Archive for the ‘Mongolia’ Category

Ulan Bator

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Despite its reputation as a fallen dynasty, Mongolia still remains a country of wonder and mystique. The country’s capital is Ulan Bator, a city of 1 million people. The city sits on the north central part of the country, Mongolia’s industrial, financial, and commercial hub. It recently grew into the country’s manufacturing center in the 20th century.

Ulan Bator is a city of smiling women and grunting men, people raised in hardship while living amidst spectacular scenery. The city is also a city of culture, one that has remained untouched by the modern world due to its inaccessibility. At first glance the city is gloomy, dingy, and gray, but its people are just the opposite, teeming with color and vibrant hospitality. Ulan Bator is a painfully honest city, where you can find poverty in the streets, former nomads trying to find their luck in the country’s capital amidst smiling children wearing the traditional colorful Mongolian attire. Think about this while you reflect at the Gandan Monastery, one of the many monasteries in the area. You can also immerse yourself in Mongolian history by visiting any of the city’s museums. A trip to Mongolia is not complete if you do not experience the Naadam, the country’s most famous festival. See a swirl of colors and witness the artistry of Mongolian nomads as they perform in horse racing, archery, and wrestling events.

You can get around by taxi, since taxis are pretty cheap at T300-350 per kilometer. Buses charge lower at T200 ($1 is equal to 1380 Mongolian Tugrik), but they are slower and typically go on fewer routes. Walking is another option, especially if you want to explore the city center first. Petty robbery is the main problem for tourists in Ulan Bator, always secure your belongings when walking or touring in groups. The best time for a visit is from June to September.

Tourists can obtain a visa for Mongolia places where a Mongolian consulate is present. If planning to stay at Mongolia for more than 90 days, an entry visa is required. Registering with the police is required when planning to stay for more than 30 days.