Where the Streets Have No Name

Ulaanbaatar Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 80 › view all entries
Chinggis Khan statue outside parliament

We are now in Ulan Baatur (or UB as I will refer to it as) capital of Mongolia, having arrived without a hitch on our Miat fight from Beijing.  We did have a slight panic when we arrived at Terminal 2 to find the flight not listed - it departs from Terminal 3 and the terminals are not that close in Beijing- but we had left in good time and checked in and completed immigration with plenty of time to spare. 

Miat is the national airline of Mongolia and though I had not heard much about them they have a fair reputation and the service we took was pretty impressive, almost new aircraft, good in-flight service and arrival on time in UB.  This is particulary pleasing as I persuaded one of our friends from England, Phil, to fly out and join us here and he has booked a Miat flight from Berlin.

Julie and Phil in UB
  At the airport we find an ATM for local cash and negotiate for a taxi into the city.  The approach from the airport road makes UB look grim and industrial, but the centre is better and what I would expect based on our experience of eastern European cities.  We find a room at the first guest-house we try, close to the State Dept store and just off the main street Peace Av. 

After a brief walk around the centre I start to like UB.   Ok it's not pretty and the traffic is surprisingly bad for a country with few people and even fewer cars but the centre has some good architecture, there are plenty of cafes and bars (can't remember a place with so many Irish bars - except perhaps Dublin), the centre is compact so is easy to walk around and the weather is good.

Man with eagle Zaisan park
  I had been a little concered we might be timing our visit here a little too early in the year but it is quite pleasant to walk around.  The parliament building has an impressive facade with an imposing status of Chinggis Khan overlooking the main square.  While we are there a local wedding group arrives to have their pictures taken in front of the steps.  There are a couple of museums in the centre we will visit at some point but we leave visiting these until a another time.

Phil will arrive in the morning and our 1st priority is to plan a trip into the country.  We do a quick comparision of the trips on offer and think the ones organised by the Golden Gobi guesthouse look the best bet.  Provisionally we discuss a 10 or 12 day itinerary to the Gobi and the central mountain district.  Two Dutch girls are looking to do something similar and it make may sense to combine into one group of 5.   We will leave the detail until Phil arrives tomorrow. 

In the meantime we try to find the Kazakstan embassy so we can apply for a visa.  This proves more of a challenge than we had anticipated as the embassy has moved and no-one really knows exactly where the new one is - we have consistent information that it is just to the south of the city centre but have 2 separate attempts and spend over 3 hours looking for it without success, though do find a university, a hospital a new residential development and the Zaisan park where there is an old WWII Mongolian tank and a guy with an eagle offering - if you pay him- to have your picture taken with the eagle.  

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Chinggis Khan statue outside parli…
Chinggis Khan statue outside parl…
Julie and Phil in UB
Julie and Phil in UB
Man with eagle Zaisan park
Man with eagle Zaisan park
photo by: Biedjee