Discover the 7 Best Things to Do in Ulaanbaatar: A Quick Guide to Mongolia’s capital!

Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, is a melting pot of culture, history, and natural beauty. From the impressive Gandantegchinlen Monastery to the bustling Narantuul Black Market, there is something for everyone to discover and explore. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or an adventure seeker, Ulaanbaatar has it all. In this article, we will take you through a quick guide to the 7 best things to do in Ulaanbaatar and help you make the most of your trip to this fascinating city.

1. Gandantegchinlen Monastery

Visit the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, one of the largest and most important Buddhist temples in Mongolia.

One of the most significant Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia is the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, often referred to as Ganden Monastery. It was established in the 18th century and is situated in Ulaanbaatar, the nation’s capital. It served as Mongolia’s primary center for Buddhism for a very long time. Unfortunately, it was obliterated during the 1930s Stalinist purges. In spite of this, the monastery was repaired and reopened in the 1990s, and it is still a significant Buddhist pilgrimage place in the area.

The monastery is home to numerous priceless Buddha statues and other significant Buddhist treasures, as well as a sizable collection of thangkas, and traditional Tibetan sacred canvas paintings. The monastery’s main temple, which has substantial Buddha images and elaborate carvings and decorations, as well as smaller nearby temples and shrines, are open to visitors. Daily prayer sessions are also held at the monastery for observers and participants.

In general, the Gandantegchinlen Monastery is a significant Buddhist pilgrimage destination and has significant historical and cultural value for Mongolia. For anyone interested in Buddhism, Mongolian culture, or history, it is a must-see.

2. National Museum Of Mongolia

Explore the National Museum of Mongolia, which has a wide collection of artifacts that showcase the country’s history and culture.

For history and culture buffs, the National Museum of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital, is a must-see. The museum hosts a large collection of cultural relics and literature covering the entire history of the Mongolian people from early nomadic tribes to modern times. The museum’s most popular exhibit showcases the historic Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan along with traditional Mongolian clothing, jewelry, and household items.

For those who are interested in Mongolia during the Soviet Union, the museum also features a section dedicated to the life and legacy of the country’s past revolutionary leader, Damdin Sukhbaatar who is often referred to as the “Father of Mongolia’s Revolution”.

The National Museum of Mongolia, which we highly recommend seeing, provides a fascinating look into the history and culture of this unusual country through its extensive collection and interesting displays.

3. Sukhbaatar Square

Take a stroll through Sukhbaatar Square, the central square of the city, which is surrounded by government buildings and monuments.

Sukhbaatar Square, located in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The square is named after the revolutionary leader Sukhbaatar, who played a key role in the country’s independence from China in the early 1920s. At the center of the square stands a statue of Sukhbaatar on horseback, which serves as a symbol of Mongolian nationalism pride.

The square is a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Surrounded by several important government buildings, including the Parliament House, it is a center of political and cultural activity.

Apart from its historical and cultural significance, Sukhbaatar Square is a great place to soak up the bustling atmosphere of Ulaanbaatar and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Damdin Sükhbaatar on his horse in the center of the square
Damdin Sükhbaatar on his horse in the center of the square
TravisHellstrom, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Mongolian parliaments building
The Mongolian parliaments building
Anagoria, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Winter Palace Of The Bogd Khan

Visit the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, a Heritage site that was the residence of the last Mongolian king.

In Ulaanbaatar, there is a historical palace called the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, also referred to as the Bogd Khan Palace Museum. The palace was constructed in the early 20th century and housed the Bogd Khan, the last emperor of Mongolia and the head of Mongolian Buddhism.

The palace, which is built using traditional Mongolian architecture, is decorated with numerous Buddhist patterns and symbols. The palace’s many rooms, including the throne room, the audience hall, and the Bogd Khan’s private chambers, are open for visitors to tour. The palace also houses a collection of over 30,000 artifacts, including religious texts, paintings, and clothing.

