Family travel tips plus the perfect 4, 6, and 9-day family-friendly itineraries to get the most out of your trip to Mongolia.
When parents ask me if Mongolia is a good place to travel with kids, my answer is always yes!
Mongolia is unique in so many ways, especially when it comes to family-friendly activities. Touring this part of Central Asia as a family is one of the best memories parents can give their children. Outdoor activities, sunny days, ancient traditions, and open grasslands make a Mongolia tour something that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
It’s a destination that gets kids off their tablets or phones and gets their feet on the ground. Kids will have the opportunity to play with goats, sheep, and even baby horses and camels.
No matter what age your children, there’s always something to do, see, and experience in Mongolia. From cultural shows to an aquarium and zoo, parks, and more.
There are, however, some important things parents should know before booking a family vacation here. In this family travel guide I give the best family-friendly activities and travel itineraries along with travel hacks for keeping kids of all ages happy.
For a more comprehensive travel guide with general travel tips such as getting a sim card, using your credit cards in Mongolia and understanding the local currency, read my Mongolia travel guide →
Mongolia is a great place for kids of all ages!
Why? Well, Mongolia is a place where kids can roam free without worry. The steppe and Gobi Desert are vast and open spaces making it the ideal place for kids to play in the dirt and sand, bond with animals, and experience a lifestyle free of technology.
The majority of Mongolians don’t speak English, so this also teaches children patience and how to communicate without words. Seeing Mongolian and foreign kids play together, laughing and giggling, without speaking the same language is a truly beautiful thing.
Not only that, but Mongolia is very safe.
If your child is a picky eater, plan to bring food with you when you leave the capital city Ulaanbaatar.
Once you’re in the countryside, you’re at the mercy of the Mongolian diet which is meat and dairy heavy. Bringing a few creature comforts is a good idea since the nomadic way of life could mean anything from drinking mare’s milk to eating horse meat.
You’ll find the best food shopping for families and picky eaters at:
The best time to take a trip to Mongolia with your family members is in the summer, from June to August. Families will find that summer temperatures are mild and agreeable and this is when there are a lot of things to do and see in and outside of the capital.
If you can’t decide which month to visit, let me explain what you can expect when you visit in June, July, or August.
June is a great time to see and spend time with the baby animals that were all born in spring. It’s also your last chance to beat the crowds before the tourism season really picks up.
July is the height of tourism season in Mongolia because it’s when Mongolia’s Naadam festival takes place. Despite being the busy season, Mongolia doesn’t get crowds in the same way other top destinations do. So don’t let that stop you. Especially since Naadam is one of the best cultural festivals families can attend in the world. Naadam festivities are free to attend and there are always a lot of other children around.
Last year, for example, as I was waiting to watch one of the horse races, I couldn’t help but notice how many games and things there were just for kids. Balloon games, face painting, carnival rides, water guns for sale, Naadam is almost like the equivalent of a small town fair. (Emphasis on the small town part!)
Finally, early to late August is great because this is when the weather is the most agreeable. It’s also when local Mongolian children are getting ready to head back to school, so Ulaanbaatar really comes to life.
Summer in Mongolia means green space and free concerts, book fairs, and more. Below are some of the must-see things to do with kids in Ulaanbaatar during these months. You don’t need a local guide when you’re in the city center, just an open spirit to the unique experience each of these attractions will offer.
The Ulaanbaatar Zoo and Aquarium recently reopened inside the National Amusement Park after going through a renovation. Don’t expect anything big and fancy, this is a simple setup because Mongolians haven’t caught on to the idea of keeping animals in cages!
Walk through the Park after visiting the Zoo, ride the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel, and look for the castle surrounded by a moat!
Pop into the Puppet Theater for a peak into the Mongolian arts scene. Check their Facebook page for their schedule, but unfortunately their shows are all in Mongolian, the official language of Mongolia.
Inside the Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs, one of Mongolia’s most famous skeletons awaits! It’s one of my favorite museums because it’s quirky, easy to spend an hour walking through, and the upper level display of local animals always fascinates me. Kids love it here too, especially if they’re into dinosaurs!
Ulaanbaatar is home to a few cultural shows that take place every evening during the summer season. Contortionists, throat singers, Murin Khuur (horse head fiddle) playing, dancing, and much more, these shows are an entertaining one hour long. Tsagaan Lavai Ensemble and Tumen Enkh Ensemble put on two of the best cultural shows in Ulaanbaatar.
If sitting in a theater for an hour doesn’t sound doable for your family, you can also combine dinner and a show at Altan Gadas Restaurant. Here they have contortionists and night cultural shows, just on a much smaller scale.
