Eco-friendly travel guide to Ulaanbaatar advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
- Air quality: 2.6 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3.0 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3.2 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.5 / 5
- Parks: 3.6 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3.7 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2.4 / 5
- Safety: 3.2 / 5
- Accommodation: US$15 - $150
- Budget per day: US$25 - $200
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Ulaanbaatar is a magnificent city in the landlocked country of Mongolia. It is also the same country's capital, with a population of 1.3 million in 2014. The population of 1.3 million accounts for almost half of Mongolia’s population. Ulaanbaatar is not a part of any province or aimag in the country – provinces are known as aimags in Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar was previously known as Ulan Bator. It is situated in the valley of the Tuul River at the height of 1,300 meters. Ulaanbaatar is the financial, cultural, and engineering center of the country. Furthermore, Ulaanbaatar is also a place of geographical importance connected to the Chinese railway system and the Trans Siberian railway system.
Many tourists flock to Ulaanbaatar of late, and the realization of this place's potential has just been recent. However, the influx of tourists is new to the country. Being a small, unexplored country in the center of Asia, it becomes necessary to leave small footprints in such a place. Apart from traveling responsibly with our things in place, it becomes necessary to take care of moving from one place to another. Let us take a look at the few ways one can move around within the city of Ulaanbaatar.
- Walking: Walking around in Ulaanbaatar is a popular option for tourists who wish to reduce their carbon footprint. One can go on guided walking tours or chalk out their own walking route with a map. Walking around Ulaanbaatar is a pleasure in itself as one can explore the busy streets or choose to hike through the mountains. Walking around Ulaanbaatar makes for slow, conscious tourism that lets tourists explore the city through and through.
- Cycling: Ulaanbaatar is a great place to cycle as the terrain permits amateur, professional cyclists to travel through the city. The camping grounds make for an ideal place to stay when moving around in cycles. Ditch the cabs and personal cars for the cycles that let tourists discover the land in an up-close and personal manner.
- Hiking: Hiking in Ulaanbaatar is a well-known activity as there are a couple of parks as well as trails in the mountains. Travelers can explore the Altai Mountains to take in the breathtaking experience altogether.
- Pool cars: Pool cars are one of the best ways to share costs as well as travel experiences with minimum pollution in a different city. It is best to hop on to a pool car with strangers. The possibility of making friends along the way always stays. Pool cars are convenient and easy to book when you are traveling solo or with only one friend.
There are numerous other ways in which one can ensure responsible travel. It falls entirely under the scope of sustainable tourism and way of life.
Air Quality and Pollution
Mongolia is extremely rich in minerals and rocks that in turn help the economy of the country. However, the industry of mining and excavating can be stressful on Mongolia's environment, no matter how sparse the population is. Mongolia is rich in copper, gold, and coal. The mining industry in Mongolia is rewarding to the country's economy but, on the same note, heavily harmful for the environment. According to studies, close to 80% of the pollution in Ulaanbaatar is due to the smoke emissions from households and pressure boilers in the coal mining areas. The fine particulate matter in the air can often surpass 1000 micrograms per cubic meter.
Sadly, Ulaanbaatar is one of the most polluted capital cities in the world. During winters, the air pollution worsens as the particulate matter or PM2.5 goes above 700 micrograms per cubic meter. The fuel combustion that takes place seasonally contributes to the poor quality of air within Ulaanbaatar.
There is water pollution, wherein the main contributors are due to arsenic, lead, and other toxic chemicals that make their way into the underground water reservoir during the extraction of gold. There is evidence of lung disorders, breathing problems, and bronchitis in children and young adults in Ulaanbaatar.
Respect the Culture
Not many people in the world have seen such change as Ulaanbaatar over the past 20 years. The population is on the rise, and city life is catching up quickly to the Western culture as the year's pass. However, the culture of Mongolia remains strong in the heart of its people. Mongolia is a land of strong historical and cultural influence on all its aspects – people, food, travel, monuments, and handicrafts. There are quite a few museums that showcase the rich history of the country. Besides, there is strong youth culture in Ulaanbaatar, where young adults and teenagers are constantly vibing with the rest of the world.
