The city in which almost half of the country’s population lives, Ulaanbaatar is the cultural, economic and tourist center of Mongolia, without which not a single excursion program can do without visiting. Local residents willingly follow the traditions of their ancestors and at the same time are keenly interested in Western values: ancient Buddhist monasteries lurk among high-rise buildings, and the latest models of the automobile industry and undersized horses with modernly dressed young Mongols sitting on wooden saddles, hurrying to a traditional dinner, pass through the streets with the same frequency. in the yurts of their parents, which surround Ulaanbaatar in a dense ring. Tourists will find here a wide range of entertainment for every taste: if you want, explore religious monasteries and take pictures at the Buddha statues, if you want, light it up in a nightclub and shop “to the fullest” in boutiques – European and local, cashmere. The climate here is favorable at any time of the year: the Tuul-Gol River gives the city coolness in the summer heat, and four sacred mountains protect it from fierce winds.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Mongolia is 3.329 million (2021).
Among the personal belongings of the last emperor of Mongolia, Bogdykhan, exhibited in the Winter Palace, are a mantle made of 80 fox skins, golden boots – a gift from the Russian Tsar, and a yurt, which was created using 150 snow leopard skins.
How to get to Ulaanbaatar
Moscow and Ulaanbaatar are connected by direct flights of Aeroflot and Mongolian Airlines. Liners depart 5 times a week, the journey takes just over 6 hours. Buyant-Ukha-Genghis Khan Airport is located 18 km from the city. You can get to the center by taxi, the trip will cost from 90,000 MNT, or by bus route No. 11 and No. 22, the fare is 500 MNT. Prices on the page are for July 2022.
If you consider yourself a fan of rail travel, pay attention to the Moscow-Ulaanbaatar train, which starts twice a week from the Yaroslavsky railway station and arrives in the capital of Mongolia after 4 days and 5 hours. Among other things, it is convenient to arrive in Ulaanbaatar from the cities of the eastern part of Russia – there are direct flights, trains run, and buses regularly depart from nearby regions.
Transport in the city
You can move around the center of Ulaanbaatar on foot. The central thoroughfare of the Mongolian capital is Mira Avenue (Enkh-Taivny-Orgon), which runs through the entire city from east to west. Here are the best shops, restaurants and hotels. Prospekt Mira also approaches the main square of Sukhbaatar, where some of the sights of the capital are located.
For longer distances, you can use taxis and public transport – municipal buses, private minibuses, minibuses and trolleybuses. There are two types of taxis – the usual yellow coloring, most of which are not the newest cars, and modern, white ones, with a large LCD counter display. The fares are the same in both – 1000 MNT per kilometer. It will not be difficult to catch a “private trader” (many, by the way, are also equipped with counters) – for this you just need to raise your hand while standing on the side of the road. Of course, you need to exercise reasonable caution – women, in particular after dark, it is better to use the services of official taxis.
You can also rent a taxi with a driver for the whole day – it is recommended that you first estimate how much you “run over”: in practice, the contract price turns out to be higher than the amount that you would pay according to the meter, even with many hours of travel.
The bus network covers all areas of the city, the trip costs 500 MNT regardless of the distance. Trolleybuses are even cheaper, but they do not go everywhere. In everywhere scurrying minibuses, they ask for about 600 MNT for a fare, you need to inform the driver in advance about the desire to get off at the bus stop.
Ulaanbaatar is perhaps the only settlement in Mongolia where you can see “real” hotels – multi-storey buildings with private rooms and all amenities, including restaurants and Wi-Fi. In the rest of the country, travelers are offered to stay in yurt hotels – however, this does not at all reduce the comfort of their vacation – the service here is no worse than in hotels in the capital.
There are no more than 10 hotels in Ulaanbaatar, among the best are two “five”: Kempinski Khan Palace and the new Blue Sky on Sukhbaatar Square. The cost of living is about 150 and 160 USD, respectively. “Fours” will cost about 100-120 USD per night, and three-star establishments – 60-90 USD “from the nose”.
Cuisine and restaurants
In Ulaanbaatar, there are many inexpensive restaurants and cafes at every step, there is also a certain number of gourmet establishments. Among the popular gastronomic traditions are the “general” Central Asian and Mongolian, Korean, Chinese, European and Russian. A distinctive feature: the food, even in modest establishments, is certainly fresh and very tasty, although it is focused on Mongolian eaters who are accustomed to fatty meat food. The average bill in more presentable establishments will be 15,000-25,000 MNT, and pompous restaurants will ease the wallet by 25-35 USD per person.
Popular places of Mongolian cuisine: inexpensive BD’s Mongolian Barbeque, magnificent Taliin Mongol, democratic but high-quality Nomad Legends and City Nomads, as well as Khan Brau with its own brewery. Mongolian youth also like to visit the Khan Buz and Zohin Buz bistros – as you might guess from the name, to refresh themselves with buz dumplings.
5 things to do in Ulaanbaatar
- Take a picture at the monument to Genghis Khan on the central square of Sukhbaatar.
- Refresh yourself with a portion of national dumplings “buz” in a folk restaurant.
- Buy a Mongolian winter hat at the Naran-Tul Black Market.
- See the 26-meter statue of the Buddha of longevity, chock-full of medicinal herbs.
- Feel the “modest charm of the bourgeoisie” during a visit to the Winter Palace of the last emperor of Mongolia.