The palace is considered one of the most important cultural and historical sites in Mongolia and is open to the public. It’s a popular tourist destination that offers an interesting insight into the country’s rich cultural heritage, traditional way of life, and spirituality.

In addition to being a museum, the palace hosts events and ceremonies throughout the year, and visitors to the palace can learn about Bogd Khan’s history and his role in shaping modern Mongolia.

5. Narantuul Black Market

Shop at the Narantuul Black Market, one of the largest markets in the city, where you can find a wide variety of goods, including traditional Mongolian clothing and souvenirs.

The Naran Tuul Black Market, also known as “Ulaanbaatar’s Black Market”, is a busy marketplace located in the center of Ulaanbaatar. The market is known for its wide range of goods and services, from traditional Mongolian clothing and souvenirs to electronics, jewelry, and even cars.

The Naran Tuul Black Market is a place where you can find anything, but it is also known for its authenticity and tradition. The market is a great place to experience local culture and buy unique and authentic Mongolian handicrafts. The markets are also a great place to pick up bargains, as prices are usually lower than in the city’s retail stores and shopping malls.

Despite the name, this market is not illegal, but not as heavily regulated as others. It’s open every day except Tuesday from around 09:00 – 18:00. There are reports about pickpockets but others say they have no problems at all, but just in case we recommend staying aware of what’s happening around you.

inside Narantuul Black Market
A stall inside Narantuul Black Market
Joe Flasher, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6. Zaisan Hill Memorial

Go to the Zaisan Hill Memorial, which offers a panoramic view of the city, it also has a Soviet-era memorial and a statue of a peacekeeping soldier.

The Zaisan Hill Memorial, a memorial honoring the Soviet and Mongolian soldiers who fought and lost their lives in World War II, is situated in Ulaanbaatar’s southern region. The monument is a well-liked destination for both tourists and locals because it is situated on a hilltop and provides a beautiful panoramic view of the city.

The memorial, which was built in the 1960s, has a large statue of a Soviet soldier holding a flag. Mosaic murals that illustrate scenes from both Mongolian and Soviet history surround the statue. Along with a small museum devoted to the history of the Soviet-Mongolian relationship, the monument also has several plaques and inscriptions in both Russian and Mongolian so to understand the history correctly we recommend downloading a translation app.

Overall, the Zaisan Hill Memorial is a significant historical and cultural site that offers a glimpse into the shared history of Mongolia and the Soviet Union. It is a great place to visit to learn more about the history of the region and to enjoy the beautiful views of the city.

7. Terelj National Park

Take a day trip to Terelj National Park, which is located about an hour away from the city and offers beautiful scenery and outdoor activities such as horseback riding and hiking.

Terelj National Park is a nature reserve located in the Tov province of Mongolia, about 65km (40 miles) east of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and is acceptable by a fully tarred road so it will only take about an hour to reach. The park is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including rugged mountains, rolling hills, and sparkling rivers. Visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails and enjoy the diverse wildlife, including eagles, falcons, and the occasional bear or wolf.

One of the most popular attractions in the park is Turtle Rock, a large granite boulder that has been shaped over time to resemble a turtle. Another popular attraction is the Aryabal Meditation Temple, a Buddhist temple built between 1998 and 2004 and is located 1km (0.62 miles) away from turtle rock, it takes about 30-45 minutes to reach depending on how fast you walk.

The park also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, and river rafting. Visitors can also explore the local nomadic culture, by visiting a traditional Mongolian ger camp, where they can enjoy traditional meals and sleep in a traditional ger.

All in all Terelj National Park is a great destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers, offering a wide range of activities and natural beauty. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience the natural beauty of Mongolia.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Ulaanbaatar is a city full of history, culture, and natural beauty. With so many things to see and do, Ulaanbaatar is a must-visit destination and should definitely be on every travel enthusiast’s bucket list of destinations to visit in their lifetime.

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