Apart from exploring the world of food, history and heritage, and the monuments, one can also go on their own solo adventures to discover the place's natural beauty. Ulaanbaatar offers trips to vast, naturally rich national parks, mountain ranges, monasteries, and camping off roads. As you move around, it becomes the tourist’s responsibility to collect their own waste, be polite, and lead a plastic-free journey.
In the following segments, we shall take a detailed look at the culture, heritage, and landmarks of Ulaanbaatar.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Ulaanbaatar is a trove for travelers. One can choose their own way to discover the many hidden secrets of this city so that one may find themselves the best of Mongolia through its capital city. Try out the following list of places to know where to be when you are at Ulaanbaatar. Step out of Ulaanbaatar to look around and explore Mongolia in its truest form.
- Lake Khovsgol
The lake named Lake Khovsgol is the second largest lake in all of Mongolia. It is situated amidst the Sayan Mountains and adds a shade of blue between the grey and white of the mountain tops. The Lake Khovsgol bears down from the border of Russia and comes down with crystal clear water. According to the locals, you can drink the water straight out of the lake without any water treatment required. Tourists can laze on the grassy banks of the river and watch the cattle graze away. Big boulders and pebbles accompany pine forests in patches. Lake Khovsgol is currently inside a national park that protects the environment and the wildlife altogether.
The city of Karakorum spells mystery in bold letters. Situated in the Orkhon Valley, the terrain is full of ridges and hills in which one will find the ancient settlement of Karakorum. One will find large stone stupas placed next to each other along paths set with cobbled stones. The mountains around the site make for a scenic afternoon in the Karakorum. There are old, broken-down grain silos and smelting houses. Some of the stupas are in a crumbling state, while some still stand erect. Walk around the Karakorum and learn more about the Buddhist monasteries and Genghis Khan in Mongolia. If you find the time, make sure to visit the Yuan Dynasty shrines in the same location.
- Orkhon Valley
Speaking of Karakorum, Orkhon Valley is a name that pops up almost immediately when one talks about mountains in the country of Mongolia. The Orkhon Valley is rich in tales and fables, considering its historical importance. The Orkhon Valley used to be the home to the most famous leaders of Mongolia – the Khans. Starting from Genghis Khan to Kublai Khan, Mongolian history's greatest names grew up in the Orkhon Valley. Presently, the pace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where nomads live and raise cattle. Tourists can visit the Orkhon Valley for the frozen waterfalls, Buddhist monasteries and look around for the palaces of Xanadu.
- Migjid Janraisig Sum
Looking within the industrial city of Ulaanbaatar, the Migjid Janraisig Sum is a place of worship that attracts many tourists throughout the year. This is one of the most important and oldest monasteries in the country. The monastery has the statue of Avalokitesvara housed inside at the height of 26.5m or 86.9ft. The Migjid Janraisig Sum was almost on the verge of being demolished in the 1930s. The Migjid Janraisig Sum allows photography, so make sure to carry your cameras if you wish to take pictures inside the area.
- National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Mongolia
The National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Mongolia is also known as the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Spend the perfect night in this complex by booking yourself in for an opera performance or theatre performance. The stunning white columns of the place serve a perfect portion of Mongolian architecture. The nightlife in Ulaanbaatar is a nice way to discover more than just pubs and hotels – operas are one thing for sure.
- Choijin Lama Temple
The Choijin Lama Temple in Ulaanbaatar is a complex consisting of six temples. It was built in 1904-1908 to honor the brother of the ruler, the Eighth Bogd Jetsun Dampa Khan. He was the State Oracle and the Precious Wisdom and Clear Devotion Khutugtu. The main Buddhist complex consists of additional five temple branches. Inside the main temple is an 18th-century statue of Buddha Sakyamuni along with a statue of Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav. Part of the temple has been transformed into a museum, so a visit to this place might end up being more insightful than you can imagine.
