I only had two full days in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, but my travel partner and I were determined to see as many of the top sites in the city as possible. Our first stop was Chinggis Khaan Square.
A couple of quick notes: Mongolians use “Chinggis Khaan” as the correct spelling and pronunciation, whereas westerners usually use “Genghis Khan.” Also, the square was known as Sükhbaatar Square until last year. It was originally named for Damdin Sükhbaatar, a Mongolian war hero from the early 20th century. A statue of him riding a horse sits in the center of the square.
Gandan Monastery is just a short walk away from the square. It’s considered one of the country’s most important Buddhist sites.
The previous three photographs show Migjid Janraisig Temple, which houses a statue of Migjid Janraisig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The statue is about 85 feet high.
If you’re in the mood to do some shopping (and perhaps buy some Mongolian cashmere), spend a little time in the State Department Store. According to the previous link, it’s the largest shopping mall in Mongolia. There are lots of floors full of clothing, electronics, and food, and there’s also a supermarket on the bottom floor.
For lunch one day, my colleague and I decided to try one of the newer restaurants right next to Chinggis Khaan Square. The area is developing rapidly, so I took a few photos from our window-side table.
And staying on the topic of development, Ulaanbaatar is doing the same thing I’ve seen in several other Asian cities — modernizing while preserving its historic structures.
The city is also getting hip to tourism. My guidebook was a couple of years old, and the entry fees we paid have already gone up since then. However, Americans still get the good end of the exchange rate.
My colleague and I saw several other important and interesting places while we were there, but I’ll provide some final photos of a few other things. We chose to walk everywhere. Our hotel was a couple of miles from just about all of the things we wanted to see and do, so we decided to explore the city on foot. That bit us in the bums when we got caught in a pretty hefty wind storm on our second full day. By the time it was all over, our hair was full of all kinds of previously windborne crap.
I’ll wrap up with a photo of the city at night and one taken from the air as we left Ulaanbaatar for Seoul, South Korea.