What exactly is there to do and see in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia?

Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is usually where most travellers go to just to escape the city but there is plenty of things to do and see here.

Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is usually where most travellers go to just to escape the city but there is plenty of things to do and see here.

Everyone who visits Mongolia starts with Ulaanbaatar.

They also have many questions:

How many days should I stay in Ulaanbaatar?

When should I visit Ulaanbaatar?

How cold really is Ulaanbaatar?

Travelers usually are told to escape Ulaanbaatar as soon as they can and travel to the countryside where the 'real' Mongolia is. But the fact remains that out of 3 million Mongolians in the country, half lives in Ulaanbaatar. The city has long and complicated history that finds it reflection in numerous monuments. In other words, there is plenty of things to do and see here. Let's start by looking at looking at which landmarks you should visit. 

6 best landmarks, you can visit in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Located on top of a hill, in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, Zaisan Monument features paintings that depict scenes of friendship between the people of Mongolia and USSR.

Located on top of a hill, in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, Zaisan Monument features paintings that depict scenes of friendship between the people of Mongolia and USSR.


1. Zaisan Monument  (Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia)

Located at the top of a hill, Zaisan Monument features paintings that depict scenes of friendship between the people of Mongolia and USSR. The structure was risen as a memorial to honor allied Mongolian and Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. The monument stands in what is considered the wealthiest part of town. Next to it stands a golden Buddha gifted to Mongolian people by South Korean government in the beginning of the 2000s. 

The monument rises on a top if a hill and is a great view point offering panorama of a whole city. As a tip, go before sunset and stay till dark to view the monument and city both in the day and night.

Sukhbaatar Square - Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia) features a huge Genghis Khan monument among others and it is here that most events and fairs are held throughout the year

Sukhbaatar Square (Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia) is the central square of the city and home to the building of Mongolian Parliament. 


2. Sukhbaatar Square

(Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia)

The central square of Ulaanbaatar is a virtually impossible site to miss, when you visit the city.

Here stands Mongolian Parliament with a huge monument of enthroned Chinggis Khan and his successors in front of it. In the center of the square rises an equestrian statue of General Damdiny Sukhbaatar - a historical figure playing a significant role in resorting Mongolian Independence in 1921. Sukhbaatar Square is here where most events and fairs are held throughout the year.

Bogd Khan Mountain in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is located in the Southern part of the city and is a stone's throw away from the Zaisan Monument.

Bogd Khan Mountain in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is located in the Southern part of the city and is a stone's throw away from the Zaisan Monument.


3. Bogd Khan Mountain

  (Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia)

Bogd Khan Mountain is one of four peaks surrounding Ulaanbatar. Located at the southern edges of the city, it has been for centuries a object of worship protected by law. Today, it's a part of the Bogd Khan Uul Strictly Protected Area and a hiking getaway for Ulaanbatara residents. Most of them trek to Tsetsee Gun - the highest point of the mountain. But with an experienced guide its also possible to cross to Manjusri Monastery.

The Zaisan Monument stands at the feet of Bodg Khan Mountain and a ski resort occupies its eastern slopes. 

Tumen-Ekh Folk Song and Dance Ensemble. - Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia

Tumen-Ekh Folk Song and Dance Ensemble. - Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia


4. Tumen-Ekh Folk Song and Dance Ensemble

(Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia)

Tumen Ekh is a music and dance ensemble established in 1989 in Ulaanbaatar. The organization occupies a small, run down building opposite to the Bayangol Hotel. Inside, there is a scene surrounded by rows of low seats where twice a day from May to October crowds gather to listen to traditional Mongolian songs and watch traditional Mongolian dances.

Attending one of these performances is a must-do for anyone who visits Ulaanbaatar. The event lasts an hour and allows you to experience, among many others, Mongolian throat singing, horse head fiddle or morin khuur performance, and the art of contortion.

Gandantegchinlen Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, in Mongolia If you are there early in the morning at around 8-9am you will catch the monks gathering for their morning prayers.

Gandantegchinlen Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, in Mongolia If you are there early in the morning at around 8-9am you will catch the monks gathering for their morning prayers.


5. Gandantegchinlen Monastery

(Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia)

Throughout centuries, Gandantegchinlen Monster was the core of Ulaanbaatar. Born in 1838, the complex was home to the generations of the Jebtsundamba Khutuktus - the spiritual leaders of Buddhism in Mongolia. 