- Ulaanbaatar Railway Station
The Ulaanbaatar Railway Station is located at a distance of a 15-minute drive from Genghis Khan Square. In 1956, a direct connection between the USSR Railway Service and the Mongolian Railway service was established so that the Trans-Mongolian Railway could operate without any hiccups. Currently, there are trains running from V to Moscow, Beijing, and other parts of Ulaanbaatar. There are three platforms – the main ones and a platform for locally running trains. Find exchange offices, restaurants, shops, cafes, and pharmacies on the platforms themselves.
- National Amusement Park
If you are on a trip to Ulaanbaatar and wish to explore the city life at its best, then take a walk around the National Amusement Park. If you feel too adventurous, then the rides may be the best in Mongolia you can expect to witness. This is popularly known as the Children’s Park. However, adults can surely take a walk around the place. The rides are specifically meant for children below the age of 12. The individual tickets cost around T6000 at the most. The best part about the National Amusement Park is an ice skating rink that opens during the winters.
- Ulaanbaatar Central Post Office
One of the best ways to know more about a city's history is to visit the Central Post Office of a place. The Central Post Office in Ulaanbaatar is located at the end of Sukhbaatar Square. People can surely walk in to check for their mails and parcels. Alternatively, if you are a tourist willing to explore the place, then the best activity to do at the Ulaanbaatar Post Office is to post a postcard for a loved one. Find a vast range of postcards, pamphlets, notebooks, stamps, and similar such items to pick up on your visit.
- Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul
Finally, a place for worship for the Christians in Ulaanbaatar – the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul is a magnificent structure based on Mongolian Architecture. This is a Roman Catholic church that exists down Peace Avenue and around Tov Providence. The red brick structure with the circular dome-shaped tent and walls of felt builds the facility where people can spend some time in peace. The structure was built by the Serbian architect, Predak Stupar. A kindergarten school meant for toddlers, two soup kitchens, two farms, classes for English, and a technical school. There is also a care center for disabled children in Ulaanbaatar under the premises of the church.
Ulaanbaatar is a great place to be when you are looking for bustling city life in Mongolia. On the off chance that you wish to travel to emptier spaces with more greenery and peace, consider traveling out of Ulaanbaatar for a fresh change. Besides, the list of museums, national parks, and city parks in this article will help you make the perfect plan for a balanced Ulaanbaatar tour.
Ulaanbaatar is a city that has gone significant change over the past 20 years. The population of this city has been on the rise with every passing year. Starting from great nightlife, this place happens to host a large number of tourists each year. Apart from great connectivity in navigation, social life, and airlines, you can clearly study the modern Mongolian culture, which is vastly different from life outside Ulaanbaatar.
Let us take a look at the places of interest within the city of Ulaanbaatar.
The city parks in Ulaanbaatar are small in size and around every other corner or two. One can take some time off their itinerary to walk around a park. This serves as a great break and makes for a good session of exercise. City parks in the region of Ulaanbaatar make for a great way to escape the buzz of city life. Take a look at the following prominent places for a stroll, exercise, jog, or to be one with nature.
- National Amusement Park
We have included the National Amusement Park in the list of top ten attractions in Ulaanbaatar due to its significance. The park is targeted primarily at people who are under 12 years of age. One can take their children for a ride on a rollercoaster or stroll on the lakefront. The giant wheel offers a great panoramic view of the city of Ulaanbaatar. Adults can make full use of running tracks or cycling tracks to get the energy in their bodies flowing.
- Central Tower Public Park
The Central Tower Public Park is an upscale park surrounded by posh restaurants and high buildings all around. There are fountains in the lake with paved roads to walk around so that one may enjoy the cool breeze. At night the Central Tower Public Park glows in lights with the fountains lit up for a glamorous look.
