Getting to Mongolia by Air
If flying, it goes without saying that you need to buy your tickets as soon as possible. From the US west coast, round trip airfare is going to run around $1800 in summer. For US travelers, you’ll get a better fare with a Mongolia-based travel agency called Air Bridge. They have an office in Denver but the agency is based in Ulaanbaatar. Be warned that while their prices are low this is a one person operation so their customer service is lacking. The accept payment through paypal, but make sure to use your credit card rather than a direct paypal payment. Air Bridge sells tickets for United and MIAT only.
Connections through from the US are usually through Seoul or Beijing. If there is an evening flight to UB from one of these cities you can make the trip in one long day. If there is no evening flight you’ll have to overnight and return to the airport in the morning. If you need to connect the next day out of Beijing you DO NOT need a visa. You can stay in Beijing for up to 24 hours without a visa as long as you have an onward ticket. Most western nationals won’t need a visa for South Korea. Alas, there is no connection via Pyongyang.
From Australia, flights also go via Beijing or Seoul. You can expect to spend around A$2000 for a return ticket.
From mainland Europe, most flights go via Berlin or Moscow. From Berlin it’s around US$1000 return. If you are flying from London, you can get a flight to Moscow on Aeroflot and continue to Ulaanbaatar. A ticket is UK#360. If you are coming from Europe, our recommended route is to first fly to Berlin, then to transfer there to a MIAT flight.
For Japanese travelers, MIAT is the first choice, in terms of cost. But the tickets are sold out very early. Some years, tickets for flights in July are sold out as early as February.
Airlines that fly to Ulaanbaatar include: Air China, MIAT, Aeroflot, Korea Air. In summer, MIAT flies daily between UB and Beijing. The schedule is more limited in winter but when there is no MIAT flight the route is covered by Air China.
Check the following sites for timetables:
AIRLINE BAGGAGE RESTRICTIONS
MIAT won’t let you check in more than 30kg. Fortunately, you only need to heed the luggage restrictions of the which you board in your original departure city. So if you leave from the US on United you can bring something like 200 lbs and MIAT can’t do a damn thing about it. The luggage will be checked all the way through without problems. However, if you spend a few days in Beijing on the way there, and then catch a flight to UB you’ll have to re-check your luggage and you’ll have to succumb to MIATs luggage restrictions.
Posted by: pktan
Having spent a few months in the amazing Mongolia for the past few years, PkTan is fascinated with this beautiful, complicated country. He love advising travellers to Mongolia and have developed this site to share all his knowledge of Mongolia with everyone.