Ulaanbaatar (Улаанбаатар) , also Ulan Bator or simply just UB, is the capital and, with a population of around 1,200,000, also the largest city in Mongolia.
Ulaanbaatar has a long history, and is only now undergoing an industrial revolution. UB is one of the most drab looking cities on the face of the planet, a travesty really, considering it's the capital of one the most beautiful and hospitable countries on earth. Still, as traditionalists, Mongolians love their capital. They understand that it is not an Asian beauty, but in their hearts they are aware of the city's history, culture and many struggles. Foreigners who take the time to get to know the faces that are hidden behind the gray walls will discover a hospitable and warm-hearted people. Explore the city from different angles, while at the same time do not ignore the abject poverty of many of the ex-nomads who in recent years have come to the city to find work after severe winters have killed their livestock. In this way, you will learn to unlock the city's many secrets and discover an Ulaanbaatar that is not initially revealed to the casual visitor.
Although summer temperatures are around 20°C, the city shivers in sub-zero temperatures for five months of the year, with January and February being the coldest months with temps hovering between -15°C to -30°C. As a result of these prolonged periods of intense cold, the city has an average annual temperature of -1.3°C, giving it the dubious distinction of being the world's coldest capital.
Peace Avenue (Enkh Taivny Örgön Chölöö) is the main street and it stretches from east to west through the center. It's the main shopping street and many of the restaurants are along it. The street also passes by the southern edge of the central square, Sükhbaatar Square. Tourist information office is located in the south flank of the Town-hall in the western corner of Suhbaatar square.
If you have breathing problems be aware that Ulaanbaatar has high levels of Air Pollution , But the countryside air away from the cities is gorgeous.
The majority of visitors arrive in Mongolia through Chinggis Khaan International Airport (IATA: ULN), which is located 18 km to the southwest of Ulaanbaatar. Many locals still call the airport by its old name "Bouyant Uka". The airport was reconstructed in 1990, and the immigration, customs formalities and luggage delivery are relatively efficient.
Direct (but long) journeys are possible from Moscow, Russia and Beijing, China on the Trans-Mongolian line of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Trains also run to the Chinese border towns of Erlian and Jining 3-4 times a week. There's also a daily train to/from Irkutsk in Russia, which can also be reached from Vladivostok at the eastern end of the Trans-Siberian.
Trains from Beijing run once a week (on Tuesdays) and seats can only be reserved at the International Hotel in Beijing (a ten minute walk north of the main Beijing rail station). The journey takes about 30 hours. Packing a face mask might be a good idea as sandstorms in the Gobi desert may cause difficulty in breathing.
As there are barely any paved roads in Mongolia, the few ones that exist, lead to Ulaanbaatar. Navigating in Mongolia on a paved road is very easy because you just have to follow that ONE road (compared to driving on tracks, where there are hundreds of possibilities...).
Coming from the north the paved road starts at the Russian Border.
Coming from the south (the Gobi) the paved road starts at Choir.
Coming from the north-east the paved road starts at Bulgan .
Once in the country, it should not be difficult to find a bus going to UB, at least from larger towns. However, bus stops are difficult to locate, with buses usually just stopping in populated areas. Furthermore, Mongolian buses are notorious for being late and on some routes for not even arriving on the scheduled day.
Domestic buses usually go to Dragon Center (СХД18-р хороо, 18072 Улаанбаатар), Teevriin Tovchoo (near Main Railway Station ) and the eastern bus station near the Botanical Gardens (the Gardens are completely destroyed, but the location is well known to the locals).
Taxis are cheap, charging around T700 per kilometer, but a foreigner will get overcharged easily. A ride from the airport to the city center should cost you no more than T15,000, but most drivers will try to charge you a minimum of T20,000. You may get a better and more reliable deal by seeking out older drivers in their own cars, rather than the official yellow cabs, now there are new white cabs with large square meter LCD on the dash. Younger drivers can sometimes get extremely opportunistic and try to hold you or your luggage at ransom until you pay them extraordinary amounts of money. Always negotiate the fare in advance and don't be fooled by tricks like "I meant 3,000 for each of you."
Tip: carry a small memo of MNT amounts (500 MNT, 1000 MNT, 1500 MNT etc) and show them exactly what you are willing to pay before you get on.
Buses are regular and have a fixed charge of T400. Electric trolley-buses cost T200 but are slower and run fewer routes. Smaller buses (really just vans), called micro-bus, are equally accessible at T300-500. These have someone who hangs out the window at each stop shouting the name of the destination in rapid Mongolian. A bit hard to understand.
Many of the city buses go out to the edge of the city. Route 22, goes southwest to the Bird Farm along the Tuul River. Catch the bus at the Ard Cinema bus stop, the Cinema has been replaced by an Anod Bank. This bus stop is located on Bagatoiruu Street, from the central Post Office walk west along Peace Ave. At the intersect with the traffic lights, cross the street and turn right (north) half a block and you will reach a small square with the bus stop.
Bus #11 and #22 go to the Airport.
As in any city, be wary of pick pockets on the buses, especially when the buses are packed.
Walking is also an option as the city center is quite compact. Having only one main Avenue, Ulaanbaatar stretches from east to west and it's also easy to draw a mental map. but getting around ger districts can be puzzling. Get a good city map at the Mongolian Government Map shop. Located on Ih Toiruu Street. West from the State Department Store three blocks, the first intersection with traffic lights, turn right (North) about one half block, on the east side of the street you will see a yellow and blue Elba Appliance store, the Map Shop is behind and inline with the North wall of the Elba.