- Sukhbaatar Square
Sukhbaatar Square is the central square in the city and is named after the Mongolian hero Damdin Sukhbaatar. This square was established after his death in the year of 1923. In the middle of the square is a large statue on a stone foundation surrounded by military personnel. One can take a walk around the park to look at the architecture and statues of famous Mongolian and Russian leaders. There is a shopping center within Sukhbaatar Square, which means you can shop for fancy cashmere shawls.
National parks in Mongolia are something that all tourists will find abundantly. The Mongolian people are proud of their heritage and work hard to preserve that in all ways possible. Flora and fauna of the place make sure that one can travel through and with nature. The national parks that people can explore in and around Ulaanbaatar have been listed below. Make sure to hire a private car, carpool with other tourists, or take a cab to these places as they are off the city center.
- Gorkhi Terelj National Park
The Gorkhi Terelj National Park is situated north of the sprawling city of Ulaanbaatar. The peaks and the hills of this national park cover the entire horizon and offer great views during dusk and dawn. This forest reserve is one of the best ways to observe Mongolia in its raw and natural state. On the same note, it is quite accessible, unlike most parts of Mongolia. The Gorkhi Terelj National Park is one where the landscape is covered with pine forests and rock formations. The southern part of the national park is more accessible compared to other parts. Tourists can camp on-ground as well. There is a provision for a dip in the hot springs, or they can take a look at the Khagiin Lake in the northern part of the park. Visit the camel farms in the park to witness the culture of Mongolia.
- Khustain Nuruu National Park
The Khustain Nuruu National Park is a place that lets tourists watch Dzungarian horses gallop over lush green fields. This lets you live your dreams from the Hollywood movies by capturing the iconic and rare horses in their natural element. This national park is close to the peaks of Ulaanbaatar. The fee to the Khustain Nuruu National Park is a small amount. Get your tickets and go for the hikes down the hills and ridges. For adventure lovers, they can opt for the 4x4 rides over the grasslands.
- Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
The Altai Tavan Bogd National Park is a place that will offer its visitors pristine views. The park offers the mountains of three countries – Kazakhstan, China, and Russia as it is situated close to their borders. The native animals are ones that can survive extreme weather, and thus, people will find ibexes a lot. There are five mountain peaks that rise over 4,000 meters that separate the country of Siberia and Xinjiang. Tourists can look for eagle hunters in this place. Furthermore, the nomads settle with their yurts on the banks of Dayan Nuur in the summer. Find sculptures by the Turkic and petroglyphs within the national park.
Mongolia is a landlocked country between Russia and China, has no beaches. Thus, Mongolians do not get the opportunity to enjoy beach life. Tourists can prefer to travel to Mongolia if they wish to explore the mountains and hilly regions. There are a couple of lakes and rivers on whose banks one can enjoy a nice little picnic.
The landmarks in Ulaanbaatar are prominent. The city features monuments and other such landmarks from various periods of history. Tourists can easily spot a high-rise building and a Russian-style statue or a relic right beside it. Ulaanbaatar currently has a large variety of relics and monuments of varying interests. Let us take a look at the landmarks in Ulaanbaatar.
- Zaisan Memorial: The south of Ulaanbaatar has a monument-like structure named Zaisan Memorial, a communist-era structure erected to commemorate the Mongolian and the Russian war heroes of WWI and WWII. The place offers a great view of the city.
- Sukhbaatar Square: We spoke about Sukhbaatar Square earlier. It was named Chinggis Khan Square in 2013, only to be renamed Sukhbaatar Square in 2016. The Sukhbaatar Square is one of the largest squares on the continent. The statue of Sukhbaatar stands in the middle, along with a seated statue of Chenghis Khan, his sons, and two of his Urlugs. This is a happening place as all concerts, fairs, and cultural events are held at the square.
