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Best Time To Visit Mongolia

By Jessie Festa & Avantika Chaturvedi. This guide to when to visit Mongolia contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Wondering when to best time to visit Mongolia is?

Then you’re in the right place!

If you’re planning a trip to Mongolia, one of the most important decisions to make is when to go. The thing is, there are a lot of factors to consider: the weather, your desired activities, what festivals are taking place, and seasonal considerations.

Luckily, the following guide goes over everything you need to think about when choosing when to visit Mongolia so that you can make an informed decision.

My top Mongolia travel recommendations include:

✈️ Airport Transfer: Book that here

🏨 Hotel: Puma Imperial Hotel (in Ulaanbaatar)

🗺️ Tours: Viator

🎒 Multi-Day Tour Operator: WHOA – use code JESSIEONAJOURNEY for $100 off!

📍Recommended Excursions:
🐎 Genghis Khan Statue with Terelj National Park & Aryabal Temple
🇲🇳 4-Day Essencence on Mongolia Tour
🛍️ Full-Day Tour of Ulaanbaatar with Museum & Black Market
🥾 Bogd Khan National Park Hiking Day Trip

🥘 Cooking Class: Cooking Class in a Traditional Ger Home in Ulaanbaatar Suburbs

🏥 Travel Insurance: SafetyWing

📞 Staying Connected: Airalo eSIM

👉 Click here for a full list of Mongolia tours.

Free Mongolia Travel Planning Resources

But first, before we dive into our guide on the best time of year to visit Mongolia, I invite you to grab access to Jessie’s free Ultimate Travel Planning Kit — which includes 40+ travel resources — from printables to quizzes to itineraries — all meant to help you explore the world beyond the guidebook!

Some highlights of the kit include:

  • Free “Where Should You Travel Next?” personality quiz
  • Pre-plotted Google Maps for 45+ destinations
  • Travel budget calculators to help you save money
  • Printable travel journal with writing prompts
  • Packing lists for different types of trips
  • And more!

Once you’ve grabbed your copy, keep reading to determine the best season to visit Mongolia based on your itinerary goals.

Why You Should Visit Mongolia

Mongolia is one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever visited. First of all, it’s hardly touched by tourism – with only about 66,900 tourists per year. This means you can still have a very authentic experience that isn’t watered down to appeal to the masses.

While there are places you go and see a lot, Mongolia is a place you will go and experience a lot – including many that will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before!

If interested, you can learn more about my Mongolia itinerary here. It highlights some of the best places to visit in Mongolia, like the Gobi Desert, the Altai Mountains, and Hustai National Park.

traveler watching sunset in the Gobi Desert during summer in Mongolia
Watching sunset in the Gobi Desert. Photo via Jessie Festa (Jessie on a Journey)

Best Time To Visit Mongolia

Now let’s analyze the best time to visit Mongolia based on the season.

Visiting Mongolia during peak season

The best time to visit Mongolia could vary depending on your preferred activities and preferences. Mongolia has several distinct seasons, each offering a unique experience.

However, the peak tourist season in Mongolia is from late June to early September, aligning with the short but splendid summer. During this period, temperatures hover between 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F), allowing comfortable conditions for outdoor adventures like trekking, horseback riding, and camping – all excellent experiences that Mongolia is best known for.

During the summer, Mongolia’s expansive grasslands also burst with life, adorned with vibrant wildflowers and thriving wildlife, making it a photographer’s dream!

Of the summer months, July and August are particularly popular as the best time to visit Mongolia because the Naadam Festival takes place, an emblematic event showcasing Mongolian sports and cultural events.

Note that due to the country’s continental climate evenings can still be cool, so pack layers.

plan your trip to Mongolia around the Danshig Naadam Festival
The Danshig Naadam Festival is definitely worth the travel! Image source: Bernd Thaller for Pxhere

Visiting Mongolia during should season

The shoulder seasons of spring (April and May) and early fall (September) are also good months to visit, though Mongolia’s weather can be more unpredictable during this time.

Spring brings renewal, with lush landscapes and temperatures gradually climbing.

On the other hand, fall tinges the surroundings with golden hues, while the clear skies make it an excellent time for photography.

Mongolian winters (October to March) are harsh and require extra preparation, with temperatures plummeting well below freezing. Many tourist facilities may also be closed during this time. However, the vast white landscape and the subzero temperatures make for an exciting adventure in itself!

Worst Time To Visit Mongolia

While this is subjective, many agree that the worst time to visit Mongolia is during the harsh winter months from October to March.

Temperatures plummet to extreme lows, often reaching -40°C (-40°F) or even lower in some areas. The country becomes a frozen expanse with heavy snowfall, making travel challenging and many regions inaccessible.

winter is the worst time to visit Mongolia
The winters of Mongolia can be truly harsh! Image source: Taylor Weidman for Wikimedia Commons

Outdoor activities are severely limited due to the intense cold, and many tourist facilities close.

