Ulaanbaatar is situated in central east Mongolia. The city spreads
from east to west along a large wide valley. The main road through
this valley is Enkh Taivny Orgon Choloo or Peace Avenue. The centre of
the city is Sukhbaatar Square, from where all other distances are
measured. Bogd Khan, Bayanzurkh, Chingeltei and Songino Khairkhan
mountains surround the city. The tuul river runs from east to west in
the south of the city. The city is divided
into six districts and many sub districts and microdistricts. More and
more street name signs are being erected although taxi drivers and the
locals tend to use the names of the districts or identifiable
buildings to find locations. Some tourist signposts have recently been
erected to help visitors get around. Useful landmarks include museums,
banks, Sukhbaatar Square, the larger hotels, hospitals and
The first capital of the recent Mongolian Empire was called Urguu and
was located come 420km from Ulaanbaatar. Situated in Arkhangai Aimag
at the Da Khuree Monastery, it was the home to Zanabazar who had been
proclaimed the head of Buddhism in Mongolia. The city moved several
times along the Tuul, Orkhon and Selenge rivers.
Ulaanbaatar was built in its current location in 1778 and named the
'City of Felt'. It then became known as the Great Camp and was ruled
under the Bogd Khaan. When Mongolia gained independence from China in
1911, the city became the capital of Outer Mongolia. It was invaded in
1918, again by China, and then three years later by the Russians. In
1924, the city was named Ulaanbaatar (Red Hero) and declared the
official capital of Mongolia. In 1933, Ulaanbaatar became an
autonomous region from Tov Aimag. The Russian influence for more than
seventy years left Ulaanbaatar a relatively young and unattractive
city. Many of the original buildings, including monasteries have been
destroyed and replaced by Soviet-style apartment buildings.
There are now over 50 hotels in the capital, of varying standards.
There are no official classification systems for these hotels at
present, although it is hoped a grading system will be introduced
soon. Prices range from around US$15 - US$360 for one night. The
better standard hotels can be busy during peak season. There are also
a few small and cheap guest houses for the backpacker traveller. On
the outskirts of the capital are a few ger camps which offer the more
traditional style of accommodation. Hotel services vary, but many will
offer to organise transfers, tours and business services.
Getting around the city is very easy, especially if you can explain
where you want to go in Mongolian. There is a good network of both
buses and trolley buses. Maps are available that show the routes and
all the buses clearly display the route number. There is a standard
charge of MNT 200 for buses and MNT 100 for trolley buses. Payment is
made to the conductor, who usually wears a bright blue apron. The only
difficulty is accepting how crowded they are. You may find yourself
squeezed inside the bus so tightly that you'll miss your stop. Also,
foreigners on buses are an attraction for pickpockets. Please ensure
you take the utmost care with money, wallets and personal possessions.
The buses and trolleybuses run from around 6am to 10pm everyday. Since
the buses are so crowded, a number of entrepreneurs have started their
own services using minibuses. They usually ply the same routes as the
buses and have route numbers displayed. The normal rate is similar to
Taxi services run all around the city, although it can be difficult to
arrange travel in advance unless the driver has a mobile phone. Taxis
are identified by taxi written on the cars. There also a number of
bright yellow cars recently brought into the country that can be
easily identified as taxis. Although some taxis have meters they are
not often used and no pressure should be put on the driver to use it.
The standard cost is MNT 280-300 per kilometre. Some drivers will try
to charge more, especially if you appear to be a tourist. Agree the
price in advance if you can. Ulaanbaatar must be one of the only
places in the world where you can stop almost any car for a lift.
Potentially, every car in the capital is a taxi. If you hale a car and
the driver is prepared to pick you up, he'll do so and charge the same
rates as taxis (around MNT 300 per kilometre). This is seen to be a
safe way of travelling, although it may not be appropriate if you are
a single woman and travelling late at night.
If you're intending to spend a fair amount of time in Mongolia or need
to ship back any large souvenirs, there are a few freight forwarding
companies that can help. Both train and plane services are available
and prices vary. Each company should be able to help with giving costs
and timeframes. Try the following:
International. Tel: (976-11) 310919. Fax: (976-11) 325772. Email:
TNT International Express. Tel: (976-11) 313389/311655/311653. Fax:
Mongolian Express Co., Ltd. Tel: (976-11) 318329. Fax: (976-11)
Federal Express. Tel: (976-11) 322064
Express Mail. Tel: (976-11) 327102
BOOKSHOPS AND LIBRARIES
There are quite a large number of books now available in languages
other than Mongolian, about the history, culture and environment.