- Gandan Monastery: The northwest side of Ulaanbaatar has the Tibetian monastery of Gandan Monastery. This place is also known as the Gandantegchinlen Khiid. There are close to 150 monks who offer their prayers here. The services start from 0900 and go up to noon. The Gandan Monastery was almost destroyed during the 1930s. However, it has been restored and rebuilt to stand the way it does today. The main temple allows visitors to take pictures at a fee of T5000, while photography is not allowed during the ceremonies. The entrance fee stands at T3500.
Museums in Mongolia have a lot to tell about their history. Let us take a look at the museums one may find in the city of Ulaanbaatar.
- The National Museum of Mongolia: Situated on Juulchin Street, this museum was earlier known as the Museum of the Revolution. There are ten halls showcasing artifacts and statues from the Mongolian past. One will find the rarest pieces in the collection within the halls. According to the locals, close to 30% of the displays in Mongolia are kept in this museum.
- The Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts: The Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts is situated in the Chingeltei district of Ulaanbaatar. The museum holds collectibles and displays starting from the Stone Age to the present day. This museum was originally constructed by a Russian merchant and the greatest artist and the First Bogd Gegen, Zanabazar. Find works like Bodhi Stupa, White Tara, and Dhyani Buddhas. The entry fee is close to T5000.
- The Mongolia Museum of Art: In the Bayanzurkh district of Ulaanbaatar has situated the Mongolia Museum of Art, which consists of modern artworks, artifacts made out of bronze, Buddhist exhibits, and ethnographic artifacts.
There is no dearth of museums in Ulaanbaatar. Visit the International Intellectual Museum, the Choijin Lama Monastery, Bogd Khaan Palace Museum, the Ulaanbaatar City Museum, and the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts.
Mongolia is a food lover paradise, unlike popular belief. Ulaanbaatar has a large range of posh bars and restaurants opening over the past few years. However, street food is something to die for. The food is extremely reasonable. Apart from the traditional food, tourists will find American joints, Asian cuisine, and Korean restaurants. Let us take a look at the culinary side of Ulaanbaatar.
Traditional Local Restaurants
The traditional local restaurants in Ulaanbaatar include the following:
- Mongolians: This restaurant in Ulaanbaatar is an upscale place that offers local cuisine in the most contemporary way. Order dumplings, boiled mutton, stir-fried meat dishes, or cold beer. The dishes have a sharp influence by the Russian and European influence on them. The hot pick is the Khorkhog which needs to be preordered 6 six hours.
- Tenger Restaurant: The Tenger Restaurant is a typical Mongolian place situated on the Kempinski Hotel's ground floor. This place offers some of the best Mongolian cuisines in the country. The dining etiquette is a must as the place has crisp white tablecloths and expensive beverages on the line for guests. Order khorkhog, tsuivan or khusshuur.
- Modern Nomads 2: One of the best restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, Modern Nomads 2 offers the best traditional Mongolian dishes like buuz, khuushuur, khorkhog. The Mongolian soups are a hot pick at this place. What is even better is the portion size at this place.
There are uncountable Mongolian traditional restaurants in Ulaanbaatar that offer the best experience when it comes to local cuisine. Eat heartily as the Mongolians do not shy away from feeding their visitors.
Vegetarian and Vegan
When it comes to vegetarian and vegan options, there are quite a few options in Ulaanbaatar. Let us take a look at a few top places that offer no meat options.
- Luna Blanca
This is the first vegan restaurant in Ulaanbaatar to offer the healthiest food options for locals and tourists. One will find all the traditional Mongolian dishes but with a vegan or vegetarian approach. Treat yourself to the tsuivan or buzz at affordable rates. The Luna Blanca is an alcohol-free place.
- Loving Hut
The Loving Hut offers an all-vegan menu for visitors. The recipes are excellent. There is a wide range of soups, porridges, and buzz. Try the mogul to experience something new. If you are missing tea, then treat yourself to herbal tea and fruit shakes here at the Loving Hut.
- Deeldar’s Café
Deeldar’s Café is a place that is known widely for its vegetarian options in a country that loves its meat preparations. Ulaanbaatar offers this vegetarian café with a vast range of smoothies, carrot cakes, and burgers. The followers of Yogi Sri Chinmoy set up the café.
