Travel Report: Mongolia

I thought I’d follow-up my PNG Travel Report by writing about my experiences in Mongolia. I just arrived back from a short 4-day trip and here’s what I experienced (mail and postcard-wise) while I was there:

I stayed next to Sukhbaatar Square (the main tourist area) in Ulaanbaatar, and was a ten-minute walk away from the central post office. There were plenty of smaller post offices that I came across as well, but I didn’t go into any of them. In any event, as you walk into the main room, you’ll notice at the centre-back a postcard display and a separate postage stamp display (both behind glass). The woman working at the desk pulled out the box of postcards and let me choose what I wanted, then she pulled out the box of stamps and allowed me to do the same - she was busy with another customer who was buying a lot of stamps at the same time, which is why I think she allowed me to do it.

If you know anything about Mongolian stamps, you’ll know that they are really interesting and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I had a hard time choosing because a) I needed to meet the 3000 tugrik amount to send a postcard internationally, and a lot of stamps I liked were in very small denominations (100-300-500, etc) and b) the stamps were very large and the postcards I had were very small. In the end I chose a variety of stamps that would allow me to send up to 50 postcards (for swaps, lotteries, familly/friends, postcard pals, + 2 officials).

Box of postcards on the left, all the stamp sets on the right:


Stamps I bought:

There are no outside mailboxes (not any that I could find) but there are two inside the post office (I imagine it’s the same in other locations) - both are white boxes, one for domestic mail, the other for international. I did ask the staff if Mongolia Post had any restrictions on sending mail to any countries, and was told (a bit gruffly) that they send mail everywhere. So hopefully all my postcards will make it to their destinations.

Domestic Mail Postbox:


International Mail Postbox:

In terms of postcards, I obviously bought some at the post office, but not all as I knew I’d probably find more in shops and museums, which I did. The State Department store (a site in and of itself) had a large variety on the 6th floor. Most were in sets from the same photographer - you could buy them individually, but those cards were not as in good condition as the ones in the box sets, so I bought the sets. Several museums I went to had more arty or religious type of postcards - those cost 3x the amount as the ones at the post office (3500 tugriks compared to 1200 tugriks, respectively). I could not find any UNESCO postcards at all - lots of beautiful landscapes, people, and activities, but no World Heritage Sites. I know they exist but I just couldn’t find any in any of the places that I looked. Another place I want to mention is Mary&Martha Mongolia - it’s a fair trade shop that sells a variety of goods made by local people, and they had a small selection of postcards available there as well. I spent more money there than any the rest of my purchases combined! :wink:

State Department Store:

Also at the State Department store - small paintings with stamps - however, I found the choice of stamps really strange, why would you put a tractor next to camels…?

Finally, when I was at the airport I noticed that they had some of the same (box set) postcards, but also some newer sets I hadn’t seen before - one was illustrated drawings of various tribes, the other was more view cards (but different to what I had seen elsewhere). I like both sets, but the former were very thin and I didn’t feel justified buying more cards since I still had about 20 left over from my buying sprees. You can also buy a limited variety of stamps at the airport and the staff will post postcards for you if you have any last minute postcarding you want to do.

As with my PNG report, I’ll keep everyone updated as to how long it took postcards to arrive at various destinations around the world. I know we have a small community of postcrossers in Mongolia, but I think they don’t get a lot of variety in their official selections, so this will hopefully help with understanding average sending times.

Sending all my cards:

58 Likes

Super interesting read and wow — those are some fancy post boxes!

1 Like

Thanks for sharing, this is so useful! :sparkling_heart:

1 Like

I was kind of hoping that the unofficial “postal hugs” mailbox artists would have made a Mongolian postbox so I could have sent some from there, but I couldn’t find a single photo to send them to request one. Hopefully these photos will be useful to other artists who may want to include them in postbox designs.

2 Likes

Wow! What an interesting adventure!

1 Like

Very interesting read :smiley:

1 Like

Wow, I have never seen so many wonderful stamps from Mongolia. Glad to hear you have found so many of them, and to be able to see those fancy mailboxes in person! I like seeing your travel photos. Thank you for sharing about your trip again! Hope all your postcards will arrives safely, and wish you more adventures. :smiling_face: :four_leaf_clover:

2 Likes

I received recently a postcard from Mongolia which was sent on 24th of august and I received on 15th of september. The travel time was 3 weeks. The stamps value on postcard were 400 of Mongolian tugrik as you can see on the photo. I hope it can help you a bit in your data.


9 Likes

That’s interesting. I was told multiple times on separate days that the cost was 3000, so that’s what I did. Oh well.

@mooseontheloose I also don’t know how is possible to send for 400 because on forum the current price is 3000 as you said

1 Like

Maybe 400 is the surface rate while 3000 is the airmail rate?

Alternatively, it’s also possible that the card was underpaid :sweat_smile:

2 Likes

Uh…yeah. I updated that. The original post said 1000. But the link doesn’t work and I haven’t found anything online that posts the official rate.

Thank you for this interesting report. The stamps look amazing.

1 Like

400 tugriks is equivalent to 11 cents (U.S.). 3000 tugriks is about 86 cents (U.S.), which seems more appropriate for international postage. I wonder if the 400 tugrik rate is domestic, but somehow got through internationally.

:+1:

2 Likes

Arigato for this great report from Mongolia. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I found out on wikipedia that 400 MNT rate standed for 2010 year.

1 Like

Thanks for the great info! I’ll be there in two weeks!

4 Likes

I still have the card I sent to my mum from Ulaanbaatar - unfortunately I can’t recall how long it took to arrive - it was 22 years ago. I still wear the beautiful jacket I bought from the department store you mention.

1 Like

That is a fascinating account—thank you for sharing it!

(I love the stamps—especially the Green Tara and Palden Lhamo ones. The lama is Bakula Rinpoche.)

2 Likes