Finally, when everyone is tired and you just want to take a load off for a few minutes, the green at Sukhbaatar Square is the perfect place to take a break. A sprawling fake green sits in front of a giant stage where ceremonies, concerts, and more take place throughout the summer. The green is right in front of the Parliament Building so you also get one of the coolest views in the city where you’re here.
If you want to stay around Ulaanbaatar, there are two day trips I highly recommend with kids.
A trip out to Terelj National Park is always a great opportunity to see some of Mongolia’s most beautiful nature. The best way to experience the national park is to pair it with a few hours at the family-friendly Mongol Culture Park. Here you’ll spend the late morning or afternoon watching horse racing, wrestling matches, mounted archery displays, listening to throat singing, and so much more. It’s one of the best things you can take your kids to watch to get a real feel for local people and Mongolian culture.
Driving west out of Ulaanbaatar, the Mongol Nomadic Cultural Heritage Center is one of the most family-friendly places to visit in Mongolia. Learn how to make cheese the Mongolian way, watch as a calligrapher paints your name in Mongolian script, ride a yak, learn how to build a ger, and so much more. The Mongol Nomadic Cultural Heritage Center is a completely hands-on and immersive experience that leaves you feeling part-Mongolian after just a few hours there. Book a yurt and stay the night if you find you and your little ones are having too much fun.
Central and northern Mongolia are great places to travel with children. Getting to each will require some time in the car, but you can easily break up the drive with stops at some pretty cool locations.
Additionally, Terelj National Park is another favorite destination among the family crowd.
When planning your Mongolia itinerary for kids, it’s important to not try to fit in too much. Long travel days aren’t going to be enjoyable, so you’ll need an itinerary that allows you to get the most out of your family vacation.
The itineraries below don’t include your days in Ulaanbaatar, so be sure to factor those in, as well.
Terelj National Park is a super great place for families who want to escape the city but don’t want to spend hours in the car. It’s the most developed national park in Mongolia which means you have plenty of options when it comes to hotels, restaurants, and things to do. Here’s what I think is the ideal 4-day Terelj itinerary with kids.
Leave Ulaanbaatar early in the morning to get the most out of the experience. Start by visiting the Mongol Culture Park and watching the cultural show before going to check into your family-friendly hotel.
The next day, book an easy going kayaking trip, ride ATV quad bikes, or horseback riding tour at Saraa’s Ger Camp and be sure to go to the Chinggis Khaan Equestrian Statue & Museum.
For your final night in Terelj, go visit and spend the night as part of a homestay experience. Jump in and help with chores, milk a yak, learn to make a Mongolian dish, and get to know your nomadic hosts.
More great things you can do in Terelj National Park with kids:
This itinerary is great for toddlers and small children.
I like this Central Mongolia family travel itinerary for a few reasons.
First, it covers everything you’ll want to see and do in Mongolia. From seeing small towns and meeting Mongolian families to full days of activities, these are some of the best places to really feel the spirit of nomadic culture. You’ll want to hire a tour guide and driver to make this itinerary go as smoothly as possible, which I explain how to do in my what to budget for a trip to Mongolia travel guide. This ensures you have an activities-filled family tour, you have someone to interpret the Mongolian language, and you don’t get lost trying to navigate the Mongolian steppe.
Second, the only long driving day you have is when you’re driving back to Ulaanbaatar. Otherwise, driving days will be between two and four hours.
Finally, this part of Mongolia is wide open, green, and full of life. You’ll see animals, learn about nomadic traditions, and get the best of Mongolia from this itinerary. Plan to spend one day and night at each of the locations for a great 6-day Central Mongolia itinerary.
I like this itinerary for children who can spend longer hours in the car, like pre-teens and teens. During the summer months taking a road trip like this means watching Mongolian wild horses race you in the distance, watching as the landscape changes from flat steppe to humbling mountain ranges, and experiencing the different cultures in each of the Mongolian provinces you’ll drive through.
This itinerary involves a lot more driving on the front end, but for a lot more reward. The ultimate goal is to make it to Lake Khuvsgul, which is one of the best family-friendly places you can go in Mongolia.
Do you have more specific questions about traveling with your family to Mongolia? Or would you like help planning your perfect kid-friendly itinerary?
Author: Breanna Wilson
Hi! Sain uu! I’m Breanna, an American travel writer and adventurer living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for more than 5 years. I’ve written for and been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, Forbes, and the New York Times, among others. Read more of my Mongolia travel articles here.
Proudly Based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
© 2024 Meanwhile in Mongolia