But purchasing map from the airport would help save you a lot of time.
finding specific places or offices by address is quite challenging because locals will usually tell you the places by nearest landmarks such as West Junction (supposed to be Undsen Huuliin gudamj) and Urt Tsagaan (which is Tourist Street1) and along the department store (Peace avenue) sometimes locals will not know any better than you as they too never seen some street names put on the streets. specially when you buy guide books, look for books with pictures printed so that it would help you ask locals about places rather than only showing written addresses with postal codes.
Gandan Khiid Monastery
Note that most tourist sites have a separate camera/video fee (typically T5000-10000) in addition to the entrance fee.
Gandan Monastery (Gandantegchinlen Khiid). The main monastery in the city has services around 10AM every morning. It is one of the few monasteries in the country that escaped the communist purges during the 1930s. Entrance T3500.
Choijin Lama Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Chingeltrei district, Left of Central Library, . 10.00am-17.00pm. Choijing Lama Temple Museum is a unique showcase of religious art and the history of Buddism in Mongolia. This museum is a gem of the historical and cultural heritage of the previous century. The monastery was active until 1938. According to the degree of the Peoples Khural, November 1941, the monastery was included in the list of historical and cultural monuments and was taken charge by the Committee of sciences in 1942. It was then turned into a museum. The museum is an ensemble of Buddhist architecture and consists of 5 temples and 5 arched gates. In the main temple there is the sculpture of Choijing Lama and the embalmed mummy of his teacher. It also contains the great coral mask of Begtse, created under the direction of protectors using over 6000 pieces of coral. Yadam temple and Amgalan temple contain rare artifacts made by the famous Mongolian artist and sculptor, Zanabazar. In total the museum has over 5000 items out of which 12 are unique and 200 are particularly valuable. adult – 2500T.
Natural History Museum, Ulaanbaatar. Behind of the Government house. 10AM-5.30PM, last admission 4.30PM. When the first national museum was established in Mongolia in 1924, the base of natural historical museum was found by consisting the principal sections of the exhibitions with the choicest exhibitions of Mongolian Nature. When the national central museum was located in present location in 1956, it has been enriching its exhibitions and expanded as a big natural department, which has various kinds of geographical, flora, fauna and paleontological exhibits. The government Resolution, which to classify the museums in different fields like as the developed countries, was passed and the national central museum was abolished in 1991. Since 1992, a new museum was established in the place of national central museum with the purpose of being the leader natural central museum for the further development, getting foreigners enjoyed in international level, showing the geological history such as locations of planets and earth establishment and formations and show the biology characteristics of earth central zone and named as Museum of Natural History. Natural history involves historical process of 4.7 milliard years of that is very long term from the origin of the world until the origin of plant, animal and human. Thus our museum shows the briefness of these events by exhibitions and contributes knowledge to peoples mind. The museum consists of: - Mongolian geography, ancient volcanoes, stones from the volcanoes - Earth origin, planet studying meteorites - Geological history, useful resources, minerals - Ancient and contemporary botany - Land fauna /mammals, birds, fishes, insects, reptiles, amphibious/ - Very ancient plant and animals /paleontology/ - Human origin Museum colleagues always enrich their treasures, exhibitions, renovate the exhibition halls and improve the museum settlement so that the museum became a big museum, which has the capable to attract foreign and domestic visitors. The museum is one of the big museum of Mongolia that has the 40 halls with 2700 square meters, 12000 exhibits and more than over 50 thousand visitors visit to the museum each year and exhibition marshrut lasts about 1.5-2.0 hours. The museum is studying and advertising museum, which introduces natural history, its appearance movements and developments to the audiences by theoretical and objects researching.Admission T5000.
Sükhbaatar Square, (Sukhbaatar Square). The big open space in the center of the city with an equestrian statue of the 1921 hero Sükhbaatar, and seated statue of Chinggis Khan and their 9 heroes (Urlugs).
Bogd Kahn Museum, Khan-Uul district, Chinggis avenue Bogdo khan palace museum Ulaanbaatar. This palace known as The green palace was built between 1893-1903 during 10 years by Mongolian masters and dedicated to the YIII Bogdo gegeen, the head of lamaist religion & last khan of Mongolia.In 1911 there was formed The Bogdo khan state and the YIII Bogdo gegeen assumed political authority over Mongolia as the Bogdo khan or "Holy King" and continued to govern as a constitutional monarch from the time of the Mongolian People's Revolution in 1921 until his dearth of illness in 1924. After Bogdo khan dearth in 1924 it was turned into museum Bogdo khan palace was founded as the first National historical museum of Mongolia. In 1954 was founded The state central museum and the Bogdo khan palace museum became the branch museum. Since 2000 the museum is activiting as Bogdo khan palace museum.Now the Bogd khan palace museum consists of seven Summer Prayer temples and the winter palace. The collections of the museum include unique and valuable objects related to Mongolia's political, religious, and artistic history from the 17 to early 20-th centuries: bronze castings, silk paintings, mineral paintings, and paper icons made by well-known artists and artisans of the period, among others the first Bogdo Javzundamba Zanabazar and his school; as well as objects owned and used by the YIII Bogdo Javzundamba and his wife queen Dondogdulam, including royal clothing and equipment, gifts from domestic and foreign guests or representatives, and items purchased by the king for his own diversion. The collection of the museum is consists of a great number of original objects and works of art from the Bogdo khan palace and is divided into 12 parts: sculpture, scrolls paintings/thangka/, applique, wood carving, religious objects, clothes, furniture, decorative arts, collection of stuffed animal, special collection, support collection and architecture.. Also all exhibits is divided into: high level category, valuable category and original category. Nowadays we have 68 exhibits of high level category and 23 exhibits of valuable category. The number of these categories will be increasing. Exhibits of high level category includes gilded bronze sculptures made by the famous master Zanabazar and school of Zanabazar, thangka paintings from the XIX-XX centuries, the painting shown the capital city of Mongolia 1912 made by Jugder, original paintings made by founder of Mongolian modern painting B.Sharav and expensive clothes of khan and queen. Admission T2500.