Street food in Mongolia is often what you will find in restaurants but cheaper. The locals set up stalls and sell what they can prepare the best.
- Mutton Kebabs: This is a popular option during the Naadam festival. This is the barbeque meat you will find in Mongolia.
- Tsuivan: This is the Mongolian fried noodles with mutton. Pan-fried with mutton chunks and filled with vegetables, this noodle recipe is one to die for. The taste for the tsuivan differs from person to person.
- Khuushuur: We have mentioned khuushuur earlier in this article. These are popular mutton pockets filled with minced mutton, vegetables, and other spices inside an envelope made out of dough.
- Buzz: This is the Mongolian version of dumplings filled with minced meat obtained from camels or yaks. One will find buuz in restaurants, roadhouses, and street-side stalls as well.
The nightlife in Ulaanbaatar is something all tourists should explore. The nightclubs offer drinks along with dancing to techno, trance, and electronic music. The clubs and pubs are great places to have a taste of the drinks in Ulaanbaatar.
- Ikh Mongol: This place in Ulaanbaatar is divided into a couple of segments – dining area, separate tables for dinners, or VIP lounges on the upstairs. Live music or concerts is showcasing local Mongolian talent. Try the local beer brewed in the pub itself.
- Chinggis Club: The Chinggis Club is situated closely with the Chinggis Brewery and comes together with German dining. The beer brewed in the brewery is light. However, dark beer is available on tap as well.
- Mint: Mint is an electro-dance house offering drinks with VIP lounges and VVIP lounges separately.
Some of the most common alcoholic beverages available in Ulaanbaatar are vodka and beer.
Ulaanbaatar's tap water may look clear and, thus, ready for consumption but do not be mistaken by the looks and consume it anyway. It is best to filter the water before consuming it to avoid any infections or bacteria in the gut. The water contains harmful viruses, bacteria, minerals, and even heavy metals that affect the system.
The organic cafes in Ulaanbaatar serve vegan meals or vegetarian meals. The meals are prepared without the use of any pesticides or artificial additions. Try out the following places for organic cafes in Ulaanbaatar.
- Happy Cow
- Deeldar’s Café
- Luna Blanca
- Loving Hut
- Govinda’s Healthy Vegetarian Café
- World Organic Foods LLC
- UBean Coffee House and Roasterie
These cafes offer a good variation in terms of meals, desserts, and salads. Try the organic cafes in Ulaanbaatar for a change.
Most of the pubs in Ulaanbaatar have their own breweries where they brew their fresh beer and ale. Locals and tourists can enjoy the beer straight from the tap with the help of the right guidance. Most of the pubs are open till 4 AM. Thus, venture into the Ulaanbaatar breweries and enjoy a chilled mug of beer at any time of the day.
- Chinggis Club
- MB Beer Plus
- Hops & Rocks Craft Pub
- APU Company
- Modern Brewery
The options for beer may be limited, but try out the breweries for their atmosphere and enjoy slow dining in these pubs.
- Ulaanbaatar has a lot to offer when it comes to things to do in the city as well as on the outskirts.
- Make a list of all the museums and visit them one by one to understand more about the Mongolian culture.
- The national parks in Mongolia are something everyone should visit. They offer breathtaking views as well as a close encounter with the animals.
- Shop for souvenirs in Sukhbaatar Square.
- Take a horseback riding tour in a small group in the Terelj National Park.
- Visit Ulaanbaatar during the Naadam festival. The opening ceremony in the stadium is one to watch out for.
- Visit the Genghis Khan Statue Complex.
- Look around the monasteries and enjoy the atmosphere in the complexes.
- Eat the local traditional Mongolian cuisine in Ulaanbaatar.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga retreats and holiday homes for mediation are open for one and all who wish to register in Ulaanbaatar. The tourists who wish to take a break from their country and travel to an offbeat location for a yoga retreat can try the following places in Ulaanbaatar.
