Posted by Selena Travel / 01 24, 2018
If you’re looking to explore a destination that’s both under the radar and chock full of enjoyable activities and incredible sights, then look no further than Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia’s capital city boasts a host of must-do activities for curious minded and adventurous travelers alike. You can wander through museums and temples, hike among some incredible rock formations, or take a ride on a roller coaster.
When you’re on the road, it can be hard to pinpoint the best attractions in each destination. But with this curated list of the best things to do in Ulaanbaatar, you can make the most of your journey!
When you’re experiencing a new place for the first time, knowing something about that county’s history and culture will help you have a holistic and fulfilling experience. Ulaanbaatar has no shortage of incredible museums, but these are our top picks.
National Museum of Mongolia
Start off by steeping yourself into the history of Ulaanbaatar and the country of Mongolia. At the National Museum of Mongolia, you can explore the country’s rich heritage as you stroll through exhibitions, examine artifacts, and observe a history that extends back for centuries. Open to visitors every day in the summer, the museum is easily accessible throughout the week. There’s really no excuse not to stop by!
Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs
Keep the educational vibes going with a trip to Ulaanbaatar’s Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs. There aren’t a ton of museums out there wholly devoted to dinosaur fossils (most are grouped into natural history museums), so take advantage of this unique opportunity. You can check out a Velociraptor, Tarbosaurus bataar, and more intimidating creatures from the Mesozoic Era. This quirky stop is sure to add a unique element to your vacation.
On your journey through Ulaanbaatar, the city’s spiritual sites and other key landmarks will highlight significant aspects of Mongolian culture. These are just a couple of the incredible structures you can tour while in the city.
Choijin Lama Temple
Over 100 years old, this Buddhist monastery contains multiple temples, all boasting stunning architectural designs and brimming with history. While no longer operating as a monastery, you can still take a tour through and observe its transition from a place of worship to iconic Ulaanbaatar site. Plus, its central location in the city makes it a natural stop for visitors.
Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan
The Eighth Bogd Khan served as Mongolia’s head of state and an important spiritual leader in the early 20th century. When you tour his Winter Palace in Ulaanbaatar you’ll be taking in the estate’s many beautiful and historical buildings where, inside, you’ll find the Bogd Khan’s throne, taxidermied animals, and more preserved contents.
After his death in 1924, a new government was born, so this attraction provides a unique look at a past lifestyle.
Explore just beyond the city’s central area to embark on some adventurous outdoor activities and take in another iconic site of the Ulaanbaatar region.
Gorkhi Terelj National Park
Get your camera ready! Gorkhi Terelj National Park is known for its picturesque landscape along with its choice of outdoor activities. You can go horseback riding, try out rafting, or embark on a rock climbing excursion. Be sure to stop and see Turtle Rock, a rock formation aptly named for its unique shape.
There’s also an array of wildlife to spot, including over 200 species of birds. From the mountainous terrain to picturesque Khagiin Khar Lake, there’s a lot to see. Several tour companies will take you out there, or, if you’ve rented a car, you can make arrangements yourself. Gorkhi Terelj National Park is one of Ulaanbaatar’s most popular and scenic sites, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time in order to appreciate all it has to offer!
Genghis Khan Statue Complex
While you’re headed out to just east of the city, plan to stop by the Genghis Khan Statue Complex. Some tours that go out to Gorkhi Terelj National Park will do a combined tour that includes this site as well. Learn about Mongolia’s early khans, or leaders, through the museum exhibitions inside the complex. Gracing the top of the building is a statue of Genghis Khan on his horse, and, in its entirety, the structure stands 40 meters high.
From inside the horse’s head, you can take in the surrounding view, including the picture perfect Tuul River.
Traveling is hard work! Sometimes, you just need to do something regular in a totally not regular place. Round out your trip to the Mongolian city with these smile-inducing things to do in Ulaanbaatar.
National Sports Stadium
How many people back home can say they attended a Mongolian football match in the National Sports Stadium? Probably not many. The stadium hosts multiple athletic events, the most frequent being football, so if you’re a sports fan or just into having a blast at a local event, take out some time to watch FC Ulaanbaatar play.
And if you’re visiting in July, maybe you’ll be able to catch their Independence Day celebration, the Naadam Festival, which also takes place in the stadium.
National Amusement Park
Now that you’ve explored Mongolia’s history, ventured outdoors, and checked some popular things to do in Ulaanbaatar off your bucket list, celebrate with a fun and light-hearted attraction. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, the National Amusement Park in Ulaanbaatar is a great stop for immersing yourself in the local community.
No matter where in the world you are, roller coasters seem to have a universal appeal, and you’ll be glad you took the time to enjoy this experience in a unique corner of the planet.
It’s time to embark on your Ulaanbaatar journey! With this guide of things to do Ulaanbaatar, you’re more than ready to take on Mongolia’s capital, its history and attractions.
Add Ulaanbaatar to your next travel bucket list, and check out our fascinating and in-depth tours of Mongolia.