I don't really understand Tourist Visas... Yes, I get that communist countries and paranoid leaders want to know who is visiting their countries. I get that.
What I don't get is the exorbitant prices. Tourism means disposable income to be spent in your country. The Mongolian visa is over $200 but they are the 124th poorest country in the world (out of 182 ranked), that is 2 spots above Sudan. So why would they discourage visitors and their US moolah by making visas so expensive?
Of course, I'm paying it, because the vast Gobi is in between my two major destinations - Russia and China. But I have been known to skip countries because of their visa costs - I have wanted to go to Mauritania on three separate occasions, but a $180 visa for 5 days is just too much, WAY too much to visit a country where every single building is made from sand.
But - it's done. Passport sent away. I don't know how I'm going to manage staying in the country for the next 2 months, but I'll try.