Mongolian Road Network
Mongolian roads are classified in three groups:
- State roads connect the capital to the provincial center (Aimag center), important towns and important border crossings points. Most roads between Aimag centers and Ulaanbaatar and to Russia and China borders are connected by tarmac.
- Local roads connect provincial centers (Aimag centers) to Sum centers (little village communities) Many of them are not connected by State Road
- Internal roads connect Sum centers to other little settlements, small communities, sightseeing places, farms and nomad camps.
Mongolia’s road network (which includes national, local, and internal roads) spans nearly 49,000 kilometers, linking 24 major cities and over 160 villages (Sums and Bags). Mongolia has 11,219 kilometers of state roads and 37,859 kilometers of local roads. The bulk of Mongolia’s roads are unmaintained gravel or earth roads. An east-west route is still under construction (called Millennium Road). Roads and bridges will be built as part of the “Millennium Path” project over the next few years. The “Millennium Road” was expected to be built starting in Ulaanbaatar and going east and west, and it is being built according to the plan. Mongolia is well connected to China and Russia by road network along with the famous Trans-Mongolian railway. The Mongolian government has been putting enormous effort to connect all Aimag Centers to Ulaanbaatar by tarmac and the ambitious goal has been achieved by 2020.
Self-driving is not an easy way to explore our world. As previously stated, most roads are bumpy earth roads that are not suitable for fast driving. The most important thing to consider when self-driving through Mongolia is to take time to rest, relax, and discover monastic ruins or scenic spots. When measuring driving distances and times, you should always factor in extra time. Expect to travel at 45 km/h in northern Mongolia and 55 km/h in the Gobi desert. Driving faster is dangerous and can cause significant damage to the vehicle.
Mongolia is constructing more bridges, but depending on your itinerary, you may need to cross rivers by driving through them or taking a cable ferry.
Mongolia has a large number of cattle. Cattle, sadly, have no sense of direction. When driving in the early morning or at night, exercise extreme caution. We generally advise people not to drive at all at night.
Since there are few road signs, a GPS and good maps are a must. Tracks continue to split, making it impossible to know which to take and, as a result, making it difficult to navigate earthstate roads.
Our company offers GPS rentals. We provide our customers with the option of purchasing a Mongolian road map or a Mongolian physical map. Maps on the scales of 1:1.000.000 and 1.500.000 are available.
Road security is fine, but there are some safety concerns due to the cold temperatures in the winter and the isolation of many roads.