- Jivamukti Yoga Retreat
- Prana Yoga Mongolia
- Shiva Yoga Centre
- Mongolia Retreat
Some of these retreats organize trips to national parks where people can meditate and practice yoga in the wilds.
Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar is plentiful for travelers, tourists, locals, and VIPs. One can opt for the fancy hotels, or they can book a bed in a backpackers hostel as well. Let us take a look at the options available to us.
- Shangri-La Hotel
- Khuvsgul Lake Hotel
- The Blue Sky Hotel and Tower
- Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel
- Ramada Ulaanbaatar Citycenter
- Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace
- Novotel Ulaanbaatar
The green hotels in Ulaanbaatar make sure to present hospitality in an environmentally conscious manner. Book a room to ensure responsible travel in Ulaanbaatar.
- Shangri-La Hotel
- Ikh Burd Hotel
- Flower Hotel
Hostels and Guest Houses
The hotels and guest houses in Ulaanbaatar are large in number. You can either book a room beforehand, or you can travel and then find a place of accommodation.
- Mongolian Green Hostel
- Town Yard Hostel and Tours
- Top Tours & Guesthouse Mongolia
- Vast Mongolia Guesthouse & Tours
- Azara Guest House
- Khongor Guest House
- Lotus Guest House
One can easily rent apartments in Ulaanbaatar with or without help. You can choose to contact a broker to book a space for yourself. This is in case you wish to stay here for a long while. Alternatively, the apartments may belong to someone already with whom you can share the space temporarily. The best way to do this is to make friends along the way.
Couchsurfing in Ulaanbaatar is also an option if you know people in the city. Try to make safe contacts with people and ensure transparency when you are couchsurfing in Ulaanbaatar. With great roommates, the experience can be worth it.
There is no space to camp within the city of Ulaanbaatar. However, there are camping grounds away from the city. You can take a day’s ride and reach the camping grounds mentioned below.
- Save the Children Japan’s Mongolia Camp
- Amraltiin Gazar
- Three Camel Lodge
- Steppe Nomads Eco Camp
- Toilogt Camp
How to Get There
Ulaanbaatar is well connected to all places in Mongolia, considering it is the country's capital city. Let us take a look at how to reach Ulaanbaatar when in Mongolia.
The simplest way one can reach Ulaanbaatar is by taking a domestic flight from Dalanzadgad. You can also reach Ulaanbaatar from Russia and China. There are private taxis and cabs available at the airport; thus, there will be no trouble navigating once you reach the airport in Ulaanbaatar.
Local buses in Ulaanbaatar can get quite crowded, but it is a reliable form of transport. There is no cash payment within the bus, and one needs to have a U Money card available at the kiosks. The bus trips can cost T500 to T300. Pickpockets are common on the buses.
Rail transport in Ulaanbaatar is widely used as it is well connected. It is one of the most important forms of transport as it is a landlocked country. The national operator of the railway is UBTZ which is known as the Mongolian Railway.
Hitchhiking is common in Ulaanbaatar, especially in the nomads and tribal people. There are a lot of foreigners who hitchhike as well. However, make sure to keep your belongings safe when you are hitchhiking in Ulaanbaatar. The city can get dangerous at night, especially when one is traveling alone.
Other forms of travel in Ulaanbaatar are via cycles, pool cars, and walking.
No matter how you move around in Ulaanbaatar, make sure to do so responsibly as the type of transportation you avail of decides how much pollution you are causing. There are no restrictions on moving around inside the city. Make sure to carry a valid ID at all times.
Walking is one of the best ways to explore Ulaanbaatar. During summers, the weather is pleasant, and one can easily discover new places, communicate with the locals and eat while they walk around. It is the cheapest or rather the free mode of travel in Ulaanbaatar.
Ulaanbaatar offers bicycle rentals at bike shops. You may either carry your own bike or rent one to move around the city. The roads are paved, thereby offering an excellent way to move around in bikes.
