Top things to do

Buddhist Temple in Ulan-Ude

Rinpoche Bagsha Datsan

Roosting high above the city’s far north, the inside of this new and unexpectedly modern Tibetan temple looks like a kind of Buddhist-themed bus terminal, though the 6m-high gilt Buddha is pretty impressive. However…
Monument in Ulan-Ude

Lenin Head

Ulan-Ude’s main square is entirely dominated by the world’s largest Lenin head that creates an ensemble with the grey constructivist government building behind it. The 7.7m-high bronze bonce was installed in 1970 to…
Buryat in Ulan-Ude

Orda

An aspiring centre of Buryat cultural renaissance, the 'Horde' elevates coarse nomad cuisine to haute levels. Yes, it is largely meat with more meat and some onions, but the chef knows how to make lamb and even hors…
Bar in Ulan-Ude

Bar 12

Capping off the Mergen Bator hotel, this bar probably offers the best views of any in Russia: the entire Buryat capital and the surrounding mountainscape are laid out dramatically below you. The bar’s party piece is…
Gifts & Souvenirs in Ulan-Ude

Zam

This sparkling new shop doubles as a Buryat culture centre that runs lectures and masterclasses in traditional crafts. Goods include stylish jewellery by local artists, folk-themed clothes, locally produced leather …
Street in Ulan-Ude

Ulitsa Sobornaya

The pedestrianised street abutting Odigitria Cathedral preserves the spirit and the wooden lace architecture of the old downtown, populated by merchants and intelligentsia. Original inhabitants suffered badly from B…
Museum in Ulan-Ude

Ethnographic Museum

In a forest clearing 6km from central Ulan-Ude, this outdoor collection of local architecture plus some reconstructed burial mounds and the odd stone totem are worth the trip. The collection is divided into seven ar…
Buryat in Ulan-Ude

Baatarai Urgöö

This yurt complex in the Verkhnyaya Berezovka suburb is a great lunch spot after a visit to the Ethnographical Museum. Take a seat in the main tent and give your taste buds the Buryat treatment in the form of buuzy …
Theatre in Ulan-Ude

Opera & Ballet Theatre

UU’s striking Stalinist-era theatre reopened after lengthy renovation in 2011 (the first performance was for a group of foreign tourists from the luxury Golden Eagle train). Visitors cannot fail to be impressed by t…
Buryat in Ulan-Ude

Shenekhenskiye Buuzy

This heritage wooden izba painted in a rather psychedelic shade of green is a local institution run by Buryats who have been returning from Chinese exile in recent decades. They are widely considered as keepers of t…