Zaisan Memorial. A huge communist-era monument located on a hill near the city. It represents the Russian and Mongolian heroes who fought together during WWI and WWII. Nowadays it is a popular viewpoint where you can see over the whole city. There's also a huge buddhist statue at the bottom.
International intellectual museum, Ulaanbaatar, Bayanzurkh district,in front of East Center, Mongolia.. From Monday-Saturday 10.00 am-18.00pm. The museum’s collection includes many Mongolian puzzle toys and world famous, rare and precious exhibits. The museum is a manufacturer of Mongolian puzzle toys, logic games, hand crafted products and souvenirs and it exports most of its products abroad. The museum has exhibited over 80 international exhibitions and fairs in 50 countries.Adult-2000 tug, Children-500tug.
Akshobhya by Zanabazar
The Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts, Ulaanbaatar, Chingeltrei district, Barilgachdin Square (Two blocks west of the Government House). 10-6. The collection includes items from the Stone Age to 20th C. Particularly interesting is the collection of Buddhist art beginning in the 17th Century.$3.
UB City Guide, . Provides a full-range of one-day tours in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Having lived overseas, the guides are fluent in both Mongolian and English can also relate the differences and similarities in culture, demographics, consumer behavior, political climate, and climate change impact in Mongolia.
Attend Naadam - the largest and most famous festival in Mongolia, which consists of competitions in the three traditional Mongolian sports of wrestling, horse racing and archery. The festival is an annual event and runs from July 11th to 13th.
Take a walk to Zaizan Memorial.
Get an inexpensive massage at one of the many massage spas located on Peace Avenue
International intellectual museum, Ulaanbaatar, Bayanzurkh district,in front of East Center, Mongolia.. 10.00 am-18.00pm .. The museum’s collection includes many Mongolian puzzle toys and world famous, rare and precious exhibits. The museum is a manufacturer of Mongolian puzzle toys, logic games, hand crafted products and souvenirs and it exports most of its products abroad. The museum has exhibited over 80 international exhibitions and fairs in 50 countries.Adult-2000 tug,.
Hike in the Bodgkhan Uul Strictly Protected Area in the mountains just south of UB, South of Zaisan Memorial (South of Zaisan Memorial, Take the #7 or #33 bus from the Bayangol Hotel). The Mountain ridge south of UB, Take the #7, #33 or #43 bus from in front of the Bayangol Hotel going south. Go to the end of the line. The road continues south about 100 meters to the West of the bus stop. After about 1 km, you will come to the Bogdkhan Resort, which is a combination night club and ger camp. Enter the resort and hike downhill (not up to the night club) until you reach a parking lot. There is an office with a sign that says "24 Hour Reception". Check in and pay the fee. Cross the footbridge, and follow the path along the small stream flowing North, the path starts on the left (east) side of the stream. At the top, branch to the west and you will come to a high point maybe 500 meters through the woods. This will take about 2 to 3 hours of easy walking. From where you branch west, you can go straight and slightly east and follow the path to Bogd Uul Mountain, The path here is marked with orange paint marks on the trees. This trip is quite long with another down and up section, about 10km each way. USD3.
Look around the Naran Tuul (AKA Black Market): you pay 50 MNT to get in but it is an interesting place and you can get great deals. They sell pets, souvenirs, cloth, shoes, socks, meat, fruits etc. Some people claim it is dangerous but outside of a few pick pockets (like in all large markets) it seemed quite safe.
Sky Resort, (13km from the city centre, go south to Zaisan, then east along river, past the President's Residence), ☎ 976-11 320345, . 8am - 11pm. Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, lifts, equipment rental, Ski/Snowboard school, restaurant. Free bus leaves from the Drama center (next to the Grand Khan Irish Pub) weekends 8,8:30,10,11,12,14,17:30,18,19:30; weekdays 8:30,12,17,18,19. Check schedule to verify bus times.(47 52.676N,107 2.663E)
Sky Skiing Resort
Mountain Biking - Bikes can be rented in town if you have not brought your own. Head into the hills directly to the south of the city (just south of the bike shops) for some great trails and excellent views of the city.
Mongolian - there are several language schools in the city.
The Mongolian National University, (Northeast of the Government House.), . International programs
The American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS), (Located on the 3rd floor of Building #5 of the Mongolian National University), . Internet access, study room, library of Mongolian related material
Volunteer. Work is available for overseas visitors in the volunteer sector.
