Preflight Package: Mongolia – Gobi Discovery

I have gone through my notes from the last few years and have compiled a suggested packing list for your ride in Mongolia. Basically, the rule is “if you think you need it, bring it from home”

Money:

The local money is the Mongolian Tugrik, generally abbreviated T.At the moment1 USD=2400T. Last year I exchanged USD$500 before we left, and that was enough for me for my fuel, beer, some souvenirs, and daily tip money.Last year every rider tipped the camp staff USD2-3 (per rider) for 13 nights. At the end of the trip we also tipped our Mongolian crew about USD$75 each (per rider). Tips are welcomed in either USD or tugrik. There are not many souvenirs to buy, but typical items were felt slippers, items about Genghis Khan, and cashmere things.You would want to allow more spending money if you were going to buy many nice cashmere things, or use credit card for this. They are expensive.

  • The motorcycle damage deposit is USD$500 cash. You will pay this to the motorcycle rental guy when we get the bikes, and you will get the money back at our last dinner together on June 14.
  • This year I will likely exchange USD$500 (use for fuel and beer), and bring another USD$500 for the motorcycle (get this back), and another $300 hidden in my luggage just in case I need extra.

To make it easy to remember:

I would bring three envelopes of money:

  1. USD$500 to leave with the bike rental office (you get this back once you return the bike undamaged.
  2. USD$500 – to convert to local money when you arrive. This local money is used for fuel, beer, etc
  3. USD$300 hidden in your luggage just in case you need it.

Riding gear:

  • We are riding mostly offroad with a few hundred kilometers of paved highways. Protective gear is critical.Please bring solid, calf-height riding boots and full fingered gloves.
  • I am bringing protective riding gear like a Leatt Brace as we are off-road in remote places.
    You could also add in there a kidney belt.
  • Good Rain Gear. Summer in Mongolia is rainy season, so plan for this trip like a summer trip in the Rocky Mountains. Mostly great, sometimes wet, sometimes cold.
  • Two pairs of gloves. After a rain day, there may not be enough time to dry gloves overnight for the next days riding, so I will be bringing a couple of pairs of gloves.

Regular Clothes: Bring enough clothes to get you 4-5 days without laundry. This is my list, feel free to modify. Some choose to bring a small amount of detergent to do laundry in the hotel rooms. Tide makes great little sachets of hand washing soap. Available at hiking or outdoors shops. Easy to have the staff at the yurts do laundry for us as well if we are at a place for two days as the clothes dry in the sun.

  • Long pants x1
  • Shorts x1
    (doubles as swim wear for our days at the hot springs)
  • Biking shorts or underwear x4
  • Thin short Socks x3
  • Warm long socks x1
  • Long underwear thin x1
  • Merino, long sleeved shirt thick x1
  • Merino, short sleeved shirt thin x1
  • Warm woolly hat
  • Sunglasses and wide brimmed hat
  • Fleecy jacket, windbreaker
  • buff or balaclava

Personal:

  • headlight for the ger at night
  • hand sanitizer
  • big SPF sunscreen and lip balm
  • ear plugs (for the bikes and because the ger camps don’t stop the sound of snores very well)
  • eye drops and nasal saline
  • wet wipes
  • powdered electrolytes

Comfort considerations:

  • We stay in yurts (local name is ger, and is pronounced like ‘gear’) for the entire time that we are outside of the capital city. There is often no or limited power at these places, so washing of the linen is done by hand in cold water. This means the linen is not white and starched like the Hilton back home. If this concerns you, bring a lightweight sleeping bag liner with you, or even a lightweight sleeping bag to use on the beds.
  • pillow in Mongolia are either soft or bags filled with rice. If you need a good pillow to get a good nights sleep, consider bringing a small one from home.
  • food is quite bland, bring some hot sauce!
  • if you are a coffee snob, bring little instant coffee sachets of your favorite brand. Also consider bringing your travel mug.

Medical Considerations:

  • Antiseptic lotion
  • Pepto Bismol tablets (helpful for stomach upset)
  • Imodium (Loperamide 2 mg) for symptom control of diarrhea
  • Antibiotic ointment (e.g. Polysporin)
  • One or two doses of Ciprofloxacin (500mg twice a day for three days), an antibiotic used to treat severe diarrhea. Requires a prescription from your physician
  • Selection of over-the-counter medications you think you might need: those that you use regularly such as:  Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), aspirin, anti-inflammatory (e.g. Advil), contraception, antacid, throat lozenges;
  • Gravol or anti-nausea tablets if you have a tendency for motion sickness
  • All prescription medicines you think you may need
  • Insect repellent (minimum 30% DEET)
  • Anti-itch cream or gel
  • Insect sting/bite relief solution, such as After Bite
  • Antihistamines and/ or Epi-pen if you have serious allergic reactions.

Paperwork:

  • Passport with 6 blank pages and valid for at least 6 months past the end of your trip
  • Driver’s license for those renting motorcycles
  • We will ask for copies of your relevant documents when you arrive. Please arrange these at home and bring the copies with you in addition to the originals:
    • Passport picture page
    • Driver’s license front and back
    • Health insurance card including who to call and at what number in case of emergency
    • Emergency evacuation policy and contact info in case of an emergency
    • Emergency contacts back home including names and phone numbers

Electronics

  • power battery bank. We will have power for charging phones/cameras/etc every couple of days. Some airlines restrict transport of these so find out if they need to go in checked luggage or in carry-on luggage.
  • I am bringing a 12V to 110 car adapters that can be used to charge things while in the chase trucks.
  • Adapters for the wall plugs. Mongolia uses the two pins that look like this:
  • Bring lots of memory cards for your devices
  • If you want to bring a phone to use a local SIM card, the phone must be unlocked
  • Head torch or flashlight with new batteries in it.
  • Alarm clock (on a phone or watch is fine)
  • Cameras and any specific spare batteries for them. Don’t forget the chargers!
  • Helmet Camera – practice with this before you come over and know how to get movies onto your computer and learn about the batteries life. Seriously consider extra batteries.