Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re venturing to the heart of Mongolia to explore the vibrant and bustling city of Ulaanbaatar. With its rich history, unique culture, and stunning landscapes, there’s no shortage of things to do Ulaanbaatar. So, strap on your adventure boots and join me as we uncover the top things to do Ulaanbaatar, from the must-see attractions to the hidden gems that only the locals know about. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating city. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the ultimate list of things to do Ulaanbaatar!
Exploring the Rich History: Museums and Monuments
Ulaanbaatar is a city with a rich history and culture, and there’s no better way to explore it than by visiting its museums and monuments. Here are some of the top things to do in Ulaanbaatar for history buffs:
National Museum of Mongolia
The National Museum of Mongolia is a must-visit for anyone interested in the country’s history and culture. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts, including traditional clothing, weapons, and household items. You can also learn about the country’s nomadic lifestyle and the rise and fall of the Mongol Empire. Don’t miss the dinosaur fossils on display, including the famous Tarbosaurus bataar.
Gandan Monastery is the largest and most important Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. It’s home to over 150 monks and features several temples and shrines. Visitors can witness the daily rituals and ceremonies, including the morning chanting and the afternoon debates. The monastery also houses a 26-meter tall statue of Avalokitesvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion.
For a panoramic view of Ulaanbaatar, head to the Zaisan Memorial. The memorial was built in honor of the Soviet soldiers who died in World War II, and it offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. You can climb to the top of the memorial for an even better view.
Choijin Lama Temple Museum
The Choijin Lama Temple Museum is a hidden gem in Ulaanbaatar. The museum is housed in a 19th-century temple complex and features a collection of Buddhist art and artifacts. You can admire the intricate carvings and paintings on the temple walls and learn about the history of Buddhism in Mongolia.
Sukhbaatar Square is the heart of Ulaanbaatar and a great place to soak up the city’s atmosphere. The square is named after Damdin Sukhbaatar, a national hero who led Mongolia’s independence movement in the early 20th century. You can see his statue and the statue of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. The square is also surrounded by important government buildings and museums.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Ulaanbaatar for history lovers. Whether you’re interested in ancient history or more recent events, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating city. Don’t miss the chance to explore its rich history through its museums and monuments.
Embracing Nature: Parks and Outdoor Activities
Ulaanbaatar may be a bustling city, but it also offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature and the great outdoors. Here are some of the best things to do in Ulaanbaatar for nature lovers:
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
One of the most popular day trips from Ulaanbaatar is a visit to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. This stunning park is just a short drive from the city and offers breathtaking views of the Mongolian countryside. Visitors can hike, horseback ride, or simply relax and take in the scenery.
Bogd Khan Mountain National Park
Bogd Khan Mountain National Park is another great option for those looking to escape the city and enjoy some fresh air. This park is home to several hiking trails, as well as historic temples and monasteries. Visitors can also spot wildlife such as deer and foxes.
The Tuul River is a popular spot for fishing and picnicking. Visitors can rent a fishing rod and try their luck catching trout, or simply enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the river.
Hustai National Park
Hustai National Park is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts. This park is home to the endangered Przewalski’s horse, as well as other wildlife such as deer and wolves. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn more about the park’s conservation efforts.
For a unique outdoor experience, head to the Zaisan Memorial. This hilltop monument offers panoramic views of Ulaanbaatar and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can climb to the top of the monument for even better views.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful hike or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, there are plenty of things to do in Ulaanbaatar for nature lovers. Don’t miss out on these amazing outdoor experiences!
Cultural Immersion: Traditional Performances and Festivals
If you’re looking for things to do in Ulaanbaatar that will give you a taste of the local culture, attending traditional performances and festivals is a must. Here are some of the top events to check out:
The Naadam Festival is the biggest and most important event in Mongolia. It takes place every year in July and features traditional sports such as wrestling, archery, and horse racing. The festival also includes cultural performances and a lively atmosphere that is not to be missed. If you’re looking for an authentic Mongolian experience, the Naadam Festival is the perfect choice.
Tumen Ekh Ensemble
The Tumen Ekh Ensemble is a group of talented musicians and dancers who perform traditional Mongolian music and dance. Their performances are a great way to experience the unique culture of Mongolia and learn more about the country’s history and traditions. The ensemble performs regularly at the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolian National Song and Dance Ensemble
The Mongolian National Song and Dance Ensemble is another great option for those looking to experience traditional Mongolian music and dance. The ensemble performs a variety of songs and dances that showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage. Their performances are held at the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet and are a must-see for anyone interested in Mongolian culture.
Tsagaan Sar is the Mongolian Lunar New Year and is celebrated in February or March. During this time, families gather together to eat traditional foods and exchange gifts. It’s a great opportunity to experience Mongolian hospitality and learn more about the country’s customs and traditions.
Attending traditional performances and festivals is one of the best things to do in Ulaanbaatar if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture. Whether you’re watching traditional sports at the Naadam Festival or enjoying a performance by the Tumen Ekh Ensemble, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.
Savoring Local Cuisine: Top Restaurants and Street Food
When it comes to experiencing the culture of a new place, trying the local cuisine is a must. Ulaanbaatar has a diverse food scene that offers a mix of traditional Mongolian dishes and international cuisine. Here are some of the top restaurants and street food options to try while exploring things to do Ulaanbaatar:
1. Modern Nomads
Located in the heart of the city, Modern Nomads is a popular restaurant that serves traditional Mongolian cuisine with a modern twist. The restaurant’s interior is decorated with traditional Mongolian artifacts, giving diners a glimpse into the country’s rich history. Some of the must-try dishes include khorkhog (a traditional Mongolian barbecue), buuz (steamed dumplings), and tsuivan (stir-fried noodles).
