To give you an idea, hiring a Jeep with driver for an hour (based on one passenger) will cost you over 40 quid. So plan to spend big and don't rely on cheaper public transport, as it doesn't serve remote areas.

For an enjoyable trip to Mongolia without breaking the bank, plan to go out in groups where costs can be shared, be it Jeep hire, petrol or a guide...

Marie Cavalié
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