Illegal or Prohibited Things in Mongolia
Read About Legal Concerns in Mongolia before Your Visit
Visitors coming from European or American states assume that the things considered legal and normal in their country will be the same in the law of Mongolia as well. But the situation is juxtaposed; there are certain laws which are slightly different from other countries.
For you, it might be a very small or insignificant thing but for Mongolian locals and law enforcement systems, it can be a big matter of concern.
So all the travelers visiting Mongolia are recommended to read about important legal affairs and make a list of illegal or prohibited products and activities in Mongolia. It will help you have a safe and hassle-free tour. Here is a small list
Some restaurants serve alcohol and some simply refuse. Nobody; tourists or locals are allowed to make an issue in case of the no-alcohol facility. Mainly alcohol is available at bars and clubs in Mongolia, in case you start taunting for misbehaving with staff for alcohol, they will call the cops and you can be in serious trouble.
You are not allowed to roam around the city while you are drunk or simply not in a sober condition. Though Mongolians also drink alcohol and it is a part of their norm as well, still it is considered offensive if you are found traveling through the streets in a not-so-sober condition. Stay at the bar or your hotel room if you are drunk or even tipsy
Every First Day of the Month
Mongolians celebrate no alcohol day at every first of each month. So no restaurant, bar, or café will serve alcohol on specific days. All the restaurants and bars cover the alcohol counters and bottles with a cloth piece. Anyone selling or buying alcohol on the first of every month will be charged with fines or other punishments. Even if someone is offering you to have it, respect the law, and do not buy or drink alcohol.
Alcohol in your Luggage
Some people think that we can carry a few bottles in our luggage and consume it on days when alcohol is not available. That’s a very poor idea. You will be asked to throw the bottle away to get your luggage to pass the custom counter.
Also, you will put authorities in qualm due to which they might ask you for a detailed body and luggage check. To avoid such a situation, do not try to carry such products. Also if you will be caught selling the alcohol you have bought from your country in any state of Mongolia, you will be instantly sent to jail. It is a serious crime to sell alcohol without a license and the black market dealing with alcohol may lead you to a heavy fine, ban on traveling, or jail.
Drugs, Cannabis or Related Products
Just like Arabian countries, Mongolia is also very strict about any sale, purchase, use, transport, carrying drugs in the country. It is illegal and a serious crime in Mongolia to carry drugs, any product made of cannabis, and other intoxicating substances.
You can get a lifetime travel ban, and jail in Mongolia for violation of drugs-related laws. If you have any medical condition, ask your doctor to give you a health certificate mentioning your concern. You need to show the certificate on the check-in counter at the airport or border crossing.
Do not assume that you can use drugs inside your hotel room, if hotel staff or any local get suspicious about you, they will call the police without even telling you.
LGBTQ+ and Community
LGBTQ+, lesbian, or gay couples are recommended to keep their relationship limited to their hotel room or private spaces. Sex or any ardent gestures between the same sexes is not a crime in Mongolia but it is not so common. Some people may take it as something very confusing.
There is a room for same-sex romance in city areas but rural population may not accept it whole heartedly. As you are in other country and your purpose is to enjoy, it is recommended to take a little care of your private relation and avoid getting into any cultural or religious debate regarding homosexuality. Consider a fact that you cannot change the mindset or the culture of a country and you are not travelling for a social cause.
Ulaanbaatar has a big active LGBT+ community so it is completely safe to carry your romance in city at public spots as well.
However, you won’t be bothered, in fact you will be welcomed if you travel with your mate without mentioning or showing off your relation. You can carry out your romance in your hotel room or any private space.
In Mongolian rural areas and orthodox communities public romance by LGBT or even different gender is not common in culture. Still the community never bothers the tourists in any way if they do something in public. It is not illegal but in respect of rural community it is recommended to keep your sex and romance life to your hotel space.
Photography at Museums and Monasteries
There are signs which prohibit you from taking pictures at certain museums and religious places. Don’t try to act smart, a No means No! Pictures at Buddhist monasteries are not appreciated by believers and maintenance staff. They can take your camera; ask you to leave instantly or call authorities if you will violate the law.
At some museums or some specific areas of museums, photography is prohibited; if there is a sign or you are being asked to put down your cameras, follow the rules without arguments. Taking pictures at prohibited areas is a low-degree crime and you can face a penalty because of it.
Pictures of Police or Military
Taking pictures of an on-duty government official, on-duty police officials, police squad and military officials is a criminal offense in Mongolia. Put your cameras down if any officials ask you, otherwise you will be taken to the police station.
Pictures of Locals
Privacy is a basic human right; ask the locals first before you photograph them. Consider a fact that you are a tourist, not their modeling agent. Some locals may get offended if you will click pictures of their family members without their permission.
Some females consider it a violation of modesty so they do not like that anybody clicks their photograph. While clicking the picture of kids, if their parents or elders are nearby, take permission from parents. It is not a crime but still, you should be careful as it is a matter of privacy and personal space.
Hopefully, you will follow all these laws and regulations during your visit to Mongolia. The people here are very welcoming and humble, but they are also very particular about certain norms and rules. So it is ideal to pay respect to their laws and be a good representative of your native land.