Zaisan Memorial, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


Made up of an eclectic mix of traditional post-soviet and modern Chinese-influenced architectures sitting alongside traditional ger dwellings.

Twenty years ago the population of Ulaanbaatar was 400,000 and now it is 1.5 million. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, 27% of the population lived in the capital city and today more than 50% of the population live there.

This influx into the capital was caused not so much from the desertion of an ancient nomadic way of life but a number of bitter winters known as a zud which killed the nomads’ livestock. Over ten years ago there was 30 million livestock in Mongolia but 60% were lost in the winters of 2003 and 2004 and some more recently. The nomads had no choice but to pack up and move to the capital.

Gers in Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Ger city

However they were not to give up their traditional life easily – ger translates as home and is their life, their symbol of freedom. Thus today 60% of Ulaanbaatar’s population lives in the ger city, a unique fusion of past and present.

Leave the city boundaries and within no time the open grasslands of Mongolia stretch as far as the eye can see.


Tell us what you love doing and we’ll curate a journey that’s perfect for you.

A close up of fossilised dinosaur eggs

Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs

See fossilised skeletal remains and dinosaur eggs from the Gobi Desert at the Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs.

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Two golden Buddhist statues on display

National Museum of Mongolia

Explore the National Museum of Mongolia, home to costumes, jewellery, Mongol armour and stone age petroglyphs, giving an insight into Mongolian history.

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Winter Palace, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Winter Palace of Bogd Khan

Visit the Winter Palace of Bogd Khan, which is now a museum made up of six temples containing Buddhist artworks and sculptures.

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Row of buddhist prayer wheels in Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Gandan Monastery

Visit Gandan Monastery just outside of Ulaanbaatar – the largest Buddhist monastery in Mongolia.

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Evening view from Chinggis Square towards government palace which is lit in the early evening light

Chinggis Square

Visit Chinggis Square, a symbol of Mongolia’s independence from the Chinese.

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Genghis Khan Monument, Zonjin Boldog, Mongolia

Statue of Genghis Khan

Take the lift or walk up the 130 feet tall stainless-steel statue of Genghis Khan for panoramic views over the surrounding area.

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Przewalski Horses, Mongolia

Hustai National Park

Explore Hustai National Park where Przewalski horses, once close to extinction, now run wild.

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Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Jalman Meadows Ger Camp £££££

  • Mongolia
  • Tented Camps

Jalman Meadows ger camp is an authentic low impact camp offering comfortable ger accommodation as well as separate library, dining and shower gers. The valleys surrounding the camp serve as winter grazing areas for the local nomads and the grasslands burst with the colour of wildflowers in the summer. Hiking, horse-riding, rafting and kayaking are amongst the activities on offer and the camp provides the opportunity to experience the wildlife, culture and landscapes of Mongolia.

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HS Khaan Resort £££££

  • Mongolia
  • Tented Camps

Located midway between Ulaanbaatar and Hustai National Park, HS Khaan Resort is a luxury ger camp. The 26 individual cottages are housed in traditional, circular canvas ger structures, but with all the interior comforts of a hotel room. Comfortable beds with mosquito nets, ensuites with porcelain bathtubs and all with panoramic views over the open steppe. Facilities include a choice of restaurants and a terrace area that makes the most of the far-reaching views.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul, our Mongolian expert, joined Steppes Travel in 1994 and has visited Mongolia numerous times. His most recent adventure was with his son when they experienced a yak trek, staying in yurts as they travelled, as well as visiting a nature reserve where they found eagles and argali sheep.

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  • 01285 880 980

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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