As one of the least populated countries on the planet – Mongolia was home to just 2.04 people per square kilometre at last count – Mongolia is considered a relatively safe destination for all travellers. Whilst it has some of the lowest crime rates in the whole of Asia, as with any destination, crime and scams are present in Mongolia as petty criminals look to target unsuspecting tourists. Of all the places in Mongolia, the country’s capital Ulaanbaatar is a hotspot for criminal activity with pickpockets as prevalent here as they are in any major city.
To ensure you stay safe on your upcoming trip to Mongolia arm yourself with some common sense and the following top tips.
Keep your belongings close
As we mentioned previously, opportunistic thieves see the belongings carried by tourists as rich and easy pickings in Mongolia, just as they do in any travel destination. Be sure to keep your belongings close to you at all times. A money belt or slash-proof bag is an excellent investment to safeguard your money, passport, documents, gadgets and other treasured travel possessions, particularly if you’re enjoying an exciting multi-destination trip through Mongolia. You can also buy portable safes, which are also perfect for travelling with tech.
As travel blogger Emily Luxton recommends, having a decoy bag is another great idea:
“Bought a beautiful new backpack and filled it with a ton of expensive travel gadgets designed to get you through any situation, anywhere in the world? I know, and so do potential thieves: a brand-new backpack screams new stuff, potentially expensive, all owned by a new (and therefore not-so-savvy) traveller who might be easier to rob. A less valuable and battered bag is a good deterrent to opportunistic thieves on the lookout for things worth taking.”
Be mindful of local customs
One of the many joys of travelling to far-flung destinations is getting to know different cultures. Be aware and respectful of local customs and traditions throughout your trip. Keep a low profile wherever possible, and avoid getting into political arguments with the locals! You’ll find that the vast majority of Mongolian locals are friendly and welcoming but be cautious, particularly when socialising in local bars.
Dressing modestly to show religious respect is also recommended in Mongolia. Many locals practise Buddhism. Whatever religion you encounter on your travels, however, respect it. Remove hats, shades and shoes before entering religious buildings, respect rules when photography is prohibited, and avoid touching items of religious significance, such as prayer flags, altars and Mani stones.
Put your health first
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before taking your trip to Mongolia. Being prepared for the worst is always recommended when travelling overseas so make sure you are covered.
You should also get vaccinated before you leave. Vaccinations against hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid, along with routine immunisations for MMR, polio, tetanus and diphtheria, are required for Mongolia trips. Avoid touching stray dogs, no matter how cute they are, as many are carriers of rabies. A rabies vaccination is advisable before travel to Mongolia, particularly if you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors. Rabies vaccination or not, urgent medical treatment should still be sought if you are bitten, scratched, or even licked by a potentially rabid dog or animal.
When drinking water, make sure it has been sufficiently sterilised. Most inner-city eateries and bars have access to modern water sanitation systems, but extra care should be taken when travelling to rural Mongolia. Stock up on water purification tablets or invest in a water filter to ensure you can hydrate safely wherever your Mongolia trip takes you. Oxygen masks and re-breathers are also recommended for those travelling to Ulaanbaatar where air pollution is becoming an increasing concern.
For more safety tips and Mongolia travel advice, please contact our team today.