There are plans to open a bookshop specifically for these
publications, but at present you will have to seek out what you want
from various locations. The best places to try first are the Central
Post Office, State Department Store and Juulchin Shop (rear of
Look for the following titles: 'Chinggis Khaan', 'My Mongolia',
'This is Mongolia' and a set of large books giving details of
architecture, art, and history. If you want some simple reading
material, try Scrolls bookshop (near the Trade and Development Bank)
for foreign language novels. The two major libraries are the State
Central Library (near the Bayangol Hotel) and the Natsagdorj Library
(near the circus). Both have very little for anyone not able to read
Russian and Mongolian. There are two weekly English Language
newspapers - The Mongol Messenger and The UB Post. Both are available
from some newspaper stands and the Central Post Office.
Telephone - Local, national and international telephone calls can
be made from many hotels and also the Central Post Office. Post -
There are over 20 post offices dotted around the city, but the most
identifiable and perhaps most convenient is the Central Post Office on
Sukhbaatar Square. The post office sells cards, postcards, stamps and
envelopes. (See Fact Pack for details on prices)
Police - Call 102
Fire Brigade - Call 101
Ambulance - Call 103
Email and the Internet are now very popular with Mongolia's
younger generation. There are several places around the capital now to
send and receive your messages and surf the Net. Prices are charged by
the hour and range between MNT 1800 and 10,000. Try the following:
Internet House Cafe,
Youth Federation Building, Baga Toiruu. Tel: (976-11) 310317. Email:
I Cafe, Centre of
Scientific and Technological Information (Soros Building). Tel:
(976-11) 312061. Fax: (976-11) 320616. Email: email@example.com Open
Monday to Friday 08.30-21.00 Saturday and Sunday 10.00-16.00
Khuvgalchidyn Orgon Choloo (next to Natural History Museum)
Epsilon Cyber Cafe, Baga
Toiruu (opposite Trade and Development Bank)
UN Information Shop, 7
Erkhuu Street (near Chinese Embassy)
Information, City Centre Library, Seoul Street (near the circus)
Tel: (976-11) 329840. Fax: (976-11) 320210. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Monday to Friday 09.00-13.00 and 14.00-18.00
Internet Tov, Seoul
Street (near the Red Rock nightclub) Tel: (976-11) 318485/318486.
Fax: (976-11) 312307. Email: email@example.com Website:
http://www.mongolnet.mn Open Monday-Friday 09.00-19.00 Saturday
Infocom Centre, (behind
Central Post Office). Open Monday to Friday 09.00-18.00 Saturday and
BANKS AND MONEY
CHANGERS IN ULAANBAATAR
The facilities available for changing money, cashing travelers cheques,
obtaining cash advances on credit cards and transferring money are
limited, although available. The normal banking hours are 9.00 - 13.00
and 14.00 to 16.00 although there are variations. American Express
Travelers Cheques are the most widely accepted along with VISA,
MasterCard and American Express Credit Cards. There are a few places
other than banks that are able to change money, but visitors are
advised to be careful of their money and possessions, visiting such
places. Below are a small number of banks and money changers, located
in the center of Ulaanbaatar.
BANK OF MONGOLIA,
Khudaldaanii Gudamj - 6.
Telephone: (976-11) 322166. Fax: (976-11) 311471.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.mglbank.mn.
Opening Days/Times: Monday to Friday 09.00 - 13.00 and 14.00 to
GOLOMT BANK, Sukhbaatar
Telephone: (976-11) 311530/327812/311971,
Fax: (976-11) 312307. Email: email@example.com. Website: http://www.golomtbank.com.
Opening Days/Times: Monday to Friday 09.00 - 16.00
Services Available: Cashing of Travelers Cheques, Changing Money and
Cash Advances on Credit Cards.
ANOD BANK, Khudaldannii
Telephone: (976-11) 312412. Fax: (976-11) 313070.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.anod.mn.
Opening Days/Times: Monday to Friday 09.00 - 13.00 and 14.00 - 17.00
SAVINGS BANK, Khudaldaa
Telephone: (976-11) 327467/311966/327329.
Fax: (976-11) 310621/320057.
