Hitchhiking in Mongolia is an adventure. How to hitchhike in Mongolia? Hitchhike tips for Mongolia. Everything about my hitchhiking experiences in Mongolia.
Best impression: watch my vlog about hitchhiking in Mongolia
The best impression of hitchhiking in Mongolia will you get from this video. It gives you a quick impression of how the hitchhiking in Mongolia can be.
It’s basically a summary of 9 days hitchhiking in a row in Mongolia. From West Mongolia to the capitcal in the center.
How is hitchhiking in Mongolia?
Hitchhiking in Mongolia is an unforgettable experience. It’s different than anywhere in the world.
First of all, the country is huge. There are not many roads and there’s not much traffic. Hitchhiking is definitely a challenge.
As there are not many roads, the few cars are always going in the good direction. Provided that you are on the right road. Furthermore roads are very often unpaved.
The good part of it; almost every first car that passes you will stop. The Mongolians are super friendly and hospitable. They will most likely always try to help you.
How to hitchhike in Mongolia?
Hitchhiking in Mongolia is an adventure. Expect long waiting times because of the quiet traffic. Take enough food and water. Stock up in every village with a shop, because you never know when you reach the next one.
Of course our general hitchhike tips are applicable for Mongolia as well. But as we said, hitchhiking in Mongolia is different. That’s why we have more tips hitchhiking in Mongolia.
Best tips: how to hitchhike in Mongolia:
- Download Mongolia on MAPS.ME. They’ve got most roads and villages, more than Google Maps. But offline maps of Google Maps can be useful as well. Both are not super good in Mongolia, but they work.
- Hitchhiking in Mongolia is the easiest at the end of the village or town.
- Stick out your hand and wave your hand palm down. Try to stop cars, so you can explain them what you want.
- Translate some useful phrases with Google Translate, take screenshots of it before you leave. In the countryside you won’t have internet connection, so screenshots are necessary.
- Before you get in the car, you might want to ask if it is for free. Mongolians are used to pay for rides with stranger. This is because many locals don’t have their own car and see this a public transport.
To make it a nicer experience:
Above hitchhiking tips are the most essential ones. But to make it a nicer experience you may also consider the following tips.
Some useful phrases to save in your phone are (save them as translated in Mongolian language):
- Where are you going?
- Can you take us there (for free)?
- We are hitchhiking.
- How many kilometers do you go?
- Do you know a place to sleep?
- Can I place my tent here?
It’s nice to have some more social phrases as well, like:
- I am from Germany.
- Where do you live?
- Do you have children?
- What is your job?
- My job is…
You can show photos on your phone of your family or some travel pictures, for example of your tent so they get an idea what you are doing.
How much traffic is there in Mongolia?
Almost all roads lead to Ulaanbaatar. Half of the population of Mongolia lives there, the other half has very often a good reason to go there. So hitchhiking to Ulaanbaatar over the main roads shouldn’t be too difficult.
For example the main south road from Ulgii to Ulaanbaatar isn’t too bad. Almost 30% of this road is brand new and paved. Although big parts are still unpaved or in bad condition (situation in 2020). Also I didn’t see any road work going on.
On average roughly every hour, or two, a car will pass on the road from Ulgii to Ulaanbaatar. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
Once you go off the main road it gets dramatically more difficult. I wanted to hitchhike to the Gobi desert. So in villages like Bayanlig and Band I had to wait a day before one car passes by that could take me further.
Luckily every village has a shop where you can buy food. Furthermore the Mongolians are very helpful. They always allowed me to pitch my tent near their Nomad tent when I asked them.
This is hitchhiking in Mongolia
You should be ready for an adventure if you want to hitchhike in Mongolia. Be prepared to wait long. But I am sure you’ll enjoy it.
The landscape is great! It’s super outstretched and super remote. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated independent country in the world.
Only 3 million people live in this big country (20th largest in the world). Half of the population lives in the capital Ulaanbaatar.