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Overview

Ulaanbaatar is the bustling, no-holds-barred capital of Mongolia, a free-wheeling city of unrestrained capitalism, traffic jams and heady nightlife. As the only major city in the country, it attracts the best and brightest. The city has a young vibe, with throngs of university students mixing with smartly dressed entrepreneurs. The urban architecture can be hard on the eyes, with lots of ugly Soviet-era apartment blocks filling up the skyline, but there are still pleasant places to stroll, including the impressive Sukhbaatar Square, Mongolia's version of Moscow's Red Square. Nationalism has resurrected the cult of Chinggis Khaan (Ghengis ...

Ulaanbaatar is the bustling, no-holds-barred capital of Mongolia, a free-wheeling city of unrestrained capitalism, traffic jams and heady nightlife. As the only major city in the country, it attracts the best and brightest. The city has a young vibe, with throngs of university students mixing with smartly dressed entrepreneurs. The urban architecture can be hard on the eyes, with lots of ugly Soviet-era apartment blocks filling up the skyline, but there are still pleasant places to stroll, including the impressive Sukhbaatar Square, Mongolia's version of Moscow's Red Square. Nationalism has resurrected the cult of Chinggis Khaan (Ghengis Khan), and a new statue of the 13th century warlord now looms over the vast central plaza. Beyond the downtown concrete core are hillsides overflowing with ger (yurt) districts where Mongolian families live much like their ancestors have for centuries. Paths into the districts lead to ancient temples, such as the glorious Gandan Monastery. With its myriad museums and art galleries there is no shortage of daytime activities, while evening options include cultural performances, theater and live music venues. Drinking, dancing and partying are national pastimes and it's something of a rite of passage for every traveler to go out on the town with a group of friendly locals.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Michael Kohn for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. Located in the north central part of the country, the city lies in a valley on the Tuul River.
  • Language: Mongolian
  • Currency: Togrog
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June to October