Must see attractions in Ulaanbaatar

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    National Museum of Mongolia

    Mongolia’s wonderful National Museum sweeps visitors from the Neolithic era right to the present day. It’s UB's only genuine blockbuster sight, offering an unparalleled overview of Mongolian culture, ranging from stone-age petroglyphs and exquisite gold ornamentation to, arguably the highlight, the full gamut of traditional ceremonial costume – which unmistakably inspired the look of characters from the Star Wars prequels.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Choijin Lama Temple Museum

    This temple museum smack in the middle of downtown Ulaanbaatar was the home of Luvsan Haidav Choijin Lama (‘Choijin’ is an honorary title given to some monks), the state oracle and brother of the Bogd Khan. Construction of the monastery commenced in 1904 and was completed four years later. It was closed in 1938 and probably would have been demolished had it not been saved in 1942 to serve as a museum demonstrating the ‘feudal’ ways of the past.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan

    Built between 1893 and 1903, this palace is where Mongolia’s eighth Living Buddha, and last king, Jebtzun Damba Hutagt VIII (often called the Bogd Khan), lived for 20 years. For reasons that are unclear, the palace was spared destruction by the Russians and turned into a museum. The summer palace, on the banks of Tuul Gol, was completely destroyed. There are six temples in the grounds; each now contains Buddhist artworks, including sculptures and thangkas.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Zaisan Memorial

    Built by the Russians to commemorate 'unknown soldiers and heroes' from various wars, the Zaisan Memorial features stirring socialist realism imagery with Soviet mosaics and reliefs, including that of Stalin and Lenin. Accessed via steep stairs, the monument sits atop the hill south of the city with wonderful views of Ulaanbaatar and the surrounding hills – although these have been blighted by recent high-rise commercial development. Take bus 8 or 52 from Bayangol Hotel or Baga Toiruu.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts

    This fine-arts museum has a superb collection of paintings, carvings and sculptures, including many by the revered sculptor and artist Zanabazar. It also contains other rare religious exhibits such as scroll thangka (paintings) and Buddhist statues, representing the best display of its kind in Mongolia. A bonus is that most of the exhibit captions are in English, to go with a very comprehensive audio guide.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    International Intellectual Museum

    This museum contains an intriguing collection of puzzles and games made by local and international artists. One puzzle requires 56,831 movements to complete, says curator Zandraa Tumen-Ulzii. There are dozens of handmade chess sets and ingenious traditional Mongolian puzzles that are distant cousins to Rubik's Cube. An enthusiastic guide will show you how the puzzles operate and will even perform magic tricks. A fascinating place for both kids and adults.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Gandan Khiid

    Around the start of the 19th century more than 100 süm (temples) and khiid (monasteries) served a population of about 50,000 in Urga (the former name of Ulaanbaatar). Only a handful of these buildings survived the religious purges of 1937. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the people of Mongolia started to openly practise Buddhism again. This monastery is one of Mongolia’s most important, and also one of its biggest tourist attractions. The full name, Gandantegchinlen, translates roughly as ‘the great place of complete joy’.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Sükhbaatar Square

    In July 1921 in the centre of Ulaanbaatar, Damdin Sükhbaatar (the ‘hero of the revolution’) declared Mongolia’s final independence from China. A square later built on the spot now bears his name and features at its centre a bronze statue of the revolutionary astride his horse. In 2013 the city authorities changed the name of the plaza to Chinggis Khaan Sq, but in 2016 Sükhbaatar's descendants won a court battle to restore the original name.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs

    Dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and appetites once roamed the Gobi Desert. Their fossilised bones and eggs were first uncovered by American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews in the 1920s. Today you can come face-to-skull with some of the best examples of Mongolian dinosaur fossils in this museum. The centrepiece of the museum is the UV-lit 4m-tall, 3-tonne, flesh-eating Tarbosaurus bataar (a cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex) and the smaller Saurolophus, with its distinctive cranial crest.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Beatles Square

