Mongolia’s easternmost capital is a welcome sight if you're craving a hot shower, a decent bed and an opportunity to eat something other than tsuivan (noodles) cooked over a stove. That said, by any objective measure, Choibalsan (Чойбалсан) is a dreary town, decked out in full-on massive-apartment-block chic . It doesn't help that looting devastated the western half of the city when the Russians upped and left in 1990.
Centuries ago, this town – the fourth-biggest in Mongolia – was a trading centre and part of a caravan route across Northeast Asia. In 1941 it was named after the Stalinist stooge Khorloogiin Choibalsan, an honour bestowed while the dictator was still in power.