Ulaanbaatar is the gateway to exotic Mongolia. The Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, is a special blend of modern buildings, the angularity of the Soviet era, and the uncontrollably spreading rows of yurts on the outskirts of the city. The city is charmingly lively on the one hand, and like a new pioneer village on the other, which in its chaos proves to be a fascinating travel destination.
Ulaanbaatar AS A TRAVEL DESTINATION
Ulaanbaatar is an exciting city of contrasts
Ulaanbaatar is known as an important stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Surrounded by mountains, the city offers attractions for a few days and a lively way to live for even longer.
The cityscape of Ulaanbaatar is quite special. Much of the buildings date back to communist times and look reminiscent of the Soviet building stock. However, the rapid westernization of Mongolia has brought a new kind of architecture to Ulaanbaatar with its glass palaces. Their own chapters are still outside the city like traditional Mongol tents, or yurts, spreading in the suburbs.
Ulaanbaatar peculiar contrasts burgeoning urban landscape gives a good insight into the city by climbing the south side of the hill, from which opens a panoramic view of Ulaanbaatar area. The Zaizan Monument, one of the most important sights in Ulaanbaatar, is located in Kukkala.
Experience the Naadam Festival in July
Mongolia is a country of harsh conditions with an extreme continental climate. The scorching hot summer weather turns into chilly but almost snow-free winters, where the temperature can drop as low as -40 ° C. The cold winters have brought Ulaanbaatar a reputation as the coldest capital in the world.
Due to the harsh conditions, the best time to travel to Ulaanbaatar is summer time from May to September. Especially in July, the city becomes extremely crowded with both locals and tourists as the annual Naadam Festival spreads to the streets of Ulaanbaatar.
The festival is the best opportunity for the tourist to get to know a wide range of Mongolian traditions such as throat singing and wrestling.
Shop for Mongolian specialties
Ulaanbaatar is not a western shopping paradise, but you can find special local gifts in the city. In particular, local handicrafts, works of art and cashmere wool accessories are popular souvenirs.
Reliable shopping is provided by the state department store and souvenir shops. The state department store also houses the best grocery store in Ulaanbaatar.
Shopping can also be done in the town’s markets, where you have to be careful about pickpockets. The widest and most special market in its selection is the so-called Black Market in the suburbs.
Ulaanbaatar entertains with its restaurant and nightlife offerings
The price level in Mongolia is very affordable for Finns. Ulaanbaatar has a wide range of restaurants. In addition to Mongolian cuisine, especially Korean, Chinese and various European cuisines are well represented.
Traditional Mongolian food is quite exotic, simple and quite meaty. Traditionally, vegetables have hardly been readily available in Mongolia. Meat dishes made from sheep in particular are worth tasting.
Ulaanbaatar’s nightlife is quite lively during the summer, when locals and tourists populate the city’s pubs and clubs. Mongolian Brewing is on the rise, and local beers are worth tasting.
At night, special attention should be paid to safety. In the dark, robberies and fights are unfortunately common, and stray dogs can also be a nuisance. The best possible boredom is avoided by heading back to your accommodation before midnight.
Take excursions to Mongolian nature
The main tourist attraction of Mongolia is the magnificent nature. Even if the visit to Ulaanbaatar is short, it is still worth striving to visit the Mongolian countryside for even a couple of days of hiking, where you can sleep in a traditional yurt and see the beautiful but rugged nature with its animals.
Excursions outside Ulaanbaatar are difficult to make independently due to the non-existent road network. However, there are many different tour operators in the city. In particular, many accommodation establishments organize trips to other parts of Mongolia. Indeed, planning a larger trip to Mongolia is often easily handled with the help of accommodation staff.