    The plaza located between the State Department Store and the Circus has an unofficial name – Beatles Square, so named after the monument to the Fab Four located close to its northern end. The monument features bronze images of John, Paul (barefooted), George and Ringo on one side, and on the other, a sculpture of a young man sitting in a stairwell strumming a guitar.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Asral

    Located in the northwest corner of the city, Asral is an NGO and Buddhist social centre that supports impoverished families. Its main aim is to stop disadvantaged youths from becoming street children. It also provides skills and jobs for unemployed women; an on-site felt-making cooperative Made in Mongolia (www.madeinmongolia.net) turns out some lovely products to purchase.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    National Library of Mongolia

    Mongolia's neoclassical National Library houses the world's largest collection of Buddhist texts, of which a select few are on display within its Museum of Rare and Valuable Books. Here you can see Unesco-recognised Buddhist manuscripts and gold- and silver-leaf Sutras from ancient Tibet, India and Mongolia. Most of the collection was built from the mid-1960s to the 1980s, several decades after the Buddhist purge destroyed nearly every monastery in the country. Researchers started collecting the Sutras from families that had hidden them during the purge.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Mongol Costumes Centre

    This place designs and manufactures many of the fabulous dels (traditional coats) that are worn during the Naadam opening ceremony and at other state events. You can see the different varieties of del and even dress up in traditional Mongolian gear for a professional photo shoot (T10,000). The highlight of the centre is a small museum that features traditional Mongolian garments, as well as ethnographic artefacts, old chess sets, jewellery and replica 13th-century battle gear.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery

    Sometimes called the Fine Art Gallery, this place contains a large and impressive display of modern and uniquely Mongolian paintings and sculptures, with nomadic life, people and landscapes all depicted in styles ranging from impressionistic to nationalistic. The Soviet romantic paintings depicted in thangka style are especially interesting, but the most famous work is Ochir Tsevegjav’s 1958 The Fight of the Stallions (aka Horse Fighting).

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    National Amusement Park

    Known to almost everyone as the Children’s Park, this small amusement park features a roller coaster, among other rides, games and paddle boats. The target audience is the 12-and-under set, so it’s perfect if you're travelling with small kids, but it's good fun for anyone to stroll about. For the rides you buy individual tickets, for around T4000 to T6000 a pop. It’s open year round; in winter there’s ice skating, too. The park entrance is on the southeast corner, and there's another to the west.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Wildlife Museum

    The Wildlife Museum (formerly known as the Hunting Museum) is on the 2nd floor of the Baigal Ordon (Nature Palace) on the street leading to Gandan Khiid. The museum has well-presented taxidermy displays of Mongolia's wildlife, as well as displays of centuries-old trapping and hunting techniques that are used by both nomads and urban cowboys.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    976 Art Gallery

    This well-established contemporary art gallery features established and emerging Mongolian artists, along with a small gallery/gift shop. It's run by Ms Gantuya, a passionate advocate for the local arts community. At the time of writing it was relocating to the Choijin Suites building in the city centre, across from the Blue Sky Tower.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Mongolian Artists’ Exhibition Hall

    If you want to see Mongolian art, and perhaps buy some, head into the Mongolian Artists’ Exhibition Hall, on the 2nd floor of the white-marble building diagonally opposite the CPO. The gallery has a rotating collection of modern and often dramatic paintings, carvings, tapestries and sculptures, and a good souvenir shop.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Tasgany Ovoo

    Atop a steep hill, peaceful Tasgany Ovoo is worth a look if you haven't yet seen an ovoo, a sacred pyramid-shaped collection of stones. The views up top are magnificent, revealing the surrounding mountains and ger districts.

  • Sights in Ulaanbaatar

    Red Ger Art Gallery

    Red Ger Art Gallery remains one of the city's best for modern artwork by Mongolia's top contemporary painters. There are regular shows, and all artwork is for sale; check the Facebook page for events and info.