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. Ulan Ude is an important commercial and industrial center of Eastern Siberia, located on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway. It is the capital of Buryatia republic that is a home for Buryat, Evenk and Russian people. The city itself has a distinct Asian-like feel, perhaps because of the cultural mix and proximity to Mongolia. There are about 400 000 inhabitants, but it seems to be very calm and local people are friendly to visitors.
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.
Generally, it is very contrast: in summer it may be very hot, and in winter it may be freezing. 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. Also, the whole Buryatia, and Ulan-Ude particulary, is considered to be the place where there are the most sunny days during the year, comparing to other places around.
The average temperature during the year is: January -27 | February -18 | March -9 | April +1 | May +9 | June +18 | July +20 | August +22 | September +10 | October 0 | November -11 | December –19
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 
There are many daily trains to Irkutsk (takes 8 hours), Chita
There is a couple of trains to Ulaan-Baatar. Ulan Ude is the first major Russian city past the Mongolian border. It takes around 20 hours by train from UB.
The famous among backpackers way to get to Ulan Ude is to take a four day journey from Moscow.
There are daily buses from and to Ulaanbaatar. Departing at 7.30am from either UB (front of train station) or UU, the journey taking about 10-12 hours. From Ulan Ude, travel agents sell tickets for 1100R, including a 10% booking fee. Tickets departing Ulan Bator are sold at the upper floor of the building next to the train station (facing the station, it's on the left), for T45,000. They will not accept rubles, but the desk next to them is an exchange desk, with quite good rates. All in all, this is a much cheaper and faster alternative to the train.
Minibuses operate a service to the Mongolian border town of Kyakhta. The buses depart every hour from 7am to 7pm and the three hour journey costs 250R. Coming in by train, the distance to the bus terminal is rather long so you have to take a taxi. Learn how to do it in Russian and you will not get ripped off. The minibus driver will most probably ask for 50R. extra for each of your luggage.
There is a bus service operating both to Irkutsk and Chita, but the frequency depends on the season. Departs from the train station. Ulan-Ude to Irkutsk train station is 700 roubles. You just come to the bus, occupy seats and pay to the driver.
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 14 RUB (from 2011), 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. Main tram line is a circle around the whole city, quite slow soviet era wagons will give you the taste of the place from locals' eyes.
Since 2011 feb there are 2 major local bus stations "Severniy" or North Direction and "Yuzhniy" or South Direction.
To get to lake Baikal eastern shore (Barguzin, Ust-Barguzin, Maksimikha, Turka, Gremyachinsk) you need "Severniy" (better to ask a local what's available as time schedule is changed often, phone +7-3012-559927). Take either bus no.30 or no.29 and go to stop called "Baza" (ask a driver). You'll see a sign ABTOBOK3AЛ on one of the buildings.
"Yuzhniy" is in the center of the city, it's on Sovetskaya str. closer to the river Selenga.
The World's Largest Lenin Head, main city square.
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.
The Arbat street, it's locally called Arbat after famous Moscow Arbat, Lenin street in real life. The part of the street is pedestrian, the main place for meeting, walking, shopping for locals. It's a right place to get an atmosphere of the city just sitting on a bench.
Datsans and Churches
Odigitrievsky Cathedral. Founded in 1741. The first stone building in the town. Located at the beginning of Lenin street (near river Uda).
Rimpoche bagsha, buddhist center Streletskaya st.,1. Not only a new nice lama temple, but scenic panoramic view of the whole city. Take bus 97 from Baikal Plaza hotel at Lenin's head square to the last stop.
Ivolginsky datsan Buddhist Monastery — 23 km from the city. Buses no 130 leave from bus stop at the Odigitrievsky Cathedral one after another for the forty minute journey to Ivolginsk village. Get off at the last stop and get on another bus (which is the only there) and you're at the Monastery in 10 minutes. Expect to pay 45 roubles for the whole drive.
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 complexes. Only bus 37 goes there. You can take it from Baikal Plaza hotel bus stop, tell a driver to stop at "MUZEI". Takes about 20-30 minutes drive.
History museum. Profsoyuznaya st., 29. The rachest musem of the city. 400 years of buryat history.
Fine arts museum. Kuibisheva st.,29. Buryat painting, buddhist tankas, horse hair tapistry
Nature museum. Lenina st., 46. Flore and fauna of Buryatia.
Geology museum. Lenina st., 59.
Museum of city's history. Lenina st., 26
Rimpoche bagsha, buddhist center, Streletskaya st.,1 (take a mini bus 95 till the final stop). There is a pretty nice view from the hill. You can see the whole city.free.