According to the survey, there are close to 300 electronic vehicles on the roads of Mongolia, which have green plates as well. An electric charging port is available at the station close to Peace Bridge in Ulaanbaatar. Electronic vehicles are a great way to reduce pollution in Mongolia.
Public buses are widely used in Ulaanbaatar as their services are frequent. However, the buses are crowded and often subject to crimes such as pickpockets and robberies. One has to have a prepaid card to avail of the bus services in Ulaanbaatar.
Tram, Train and Subway
The railways in Ulaanbaatar are extremely well connected to all parts of Mongolia. However, there is no provision for tramways. There are metro services that are to be operational in the city in a few more years as the project is underway.
Sustainable shopping in Ulaanbaatar calls for a visit to Sukhbaatar Square or the Three Camel Lodge. One can shop for garments made out of wool, hand-woven items, textiles, handicrafts, and more organic products. There are good quality pashmina shawls, Kazakh tapestries, cashmere woolen items such as scarves, gloves, caps, sweaters, earrings made out of Mongolian silver sweaters made of yak wool. This way, you can even support the local Mongolian vendors and small businesses by buying local.
The food markets of Ulaanbaatar sell a diverse range of tastes and colors. You get to sample street food, ready-made items, buy organic supplies, and even purchase spices. Visit the Mercury Market to find authentic Mongolian edibles such as cheese, fruits, bread, canned items, and imported items from neighboring countries. The Zhong Guo Shi Pin Dian is the place for Chinese food items. Find items for stews and dumplings here.
Among flea markets in Ulaanbaatar, the Naran Tuul Flea Market is the one which is one of the biggest markets in Mongolia as well as in Asia. This is a quasi-legitimate black market in Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar which sells shawls and buttons to furniture and carpets from shipping containers.
Second Hand Stores
Second-hand stores are available in nooks and corners of the city of Ulaanbaatar. One can find kid's clothing, woolen wear, adult clothes, formal wear, and even vintage clothes amidst the factory rejects and lost clothes. One might even find stalls in the Naran Tuul market selling second-hand clothes.
The idea of eco-fashion steps in Ulaanbaatar when people tend to invest in second-hand clothes and buy clothes only for the time they need them. Woolens are a one-time investment, so make sure to purchase good woolen wear if you need one. The material will last you years. Furthermore, shopping for handwoven environment textiles from the market allows you to support the women and the environment.
Recycling in Ulaanbaatar is a must for all travelers. There is a food waste recycling community in Ulaanbaatar that takes on various projects from time to time to help the environment. Refrain from purchasing plastic packaged water bottles. There are a large number of recycling centers in Ulaanbaatar, some of which include Plastic Centre LLC and Mongolian National Recycling Association.
Ulaanbaatar has a fully functioning waste disposal system in the city. There are wanderers who work as waste pickers as well. The municipal solid waste management is top-notch, and thus, one does not have to worry about waste disposal. However, they must ensure that they leave no waste behind. Throw your garbage in the correct, stipulated dumping place.
Work and Study Abroad
Work in Mongolia is largely distributed among the agricultural sector, the industrial sector, and the service sector. One can apply for software development jobs or take an interest in the mining industry, which is the most popular one in the country.
Students can opt for a student exchange program in Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar is one of the places you can explore when you are in Mongolia as an exchange student. You can travel to Mongolia via the ASSE Student Exchange Programme or the programs at NUM.
If you are a traveler in need of an au pair in Ulaanbaatar, you can approach service centers that allow au pairs. Au pairs in Ulaanbaatar are readily available. You can get in touch with them and expect great services as Mongolian women are kind to visitors.
Volunteer at the many organizations in Ulaanbaatar that help the environment or provide aid to society. Some of the places you should look up have services such as child education, orphanage care, and eco-farming. Alternatively, you can take care of to teach English or host another family at your place. You can also volunteer at the wildlife sanctuaries or national parks.