English. Teaching English as a second language is an option for native English speakers. Mostly positions are in Ulaanbaatar, though they could be anywhere in the country. Those who find a teaching position after arriving in the country will need to travel to Seoul or Beijing to apply for a working visa. The school may or may not pay for this.
UB has a host of souvenir shops aimed at Korean/Japanese and European/American tourists. While the quality of the goods varies, the price is always high, and haggling is discouraged. You'll likely just get a discount of 10-15%.
Traditional clothes, boots and hats, cashmere garments, jewelery, leather wall hangings, miniature gers, bow and arrow sets and paintings.
Peace Avenue and the Circus area are the main shopping areas.
The 5th floor of the State Department Store has a section with souvenir paintings, but prices are higher than in some of the smaller stores.
The Naran Tuul (AKA Black Market), known to locals simply as zach (зах), is the place to haggle over cheap clothes, toys, swords or soviet propaganda pins. Only take a minimum of cash with you in a money belt or inner jacket pocket and leave all valuables at your accommodation, as pickpockets are common here. It's a 10 minute bus or taxi ride from the city center. Don't expect a tourist market though. This is a huge open air market for locals to primarily buy clothing. Difficult to locate items of interest to tourists.
How to get cash
Tellers at the Golomt Bank can give up to USD500 per day cash advance on Mastercard and Visa.
The only ATM machine to accept CIRRUS cards is the one at the airport.
It is relatively easy to find an ATM with a VISA logo to withdraw cash. As long as your ATM, debit or credit card has the VISA logo, you can withdraw tögrög, the local currency. Other card types are also accepted, simply not as widely, for example, the machines in the central Post Office and main street will not accept foreign MasterCards although they bear the logo. The machines in Golomt Bank branches are more reliable. Also on the 2nd floor of the State Department Store you can find on ATM accepting foreign cards. The more expensive shops take credit cards, but almost everywhere else runs strictly on cash. Note that most credit card companies will pass on the 3% "foreign currency conversion fee" to you.
There are many exchange offices in the center along Peace Avenue to change your currency into tugrugs. One is on the ground floor of the State Department Store. Better rates are at the Exchange Center on the second floor of the Flower Center. The Flower Center is located on Peace Ave. one block west of the Post Office. At the corner with traffic lights between the Post Office and State Department Store. Large Hotels like the Ulaanbaatar Hotel one block east of Sükhbaatar Square will exchange money 24/7 at the reception, which may be your only option if you arrive very late in the day.
Librairie Papillon. If you want to find very high quality books about Mongolia or the Mongolian language in European languages (French and English mostly) this place has a very large selection. They are located on University Ave, just past the main Mongolian National University building. The atmosphere is very nice, and is almost like taking a little break from Mongolia and entering France. They also have a large selection of European language classics if you would like reading material for your journey.
Mike's Bookstore, (South of the Bayangol Hotel, West of the New Building), . See their website for details. They sell many used books and sometimes buy books, there is a buyback policy.Mostly English books, but some in other languages
Nobody travels to Mongolia for the food, but Ulaanbaatar has a good range of Western, Asian and Mongolian options. No other city this side of Beijing has close to a comparable selection. Even better, meals here are quite reasonable. You can get perfectly reasonable pizza for $3, even a night out at a fancy French cafe shouldn't pass $20. Consider splurging on a couple good meals here, especially if headed out for a long trek into the country. Be aware that fresh vegetables, especially in winter, are hard to come by and expensive.
Korean (solongos khoolnee gazar) and Chinese restaurants dominate the city. As Asian restaurants in America tend to tailor their menu to the American palate, so in Ulaanbaatar do the East Asian restaurants tailor their menu to the Central Asian palate.
Turning Point Cafe, Tserendorj Street, 4th Khoroo, 97611 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, ☎ 7011 9940. Conveniently located Jazz-theme restaurant and bar featuring modern decor, international cuisine, wide range of alcoholic beverages and cocktails, piped music and regular live entertainment.
Throughout Ulaanbaatar are many small Гуанз and Цайны Газар's. Try one of these for cheap Mongolian food. Buuz usually costs from 350 to 400 Togrog. Most universities have a good cafeteria for cheap eats starting from 1800 MNT (1.2 USD) ~ 2500 MNT (1.5 USD). Mongolian National University and Mongolian University of Science and Technology (both near the North East block from the Parliament Building) have good cafeterias. All university cafeterias have nutritionists so at least you know you are getting all the basic nutrients when you eat there.
Papa Cafe, Peace Ave (Go east from the British Embassy to 2nd building, next to a parking lot. Name in the right side of the second floor window. Entrance in the back or northside.), ☎ 11461687 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 10 to 9. Free wifi, burgers, chicken burgers, expresso and bakery goods. Most entrees under US$5. Closed Sunday.under $5. (N47 55.153,E106 56.506)
Ba Shu 888, (On Peace Avenue adjacent to and east of the State Department Store). A Chinese-Mongolian restaurant. Good sized portions and inexpensive eating.
Gerel Ayalguu Vegetarian, Building 28 (Go west from the State Department Store to the first traffic light, Hope Dental Clinic is on the NW corner, turn right, it is on the corner of the small street that comes from the east, about 50m north of Peace ave.), ☎ 88145959. 10am - 7pm; closed Sunday. Vegetarian, salads & soupsunder $3. (N47 54.973,E106 53.931)
My Homemade Khushur, (On Peace Avenue near the State Department Store). Serves a favorite Mongolian dish, mutton fried in dough. One khushur is 500T, and three is a pretty adequate meal.