Opening Days/Times: Monday to Friday 09.00-13.00 and 14.00-18.00
TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT
BANK, Khudaldaa Street.
Telephone: (976-11) 312363. Fax: (976-11)
Opening Days/Times: Monday to Friday 09.00-12.30 and 14.00-15.30
ULAANBAATAR BANK, Baga
Tel: (976-11) 312155. Fax: (976-11) 325017.
Opening Days/Times: Monday to Friday 09.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.00
MONGOL POST BANK,
Central Post Office.
Tel: (976-11) 310993/310603. Fax: (976-11) 312351.
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 09.00-13.00 and 14.00-18.00
Huvisgalchid Street 5-1.
Tel: (976-11) 312531. Fax: (976-11) 310833.
Opening Times: 09.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.00
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Monastery is located 360 km north of Ulaanbaatar is one of the
favourite destinations for visitors. It can be reached by jeep or by a
combination of local train and motor vehicle ride.
Built in 1727-1736, the Monastery was the second most important in
Mongolia after Erdene Zuu Monastery in Kharakhorum.
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The Gobi Desert is a vast
zone of desert and desert steppe covering almost 30 percent of the
The area is often imagined as a lifeless desert like in many other
parts of the world.
In reality, most part of the Gobi Desert is a land
of steppes and it is the home for camel breeders rich with wildlife
Mongolians consider that there are 33 different Gobi, where sandy
desert occupies only 3 percent of the total territory. Climate is
extreme with 40 degrees Celsius in summer and severe winters.
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Open year-round, Terelj
Resort is set in a spectacular valley only a two-hour drive from
Ulaanbaatar. Visitors can take leisurely strolls on green meadows
carpeted with edelweiss and a dazzling variety of other wild flowers,
view fascinating rock formations against a backdrop of pine covered
mountains and wander along the wooded banks of a mountain stream.
Overnight guests can stay in gers or guest rooms.
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Khorgo Volcano is a dead
volcano covered with basalt lying in the east of the Lake Terkhiin
Tsagaan (National Park) in Arhangai aimag. Interesting bubbles of
solidified lava named “Basalt ger’ .It is possible here to visit yak
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Manzshir Monastery is
located in the luxuriant valley of the Bogd Khan Mountain in Tuv aimag,
and one hour drive from Ulaanbaatar can bring visitors to Manzushir .
It was established in 1733 with 20 temples and 300 monks. Destroyed in
1932, the only remaining temple has been restored and a museum at the
site tells the story of the monastery.
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capital, Kharakhorum, Chinggis Khaan’s fabled city, was founded in
1220 in the Orkhon valley, at the crossroads of the Silk Road.
It was from there that the Mongol Empire governed, until Khubilai
Khaan moved it to Beijing. The symbolic ruins of Kharakhorum (kharkhorin),
monumental walls (400 m of length) with 108 stupas, surround the first
Buddhist monastery in Mongolia Erdene Zuu Monastery, built in 1586. In
1792, it housed 62 temples and 10,000 lamas; since 1990, it has become
an active monastery again.
Turtles carved from the stone marked the boundaries of the complex.
Nearby, Turkish monuments and rock inscriptions erected in 8-9th
centuries in memory of outstanding fighters for independence.
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Known as “ The Dark Blue Pearl ”, Lake Khovsgol is Mongolia’s largest
and deepest lake. Located in the northernmost province, it is the
largest tributary stream of Lake Baikal in Russia. Khovsgol is 1645 m
above sea level and is frozen from January until April or May. A
ferryboat operates between Khatgal and Khankh, two towns on the
southern and northern shores of the lake that are within the
boundaries of the Khovsgol National Park.
The native land of Chinggis Khaan, Khan Khentii is covered with
forests, taiga, and mountain forest steppe. It is the land described
in The Secret History Of Mongols, a literary monument of the nation,
and is a protected area located north-east of the capital city.
Called "the Roof of the World", Bayan-Ulgii is a far-off land of high
mountains (the Mongol Altai - Tavan Bogd mountains with 4,373 m peak)
torrents and glaciers, inhabited by Kazakh, a minority who has a
different culture from the Mongols, herding yaks and goats and hunting
with trained eagles. The Khovd River flows through the province
passing primitive wilding areas with mountain steppes vegetation.
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Information provided by
Ministry of Tourism. Government of Mongolia.