For anyone wanting to travel to Mongolia I recently wrote an article for a student newspaper about safety tips and advice for student travellers to the country. Have posted it below for anyone interested.
Mongolia Health and Safety Advice (KBYG)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) “Know Before You Go” campaign is designed to promote awareness of safe travel and any precautions needed to be taken prior to embarking on your journey.
Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, British Embassy:
Peace Avenue 30
Ulaanbaatar ZIP 13381
Below are some recommended health and safety points to bear in mind before travelling to Mongolia.
Low threat from terrorism
Should avoid going on foot alone at night despite low number of incidents recorded
Try and maintain a low profile. Tourists tend to stand out due to their comparative wealth, which can bring unwelcome attention.
Safety and Security:
Mongolia is a relatively safe country however from time to time, violent muggings and attacks do occur. The best way to avoid any such incidents is to avoid going out alone on foot at night. Taking a taxi is advised, as they are easily identifiable and not extortionate.
If you are travelling to Ulaanbaatar, watch out for pickpockets as petty crime is common in the capital.
Mongolia lacks an extensive road network, so travelling across the countryside can be potentially dangerous and difficult.
It may be the case that you have to follow tracks in the dust, mud or sand in order to reach your desired destination.
Mobile phone coverage can also be unreliable and drop out at times so back-up communication is highly recommended
If you intend to drive in Mongolia take extra care. You will require an International Driving License. The standard of driving is poor and there are many fatal accidents so you must wear your seatbelt at all times.
Vehicle maintenance is not seen as a priority, hence the high frequency of breakdowns. Be prepared for long delays if this is the case.
Bear in mind that there has been evidence to suggest that domestic air services (including helicopters) do not always comply with international safety standards.
Healthcare facilities in Mongolia are poor and run down, particularly in the countryside. Medicine can also be scarce. It is recommended that you bring basic medical supplies with you, even if you only plan to stay in Ulaanbaatar.
It is strongly recommended that you seek medical advice prior to travelling to Mongolia, especially if you suffer from a condition that might be exacerbated by atmospheric (especially in Ulaanbaatar) and altitude pollution.
There are occasional outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease (a viral infection which most commonly affects children and infants) and other infectious diseases. If these outbreaks occur, the policy enacted is that of quarantining. If you wish to travel to an affected area you will not be refused entry, and if you are in an area that has been quarantined you will not be allowed to leave.
Visitors should also be aware that in the summer hunting months there may be a risk of isolated incidences of bubonic plague.
The estimated prevalence percentage of HIV in the adult population was rated at 0.1% in comparison to the UK’s rate of 0.2%. Therefore, it is advised to exercise normal precautions to avoid HIV/AIDS exposure.
Before any travel abroad remember these key points!
Get comprehensive travel insurance, and read the small print
Check the FCO’s*country travel advice
Research your destination – know the local laws and customs*
Research the health risk on the*NHS travel health information page*as soon as possible*before travelling, and if necessary visit your GP
Check your passport is valid and you have all necessary visas
Make copies of important travel documents and/or store them online using a secure data storage site
Tell someone where you are going and leave emergency contact details with them
Take enough money and have access to emergency funds