Stupa Cafe, (Across the street from the Zanbazar Fine Arts Museum in the center of the city). 10am to 8pm daily. Vegetarian dishes vary daily, coffee, tea and traditional Mongolian drinks, fresh cakes. There is a large white stupa in the front yard.under $4 (probably higher now).
Cola and Kabab, (On the Southwest corner of the square in front of the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum). 10am to 8pm daily. Two versions of a meat pita bread sandwich, meat grilled Turkish style on a vertical rotisserie, meat with tomato and lettuce and some sauceunder $4.
Русское Бистро Избушка (Russian Bistro Izbushka), (On the Northeast corner of the square in front of the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum). 10am-8pm. Small Russian restaurant, various dishes, Piroshki (small pies with meat or vegetarian filling).USD5.
The Food Court at the State Department Store, Peace Ave (6th floor of the State Department Store). 9 to 9. 5 kiosks with Mongolian, Asian, Chicken and Hamburgers. Hamburger with tomato and lettuce $1.70. This is self serve. Mostly local Mongolians.$4.
Luna Blanca (Vegan Food), (Close to Sukhbaatar Square, and the Asashoryu Garden, opposite of the Mongolian Intelligence Agency), ☎ 976-99251131, 55159651, 98209894, 976-11-327172 (email@example.com), . 11:00-20:00. Food is quite pricy, but very good quality. They also sell some ingredients, vegan sausages, etc.Around 4.000T.
American Ger'll, (right across the Peace Bridge on the right). American-style, thick crust pizza. The large pizza will feed 5-6 people for about US$20. They also have an extensive foreign menu, including good coffee drinks. You should get there early, because this place is a favorite among Mongolians and expats alike.
City Cafe, (across the street from Sukhbaatar Square). Great food and location, wonderful staff. Malaysian/Chinese food.
California Restaurant, (on Seoul Street not far from the State Department store). Extensive foreign and Mongolian menu. Beautifully decorated. It's a bit small, but in the summer there is additional outside seating. Reservations are advised.
El Latino Restaurant, (On Peace Ave, just 50m east from the State Department Store), ☎ 99282459 (fax: 976-11-327503). 11 AM - 10 PM. Latin-American, Spanish and Mongolian dishes complemented by Spanish wines, tropical cocktails, coffee, beer, since 1999.3 to 5 USD. (47 54.852,106 56.318)
Ko-hyang-shik-dang, (next to Metro Mall there is a BBQ chicken and facing that second restaurant on your left). Korean food.6000 MNT ~ 7000 MNT.
Millie's Espresso, (West side of the Choijin Lama Monastry), ☎ 330338. 8am-8pm. Good selection of American style cafe food with some vegetarian, coffee, Free WiFi. At lunch you will find this place full of Expats enjoying the steak sandwiches and burgers. Also does breakfast. $10. (N47 54.860,E106 55.074)
bd's Mongolian BBQ, (Sukhbaatar District, Seoul street – 9, in the right side of Ayanchin Outfitters). 12pm. The first US franchise restaurant and it offers a lively interactive and celebratory atmosphere. The food is cooked to a very high standard and works as an interactive buffet: diners select ingredients from an open buffet and give it to the grillers who cook it up on a Historical Mongolian Style grill and add a dash of one of the many, tasty chef’s own sauces. All ingredients are sourced locally and the menu reflects the franchise’s BD’s Mongolian Barbeque moniker. Its unlimited “Create Your Own Stir-fry”, features fresh vegetables, meats, sauces and spices. One bowl is approximately $7.50 and all-you-can-eat is approximately $13.50. Check your bill before you pay because guests are charged for all-you-can-eat unless specified otherwise.
Sansar Asian Food (Cancap Azi Xool), Ikh Tooyruu St (From the East Crossroad, North past the Kempinski Hotel, on the East side of the street, about 400 meters), ☎ 88080005. 24 hours. $10.
Slice of Heaven, Bubbling Springs Building, Bayanzurkh Dist, 13th section (going East on Peace Ave. Turn right on the East side of the Wrestling Palace,south several blocks the road will turn left, continue to brick building on right, about 3 blocks, turn right, 1 block turn right again, the Bubbling Spring Building is the 2nd on the right, the American store is in front), ☎ 99851217 (Joelharris98@hotmail.com). 8:30 - 4. Omelets, Hamburgers British style$8. (47 54.852,106 56.318)
Nayra Cafe, 35-1 Tourist Street (2 blocks west of the Government House), ☎ 317098, . 8am. Good pizza and sandwiches, good coffee, Free WiFi.Under $6.
Chinggis Club, Sukhbaatar St. 10 (On the street that passes on the west side of Sukhbaatar Square, from Sukhbaatar Square go north past the second traffic light, on your left about 40m north of the intersection.), . 10-24. Co-located with the Chinggis Brewery, German style cooking and beer. Their own locally brewed light and dark beer on tap.USD10.
Hishig Mongol 2 (Khshig Mongol 2), 10th District, 46th Building (On Peace Ave, several km west of the Department store, near the 3rd hospital), ☎ 70180585. A Mongolian restaurant, no foreign language menu or staff, if you want to experience modern Mongolia cuisine this is the place. Roasted Sheep head, roasted ribs, buuz, dried meat soup. USD6 - 10.