The monastery witnessed Mongolia declaring its Independence from the Qing Empire and later becoming a socialist republic. It was one of the very few Buddhist complexes which survived anti-religious communist purges in the late 1930s. Nowadays, the temple remains the most important Buddhist center in the country. Visit here to learn about Mongolian history and Buddhism. The monastery is home to a number of important religious relics, a small museum, and a 26.5 meter statue of Buddha.

If you stop at the monastery around 9 am, you will catch the monks gathering for their morning prayers. Please be aware that as a tourist you'll be charged an entrance fee (around $1.5) and if you take any photos, an extra photography fee.

Narantuul Market - Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is the biggest open door bazaar in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Narantuul Market - Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is the biggest open door bazaar in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


6. Narantuul Market

 (Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia)

This is the biggest open door bazaar in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia that offers everything and the goods are generally super cheap therefore it is a great place to score some bargains. Narantuul is closed on Tuesdays and on other days operate from 9 am to 7 pm. We recommend however coming a bit later since the sellers take their time to arrive and unpack. 

Inside the market you will find everything from shaman accessories to traditional diary products and elements of yurt. It's a great place to take photos but always ask for permission before taking one.

How many days to visit Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia  

  • Although Ulaanbaatar has many things to do and a lot to enjoy, the truth is you only need 3 to 4 days maximum to enjoy everything.
  • The capital city is not so big and therefore does not have many activities in the events that you can participate in compared to other large cities like New York.
  • You actually could walk from one side of the city to the other within a few hours and still have time on your hands to get back to the city centre.
  • The city is however still developing, and maybe in some years to come it could have so much to do and you could add more days to your stay.

When to visit Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia?

The best time to visit Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia when the weather is ideal is from end of May to mid-September. That's when most travelers arrive. 

If you're looking for cold, dry weather, the best time to visit would be January, December and February. However, the level of pollution tends to rise significantly around those months. 

In Summary:

  • Spring is from March through May.
  • Summer is June through August
  • Fall is September through November
  • Winter is December through February.

How to get from Ulaanbaatar Airport to the Ulaanbaatar centre

  • To get from Ulaanbaatar airport to the city centre you can take a public bus, take a taxi or arrange for a private transfer.
  • Taking the public bus is the cheapest way as the airport does not have an airport shuttle bus but there is one public bus from the city centre that stops at the airport.
  • The bus main number is “Ч:7”, and is always written in Mongolian in front of the buses in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. You can catch the bus from a bus stop in front of Bayangol Hotel.
  • Remember however, that this bus only stops at the airport from the city centre and continues to the final stop.
  • Therefore, when you get to the bus it will continue to the last stop and then turn around to return to the city.
  • The bus operates from 6:30am to 21:30pm every day.
  • One-way fare is 500 MNT.
  • The bus frequency is 5 to 20 minutes intervals depending on the time of the day.
  • No cash is accepted and you would need to get a UB Smart Bus Card which costs 3600 MNT to use on the Ulaanbaatar public buses.
  • If you take a taxi, the fare will be between 25000-40000 MTN to the city centre depending on your location. But if you found some people heading to the city you can share the car and divide the cost.
  • You can also book your private airport transfer through your hotels, taxi companies, or travel companies in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia. Remember that they will charge their margin on top.
  • Mongolia is currently switching to using new airport located 50 km away from the city. While, the place is not yet fully operational, but once the international flights switch to it, the cost of the taxi rides and bus fare will very likely change.

How cold is Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia?

  • Ulaanbaatar is unambiguously the coldest capital city in the world on an annual basis.
  • The temperatures dip to -40 Degrees Celsius or lower in the winter.
  • On average you can expect -20 to -25 every day from December through February.

Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia - What language do they speak?

  • Mongolian is the official language of Mongolia and both the most widely spoken and best-known map the Mongolian language family.
  • 95% of Mongolia’s population speaks Mongolian.
  • Russian is one of the most widely spoken foreign languages in Mongolia as well as English.
  • In fact, English is replacing Russian as the most common foreign language spoken which is a reflection of Mongolia in its post-communist times.

Some Turkic languages are spoken by a small portion of Mongolia’s population. You'll also find Japanese and Korean speakers.

Why is Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia so polluted?

  • Ulaanbaatar is polluted because most of the pollutants come from the emissions of vehicles, power plant, gers, send other industrial activities.
  • Mongolia's capital is home to nearly 1.5 million people and is mostly polluted in the winter when many homes are heated by coal stoves.
  • Again during the winter, the three diesel power plants in Ulaanbaatar release 4.5 million cubic metres of gaseous pollutants.
  • They are also quite a number of coal-fired power plants in this city.


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