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You're Going to Love Ulan Bator

Few cities in the world have experienced as much change over the past 20 years as Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator. Home to around half of the nation's population and growing all the time, Ulan Bator has shrugged off the Communist era, developing a thriving youth culture (with a huge K-Pop music fanbase), and some fabulous dining experiences.

It's also started to exploit the rich history of Mongolia, with monasteries, traditional theaters, and archaeological museums, creating a unique blend of the old, new, and the completely unpredictable. Whether you're headed for a yurt stay on the steppes or passing through to Beijing, Ulan Bator has plenty to offer.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Ulan Bator

What to do in Ulan Bator

A popular activity in Ulaanbaatar

Genghis Khan Day Tour with Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Genghis Khan Day Tour with Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
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When to Visit Ulan Bator

Ulan Bator is a very cold winter destination, so summer is really the optimal time to go. July and August bring the lively Naadam Festival, with its sports and music events, but late May and June, or September and October are appealing times as well, with the steppes at their lushest and generally mild temperatures.

How to Get to Ulan Bator

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Where to Stay in Ulan Bator

Popular Western-style hotels in Ulan Bator include the Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel and the Kempinski, but smaller boutique hotels are more fun. Standouts include the Urgoo Hotel, right next to the National Museum, and the Lotus Guesthouse, which offers strong concierge services, plenty of parking, and is partly run by an orphans' charity. Some of the most popular districts to base yourself in include Baga Toirog, a green neighborhood with poplar-lined streets and a diverse dining scene, and Zaisan, a prosperous part of town with excellent eateries and famous for its impressive war memorial to Mongolia's World War Two dead.

Where to stay in popular areas of Ulaanbaatar

Most booked hotels in Ulaanbaatar

How to Get Around Ulan Bator

The Cost of Living in Ulan Bator

Shopping

Aside from the riches on offer at Naran Tuul Market, Ulan Bator doesn't lack for malls and shopping opportunities. Don't miss the vast State Department Store, which is perfect for snapping up souvenirs. Chingeltei district is another place to look, where Mary & Martha Mongolia offer gorgeous embroidered products and Cashmere House deals in fine cashmere creations.

Supermarkets and Food Stores

NOMIN and Orgil are the major supermarkets in the Mongolian capital, but grocery stores can be found all over, while Mercury Market is a great place to pick up imported delicacies. Prices of some things can be high, as fruit and vegetables tend to be imported, but generally the city is fairly cheap. A gallon of milk should cost around MNT8,000, while 12 eggs will be about MNT3,800.

Where to Eat in Ulan Bator

If you want to tuck into Mongolian minced lamb dumplings and thick meat stews, Khara Khorum at the Kempinski is a local favorite, while Luna Blanca provides an unexpected and satisfying vegetarian spin on the nation's cuisine. However, Ulan Bator's dining scene is really diversifying, with excellent northern Indian joints like Namaste, and European cafes like Turning Point, where good food and jazz come together. Meals can be very cheap indeed, costing from MNT6,000 to 10,000 per head.