With our main office being located in Beijing, we are just a short 24-hour train ride from the Mongolian capital city of Ulan-Bator. We have been running tours to and through Mongolia for the last 11 years, and this country still continues to surprise us.
Despite Mongolia being extremely popular with the masses, it is also one of the most misunderstood countries around. We’ve therefore compiled 21 amazing Mongolia facts, that you may, or may not know.
What is the capital city of Mongolia?
Ulan-Bator is the capital city of the country. What does Ulan-Bator mean? It means red hero. It is also the coldest and most isolated capital city in the world.
Mongolia Was Previously the Biggest Country in the World
Under the rule of Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire was the biggest single empire that the world has ever seen. Keep that in mind regarding recent events.
Gangs Khan Is Considered a Hero in Mongolia
Despite his slightly gruesome reputation around the world, Mongolians revere Genghis Khan. This should really be kept in mind when you visit Mongolia.
Mongolia Is Now the 18th Biggest Country in the World
Empires rise and fall, and alas, Mongolia, went from 1st to 18th. Its low population makes it the most sparsely populated country on earth, not as is falsely said the “least populated country on earth.” That would be the Vatican.
Most Mongolians Live in a Ger/Yurt
You can read more about a Ger here, but it is a Mongolian style tent that has all the creature comforts of home. Even city dwellers in places like ULan-Bator will still stay in their gers during summer months.
Despite the mass urbanization of many countries, between 25-40% of Mongolians still lead nomadic lifestyles. That being said, it is not uncommon to see a ger with a satellite dish.
It Is Said That North Koreans and Mongolians Are Related
This depends on who you talk to, and you can read our take on it here. It is hard not to notice their similarities, however.
The Biggest holiday of the year is the Nadaam Festival
A Mongolian and a YPT favourite the Nadaam festival is a huge traditional sporting event.
They Really Like Camels in Mongolia
Home to the endangered Bactrian camel, they play an important part of Mongolian life. They even have a camel festival, that is how much they like the animal.
It Is in the Gobi Desert
The Gobi Desert is the biggest desert in Asia straddles Mongolia. You can read more facts about the Gobi here.
Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia are different
You can read specifically about their differences here, but to cut a long story short, Inner-Mongolia is a province in China, whilst Outer-Mongolia is the country of Mongolia.
Ghengis Khans Mausoleum Is in China
Well, it is located in the Inner-Mongolia, just north of Kangbashi (more on that later).
Inner-Mongolia Houses the Biggest “Ghost City” of China
Kangbashi and Ordos are the most famous ghost cities in China. Kangbashi was built as a kind of cultural capital for Mongolians in China (one of the 56 ethnic groups). You can visit these ghost towns with YPT.
Outer Mongolia as a Phrase
Outer Mongolia is sometimes colloquially used to mean really far away, rather like Timbuktu. In fact, it just means Mongolia.
Taiwan Considers Mongolia Part of China
Mongolian independence under Soviet protection, but the Republic of China (Taiwan) never did so. If the Kuomintang ever do take back China, watch your backs Mongolia!
Mongolians Invented Ice-Cream (Allegedly)
Mongolian horsemen would take frozen meat in their backpacks, and the jolting motion of frozen guts and intestines would create an “ice-cream like” substance. Salivating yet? We thought not. If you believe that Mongolians invented ice-cream, the theory is that it then went via China to Italy. Then again, it is also said that the Chinese invented football.
Mongolia Is the Last Place on Earth With Wild Horses
Whilst man and horse have been great friends for quite a while, Mongolia has managed to still have a number that roams free.
The Trans-Mongolian Railway Passes Through Mongolia
The famous Trans-Mongolian Railway passes through the country. It is part of the wider Trans-Siberian network and can be ridden on as part of our yearly Eurasian Adventure Tour.
Mongolian Food Is Amazing
It is said that hot-pot originated in Mongolia when soldiers used their helmets to cook food. Then you have Mongolian Barbecue, which consists of lots of spicy meat on sticks. The street food in Mongolia is thus also frankly amazing. They also drink fermented horse and yak milk, which is an acquired taste, but actually a lot better than it sounds.
Mongolia Was Kind of Independent During World War 2
During World War 2, the Empire of Japan set up the puppet state of Mengjiang, which had nominal sovereignty. One of the countries that recognized it was Manchukuo. The upper government ran by the last emperor of China – Puyi.
Mongolia Has Great Relations With the DPRK
Well, we had to throw in a North Korea – Mongolia relations one to end it. As a former communist state, Mongolia has often acted as middle-man for North Korea, and despite often being quite opinionated about North Korea, remain in the good books.
And those are our 21 in-depth facts about Mongolia. If you need more than Mongolian facts, then check out 2021 tours to Mongolia..