How to Spend 3 Days in Ulaanbaatar
Three days in Ulaanbaatar gives you enough time to explore the city’s highlights, including temples and museums, experience the local culture, and get outside the city to explore a scenic national park and enjoy outdoor activities. Here’s how to make the most of three days in Ulaanbaatar.
Day 1: Temples and Museums
Start the morning off at Gandantegchenling Monastery to see monks chanting. Explore the vast complex of temples at the city’s main Buddhist center. Afterwards, explore the winter palace of the last king of Mongolia, the Bogd Khan Palace Museum, which combines a European-style palace with Chinese-style pagodas and a museum.
Spend the afternoon soaking up the history of Mongolia at the National Museum of Mongolia, perusing its massive collection of artifacts from the Neolithic era to present day. Other popular museums include Choijin Lama Temple Museum, Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art, and Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs.
Go shopping for souvenirs and cashmere products. Popular shops and markets can be found along Chinggis Avenue, in the Naran Tuul Black Market, and at the State Department Store Shop. End the day sampling local cuisine and getting a taste of Ulaanbaatar’s vibrant nightlife.
Day 2: Explore a National Park
To get a different perspective, head out to one of the national parks near Ulaanbaatar. Gorkhi Terelj National Park is one of the most popular parks, and it's easily accessible from the city. On the way, stop at the massive Genghis Khan Statue Complex, which offers sweeping views from one of the largest equestrian statues in the world. Animal lovers may want to head to the Hustai National Park, instead, for the chance to see the takhi, or wild horses, among other wildlife.
Spend the afternoon looking for wildlife or engaged in a range of outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, camel riding, or hiking. Or cover more ground by driving around and taking in the scenery. Spend the night in a yurt or ger tent to get a taste of nomadic life in Mongolia. Tourist ger camps are available in most parks. For a more authentic experience, stay overnight with a nomadic family.
Day 3: Experience the Culture
Head back to Ulaanbaatar and spend the morning sampling local dishes on a food tour or taking a cooking class. Learn to make local favorites such as dumplings (buuz) from a nomadic family in their ger or at a restaurant.
Head to the south of Ulaanbaatar for lofty views from Zaisan Memorial before heading to the centrally located Sukhbaatar Square, surrounded by important government buildings. Admire the massive Chinggis (Genghis) Khaan Monument and statues of other important Mongolian heroes. Afterwards, join a guided tour of the ger districts to see a different side of the city, and learn more about how many of the locals live.
For your final night in Ulaanbaatar, take in a cultural or folk performance. See traditional art forms on the display in the form of music, dancing, the unique khoomei throat singing, contortions, and acrobatics.