The combination of freezing temperatures, icy conditions, and reduced infrastructure can make for an uncomfortable travel experience. Additionally, the short daylight hours further limit exploration possibilities.

While Mongolia’s winter landscape might have a unique beauty, it’s best suited for those well-prepared for extreme cold and seeking specific winter experiences like the Khövsgöl Ice Festival or winter wildlife photography.

Best Time To Visit For Festivals In Mongolia

The best time to visit Mongolia for festivals is during the summer months of July through September.

This period not only aligns with the Naadam Festival – Mongolia’s most significant event showcasing traditional sports like wrestling, horse racing, and archery – but also a number of other festivals.

the best time to visit Mongolia is during a cultural festival
Festivals in Mongolia are truly a delight! Image source: Rita Willaert via Flickr

The Golden Eagle Festival celebrates the ancient art of falconry practiced by Kazakh nomads in the Altai Mountain.

Additionally, the Yak Festival, the Yohor Folk Art Festival, and the Tsaatan or Reindeer Festival all happen during summer, making these months the best time to go to Mongolia for festivals.

Cheapest Time To Visit Mongolia

The best time to visit Mongolia on a budget is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to early June) and fall (September to October).

During these periods, tourist numbers are lower, leading to more affordable accommodations and reduced prices for tours and activities.

Mongolia’s weather is generally pleasant in these months, with mild temperatures and clear skies, making it suitable for outdoor exploration, photography, and cultural experiences.

the best time to visit Mongolia is during the shoulder season
Not only is Mongolia cheaper in the shoulder seasons, but it’s also incredibly beautiful! Image source: Pxfuel

While the summer months offer the best of Mongolia’s weather, they also tend to be more expensive due to higher demand.

Conversely, the harsh winter months should be avoided by budget travelers due to the extreme cold and limited accessibility.

By planning your trip during the shoulder seasons, you can enjoy the best of both worlds – cost savings and favorable weather – making it the best time to go to Mongolia without breaking the bank.

When To Visit Mongolia By Season

On that note, let’s go over each season in Mongolia. This way, you can make an informed decision on the best season for Mongolia based on what you’re hoping to get out of your trip.

Winter In Mongolia (December-March)

Weather in winter in Mongolia

Mongolian winter landscape covered in white snow
Winters in Mongolia are harsh! Image source: Rawpixel

Frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall characterize winter in Mongolia. From early December to March, temperatures often plummet to -40°C (-40°F) or even lower in some regions.

Due to its high altitude, the country transforms into a frozen landscape, with icy conditions and reduced daylight hours.

Even though Mongolian winter is harsh and challenging, it can still offer an exciting and adventurous experience, making it the best time to visit Mongolia for a select few.

Pros of visiting Mongolia in winter

cows, sheep, and yaks grazing in the snow in Mongolia
A snow-covered wonderland! Photo via Jessie Festa.

The snowy winter landscape of Mongolia can provide a unique backdrop for photography enthusiasts and outdoor adventure seekers can enjoy activities like dog sledding and ice fishing.

Travelers brave enough to visit Mongolia during this time can also experience unique winter festivals, like the Khovsgol Ice Festival and the Ulanbataar Winter Festival.

Fewer tourists also mean a quieter trip and a unique opportunity to experience the resilience of nomadic life.

Cons of visiting Mongolia in winter

Visiting Mongolia in winter comes with challenges. The extremely low temperatures can be unbearable for many travelers, requiring specialized clothing and gear.

Snow and icy conditions hinder accessibility to remote areas. Many accommodations and facilities also shut down due to the offseason, limiting your options.

The short daylight hours mean less time to explore outdoor activities, and the unpredictable, harsh weather can disrupt travel plans.

While the winter landscape is captivating, this season is best suited for those well-prepared for severe cold and seeking unique experiences.

Things to do in Mongolia in winter

Potanin glacier and Malchin Peak in winter in Mongolia
View at Potanin glacier and Malchin Peak. Photo: Kirill Skorobogatko from Getty Images via Canva Pro.

In winter, there are unique things to do in Mongolia for the adventurous. You can experience winter festivals like the Khovsgol Ice Festival and the Ulanbataar Winter Festival.

Sports like ice fishing, dog sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice wall climbing are also seasonal options.

For photographers, the snow-blanketed steppes, Gobi Desert, and Altai Mountains can be pure heaven.

While the cold is intense, these distinctive winter experiences provide a rare glimpse into Mongolia’s character and traditions, making it the best time of the year to visit Mongolia for intrepid travelers.

