Known for its extreme climate, Mongolia is a destination that many adventurers get excited about visiting. Offering vast areas of wilderness, this ancient land provides something for everyone.
Visitors are able to experience the urban flair of its capital Ulaanbaatar one day and observe stunning scenery in its rural areas, which range from the sprawling desert of the Gobi to never-ending grasslands and picturesque, snow-capped mountains, the next.
Whatever your unique itinerary has in store for you, travelling to Mongolia at just the right time is the key to ticking everything off that travel to-do list.
Whilst you can travel on the Trans-Mongolian at any time of the year, each season offers its own perks when travelling to Mongolia. Here we take a closer look at why you should organise your trip for spring, summer, autumn or winter to help you discover the best time to travel to Mongolia.
With wildflowers just popping their heads through the snow and the arrival of newborn animals, spring is no doubt a great time to visit Mongolia. With a varied itinerary, you can actually experience all four seasons during your springtime trip, with the usual joys able to be observed as well as many winter, summer, and autumnal scenes able to be appreciated across its many scenic places and attractions.
Running from March to May, springtime temperatures can drop to -3°C and climb to 12°C to provide a comfortable climate for exploration. Be prepared for windy and often stormy weather, however, particularly if you plan to visit the Gobi Desert. The infamous Eagle Festival also takes place during spring so you can experience local culture and customs in person.
Summer may be the season to experience Mongolia’s biggest and best national festival, Naadam. But travelling during this time, particularly to its congested cities and towns, can be uncomfortable.
The hottest month is July, and temperatures can surpass 45°C in the Gobi Desert during this time. In most of Mongolia however, summer sees temperatures of between 20 and 25°C.
Despite the high temperatures, rainfall is at its highest from June to September, which paves the way for some stunningly lush natural scenes in rural Mongolia.
If you are planning to travel during the warmer months, packing the right essentials will be the key to a comfortable and enjoyable trip. Make sure you’re prepared with our Mongolia summer packing list.
The transition from summer to winter brings a varied climate, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to -15°C. After Naadam, nomadic communities will be preparing for the coming winter with crop harvests, the preservation of livestock and the storage of fuel top priorities for locals.
Nevertheless, autumn remains a great time to visit many parts of Mongolia with the harvest providing much cause for celebration.
The Gobi Marathon and Camel Festival take place during autumn, so does the ‘One Day in Mongolia’ nomadic festival, also known as ‘The Nomads Day Festival’. Here Mongolian eco-camp Steppe Nomads explains more about what to expect from the festival:
“This fantastic cultural event is one of the biggest and most colourful festivals of Mongolian nomads and gives the best chance to experience the true Mongolian nomadic culture, traditions and customs within only 2 days. You will meet real nomads in their traditional costumes and competing with their incredible knowledge on nomadic traditions, witness young nomadic kids showing off their mental capacity, see the contest of traditionally dressed beautiful nomadic couples, see a thrilling folk concert of various nomadic groups and will be treated with mouth-watering steppe delicacies.”
Winter in Mongolia isn’t for the fainthearted, with temperatures ranging from 0°C to -30°C. As well as being the coldest season, it’s also the country’s most incredible. Landscapes are covered in glittering snow, making Mongolia’s already stunning scenes even more mesmerising.
When visiting Mongolia in winter, remember – preparation and planning are your friends. Find out more about how to plan a winter adventure in Mongolia for inspiration.