Ulaanbaatar Things to Do

  • Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    by happyhourkid
  • Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    by happyhourkid
  • Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    by happyhourkid

Most Recent Things to Do in Ulaanbaatar

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    Terelj National Park - Nomads

    by ValbyDK Updated Sep 18, 2010

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    Nomad Family
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    On our tour in the Terelj National Park we visited two nomad families. At the first family we were invited inside their temporary home - a ‘ger’ - for tea. A ‘ger’ is a kind of Mongolian tent made of canvas or felt, draped over an ingenious frame to make it an easily moveable home. Smart because Mongolian nomads normally move 2-4 times a year to find fresh grass for their livestock.

    At lunchtime, we visited another family who was living at their winter site, and therefore stayed in a wooden house. Here we had lunch, and the menu was fantastic. First we had a very tasty and nutritious soup as a starter, and the main course was homemade meatballs wrapped in dough. It tasted great!

    Both families were incredibly friendly, and we were told about their life as nomads. No one in the family spoke English, and because we were a little rusty in Mongolian, our local guide had to translate the conversation for us. It was a great experience to visit the families and get a glimpse of a life so different from ours in little Denmark…

    This is a must-do in Mongolia!

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    • National/State Park
    • Arts and Culture

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    Sükhbaatar Square

    by ValbyDK Updated Sep 18, 2010

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    S��khbaatar Square
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    The Sükhbaatar Square is a large square located in the centre of Ulaanbaatar. It is named after Damdin Sükhbaatar, a revolutionary hero who in July 1921 declared Mongolia's independence from China. The hero is also honoured with a statue in the middle of the square.

    The square was in 1989 home of the first demonstrations that later led to the democratic revolution in early 1990. Today, Sükhbaatar Square is surrounded by the Government House, the Palace of Culture (with the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery), the State Ballet and Opera House, the Stock Exchange, and more...

    We didn’t visit any of the beautiful buildings, but went for a long walk around the square. It is a good place to start your sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar.

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    Terelj National Park

    by ValbyDK Updated Sep 18, 2010

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    Terelj National Park
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    The national park is part of the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and is located about 80 km (on bumpy road) northeast of Ulaanbaatar.

    The translation of Terelj is “where Mongolia is most beautiful”, and although I have not been everywhere in Mongolia, it is hard to imagine a nicer place! The landscape was quite unique, and we drove through both lush valleys and arid desert-like areas. Amazing scenery and the visit to the Terelj National Park was the highlight of my stay in Mongolia!

    Gana's Guest House helped us with booking the tour, but I wish it was not just a day-trip! If/When I come back to Mongolia again, I will spend the night in a ‘ger’ in the park - or consider going to the Gobi National Park.

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    • National/State Park

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    The National Museum of Mongolian History

    by ValbyDK Updated Sep 18, 2010

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    The National Museum of Mongolian History
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    The National Museum of Mongolian History covers the history of Mongolia from ancient prehistory to the end of the 20th century. The museum has several exhibitions with more than 50,000 historical and cultural artefacts, and I especially found the Genghis Khan exhibition very interesting, but there were also some interesting material about the socialist Mongolia (1921 to 1990) and the democratic Mongolia (post 1990).

    The museum has recently been restored and the exhibitions looked nice and modern - absolutely worth a visit.

    If you want to take photos in the museum you must pay an extra fee.

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    • Historical Travel

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    Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts

    by ValbyDK Updated Sep 18, 2010

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    Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts
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    Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art contains a fine collection of paintings, sculptures and carvings of Mongolian artists. As the name of the museum says, Gombodorjiin Zanabazar (1635-1724) is the main artist and the museum has special exhibitions about his life and works.

    There were some beautiful objects, and also the exhibition of 'tsam' masks worn by monks in religious ceremonies was very impressive. However, I found the History Museum and the Natural Museum more interesting than Zanabazar Museum, but if you have a special interest in Mongolian art it's a different story...

    If you want to take photos in the museum you must pay an extra fee.

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    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Cashmere Shopping/Souvenirs

    by lalikes Written Oct 28, 2009

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    State Department Store is the place to go. we only hit a couple floors. Now I'm not a huge fan of cheesy souvenir type places or malls for that matter. However, I did like the souvenir floor and cashmere floor. There are a few silly souvenir's on the souvenir floor but there are many practical items instead of just cheapy figurines and whatnot. I purchased wool slippers and a fur (fake fur PETA people) hat plus some shirts. All cost about $35 U.S. On to the cashmere floor. I bought 3 pairs of gloves for $10 U.S. a piece and a scarf. My boyfriend bought a glove and scarf set for his mom and a hat for himself. All cost about $50 U.S. The store was easily maneuverable and the staff was helpful.