Spring in Mongolia (March-June)

Weather in spring in Mongolia

lush Mongolian landscape in spring
The freshness of Mongolian spring is infectious! Image source: Pxfuel

Spring in Mongolia, from late March to early June, brings a gradual transition from winter’s harshness to milder conditions.

Temperatures start to rise, ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F), thawing the frozen landscapes. The season witnesses sporadic rainfall and occasional dust storms, with landscapes turning lush and vibrant.

Pros of visiting Mongolia in spring

Milder spring temperatures create comfortable conditions for outdoor activities like trekking and horseback riding, and it’s an excellent time for birdwatching as migratory species return.

Additionally, spring is shoulder season, meaning fewer tourists and more authentic encounters with local culture.

While Mongolia’s weather can be unpredictable, the beauty of spring’s awakening nature and the opportunities for adventure and cultural immersion – with the nomadic herders begin moving their livestock to summer pastures – make it worth it.

Cons of visiting Mongolia in spring

Visiting Mongolia in spring has some drawbacks – like unpredictable weather that can mak packing and planning challenging.

The thawing landscapes might also result in muddy or impassable roads, restricting travel to certain areas.

Some tourist facilities might still be gearing up for the peak season and could be under renovation or unavailable.

Additionally, while birdwatching is a highlight, wildlife viewing in general might be less rewarding compared to summer.

Things to do in Mongolia in spring

women hiking through the Altai Mountains of Mongolia in spring
Hiking in the Altai mountains in spring is beyond beautiful! Photo via Jessie Festa.

Spring offers an array of things to do in Mongolia. The best way to embrace the awakening landscapes is horseback riding across the now lush steppes and valleys.

This season also gives you a chance to engage in nomadic life, trekking with herders to migrate livestock to summer pastures.

Birdwatching enthusiasts can revel in the return of migratory species to scenic wetlands.

And the spring festivals of Mongolia like the Thousand Camel Festival and Nauryz are worth experiencing too!

Summer in Mongolia (June-September)

Weather in summer in Mongolia

traveler visiting Mongolia in summer and going to the Gobi Desert
The vast, endless green steppes of Mongolian summer. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Summer in Mongolia, from late June to early September, is characterized by warm and pleasant weather and is the best time to visit Mongolia.

Daytime temperatures range from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F). The vast steppes and landscapes flourish with greenery and wildflowers, coupled with extended daylight hours. While rain is infrequent, occasional thunderstorms can occur.

Pros of visiting Mongolia in summer

Visiting Mongolia in summer offers a wealth of advantages. The warm and comfortable temperatures are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and camping.

Additionally, the landscapes transform into vibrant green expanses, providing stunning views for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Longer daylight hours mean more time to explore the diverse geography, from the Gobi Desert to the rolling steppes.

Cons of visiting Mongolia in summer

While summer is one of the best seasons to visit Mongolia, a few downsides are worth noting. Warmer temperatures attract more tourists, meaning prices for tours and accommodations might be higher due to increased demand. You may also need to book in advance.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the advantages of experiencing Mongolia’s lush landscapes, pleasant weather, and cultural festivities often outweigh the cons, making summer an appealing time to visit.

Things to do in Mongolia in summer

summer is the best time to visit Mongolia and stay in a ger
Living in a traditional ger or yurt is one of the best experiences of Mongolian summer! Photo via Jessie Festa.

Exploring vast steppes on horseback or trekking the Altai Mountains are just a few popular Mongolia summer activities.

This is also a great time to take advantage of the extended daylight hours and then camp under starry skies.

The Naadam Festival in July is the highlight of the summer, celebrating Mongolian culture through traditional sports and festivities.

Lastly, experiencing authentic nomadic life by staying in traditional gers, photographing Mongolia’s stunning landscapes, and wildlife spotting in the country’s national parks are all great things to do in Mongolia in summer.

Fall in Mongolia (September-December)

Weather in fall in Mongolia

fall is the best time to visit Mongolia thanks to the foliage
The golden hues of Mongolian fall are truly a dazzling spectacle! Image source: World Bank Photo Collection via Flickr

Fall in Mongolia, from September to early December, ushers in cooler temperatures and a dramatic transformation of landscapes.

Daytime temperatures range from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F), while the trees and grasslands transition into hues of gold and red. The skies also tend to be clear during these months, providing excellent visibility for outdoor activities.

Pros of visiting Mongolia in fall

Visiting Mongolia in the fall offers a host of advantages.

The comfortable temperatures create an ideal climate for outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing, while landscapes transform into a mesmerizing tapestry of golden and red hues.

Fall is also a prime time for cultural experiences – and with fewer tourists compared to summer for a more authentic encounter with Mongolia’s natural beauty and heritage.

