Lying on the banks of the Kherlen Gol, 324km downstream from Öndörkhaan, is Choibalsan, Mongolia’s easternmost capital and the regional centre for trade and industry. The city has a better-than-average selection of hotels, plenty of shops and one of Mongolia’s busiest markets. It’s fractured in two parts, a half-abandoned district to the west and a more functional eastern section, where most of the action takes place.
Centuries ago, the city was a trading centre and part of a caravan route across Central Asia. It grew into a town in the 19th century and was called Bayan Tumen. In 1941 it was named after the Stalinist stooge Khorloogiin Choibalsan, an honour bequeathed while the dictator was still in power. It’s now a major economic centre for eastern Mongolia.