Mongolia’s UlaanBaatar, Beyond Naadam
The city of UlaanBaatar, capital of Mongolia, is best known for hosting the ancient Naadam Festival, a Genghis Khan-era competition of strength and prowess demonstrated in wrestling, archery, and horse racing.
UlaanBaatar is also a popular place to live: More than 1 million people call this capital home– nearly a half of Mongolia’s population. (It doesn’t seem so long ago that 90% of Mongolians were nomadic.) For such an ancient country, Ulaanbaatar is relatively new: a mere 350 years old.
- Gandan Monastery: Founded in the early 1880s, this Buddhist monastery is restored as the “Great Place of Complete Joy,” the meaning of its name. Some 5,000 monks live and practice here.
- Can’t miss: 20-ton gilded statue of “the Lord Who Looks In Every Direction.”
- National Mongolian History Museum: This remodeled museum highlights Mongolia’s history and culture, including ancient artifacts, and historical clothing and costumes of Mongolia’s many tribes.
- Can’t miss: displays of everyday nomadic life and sacred relics.
- Natural History Museum: The halls display specimens of indigenous Mongolian animal and bird species, including the wild camel and the wild ass, or khulan.
- Can’t miss: the dinosaur bones and nests discovered by the many expeditions that have combed the Gobi Desert.
- Stainless Steel Genghis Khan, near UlaanBaatar: Genghis Khan’s atop his steed, towering 131 feet above a complex dedicated to his adventures and conquests. The tallest equestrian statue in the world, it’s also a bit heavy: 250 tons.
- Can’t miss: the elevator ride to the horse’s head for sweeping views of the Mongolian steppe.
- Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, outside UlaanBaatar: The alpine landscape of temperate grassland and small pines is dotted with gers and grazing livestock.
- Can’t miss: The opportunity to visit a nomadic family’s ger (portable home) on the endless steppe.
Travel to UlaanBaatar with MIR
MIR has more than 30 years of experience handcrafting tours to Mongolia. Our full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
You can view many of Mongolia’s majestic sites on MIR’s small group tours and rail journeys by private train:
Small Group Tours
- Siberia & Mongolia: Spirits & Nomads
- Mongolian Explorer: The Gobi & Beyond with Naadam Festival
- Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure
Rail Journeys by Private Train
- NEW! Trans-Siberian BAM Explorer with Naadam Festival
- Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land Route: Eastbound / Westbound
- The Trans-Siberian Express Between Moscow & Beijing: Eastbound / Westbound
- The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Eastbound / Westbound
- The Trans-Siberian Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival: Eastbound / Westbound
- The Trans-Siberian UlaanBaatar Express Route
You can also opt to travel on your dates and at your pace on a private journey to Mongolia, customized to your desired dates and style.
Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your travels today.
(Top photo credit: Martin Klimenta – Beyond Naadam it’s a day like any other in UlaanBaatar, here monks moving furniture.)
PUBLISHED: September 19, 2014