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    Lenin Statue

    by happyhourkid Written Oct 19, 2008

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    Lenin Statue, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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    Unlike virtually all other former Soviet Republics or Soviet Satellite countries I've been to, Mongolia actually seems to embrace the Soviet area as a positive one in their history. I can understand why, and the Soviet Union financially invested heavily in Mongolia and helped them towards independence. All over Mongolia I saw Communist era monuments which, if were in Europe, would have been torn down the instant Communism disappeared.

    This statue of Lenin, with the exception of a handwriting all over it, is in pretty good condition and sits just about 1 to 2 blocks east of Sukhbaatar Square and right on Peace Avenue. right in front of the Ulaanbaatar Hotel.

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    Zaisan Memorial

    by happyhourkid Written Oct 19, 2008

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    Zaisan Memorial, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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    The Zaisan Memorial is a hilltop memorial south of UB that honors Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. It is a typical Communist era memorial and features a circular painting that depicts scenes of cooperation between the Soviet Unoin and Mongolia.

    After driving up the hill to a parking lot you then need to walk up about 300 stairs up to the monument and mural. This is definitely a must-see because you can see the entire city from here, and is a spectacular view either day or night.

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    Gandan Monastery

    by happyhourkid Written Oct 19, 2008

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    Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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    The Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery, commonly known as Gandan Monastery, is a Tibetan-style monastery that was spared the destruction that many other monasteries met with during the Communist era. It was built in the 1830's and is one of the main must-see tourist attractions in Ulaanbaatar.

    The main feature is the 27 meters tall buddhist statue in the main temple. Beware of the elderly minders at the front door that strictly enforce the rules of paying $5US to take pictures of the statue and $10US to video it. (Interesting-I thought it was sacriligious to take pictures of Buddhist Statues?) Throughout the complex there are chanting halls where you can listen to the religious chanting, prayer wheels, etc.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Backpacking

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    Sukhbaatar Square

    by happyhourkid Written Oct 19, 2008

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    Sukhbaatar Square, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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    This is easily the most recognizable tourist attraction in all of Ulaanbaatar. Sukhbaatar Square of a large public area that is supposidly larger than Moscow's Red Square and is cordoned in by older Soviet-like buildings and skyscrapers that are beginning to go up. Mountains rise in the distance in all directions. Personally, I think the skyscrapers are an awful idea but are probably being built up by Japanese or South korean firms who could give a monkey's ass about the scenery in a country that isn't theres.

    The Parliament building is such a sad deal. They've recently renovated it, got rid of the communist masoleum that previously sat out front, and replaced it with a statue of Genghis Khan (which oddly resembles the Lincoln Memorial Statue) that soldiers guard and will not let you walk up to. Sukhbaatar's statue, which is the focal point of the entire square is surrounded by cobblestones with weeds growing through and patches of dirt where I'm assuming grass once grew.

    A great place nonetheless to watch Mongolian life go by.

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    Naadam Festival

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 25, 2008

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    Comencement of a round featuring line of wrestlers
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    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.

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    Mongolian National Stadium

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 25, 2008

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    This is the National Stadium in Mongolia and is used mostly for football matches but is most famous for being the location where the annual Naadam Festival is held in July. It has a seating capacity of 20,000.

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    Bogd Khaan Winter Palace - The Green Lavrin Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 25, 2008

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    The Green Lavrin Temple, the main temple of the complex, was used during the summer by the 8th Bogd Khaan as a meditation retreat. It now hosts Zanabazar’s thirty-inch high Green Tara, one of his great works, and twenty other manifestations of Tara, each about 16 inches high. There is also a large statue of Zanabazar himself in his familiar bald-headed guise.

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    Bogd Khaan Winter Palace - Faith Learning Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 25, 2008

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    This temple was given its name by the Manchu emperor and the sign above the door reads in Manchu, Mongolian and Chinese "Jivundamba Khutagt" with the date August 1893. In the last month of summer every year, 16 lamas from Dechingalav school would be summoned to perform the Naidanchog ceremony in the main section of this temple to bring longevity to the Bogd Khaan.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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    Bogd Khaan Winter Palace - Makhranz Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 25, 2008

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    The compound is entered through the Makhranz Temple, which contains the traditional four temple guardians. The first two temples to the left and right after passing through the Makhranz were once used once used by the Bogd Khan’s staff and advisors and by artists engaged in making embroidered silk thangkas and clothes for the Bogd and his consort.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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Ulaanbaatar Things to Do

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