The green plains, rolling hills and eternal blue skies of Mongolia seem to stretch out forever. This vast Asian country has some of the most remote and untouched landscapes in the world.
Without a doubt, the best way to experience these grand vistas and jagged mountains is by car, and because most of Mongolia doesn't have roads, driving becomes an epic adventure in itself.
Driving in Mongolia instills a sense of freedom and adventure. Only a small portion of Mongolia has anything close to what we would define as a road and a large portion of those "roads" are not paved. Drivers normally encounter narrow, dirt paths carved out by locals forging their own path through the country. Of course, this is very confusing when you reach multiple cross roads that loop in and out through the plains like paths of a figure skater.
There is also a lack of road signs to assure drivers that they are headed in the right direction. The only time signs are present is when drivers are approaching a major town, which are few and far between.
While driving in Mongolia is a fun and exciting adventure, it is also an experience in which preparation is essential as this free-for-all escape into the wild countryside can take a wrong turn fast. The perks are many but so are the dangers. Of course always be sure to have the right travel insurance to protect yourself in case of mishaps in Mongolia or any country.
I highly recommend driving in Mongolia for a few reasons. One perk is that in this country of nomads, it is legal to camp anywhere. If you are done driving for the day, you simply stop the car, set up a tent and start cooking. Now, this might sound a little unnerving to a few of you, but it actually can become an evening to remember.
You see, there is little to no light pollution in the majority of Mongolia simply because there is little to no civilization.
Here, camping under the stars is really camping under the stars. As you sit back and relax, thousands of stars begin to appear in the deep, darkest blue sky. They twinkle and dance and soar throughout the evening. On a clear night, even the arms of the Milky Way are visible. Often a Mongolian nomad will sit down and share the evening with you, adding some local flavor to the experience.
Throughout the country's history, the Mongolians have been nomads. Even today, many of the shepherds living in the plains continue to live in the traditional Gers. These huts speckle the countryside and are filled with welcoming locals.
The locals are kind and warm-hearted. Don't be surprised if they invite you to come to dinner or stay in their Ger. They often offer travelers a warm meal and a bed, and maybe even a drink of Airag (The local Mongolia alcohol).
Please remember to show your appreciation for their generosity by giving a donation. This shows thankfulness and respect.
As I mentioned earlier, safety is important when driving in Mongolia. Here are a few things you should have before ever set out on the road.
Driving in Mongolia is an adventure filled with vast mountains, green plains and rolling hills. Though driving through the land of the eternal blue is challenging, it is an experience well worth the challenge and one that you will never forget.
Is a trip to Mongolia on your bucket list?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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