Puppet Theatre Ulger, Lenina street 46, ☎ +7 3012 213764. 9am -6pm from monday to friday. The name of the “Ulger” theatre is translated as “legend”. Puppet theatre “Ulger” was founded in 1967 and is the only theatre for young audiences in Buryatia. Among the theatre’s productions are many plays by Russian and foreign playwrights, but the theatre also puts an emphasis on plays by Buryat playwrights. The theatre tours both inside and outside Russia, participates in different festivals, and frequently is a laureate of different contests, winning prestigious professional awards. In 2006 the theatre won the Golden Mask National Theatre Award in the nominations “Puppetry/Best Production” and “Puppetry/Best Actor”. “Ulger” Theatre gradually steps over the boundaries of puppet theatre. In the last five years the dramatic performances Dogs, Zoya’s Apartment, The Space of a Spirit, To Go and not Return were staged at the theatre. The theatre tours extensively in Russia and abroad. In 2006 the production “Singing Arrow” received the Golden Mask Award in the nominations “Best Production” and “Best Actor”.
Try local buryat cuisine. Mainly it's dumplings - steamed "Pozi", fried "Sharbin" or "Khushuur". Soups - meat broth "Bukhlyor" and noodles "Shuleen".
Appetite Lenin's head looks at it. Quite cheap, tray style, russian food, free wifi.
Modern nomads Ranjurova st., 1; mongolian cuisine
"Baatar orgoo" YURT GER cafe, Verhnaya Beryozovka, Dokuchaeva str.11. Only minibus 37 goes there. You can take it from Baikal Plaza hotel bus stop, tell a driver to stop at "KAFE YURTA". Takes about 20-30 minutes drive. Only traditional food and very nice atmosphere. 500-700 r/meal
"Buuza" cafe/bar, Communist str. 41a; on tram tracks, near hotel Siberia, 3 mins from Lenin's head
"Buuza" (again?) cafe, Yerbanova str. 20; 1 min from Lenin's head, left to Baikal Plaza hotel
"Tenghis" restaurant , Yerbanova str. 12; Inside Baikal Plaza hotel
"Buuza" (again?!) cafe, Communist str. 44; opposite Siberia hotel
Marco Polo Kommunisticheskaya st., 46; coffee house, breakfast, salads
Safari Erbanova st., 20; coffee house
Shokolad Karl-Marks blvrd, 11; top recommended coffee house. It's located just opposite the new russian drama theater which is about 15 minutes on tram. Nice location, nice coffee
Marusia Lenina st., 46; russian cuisine
Ulger Restaurant & Cafe, Kirova str., 8, ☎ +7 2012 21-21-09. A restaurant with traditional Russian and Buryatian food. A nice terrace outside..7$ for full dinner;.
Zolotoy Drakon, Lenina St., 46, ☎ +7 2012 21-80-66. 11.00 to 22.00. Chinese restraunt5-10$;.
Churchill pub. So far the best pub in the center of UU. Lenin looks at it, that simple ;)
Ulan Ude Travelers House, +7-950-391-6325, email@example.com, , 600 RUB including breakfast. Address: Lenin str 63, app 18. The most central located hostel is just on the Soviet square with the famous giant Lenin's head monument. Clean and cozy. 10 minutes walk from train station, less than a minute to main sights of the city. Look for a 4 storey yellow building with a big sign 'S7 airlines' on the top, it should be between a building with 670000 sign on the top (post office) and a grey building with pillars (president residence). Right entrance, a black door between S7 airlines and a beauty saloon. Press 18 and B on terminal and wait for the door to open. Second floor, right door.
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.
Baikal Ethnic Hostel, 450-1650 RUB including breakfast. 12A Flotskaya Street, Poselye village, Ulan-Ude. Tel. +7 9021 616322. Far from city center, take the no. 4 bus to Lenin head for 14R. On average, the bus takes 25-35 minutes including wait. Wait is much longer at night with bus service stopping altogether by 11pm. At that point you must negotiate for a taxi, typically 150R-200R.
Hostel House, 8(9025) 620-888, 8 (301) 262-08-88. HostelHouse@mail.ru, . улица Смолина, д. 54, лит. А, Ulan-Ude, RU. Address: Smolina str 54a, 3rd/last floor. 600 RUB, more in summer. Food is nor provided, neither the laundry detergent, etc. About 10 minute walk to the city center (Lenin Head), close to cheap eateries. Part of the staff speaks decent English. As of 15/05/2013, you get a key to the apartment and the usual electronic key for the building's front main door. The Owner speaks enough English and can arrange for transport to Ulaanbaatar if you are doing the trans-Siberian. You will likely meet many locals and foreigners working in Ulan-Ude because the owner is well-connected.
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. However, if you talk to someone from Baikal Naran Tours (their office is conveniently located in the lobby), they may be able to book rooms for 500R.
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.
Ulaan-Baatar, Mongolia Take TransMongolian from Ulan-Ude towards capital of Mongolia. 3 options - a train, an airplane and a bus. Trains are popular, it takes about 24+ hours (long border stops), kupe carriages are only available, so it makes more expensive; buses are cheaper (~1000+ roubles) and it's about 10-12 hours (depends on traffic); airlines is EZNIS.