So how does one go about planning a trip to Mongolia?
First things first, Mongolia is a huge country.
Second, the ease of travel is, let's say, on the lower spectrum.
Most common itineraries include the Gorkhi-Terelij National Park nearby, Gobi Desert, Old Karakorum city tours, Orkhon Valley and some horseback tours in the nearby countryside– all excursions close to the capital Ulanbaataar. The more ambitious travellers head straight to the west for the Golden Eagle hunters or hiking in the gorgeous Altai Mountains.
Now as a solo traveller, travelling in Mongolia is downright brutal. To go anywhere, since public transportation is non existent and as is a reliable road network, one will need to hire a 4x4 vehicle and a guide, which easily adds up to hundreds of dollars for even a small 3-4 day trip. What most people do is hang out in hostels and join fellow travellers to form groups, hire vehicles and head out on one of the popular excursions ex-Ulanbaataar. But this means your options are severely limited if you want to go somewhere not on the usual tourist circuit.
So even though Mongolia was the first country I was visiting, that too all by myself in a country where solo travel is neither affordable nor practical, I was hellbent on not doing the usual sightseeing. I wanted to go offbeat, travel far and wide. That's how I came to zero in on Overlanding as the most suitable option that met my needs. Over three weeks, we covered vast parts of central and northern Mongolia, otherwise literally not possible on my own for the amount of money I paid (about 3000USD), and ended up seeing a wide variety of landscapes and places across the country. The only disadvantage of Overlanding was that it became really hard to have authentic local interactions as travelling in a huge group of travellers isn't the ideal icebreaker if you want to make genuine local connections. But we lose some and gain some. In this case, the pros far outweighed the cons.