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Currency & Spending Money (Mongolia)

Information on currency, exchanging money, spending money and usage of credit/debit cards in Mongolia

The official currency of Mongolia is the Mongolian Tugrik (MNT). Each Tugrik consists of 100 mongos. Paper money comes in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 Tugrik. It is recommended to exchange money at official exchange offices or banks in Mongolia to avoid counterfeit currency. 

Here is a reference table of approximate exchange rates (for up-to-date exchange rates, please check xe.com before you travel): 

1 unit of currency MNT
AU$1 2,250.42
NZ$1 2,093.98
US$1 3,433.84

Correct as of December 2023  

We recommend that you have access to more than one source of money – bringing a combination of cash and a credit/debit card will give the most security and flexibility while travelling. 

Exchanging money 

US Dollars and Australian Dollars can be exchanged at Ulaanbaatar Airport, local banks, money changers and in some hotels, provided the Australian or US currency is new and undamaged. ATMs are widely available in larger cities. We suggest withdrawing/exchanging your money in larger cities as facilities can be limited when travelling to smaller towns.  

Spending money 

Please ensure you have sufficient funds to pay for personal expenses such as drinks and snacks not included in the tour price. There are also plenty of opportunities to pick up some lovely souvenirs, so you might like to budget for this. On a two-week tour, we would recommend approximately AU$1,000 per person spending money, although this depends greatly on your individual needs. 

The cost of food and drinks in Mongolia can vary depending on where you are and what you are looking for. Here are some rough estimates of the cost of common food and drink items in Mongolia:

  • Buuz (steamed dumplings): MNT 2,500 / AU $1.10 per serving
  • Khuushuur (deep-fried meat pastry): MNT 3,000 / AU $1.35 per piece
  • Khorkhog (Mongolian barbecue): MNT 15,000 / AU $7.00 per portion
  • Boodog (roasted goat or marmot in a hot stone): MNT 23,000 / AU $11.50 per serving
  • Airag (fermented mare's milk): MNT 1,500 / AU $0.75 per glass
  • Suutei tsai (Mongolian milk tea): MNT 750 / AU $0.35 per cup
  • Aaruul (dried curds): MNT 1,500 / AU $0.75 per bag
It's important to note that prices can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. In general, eating at a local restaurant or street vendor will be more affordable than dining at a higher-end restaurant or café.

Plan ahead 

Be prepared with enough cash in hand. Once you have started your tour, you will quickly get a sense of how often or how much you need to exchange/withdraw money. Try not to leave this to the last minute: exchange desks can close, ATMs can run out of cash and your group could be scheduled to leave your hotel at 7am the next morning! Outside of major cities banking also becomes less reliable. 

If you do need to use an ATM, it is recommended to use an official bank ATM. Try to withdraw as few times as possible because overseas withdrawal fees can be very high. Check with your bank before departing Australia.

Credit/debit card

Taking one credit/debit card is recommended in case of emergency and may be used for large purchases in most hotels, department stores and souvenir stores. The most widely accepted credit cards include Visa, MasterCard and American Express. However, please do not rely on a credit/debit card as your only source of spending money and keep a photocopy of your card(s).
We always recommend that you have access to more than one source of money – bringing a combination of cash and a credit/debit card will give the most security and flexibility while travelling.