Budweiser Bar, (Across from the NW corner of Suhbaatar Square). Fish and chips, steak, English breakfast.USD6-10.
Venus Cafe (Malaysian Restaurant), (From the State Department Store East 2 short blocks, small street just past the bus stop, turn north (left), go straight about 200m, on the left a few doors past the French Bakery), ☎ 11327496. lunch, dinner. Malaysian food, hot curries, masala, roti, chicken, be sure to tell your spice level, lunch set menu US$5.US$10. (N47 55.057,E106 54.606)
Los Bandidos. Mexican-Indian fusion food sounds terrible until you taste the spicy chicken masala or crispy taquitos. They are at a new location not far from Sukhbaatar Square. The prices are higher now, but the atmosphere has improved and most main dishes are still in the $7-10 range.
Sakura Restaurant - on the second floor of the Kempinski hotel. The meals are prepared by a Japanese chef. Highly appreciated by Japanese.
Nomads. Excellent variety and quality for both locals and tourists. Good, clean toilets, an added bonus.
Nightlife in Ulaanbaatar is surprisingly wild, but is best not experienced alone — try to get a local to join you. Most of the night clubs play Trance, Techno, Electronic and House music, few clubs play hip hop music. The small clubs in the 3rd district and the Sansar micro district are best avoided. Be sure to apologize if you hit someone or step on their feet accidentally, because some Mongolians can be offended by it.
Beer in clubs costs about 3500 tögrög ($3), other drinks such as vodka depend on measurements, for example a 100g Vodka costs about 4500 tögrög($4) The club life is very active on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On Fridays it is very hard to find a seat in a club. According to state law all clubs and pubs (bars) must be closed after midnight, but some clubs run until 4 o'clock in the morning. Never go alone in the dark, especially on Fridays. Also never walk by yourself when you are drunk, or you may be arrested and end up in the drunk tank, not a pleasant place to be.
Ikh Mongol is a cavernous club just south of the State Department Store. Choose between the main dining area, the fancy VIP upstairs, or secluded tables in the back. Most weekends have concerts from Mongolian acts. The restaurant brews several beers on tap, or get some of the more popular Mongolian brands for around T2000 a half-liter.
Metropolis is the most popular night club with young affluent Mongolians. Plan to pay between 5,000 and 10,000 cover to get it. The club is located adjacent to the Sky Shopping center, behind Chinggis Hotel.
Mass is the newest hotspot, located in the 3rd/4th microdistrict. Expect a younger crowd here with the doors usually closing well past 3am.
Strings is a somewhat notorious club frequented by foreigners. It is very popular with Korean and other east-asian businessmen.
You can also find some nice pubs in the capital.
Brauhaus goes for a German brewhouse look and succeeds. This bar is big but usually not noisy. It serves X Beer, a quite tasty local brew. Half-liters run around T2,500.
Dublin Irish Pub
Grand Khaan Irish Pub
Hazara North Indian Restaurant, (behind the wrestling palace on the corner of Peace Street and Tokyo Street), ☎ 9919 5007. noon to 10 pm. English speaking staff, great "jewel korma."under $10.
Le Bistrot Francais, University Street, . Le seul véritable restaurant français d'Ulaanbaatar. On se croirait dans un restaurant parisien. The only french restaurant in Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy a pastis and have a nice dinner.
Nowadays, budget accommodation in Ulaanbaatar tends to give the best deals for a traveller. Usually a bed in a clean dormitory costs about $5-10 and a double room should be under $30 a night. Good mid-range options are sparse. Note that during the annual Naadam festival it is almost impossible to get any kind of accommodation in UB without prior reservations.
Budget private rooms are often located in rented apartments in complexes away from the main guesthouse. Guesthouses rent these from nomadic families during the summer peak season and return them when the family return to the city for the winter months. Dark and dirty stairwells are the norm in Ulaanbaatar.
LG Guesthouse #1 and #2, (1) Across the street from the train station (2) South of State Department Store on Seoul Street. Clean, free Internet, water provided, simple breakfast of a fried egg and toast included $8 for a dorm.
It's possible to spend your night in a Ger, even in Ulaanbataar - here it's inside the rooftop Ger's of Gana's guesthouse
Lotus Guesthouse, Apt 15, 2nd floor, Entrance 2 Baga Toyruu St. (From Sukhbaatar Square westside, north past Government House, Left at the large intersection, 1 block to traffic light turn right, going North, street angles to the right or east, small street enters from right, the 5th school is on west side of street, look for building 17), ☎ +976 11 325967, . Nice guesthouse run by the Lotus Foundation. Clean. An employee is present 24h/24. No high table except the very small one for the computer. No bedsheet and the quilt is not washed between clients! The shower room doesn't lock and is closed by a translucend door! A dormitory door is very noisy. Internet, though not very reliable. Wifi is said to work sometimes. Don't accept credit cards.US$10 (14 000 MNT) - US$30.
Chinggis Guest House and Tours, Sukhbaatar district building-33 door-67, Chingis Ave (back behind the National Academic Drama Theatre and Bayangol Hotel), ☎ 976-99271843, 976-11-325941 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Price includes breakfast, internet, hot shower, kitchen facilities. Very central located and quiet, rooms are clean and comfortable.Dorm US$8, Double or twin US$10.
