The town was founded in 1666, and due to its location on trade routes between Russia, China and Mongolia it developed into a prosperous trading town. Currently the city has a population of around 350,000.
The months of January to March are the coldest, with temperature reaching as low as -27°C in January. April and May are also cold, but usually it is above freezing. June to August are the most pleasant months with lots of sunshine and temperatures rising to the low 20s. September and October are bracing months, but not yet very cold. November and December again sees a return to freezing temperatures of around -10°C to -20°C.
There are daily flights to/from Moscow on Sibir airlines (now called S7 Airlines) - the 6 hour flights from Moscow are overnight, arriving around 8:30AM, with return flight leaving at around 9:30AM, arriving Moscow around 10:30AM 
Ulan Ude is the first major Russian city past the Mongolian border. It takes around 20 hours by train from Ulaanbaatar.
Minibuses operate a service to the Mongolian border town of Kyakhta. The buses depart once they are full and the three hour journey costs 250R.
There is a bus service operating to Irkutsk and Chita, but the frequency depends on the season.
Travel agents sell tickets for the daily bus service to Ulaanbaatar for 950R. This is a much cheaper and faster alternative to the train.
Ulan-Ude's Lenin Head is surely the largest in the world
The center of Ulan Ude is relatively compact, and very walkable. Taxis roam the streets for the lazy, but don't expect any of the drivers to speak English. If you don't want to walk, shuttle buses (10-12 seat minbuses) run frequently to all parts of the city for a flat cost of 12 RUB, each route is numbered (on the windscreen) so get help to identify the route you want, flag the bus down to get on, pay the driver and indicate when you want to get off. There are also a limited number of tram routes.
The merchant's mansions. Historical relics of the town's prosperity as a trading center. The mansions are located along the banks of the Uda River.
Ethnographic Museum, Verhnaya Beriozovka. Old homesteads and Buryat wooden yurts have been relocated to the site, and along with reconstructed streets representing traditional Buryati homes, this outdoor exhibition consists of seven large complexies.
The World's Largest Lenin Head, main city square.
Odigitrievsky Cathedral. Founded in 1741.
Rimpoche bagsha, buddhist center Streletskaya st.,1. Beautiful view of the city.
Fine arts museum. Kuibisheva st.,29. Buryat painting, buddhist tankas, horse hair tapistry
Nature museum. Lenina st., 46. Flore and fauna of Buryatia.
History museum. Profsoyuznaya st., 29. The rachest musem of the city. 400 years of buryat history.
Geology museum. Lenina st., 59.
Museum of city's history. Lenina st., 26
Buryat Opera and Ballet Theater.
Hotel Geser (see 'sleep' section)
Marusia Lenina st., 46; russian cuisine
Modern nomads Ranjurova st., 1; mongolian cuisine
Marco Polo Kommunisticheskaya st., 46; coffee house, breakfast, salads
Buuza Kommunisticheskaya st., 41a; buryat cuisine
Serp i molot Erbanova st., 7a; soviet style cafe
Safari Erbanova st., 20; coffee house
Hotel Odon, Gagarin str., 43 (a 5 minute walk from the railway station). Tel:+7 3012 443-480. Popular with Chinese businessman, rooms and hygiene standards reflect the low price. Single rooms from 400R, doubles from 600R. Cheaper rooms don't have a shower, and there aren't shared facilities on site. Consider getting a better room or hitting up the banya.
Homestay, 900-1000 RUB including breakfast. Tel. +7 9025 648278, email@example.com
Baikal Ethnic Hostel, 450-1650 RUB including breakfast. 12A Flotskaya Street, Poselye village, Ulan-Ude. Tel. +7 9021 616322
Hotel Geser, Ranjurova ul., 11. Tel.: +7 3012 211-178, 215-383. Fax: 216-151 E-mail: Hotel_geser@mail.ru  A cozy hotel with English speaking staff. Sgl room 2300 RUB (summer 2008)
Hotel Baikal Paza, Erbanova ul., 12. Tel.: +7 3012 210 770. Fax:463-828, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Recently refurbished hotel on the central square. A single room w/o a/c is 2000 RUB; twin room with a/c is 3000 RUB. No elevator. 'burnet' wireless internet available (access cards cost 100 RUB). (Summer 2008)
Hotel Buryatia, Kommunisticheskaya ul., 47a. Tel:+7 3012 31-18-35. Fax: 21-15-05, E-mail: email@example.com About a 10-minute walk from the train station, this central hotel is located in a large and some-what run down complex. Rooms from 700R.
Medical Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, 6 Sakhyanovoi Street. Tel:+7 3012 334-353, email: firstname.lastname@example.org — a good place to receive treatment for both acute and chronic ailments using traditional Tibetan herbal compounds.
Burnet Internet Cafe, Borsoeva, 16 (just opposite to the railway station, after the bridge over the railways). Tel:7 3012 212-886 - open twenty-four hours.
Hotel Geser (see 'sleep' section}
Central Post office internet cafe, right on the central Soviet square in front of Lenin's head
Lake Baikal — the deepest and oldest lake in the world and, by volume of water, also the planet's largest freshwater body of water. It contains 20% of the world's liquid fresh water and is just over one mile deep. A daily bus service runs from the train station, leaving about 7:30AM, returning about 3:00PM, cost 300RUB each way.
Ivolginsky Datsan Buddhist Monastery — 23 km from the city. Buses leave the central bus station 10AM, 12 noon and 5:40PM for the forty minute journey (taking the later bus will mean having to spend the night in at the monastery guesthouse or returning by taxi). Alternatively take a minibus to the last stop and transfer to shared taxis that run the route all day: Just say "Datsan, datsan," when getting on the bus. Expect to pay around 30R each way.