2. Khara Khorum
For a taste of authentic Mongolian cuisine, head to Khara Khorum. This restaurant is known for its hearty portions and flavorful dishes. The menu features a variety of meat dishes, including lamb, beef, and horse, as well as vegetarian options. Don’t miss out on trying the khuushuur (deep-fried meat pastry) and boodog (a dish where meat is cooked inside a hot rock).
3. Khaan Buuz
If you’re looking for a quick and tasty snack, head to Khaan Buuz. This popular street food vendor serves up some of the best buuz in the city. These steamed dumplings are filled with meat and vegetables and are a staple in Mongolian cuisine. Khaan Buuz also offers other street food favorites, such as khuushuur and fried rice.
4. Seoul Street
For those craving Korean cuisine, Seoul Street is the place to go. This restaurant offers a variety of Korean dishes, including bibimbap, bulgogi, and kimchi stew. The restaurant’s interior is decorated with Korean pop culture references, giving diners a fun and lively atmosphere to enjoy their meal.
5. Narantuul Market
For a true taste of Ulaanbaatar’s street food scene, head to Narantuul Market. This bustling market offers a variety of food stalls selling everything from grilled meat skewers to fried noodles. Be sure to try the huushuur (deep-fried meat pastry) and tsagaan idee (a sweet milk tea).
Whether you’re looking for a sit-down meal or a quick snack on the go, Ulaanbaatar’s food scene has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on trying these top restaurants and street food options while exploring things to do Ulaanbaatar.
Shopping Spree: Markets and Souvenir Shops
If you’re looking for unique souvenirs and gifts to take back home, Ulaanbaatar has plenty of options. Here are some of the best markets and souvenir shops to check out during your visit:
1. Narantuul Market
Also known as the “Black Market,” Narantuul is one of the largest markets in Ulaanbaatar. Here, you can find everything from traditional Mongolian clothing and accessories to electronics and household items. Don’t forget to haggle for the best prices!
2. State Department Store
For a more upscale shopping experience, head to the State Department Store. This multi-level shopping center has a wide range of products, including clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs. You can also find a food court and a supermarket here.
3. Gobi Cashmere
Mongolia is known for its high-quality cashmere, and Gobi Cashmere is one of the best places to buy it. This store offers a wide range of cashmere products, including scarves, sweaters, and blankets. You can also take a tour of the factory to see how the cashmere is made.
4. Tumen Ekh National Handicrafts Shop
If you’re looking for authentic Mongolian handicrafts, Tumen Ekh is the place to go. This shop sells a variety of handmade items, including felted wool products, leather goods, and traditional musical instruments. You can also watch artisans at work in the shop’s workshop.
5. Souvenir shops in the city center
There are several souvenir shops located in the city center, near Sukhbaatar Square. These shops offer a variety of souvenirs, including traditional Mongolian clothing, jewelry, and artwork. Be sure to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase.
Whether you’re looking for traditional Mongolian souvenirs or modern products, Ulaanbaatar has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these shopping hotspots during your visit to the city! And remember, shopping is just one of the many things to do in Ulaanbaatar.
Nightlife and Entertainment: Bars, Clubs, and Live Music
If you’re looking for things to do in Ulaanbaatar after dark, you won’t be disappointed. The city has a vibrant nightlife scene with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from.
Ulaanbaatar has a variety of bars to suit all tastes. For a taste of local culture, head to the Hunnu Bar where you can try traditional Mongolian drinks like airag (fermented mare’s milk) and watch live performances of traditional music and dance. If you’re looking for something more modern, check out The Fat Cat which offers a wide selection of cocktails and craft beers.
For those who love to dance, Ulaanbaatar has a few clubs that are worth checking out. Metropolis is a popular spot with locals and tourists alike, offering a mix of electronic and pop music. Club 69 is another popular club that plays a mix of international and Mongolian music.
If you’re a music lover, Ulaanbaatar has a few venues that regularly host live performances. UB Jazz Club is a cozy spot that features local and international jazz musicians. iNDEPENDENT is a larger venue that hosts a variety of genres, from rock to hip hop.
No matter what your taste in nightlife and entertainment, there are plenty of things to do in Ulaanbaatar after dark. So, put on your dancing shoes and explore the city’s bars, clubs, and live music venues.
In conclusion, my time exploring the many things to do in Ulaanbaatar has been nothing short of extraordinary. This vibrant city has a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity that makes it a must-visit destination for any avid traveler. From the awe-inspiring Gandan Monastery to the bustling Naran Tuul Market, there’s no shortage of things to do in Ulaanbaatar.
As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing countless adventures around the globe, but the things to do in Ulaanbaatar have left a lasting impression on me. The warmth of the locals, the rich history, and the stunning landscapes have all contributed to an unforgettable experience.
So, if you’re planning your next adventure, make sure to add Ulaanbaatar to your list of destinations. With so many things to do in Ulaanbaatar, you’ll undoubtedly create memories that will last a lifetime. And remember, Suitcase Stories is always here to guide you through your journey, providing you with the best tips and recommendations for your travels.
Until our next adventure, happy travels, and may you continue to discover the incredible things to do in Ulaanbaatar and beyond!