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. Few Western aimags have State but diirth road.
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 (including state, local and internal roads) totals approximately 49,000 km’s, connecting 24 major cities and more than 160 villages (Sums and Bags). There are 11,219 km of state roads and 37, 859 km local roads in Mongolia. Most of the roads in Mongolia are poorly maintained gravel or earth roads. Construction is still under way on an east-west road (called Millennium Road). Construction of roads and bridges under the “Millennium Road” project are set to be carried our next few years. The “Millennium Road” has been planned to be constructed starting from Ulaanbaatar and directing towards east and west and construction is carried out in accordance with the plan.
Mongolia has as well connected to China and Russia by road network along famous Trans-Mongolian railway.
Mongolian government has been putting enormous effort to connect all Aimag Centers to Ulaanbaatar by tarmac. Only few far Western province towns have not yet been connected which we hope to have it completed within next few years.
Our country is not an easy country to explore by self-driving. As you could read earlier, most roads are bumpy earth road, not adequate for fast driving. Most important while driving through Mongolia on a self-driving trip, is to take time to stops, relax on the way and explore on foot ruins of monasteries or picturesque spots.
When estimating driving distances and times, you should always allow extra time for your journey. Count on an average speed of 45 km/hours in north Mongolia and 55 km/h in the Gobi desert. Driving faster is risky and can badly damage the vehicle.
More and more bridges are built in Mongolia, but depending of your itinerary you will need to cross rivers driving through or taking a cable ferry (less and less used now only in far West of country).
Mongolia has a lot of cattle. Unfortunately, cattle have no road sense. Be very careful when driving in the early morning and at dusk. Generally we advise people not at all drive at night.
A GPS and good maps are a must as there are few road indications. Many track constantly split making it impossible to know which track to take. Even earth state roads are not easy to follow.
You can rent GPS from 4X4 Mongolia and 4X4 Mongolia offers the opportunity to its clients to buy Mongolian road map and physical map of Mongolia. We have maps at 1:1.000.000 and 1.500.000.
Road security is good though there are safety issues due to cold temperatures in winter and the isolated nature of many roads.