Mongolia- Basic Information



Mongolia is in northern Asia between the Russian Republic and the People’s Republic of China; about a two and a half hour plane ride from Seoul, Korea, or Beijing, China.

The land area is over 1.5 million square km, slightly smaller than Alaska, over twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France.

Population is approximately 3 million as of 2015.

Mongolia has the world’s lowest population density at only 1.4 people per square km.

Currency is the togrog; the exchange rate is around 1900 to the dollar.

The country is divided into 21 aimags (counties or provinces) served by soum centers (county seats).

It is one of the highest elevation countries in the world, averaging around 1580m.

The major ethnic group is the Kalkha Mongols at almost 95%;  Other ethnic minorities include Turkic peoples (mostly Kazakh), 5%: and other .1%.

Literacy is almost 98%.

40% of the population are herders or working in agriculture.

53% are Buddhists (Tibetan); Tengerist/Shamanist 2.9%,  Christian, 2.2%; Muslim, 3%; none, 38.6%.

4800 km of paved road; 44,00o km of unpaved road.

There are almost 330,000 internet users and 20,84 internet hosts.

There are 3.375 miilion cell phones.

About half the population lives in gers (known in other countries as “yurts”, a Russian word of turkic origin).

The average salary in Ulaanbaatar is $400 a month and rising.

Other than the tracks along the railroad and some areas surrounding the capital, Ulaanbaatar, the land is open and unfenced.

Yearly temperatures range from over 100F in the Gobi in the summer to -40F in the winter.

Mongolia has 260 days of sunshine a year, which is why the Mongols call their home “The Land of Blue Skies”.

This information is from the CIA World Factbook and the Lonely Planet Guide: Mongolia

Steppe Eagle, Jalman Meadows  oil12x16" (available through Mazaalai Art Gallery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)

Steppe Eagle, Jalman Meadows oil12x16″ (available through Mazaalai Art Gallery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)

Environment and Wildlife

While it certainly has environmental issues that need to be addressed, Mongolia has, within its borders some of the largest areas of unspoiled land left in Asia.


Khovsgol Nur, in northern Mongolia, the second oldest lake in the world contains 2% of the world’s fresh water (and 65% of Mongolia’s).

3 replies »

  1. Hi Susan,
    Are you currently in Mongolia? We were researching ruddy shelducks and came across you blog again. We live in Ulaanbaatar, teach at the International School of Ulaanbaatar and LOVE it here! In mid-October we did an 8-day tour of the Gobi Desert. Stayed in family gers, ate traditional country food, saw all kinds of wildlife and overall couldn’t have had a more enjoyable time. We’re in the midst of planning out our next adventure now.
    Any recommendations?
    Jack and Barbra Donachy


  2. Sain bain uu!
    No, I’m home in California until probably early July next year. I recommend you visit the Nomadic Journeys website. They do all my travel arrangements, so I know they can put together custom trips. Don’t know if any of their seasonal ger camps are still open, but they can tell you. If you write or call them, mention my name. They may do some late fall trips. One place not far from UB that I like is the Steppe Nomads Tourist Camp at Gun Galuut Nature Reserve, about two hours east of UB. Tunga is the manager. It’s right on the Kherlun Gol and there’s a mountain that has argali. Also a wetland which is good for birdwatching. I think they’re open all year around.


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