Green Steppe Mongolia Guest House, Chingeltei District I-40 myngat, Building 12 door 7. (50m East of the State Department Store), ☎ 88033080, 88038388, . checkin: anytime; checkout: 12.00pm. A small and quiet guesthouse with a couple of dorm rooms and two fully-furnished one-bedroom apartments, very friendly staff and very central location (near State Department Store). We can organize tours to all parts of Mongolia. We also have free lockers for our guests, free breakfast, free tea all day, free Wi-Fi (and 2 computers), free secure area for motorbikes and bicycles, peaceful patio and picnic area, free hot showers and cheap laundry service.US$6/night.
Ganas Ger, Gandan tuul 2-22, ☎ +976 1136 7343 (email@example.com), . This guesthouse stands out from the rest, with dorm beds in roomy Ger's on an airy porch overlooking downtown UB, instead of the usual bunk beads. Run by a friendly, helpful family. And an excellent location 2 minutes walk from Gandan Monastery. Like most guesthouses it also doubles as a tour operator. from $5 in 6 bed Ger to $25 for a double in the newly build wing.
Happy Camel Guesthouse (http://guesthousemongolia.com), Opposite the railway station, ☎ 99112075 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkout: 12. An excellent guest house run by some young Mongolians in a central location - hot showers and western style toilets - a very nice place to stay.
Idre's Guesthouse, Bayangol disrict 1, ☎ +976 99112575 (email@example.com), . Friendly family-run guesthouse with $4 dorm beds. Rooms are clean, staff are helpful, and tickets and tours can be arranged without hassle.
Mandukhai Hotel, near State Department Store. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. A nice inexpensive hotel located in UB city center. The hotel staff speaks little English but rooms are large and include TV. Bathrooms are shared.20-2500.
Mr.Gomez's Hostel and Tours, Davkhar # 16, Khoroo 1, Bayangol distict (Across the street just 200m from the Ulaanbaatar Railway Station), ☎ 976-99282459 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 976-11-327503), . They arrange train tickets for Beijing, Datong, Irkustk, Moscow, and Hohoot. Clean, safe, shower, laundry, kitchen, free Internet and good breakfast.Mr. Gomez provides tours to Terelj National Park & Chinggis Tourist Camp. Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Russian, German.US$10/night.
Oasis Guesthouse, (Southeastern UB, near the Catholic Church), ☎ 976-11-463693 (email@example.com, fax: 976-11-463693), . A modern styled and lovingly furnished guesthouse with a public cafe and a big garden with gers to stay in. Run by a friendly German-Austrian couple who speak German, English, and Mongolian. Serve very good western food and home made cakes. Laundry service and hairdresser at the back of the building. It's THE meeting point for 'overlanders' in Mongolia (travellers by car, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.).€10. (N47°54.706',E 106°58.857)
Petite Marmotte, Ikh Toiruu, Sukhbaatar district, Building #10, door entry #1, Floor #7, Flat #27/28, ☎ (00976) 70 11 03 02 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Friendly atmosphere, dedicated English and French speaking staff, traditional Mongolian decoration, well located, quiet. Breakfast included. No internet. The boss lives there. He used to be a chef and cooks sometimes for his guests. Arrange also all kinds of trips in the country. He doesn't accept credit cards.Bed dorm = €5; Double room = €15, family room = €25.
UB Guesthouse. A clean, well-organized and centrally located youth hostel that also arranges tours around the country. E-mail ahead for a free pickup from the train station. A light breakfast, tea and coffee are included. Has received some criticism for being a bit impersonal, and the welcoming is a bit cold. Although it's written you can phone from there from 10:00 to 18:00, don't rely on it. No oven in the kitchen (not even a microwave). Mongolians are not accepted! It is strictly forbidden to receive any non-client. AVOID THE TOURS unless paying $40/day to drive 9 hours a day and see nothing is your idea of a good time. Dorms beds, $6; Single room, $15; Twin room, $18; Double room, $20.
Youth Mongolia Guesthouse, Door no. 67, 1st floor 5th entrance, building 14-b. (Near the circus), (email@example.com), . This smaller and nice guest house has a nice location in the center of the city. Close to the biggest foodmarket in Ulaanbaatar (25 meters away). Russian style building.
Zaya Guesthouse, Tserendorj Street Bld 63, App 10,11,12 (Just off Peace Ave), ☎ +976 11 331 575 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Zaya has two locations in the city center, and both are in modern recently renovated apartment buildings. The place is more suitable for a person looking for clean and calm place to sleep than a backpacker looking for a rowdy and noisy dorm. Minimum stay is 3 nights. Free wireless internet in the rooms. Also organizes tours.US$20 for a single and US$27 for a double room.
Golden Gobi, Chingeltei district, 1st subdistrict, building 13 (Close to the State Department Store), ☎ 976-11-322632, 976-96654496 (email@example.com, fax: 976-11-322632), . Another cheap and friendly place with dorm and free breakfast. Out of all the budget options the private rooms are some of the better and cleaner.Dorm $6, rooms from $19.
Sunpath Hostel, Chingeltei District, Baga Toirog, Building 37-56 (2nd floor) (Across the street from the Central Post office and Sukhbaatar Square.), ☎ 976-99143722 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 976-11-326323), . checkout: 24. Sunpath hostel is a very friendly, family-driven hostel. They love foreigners, and they can give a lot of information about Mongolia. They organize tours, having very good contacts with people living in the countryside. Washing and laundry is included, but you have to pay for them ($3 and $5 in 2012). They provide free internet access (Wi-Fi, you can also use their computer, which helped me a lot), and free breakfast if needed. Cooking is also available there - they have a very cool kitchen. :) The hostel is very well situated, just 10 minutes of walk from the very center of the city.US$6/night.
