Favorite thing: Well, I don't know how many time do you have, but maybe you could consider to fly to Beijing and take the TransMongolian train to Ulanbatar. Well, I know it's like one day inside the train, but it's one of the most venerated trainlines in the world, so maybe it could be interesting. And the flight price much lower for sure.
Just giving another idea...
Favorite thing: 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.
Central Post Office & Communication Centre
Favorite thing: This large building on the south-western corner of Sukhbaatar Square is the main post office and communication centre. You can make phones calls (which are a lot expensive than via internet phone places such as the one on nearby Baga Toyruu near the UB Guesthouse) and use the internet (which again is a lot more expensive than internet cafes around the city centre). It has a good souvenir/mobile phone/stamp shop at the back which is worth a look around.
Genghis Khan - The man
Favorite thing: Not many historical figures are bigger than their country but Genghis Khan (1162-1227) was certainly one of them. In the west he's always been perceived as a great statesman and warrior of the Mongol empire who knew of no limits or boundaries. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia and he pursued an aggressive foreign policy by starting the Mongol invasions of East and Central Asia. During his life, the Mongol Empire eventually occupied most of Asia and his descendants went on to stretch the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering all of modern-day China, Korea, Caucasus, Central Asian countries and substantial portions of modern Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It's no wonder, then, that he is revered among Mongolians. For example, it is not uncommon for Mongolians to refer to Mongolia as "Genghis Khan's Mongolia," to themselves as "Genghis Khan's children," and to Genghis Khan as the "father of the Mongols" especially among the younger generation. His name and likeness are endorsed on products such as beer, vodka and biscuits; streets, buildings such as hotels and even the airport, and other places. His face can be found on everyday commodities, from liquors to the largest denominations of banknote. Put simply, he's the biggest name in Mongolia and his image is widely used for the tourist industry and on souvenirs. You simply won't be able to avoid him!
Favorite thing: There are a few internet cafés. They are very crowded and very slow. Sometimes you are not able to get anywhere, so you just have to slow down to Mongolian pace and be patient. I always used one on Baga Toyruu Street, not far off Peace Avenue.
Favorite thing: Ulan Bator is growing very fast. You can see on the picture in the foreground that the rich people build a whole new part of town. Lots of locals from all over the country move to UB, so the parts with the yurts are also growing which is bad as there are no sewage systems there.
The July Bazaar
Favorite thing: During the Naadam Festival in July every year, the area outside Ulaanbaatar's stadium turns into a huge bazaar with food stores, shirts, hats, souvenirs etc. This is really a great experience for me mingling with the locals in this bazaar.
Favorite thing: The famous Naadam Festival of Mongolia is held throughout the country, and the main festival is held in Ulaanbaatar's stadium. The festival is Mongolia's carnival, national day, sporting day all rolled into one, and not to be missed. In fact, you need to get your tickets and accomodation early to avoid disappointment, and prices will go up.
City of Ulaanbaatar
Favorite thing: You need to have an open mind and keep to the basics when you are in Ulaanbaatar. Things here are old, runned-down, simple and slow, so do not expect too much in terms of modern day comforts. However, the people are friendly and the city will offer you an insight into a place where poverity is still a big part of everyday life.
No need to buy ticket to enter Gandan Monastery
Favorite thing: I have heard some travelers buying Gandan Monastery "tickets" to enter, this should not be true as the monastery has numerous doors and is free for public.
Once you enter you will wonder why people are lining up to turn the wheels. That is because there are hundred and thousands of "Om Mani Padme Hung" mantras printed on paper and rolled in relief on the cylinder. Mongolians use prayer wheels to spread spiritual blessings to all sentient beings and invoke good karma in their next life. They believe that every rotation of a prayer wheel equals one utterance of the mantra, thus the religious practice will in return help them accumulate merits, replace negative effects with positive ones, and hence bring them good karma. Remember that the wheels should be turned clockwise!!
- Historical Travel
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Give me a call or drop me a...
Favorite thing: Give me a call or drop me a line, we'll discuss and then we'll decide where to go and what to do! People are very different so I think it's better to take someone somewhere knowing what s/he is interested in.
Fondest memory: I miss UB when I am away because my home is there.
Favorite thing: The Tuul River is the main river flowing across the city of Ulaanbaatar. During summer, you can see the locals swimming in the river and enjoying the heat before the harsh winter comes again.
Statue at the Archery Centre
Favorite thing: I particularly like the statue of the archer outside the archery centre of the Ulaanbaatar stadium. This is the place where the archery competition is held during the Naadam Festival every July.
Favorite thing: This stadium is the place where the famous Naadam Festival is held every July, and it also hosts the sporting events of the country. Worth a visit if you are in the Zaisan Memorial area.
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