Gandan Khiid monastery, Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia

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If Mongolia’s yin is its pristine countryside, then Ulaanbaatar (UB; Улаанбаатар) harmonises as its vibrant yang. It's a sprawling, industrialised city of pulsating commerce, wild traffic, sinful nightlife and bohemian counterculture. The contrasts within the city are intriguing: Armani-suited businessmen rub shoulders with mohawked punks and del-clad nomads fresh off the steppes; one minute you’re dodging the path of a Hummer H2 and the next you’re entranced by chanting Buddhist monks at Gandan Khiid. It's the coldest capital in the world, but come summer the city bursts into life after slumbering through a long winter.

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A yurt tent with a red door is covered in snow with a motorcycle iced over outside © Chantal de Bruijne / Shutterstock


Winter on the steppe: why you should consider visiting Mongolia in low season

Jan 6, 2020 • 6 min read

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