Ulaanbaatar generally does not offer great value for money in the mid-range accommodation market. Many mid-range options can be found along Embassy Rd and UNESCO Rd.
Red Rose Hotel, . The Red Rose elegant star hotel, one of the leading hotels, is located in downtown Ulaanbaatar by surrounded major business and commercial centers. The hotel is offers comfortable environment and high quality services complying with world standards. Red Rose hotel has 34 rooms, including luxurious and highest standard rooms, deluxe, semi-lux and standard.
Amarbayasgalant, Embassy Rd, ☎ 976-11-312427, . checkout: 12. One of the best mid range options. Clean bedding, clean bathrooms, TV and Wifi. $40 for single, $55 for double. (47.914843,106.927898)
EPOS Hotel, Embassy Rd, ☎ 976-11-331070, . checkout: 12. Across the road from the Amarbayasgalant. Rooms appeared smaller and less clean that Amarbayasgalant but slightly more expensive. $65.
Sant Asar Hotel, Seoul Avenue. checkout: 12. Great location (around the corner from Ikh Mongol) and friendly staff that speak English. No air conditioning, but television with approximately a hundred channels, including many in English. Room cleaning apparently only occurs on check-out (was not cleaned during a nine-day stay, for example).$50.
Voyage Hotel, Teeverchid Str-2 (Just northeast of the train station, across the expressway.), ☎ 976-11-327757, . checkout: 12. Friendly staff that speak English. Private shower and toilet in your room. Clean. Continental breakfast (fry your own egg!).$40.
A Hilton was under construction and is likely to recommence in 2012.
There is a Shangri-La being built towards the Embassy district that will open in 2013.
The Kempinski Hotel, Khan Place. At present the only international hotel chain operating in the city, and offering UB's highest quality accommodation and good restaurants. . Reservations: email@example.com.
Ulaanbaatar Hotel, Sükhbaatar Square 14, ☎ +976 11 320 620 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The centrally located Mongolia's first 5-star hotel is showing its age already.
The Chinggis Khaan Hotel. Free high speed internet is very reliable. Rooms are spacious and "wannabe luxurious". The best feature was the breakfast that was included in the price of the room.
The Corporate Hotel, Chinngis avenue 9-2 (located 7 minutes walk south from Sukhbaatar square). High level of rooms, sauna, jacuzzi and free internet.
The Bayangol Hotel, (2 blocks south of Sukhbaatar Square), . Close to the bars and central square, but rooms are small and the internet is patchy.
HS Khaan Resort Hotel, Khui doloon hudag, Argalant soum, ☎ +976-9908-8102, . About 45km northwest near by the famous Naadam Festival Place, about 50 min, or from the city by car. This is a “Ger” style resort, all rooms are 120 m2 with views over the steppes.
Wifi - Most guesthouses, hotels, cafes, restaurants and pubs have free wifi.
Internet cafes - there are many Internet cafes liberally scattered around the city and they cost around T400-800 per hour.
Mail - the central post office is located on the south west corner of Sukhbaatar Square, and besides stamps it also sells a wide variety of reasonably priced postcards (though they may take up to two months to reach their destination!), some very large, decorative collections of stamps (which are not for use) and a few nice calendars.
Telephone - the city has an international call center. However, if you have access to a private phone, the most convenient way to make an international call is to use a prepaid card, such as BodiCom.
Cell phone operators offer both prepaid GSM sim cards and handset rentals (Currently Mobicom) as well as extensive roaming options for your convenience.
UB has a high crime rate which explains all the steel bars and security guards in apartment buildings and larger stores. Pickpocketing is common and violent muggings are increasing so it is advisable to avoid walking alone after dark. Street lighting is unreliable and the city is frequented by drunks and stray dogs. The places where pickpocketing is the most frequent are buses and the Sunny-Tuul market (alias Naran-Tuul market, or Black market), specially the entrances of them. The bus stops close to the State department stores are hot spots for this activity. If you've been attacked or pick-pocketed, please take time to make a deposition at the district police station, and to say it to your embassy if you have one.
Most sidewalks are not paved and so can be very muddy and slippery during a thaw or after rain. Walking on the streets at any time is a hazardous affair as one needs to contend with ice from about October to March, open manholes and extremely chaotic and wild driving habits. Drivers (including buses and police) pay no attention to pedestrian crossings and will not reduce speed, but simply sound their horns. The automobile culture in this city is too new to have developed safe driving systems and habits.
Unmarked taxis are common and shouldn't be feared. Locals simply stick out an arm and hitchhike anywhere around town. However, it is wise to get a local to interpret if possible and explain the fare system.
Child beggars are common and persistent on the streets, but watch out for groups of them, as one may be trying to pick your pocket. Also be aware that any money you do donate will go straight to their teenage "pimps", and so you may not be helping them as much as you think. Most of the "pimps" are their relatives or friends and the kids actually come from poor families and it does help them.
Walking at night in company shouldn't be too great of a concern, it isn't for the locals. But stick to areas where you can see lots of locals (especially women). Coming out of Bars late at night is a little dangerous if you are alone, try to have several males in your group.