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The ultimate Packing List for Mongolia & Central Asia

The ultimate Packing List for Mongolia & Central Asia

Ati 3 hours ago
By Ati | Saturday 1 February, 2020 1 February, 2020
Kazakhstan tours guides


While planning your trip the big question of what to pack always pops up at some point. The golden rule, as always, is not to pack too much but just enough to have everything. The difficulty to pack for Central Asia is the different seasons. Since most travelers visit this area in May until October, we will focus on the packing list for the summer season. The summers in Central Asia can be quite hot so be prepared for some sweating. However, the evenings in the mountains can be a bit chilly. Here are your recommendations for essentials.


  • Good hiking shoes: You will need them for trekking in the Kazakh and Kyrgyz mountains
  • Sneakers: These are more comfortable to walk around in the cities
  • Flip flops: Good for the really hot days, for walking in cities and walking around in hostels or to shower

Clothes (besides the obvious)

  • Wind and waterproof jacket or/and a thin down jacket: good for the mountains and colder evenings and they don’t need much space
  • Light trekking pants: if you plan to do a lot of trekking, bring two or three pairs
  • Comfortable pants and sweaters: for the long bus rides
  • Tracksuit: for hanging around hostels or guesthouses
  • Swim shorts or bikini: for lakes or pools


  • A good camera: Central Asia & Mongolia are a paradise for photographers
  • Sleeping bag: it doesn’t have to be the warmest one but in the mountains, you never know if it gets cold. Even at some homestays or yurts in the mountains, you might find a sleeping bag comfortable
  • Silk travel liner: if you don’t bring a real sleeping bag at least bring a liner because some hotels/hostels don’t provide top linen
  • Wet towels: going on the toilet on the road can be a bit of a challenge and toilet paper is usually not available
  • Microfiber towel: it doesn’t need much space and some homestays don’t provide towels
  • Travel washing powder: there are not many laundry services so you might have to do some hand washing
  • Muscle relax cream: maybe you’ll need it after a long horseback riding
  • Phone case: to protect your phone while traveling on dusty roads
  • Portable (solar) charger: to charge all your devices on the road
  • Multiplug: some hotels/hostels only have one plugin the rooms
  • Swiss army knife: for cutting, fixing, etc.
  • Hat: for the strong sun in summer and a warmer version for the cold wind up in the mountains
  • Gloves: if it gets cold up in the mountains
  • Sunglasses (spare sunglasses), Sunscreen: again the sun is really strong
  • Lighter: for making fires or just in case you need it
  • Head torch: for walks at night to the toilet at homestays or yurts
  • First aid kit: for scratches, wounds, etc.
  • Sewing kit: for holes in your clothes
  • Hand sanitizer: after the toilet
  • Daily contact lenses: buying those there is not easy
  • Water bottle: to refill water 
  • Insect repellent: in summer there can be mosquitos
  • (Small) Gifts: for locals from your home country
  • Binoculars: for spotting the wildlife
  • Earplugs and eye mask: for the light sleepers
  • Sleeping mat: if you plan to sleep in tents
  • Day backpack: for day trips 
  • Padlocks: for lockers in hostels

Essentials especially for women

Turkmenistan and some parts of Uzbekistan are a bit more conservative than Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. But you don’t have to be fully covered. In general, the big cities like Astana, Almaty, and Bishkek are very liberal. You will find lots of stylish and sexy dressed women around. If you plan to stay longer in the cities and go out partying, you might want to pack some nice dresses, skirts, and some heels. If your plan is to go mostly to the countryside and stay at homestays in rural villages, it is advised to show not too much skin otherwise you might feel uncomfortable.

Here is what we would bring:

  • Long scarf: It doesn’t only keep you warm on chilly nights, it is also good to cover your head if you are visiting mosques
  • Long maxi or midi skirts: For the hot summer days the long skirts are perfect
  • Short dresses or skirts: It is good to have them for a night out in a city
  • Shirts with sleeves that cover your shoulders: If you are in more conservative areas, these are good to wear
  • Harem pants: Very comfortable on hot days and always a good option
  • Leggings: Good to wear underneath longer shirts or skirts
  • Jeans or check shirt: Good to wear over tank tops and not too hot
  • Thank tops and shorts: In most areas thank tops and shorts are ok but in some regions, you might be the top attraction when wearing them
  • Tampons - if necessary

What is your most essential item? What would you add to this list?

Photo: Di Sica Ray

Comments (4)



4 years ago

Sunglasses/spare sunglasses; lighter(s)/knife; good camera.

Gifts for locals - small portable things.

Snuff in small round tins.

One or two photos of home.



4 years ago

Thanks Rob, we’ll add your items to the list.



4 years ago

We have found that wind-up flashlights are appreciated everywhere. A universal gift for both men and women with no up keep cost. 



3 years ago