Hotels in Mongolia What to expect

Some hotels will pleasantly surprise you in Mongolia.

Mongolia is a massive country and if you are going to be travelling around it from place to place, destination to destination, you will probably end up staying in a hotel at some point along your journey. Whether you have food poisoning and just want a bathroom close by or you have spent too much time in ger camps and want a warm shower, hotels can come in handy. So what should you expect from a hotel when travelling around Mongolia. Well by the end of reading this we hope you will have a better understanding of what to expect of Mongolian hotels.

Initial thoughts:

Let me dispel several things right away. Firstly, most hotels in Mongolia are not of the same standard as western hotels. So I would say if you go into reading this with that mindset, you will have a better understanding of what to expect and even be happily surprised when it’s more than your expectations. Of course in the capital and several larger cities, you will be able to find some very modern, western-style hotels (with the price tag attached) but apart from that you probably won’t find what you would be expecting.

Secondly, there will be someone who will wonder, well why not just go camping, you don’t need hotels. I have nothing against camping, in fact, I grew up camping and have camped in many places in Mongolia. My last trip was a mix between camping and using hotels. Mongolia is a great country for camping, trekking and so many more outdoor activities. However, there are times when a hotel is necessary, like when you need a bathroom every 5mins if you know what I mean.

Types of hotels:

There are several types of hotels that you may end up staying in while travelling around Mongolia. Let’s go through them briefly of what you are most likely to when travelling in the countryside. Firstly there is your lowest tier which are hotels which are more like backpackers. These hotels will be incredibly basic with normally just have a bed and possibly a sink with cold water (not hot). These hotels often even have shared rooms and will mostly likely have a shared bathroom without a shower. Of course, you will get what you pay for and as they are pretty basic they can be anywhere from ₮15,000-50,000. You will normally find this kind of hotel within a small town, perhaps the one hotel within the town if it is a small town.

Simple hotel room with beds.
Some hotels are very simple, yet comfortable.

The second tier is more like a basic hotel rather than a backpackers. You will expect to have your own room with a bathroom. The difference here though is that it may not have a shower or any other added amenities. Hotels like this you wont expect to get breakfast included either. Because again of there basic level you can expect to pay around ₮40,000-60,000. These types of hotels are normally found in larger smaller towns where there may be several hotels for travellers who just need a bed for a night.

Next you have the normal tier hotels. These hotels normally charge anywhere from ₮ 65,000-150,000. Imagine these hotels offering what you think of a western standard hotel but very watered down. They will have a simply designed room with simple amenities like coffee and tea and wifi. Most importantly they will have a shower with most of the time having hot water. You will expect to also have a simple breakfast included which will be a Mongolian breakfast. However, I would say that hotels in this range will vary in quality and just because its rooms are more expensive, doesn’t mean it will be nicer. In fact one of the nicest hotels I have stayed in was the cheapest! You will expect to find this kind of hotel within a medium sized town, which there are plenty of as you travel. This is the type of hotel you will be most likely to stay in which are budget friendly for a traveller.

Lastly there is of course the higher standard hotel which offers more western-style rooms and services where you can even find a normal western breakfast. Like I said though, these are normally only in larger cities or capitals of provinces and will charge a premium.

Hotels that have a western standard normally only found in the larger capitals of larger provinces.

What to expect:

Okay so you are going to stay in a standard simple hotel in a Mongolian town. What are the specifics that you should expect? Well the rooms interior will be simple with a TV, wardrobe as well as maybe coffee or tea with a bedside desk. You may even have a water cooler that dispenses hot water, great for coffee! One thing these standard hotel rooms wont normally have that will surprise you is there often isn’t a minifridge. It will have a basic bathroom with a sink, toilet and shower. The bathroom is where normally these kind of hotels will vary. The standard of the toilet and shower can be really good or bad. Don’t be surprised if the toilet seat is broken or not even there and the showers water pressure isn’t that great. Make sure to check that everything is working before paying for the room.

Breakfast:

When staying in hotels breakfasts will vary. Most standard hotels will offer some sort of breakfast. What will be common is to be offered some sort of soup or porridge type of breakfast with tea or milk tea. Don’t expect any cereal or expect meat with your breakfast. Often though you will get salami or sausages with an egg or some bread and cucumbers. Of course, you can always buy any breakfast options as well as most standard hotels will have a restaurant.

Things to remember:
  • Ask to see all the rooms of a hotel or even shop around the town. Often there may be a hotel hidden that is better than others with more marketing.
  • Normally room rates are fixed which is great to know you are getting the same as the locals and not being charged extra but still ask to see the rooms before you pay.
  • Check the bathroom and make sure the toilet and shower work. See if the shower has a separate water heater. If it does then you will not have to worry about the towns supply being turned off.
  • This goes without saying but check the room is clean and the bed sheets have been changed.
  • Normally checkout times are 12 PM which is later than what you may expect. However normally breakfast won’t be delivered to your room and you will have to go to the hotels restaurant. Since breakfast is at a set time you will normally have to get up anyway.
  • Check that that the hotel has working cameras, especially in the parking lot out front. It is normally pretty safe to leave your car in front of a hotel but this gives some added insurance if someone does try to break in.
  • Don’t be surprised when you are asked to have your passport or ID copied by the hotel. If you are near the border they may keep your ID while you stay which is because of international crime. Don’t worry though, they will give it back to you!

Where ever you plan on going or staying in Mongolia, whether it is in a tour or going out on your own, you will also be able to find a budget friendly option for your stay.

Safe travels everyone!

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