Mongolia made TPG’s list of places to visit in 2017, and getting there does not involve bureaucracy. Unlike its neighbors Russia and China, the only countries it borders with, Mongolia does not require a visa for U.S. tourists. The capital, Ulaanbaatar — or Ulan Bator, depending on the transliteration — is no gem; the beauty of Mongolia is to be found in its boundless nature instead.
You could get to Ulaanbaatar the more adventurous way, by train. You could also try flying MIAT Mongolian, the national airline, which has modern Western jets and serves major Asian cities. It even offers a fascinating service to Berlin via Moscow.
Lodging options range from luxury hotels, part of international chains, to traditional Mongolian gers, better known as yurts — dwellings perfectly suited to the life of nomadic herders on the steppes. You can stay at a perfectly good Holiday Inn in Ulaanbaatar for about $100 a night, or spend $370 for the Shangri-La, the most expensive hotel in the city according to a search on Booking.com. Or you could go the Airbnb route and pay $49 per night for your own private space in a yurt on the outskirts of the city.
But you won’t want to stay in Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia is huge, and a good way to see a chunk of it is by hooking up with an adventure-travel provider, whose website will give you a good idea of where you can expect to stay.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 did not skip Mongolia. The disease, caused by a novel strain of coronavirus, has affected all the countries in East Asia, and the number of infected is increasing daily. In East Asia, then, Mongolia so far has the lowest number of infected people with just 31 cases.