There are no public phone boxes in Ulaan Baatar. Instead, you see lots of people sitting in the street with cordless telephones - and this is actually the Mongolian version of a public phone box.
Especially around the Sükhbaatar Square we saw many ‘phone boxes’. I don't know the rate for calling a number in Europe.
The biggest event of the Mongolian year for foreigners and locals alike is the Naadam Festival held in during three days in July. Part family reunion, part fair and part nomad Olympics, Naadam (meaning 'holiday' or 'festival') has its roots in the nomad assemblies and hunting extravaganzas of the Mongol armies. The communists renamed the festival People's Revolution Day and fixed it to July 11th to 13th, on the anniversary of the Mongolian Revolution of 1921 and this festival still takes place between these dates today.
Wrestling, archery and horse racing are held during the first and second days. Day one of the Naadam Festival (July 11th) starts at about 9am with a fantastic, colourful ceremony outside the State Parliament House at Sukhbaatar Square. Chinggis Khaan's nine yak tails, representing the nine tribes of the Mongols, are ceremonially transported from Sukhbaatar Square to Naadam Stadium to open the festivities. The opening ceremony, which starts at about 11am at the Naadam Stadium, includes an impressive march of monks and athletes, plenty of music and even parachute displays. The closing ceremony, with more marches and dancing, is held at about 7pm on the second day, but the exact time depends on when the wrestling finishes.
Naadam is properly known as Eriyn Gurvan Naadam, after the three 'manly' sports of wrestling, archery and horse racing (though women participate in the first two events). The first round of the wrestling, which starts at about noon on day one in the main stadium, is the more interesting and photogenic. Archery is held in an open stadium next to the main stadium. The judges, who raise their arms and utter a traditional cry to indicate the quality of the shot are often more entertaining than the archery itself. The horse racing is held at the village of Yarmag, about 10km along the main road to the airport - it is very easy to spot. You should be able to pick up tickets for each day fairly easily by going to a tour company - I went to mine called Black Ibex who got me 2 tickets (one for the morning and one for the afternoon on day 2) that cost a total of T7,000.
In the valley we walked up the place of the monastery. It was a lovely walk, under the trees along a stream with large granit boulders scattered between the trees. At the mountainwall we discovered some Buddha images. From the temple we found not much more than the fundaments, some scattered stones and some sculptures. The main temple would be restored very soon.
We stayed a bit up hill, enjoying the beautiful views at the valley of the ''hundred trees''.
UB's answer to KFC!
This place is Ulaanbaatar's version of a KFC (both KFC and McDonald's are not to be found in the city). The menu comprises virtually all chicken that is battered or in breadcrumb. Inside is waiter service and the seating is kind of like an American diner. Not bad place for a change of scene or food.
The central Square named after Sukhbaatar
In the centre of Ulaanbaatar lays the the Sukhbaatar Square, also simply known as the Square.
Damdiny Sukhbaatar, ''hero of the revolution'', declared in 1929 at this place the final independence of China. At the square which bears his name is also his imposing statue, sitting on his horse. His in 1929 proclaimed words are engraved on the bottom of the statue.
At the background in front of the State Parliament House you can see a mausoleum built in 1921, which may (or may not) contain the remains of the two communist heroes, Sukhbaatar and Choibalsan.