Ulaanbaatar Travel Guide
Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital and home to around a third of the entire population. It has experienced a major boom in the last 10 years driven mainly by the mining industry and has gone from being a sedate old soviet relic to a wild west boomtown of skyscrapers, traffic jams and pollution. It is not without charm however, although not necessarily everyones cup of tea! For most Trans-Siberian rail travellers the priority will be to get out of the city and into Mongolia’s stunning countryside where the pace of life is far more timeless.
Best Months to Visit Ulaanbaatar
Best Reason to Visit Ulaanbaatar
The city has some points of interest but should mainly be viewed as the start point for exploring Mongolia with the grasslands starting as soon as you leave the city proper.
Top Sights in Ulaanbaatar
★ Gandan Monastery – The city’s main monastery and one of the few that escaped much damage in the 1930s. Has an enormous sandalwood 25 meter high Buddha inside.
★ Sukhbaatar Square – The city’s main square featuring statues of the national heroes of Chinggis Khan and Sukhbaatar.
★ Naadam Festival – From the 11th to 13th July each year Ulaanbaatar hosts the main Naadam events around the city and at the stadium including horse racing, wrestling and archery competitions.
★ Choijin Lama Monastery – Now a museum containing 5 temples and 5,000 artefacts of varying quality and importance including the embalmed mummy of Choijin Lama’s teacher.
★ Natural History Museum – The place to come and see dinosaurs with Mongolia being one of the principal areas for such discoveries in the world. Also information on the more modern day flora and fauna of Mongolia.
★ Bogd Khan Museum – A palace built for Mongolia’s last Khan and now a museum containing many religious artefacts and some temples.
★ Zaisan Memorial – Popular spot for excellent views across the city and valley this stunning memorial was built to commemorate the Mongolian and Russian soldiers who fought alongside each other in the world wars.
Weather Averages for Ulaanbaatar
Top Ulaanbaatar Travel Tip from TSTC
If you just have a few days in Mongolia it is best to get out of the city as soon as possible and spend your time experiencing the Mongolian countryside by staying at a ger camp. However, if on a longer trip a final night in Ulaanbaatar will give you some of the creature comforts not found in the camps.
TSTC's Hand-Picked Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar
In the city itself our standard option is the venerable Bayangol Hotel which has an excellent central location just south of the main square. If you are looking for more comfort the Hotel Blue Sky Tower is the best option in the city. However, we do stress that the real experience on offer in Mongolia are nights in a Mongolian ger and for a short stay we recommend Elstei Ger Camp about 50 km out of the city and offering a superb grassland experience that Mongolia is all about.
Elstei offers a comfortable and authentic experience that is for many a highlight of a Trans-Siberian trip. Click here to learn more about Mongolian Gers.
By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.