Mongolia weather has four distinct seasons and a temperature which ranges from MINUS 40°C in winter to PLUS 40°C in summer.
For Mongolian nomads, a change in season means more than a change in weather - it means a new camp. The move to new pasture often includes a celebration of some kind. So most Mongolian seasons begin with a party.
Read on to discover the perfect time for your summer trip or winter tour...
Spring begins with the biggest party of all!
Mongolians celebrate the end of winter with a three-day feast called Tsagaan Sar - which translates as Lunar New Year. After a long winter, everyone wants to blow off the cobwebs.
Tsagaan Sar falls sometime between January-March, Buddhist leaders determine the exact date. Getting the date of the festival wrong has consequences. If the thaw sets in before the big day, then it spoils millions of meat dumplings (called buuz) stored outside for the festival!
Spring lasts for about two months and has an average daytime temperature of 12°C.
Seasonal Tip: Spring brings the wind. Wear a thin scarf to protect your face or you will literally eat dust!
With an average temperature of 21°C, many consider summer the best time to visit Mongolia.
Traditionally the last three days of summer are celebrated with the Naadam festival. Mongolians celebrate Naadam with the 'three manly games' - archery, wrestling, and horse racing.
In Ulaan Baatar, Naadam is celebrated between the 11-13th of July. In reality, summer continues through to September.
Seasonal Tip: Bring an umbrella - summer brings the rain. July and August see more than two inches each.
A traditional Mongolian proverb says, "When Naadam ends, autumn begins."
For me, autumn begins with my childrens' first day of school - September 1st. Children celebrate the first day of school by giving their teachers chocolates and flowers - always best to set off on the right foot with your teacher. ;-)
By far the most beautiful season, autumn brings color to the countryside. The first flakes of snow also arrive at this time. Fall sees Mongolia weather at its best.
Seasonal Tip: A great time to visit Mongolia and experience the mysteries of this ancient culture - but bring some layers in case you hit a cold snap.
Winter and sub-zero temperatures begin in late November and last until March. Living in Mongolia in winter feels like living in a giant freezer.
These low temperatures feel a lot better than they sound. Mongolia has a dry climate, and this takes the edge of the cold - it feels colder in Europe! But minus forty is minus forty and the cold must be respected. I lost my voice for a month when I left my scarf at home!
Seasonal Tip: Leave your light sensitive spectacles at home. Minus temperatures and light sensitive specs don't mix. Once you get inside, specs take an age to de-steam and even longer to lighten.
Winter tourism grows every year. Many take a winter tour for specific activities and cultural events that only take place in winter.
The last decade has seen several winter dzuds. A dzud occurs when winter weather prevents animals from finding fodder.
There are black, white, and iron dzuds. A black dzud occurs when a severe winter follows a summer food shortage; a white dzud when heavy snowfall covers available fodder; and an iron dzud when freezing weather causes rain to become an ice blanket.
If your trip will encompass other parts of Mongolia then try this
twelve-hour weather map.
Have you experienced a Mongolian winter? Or did you get lost in a Mongolian sandstorm? Share your story!