Cons of visiting Mongolia in fall

It is worth noting that as the season transitions to cooler temperatures, the nights can be chilly, requiring warmer clothing. This could translate to heavier luggage due to packing separately for day and night times.

Some tourist facilities might also close or have reduced services in preparation for the offseason.

The changing weather can be unpredictable too, making packing and planning a bit more challenging.

Things to do in Mongolia in fall

hikers traveling in Mongolia in fall
Trekking in the Mongolian fall is truly rewarding! Image source: Mongolia Expeditions via Wikimedia Commons

During fall, comfortable temperatures and stunning autumn foliage make for excellent outdoor explorations like trekking, horseback riding, and photography.

October is the best month to visit Mongolia for the fall foliage. Moreover, Mongolian festivals like the Golden Eagle Festival in September let you engage in cultural traditions with fewer tourists around.

Best Tours In Mongolia

While traveling Mongolia, it’s recommended to book a few tours with a knowledgeable local guid. This can help you truly learn about the place you’re visiting and immerse yourself in the culture without having to worry about transportation.

A few top-rated Mongolia tours, each departing from Ulaanbaatar, include:

👉 Click here for a full list of Mongolia tours.

Visiting Mongolia FAQ

Q) When should I travel to Mongolia?

The best time to travel to Mongolia is during the summer months of June to August. This period offers comfortable temperatures, vibrant festivals, and access to rural areas on your Mongolia visit. However, be prepared for occasional rainfall and fluctuating temperatures in some regions.

Q) When is the best time to visit Ulaanbaatar?

The ideal time to visit Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, is during the late spring to early autumn, from May to September. These months provide milder temperatures and more comfortable conditions for exploring the city’s cultural attractions and enjoying outdoor activities on your Mongolia visit. Winters are extremely cold, with temperatures dropping significantly.

Q) When is the best time to travel to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert?

The Gobi Desert is best explored in the late spring or early autumn, from May to September. During these months, temperatures are moderate, making it suitable for desert adventures. Avoid the extreme summer and winter temperatures, as they can be too harsh for comfortable travel.

Q) When is the best time to travel to Mongolia’s Altai Mountains?

Plan your trip to the Altai Mountains between June and September for warm weather, clear skies, and access to highland trails and stunning landscapes. Winter brings severe cold and heavy snow, while early summer might still have lingering snow at higher elevations.

Q) When is the best time to visit Inner Mongolia?

The optimal time to visit Inner Mongolia is during its pleasant shoulder seasons, from May to June and September to October. These months offer comfortable temperatures and vibrant grasslands. Summers can be hot, while winters are bitterly cold.

visiting Mongolia in the summer and seeing yaks
Seeing yaks in the Altai Mountains during summer in Mongolia. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Q) What is Mongolia’s time zone?

Mongolia operates on a single time zone, which is known as “Ulaanbaatar Time” (ULAT). This time zone is UTC+8, and it remains consistent throughout the year without observing daylight saving time changes.

Q) How many days are enough for Mongolia?

Spending at least 10 to 14 days in Mongolia is recommended. This duration allows exploration of key attractions like the Gobi Desert, Altai Mountains, and nomadic lifestyle. However, the vastness of the country warrants more time traveling in Mongolia for a deeper immersion into its diverse landscapes and traditions.

Q) Are Mongolians friendly to tourists?

Yes, Mongolians are generally known for their hospitality and friendliness towards tourists, which is one of the biggest reasons why Mongolian tourism flourishes. Respect for local customs and traditions will enhance your interactions and make your experience even more enjoyable.

Q) Is Mongolia cheap or expensive?

Mongolia tourism is often considered to be moderately affordable for travelers. While prices can vary based on your preferences and travel style, overall the cost of accommodation, food, transportation, and activities tends to be lower than in many Western countries. However, certain remote areas might have limited amenities and higher costs due to logistical challenges.

seeing wildflowers while hiking in the Altai Mountains in June in Mongolia
Seeing wildflowers while hiking in the Altai Mountains in June in Mongolia. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Mongolia Travel Insurance

No matter when you visit Mongolia, it’s wise to get travel insurance.

One of the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country.

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

Click here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

Best Time To Visit Mongolia: Final Thoughts

The best time to go to Mongolia ultimately depends on what you’re hoping to get out of your travel experience.

Along with considering the weather in Mongolia, think about your desired activities and experiences. Additionally, you might contemplate traveling during Mongolia’s shoulder season to encounter fewer tourists and save some money.

That being said, no matter when you visit Mongolia, you’re sure to have an incredible and memorable experience!

What would you add to this guide to the best time to visit Mongolia?

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Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

I'm a conscious solo traveler on a mission to take you beyond the guidebook to inspire you to live your best life through travel. Come join me!

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