WHY you should VISIT Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia and the main gateway into the country. Before heading into the vast and epic landscapes of the Mongolian Steppes, take time to explore some of the city’s main sites.
- Gandan Buddhist Monastery is the country’s largest and most important monastery
- See fossilised skeletal remains and dinosaur eggs from the Gobi Desert at the Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs
- The National Museum of Mongolia is home to costumes, jewellery, Mongol armour and stone age petroglyphs, giving an excellent insight into Mongolian history and culture
- The Winter Palace of Bogd Khan is now a museum made up of six temples containing Buddhist artworks and sculptures
- Visit Sukhbaatar Square, a symbol of Mongolia’s independence from the Chinese
- Travel one hour from the city to the 130 feet tall stainless-steel statue of Genghis Khan atop his horse. Currently the largest equestrian statue in the world; take the lift or walk to the neck of the horse for panoramic views over the surrounding area
Our Specialists 'must do'
Leave the traffic and chaos of the city behind and head into the surrounding Steppes to spend the night in a ger. Hustai National Park is just a two-hour drive from Ulaanbaatar yet a world away from the bustle of city life. Home to the rolling hills and grassland steppes so synonymous with Mongolia it is also a haven for wildlife, from Przewalski wild horses to marmot, deer and wonderful birdlife.
A little more about Ulaanbaatar
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 a 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.
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.