How to get there
Mongolia is not a country where you can gather in a couple of days and go at random. If you plan a trip on your own (not as part of an organized group), each step must be carefully calculated. This is especially true for logistics.
Russian tourists are lucky. Since 2014, you do not need to apply for a visa if the duration of the trip does not exceed 30 days. It is enough to take a passport with you, fill out a migration card and present it to customs and border officials. Foreigners will have to present an invitation from the Mongolian side: relatives, friends, travel agencies.
The fastest way. Departing from Moscow, in just six hours you can be in Ulan Bator. Here is the only airport accepting international flights. A flight from the capital of Russia to the capital of Mongolia on average costs from 25 to 35 thousand in both directions (with at least one change), but direct flights will cost more. Experienced travelers combine different types of transport. For example, they travel by plane to Ulan-Ude (the capital of the Republic of Buryatia) – the Russian Victory low-cost airline flies here, so a ticket is cheaper than to Irkutsk – and then they transfer to a car, train or direct flight from Ulan-Ude to Ulan Bator. The Mongolian airline Hunnu Air carries passengers for 10-15 thousand rubles, a ticket for a flight with transfers from other airlines costs from 20 to 50 thousand rubles.
Two trains run from Moscow to Mongolia and back: one with a final stop in Ulan Bator, the second one passing, it goes to Beijing. The trains are sent once or twice a week. Tickets for rail transport are slightly cheaper than air travel, but you have to travel four days across the country. Trains leave Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude six times a week. Border control takes place at the customs post “Naushki – Sukh-Bator.”
Kyakhta, a city bordering Mongolia, can be reached from Ulan-Ude. Buses depart daily from the city bus station. Travel time is three and a half hours. Then you need to cross the border yourself and look for transport to the desired city. Direct flights to Ulan Bator are offered only by Siberian travel agencies, so the schedule, cost and availability of tickets must be checked directly with the agencies.
Mongolia is bordered by several Russian regions: the Republic of Buryatia and Tuva, the Trans-Baikal and Altai Territories. In each of them there are border points. The westernmost and most popular among tourists is Tashanta-Tsagaannuur. Up to 500 cars per day are registered here in the season, the point is gradually expanding, and asphalt used to appear where off-road used to be.
To get to the border village of Tashant, you need to fly or get to Barnaul or Gorno-Altaysk, and then cross Altai along the picturesque Chuysky tract.
Of all the checkpoints on the border between Russia and Mongolia, the most stringent controls are here, especially on the way back to Tsagaannuur. Border guards carefully check luggage for smuggling and can even seize innocuous souvenirs. This will not happen if you took a picture of the item on the counter before buying, and then presented the photo at customs.
The Mondy-Hankh item is located in the south-west of Buryatia. Most often, those who go on vacation to Lake Khubsugul cross the border through it. It is located just 25 kilometers from the checkpoint. Or you can make a route so that you pass Baikal, then through Mondy get to Mongolia, see Khubsugul, cross the whole country and enter Russia in Altai.