Uliastai Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do in Uliastai, Mongolia with this comprehensive guide. Learn about the cultural and natural attractions, local food and drink scene, where to stay, how to get around, and more.

Introduction to Uliastai

Located in the province of Zavkhan in Western Mongolia, Uliastai is a hidden gem for those seeking adventure and culture. Known for its stunning landscapes and rich history, Uliastai is a destination that should be on every traveler’s list. In this guide, we’ll cover the best things to do in Uliastai, including cultural and natural attractions, hiking and biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more.

List of Places to Visit in Uliastai

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Zavkhan Museum
  • Khoshoo Tsaidam Museum
  • Uliastai City Museum
  • Erdene Zuu Monastery

Natural Attractions of Uliastai: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Tarvagatai Mountains
  • Zavkhan River
  • Mount Otgontenger
  • Ulaanhus Lake

Hiking/Biking Routes of Uliastai

  • Mount Otgontenger Trek
  • Tarvagatai Range Trek
  • Zavkhan River Trail

Best Things to Do in Uliastai: Activities and Tours

  • Horseback Riding Tours
  • Yak Herding Experience
  • Nomad Family Visit
  • Glacier Trekking

Week-Long Itinerary for Uliastai

Day Activity
1 Arrive in Uliastai, visit Zavkhan Museum
2 Visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, hike in Tarvagatai Mountains
3 Go on horseback riding tour, visit Khoshoo Tsaidam Museum
4 Trek in Mount Otgontenger, visit Uliastai City Museum
5 Glacier Trekking
6 Yak Herding Experience, Nomad Family Visit
7 Depart from Uliastai

Food and Drink Scene of Uliastai

Must-Try Dishes

  • Buuz (steamed dumplings filled with minced meat and onion)
  • Khorkhog (Mongolian BBQ)
  • Boortsog (fried bread)

Local Beverages

  • Airag (fermented mare’s milk)
  • Arkhi (Mongolian vodka)

Where to Stay in Uliastai: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Khan Khukh Mongol Guesthouse
  • Zavkhan Hotel
  • Uliastai Hotel
  • Lotus Guesthouse

What to Buy in Uliastai: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Mongolian Felt Products
  • Cashmere Products
  • Traditional Mongolian Clothing
  • Mongolian Tea

Local Culture and Customs of Uliastai

Mongolian culture is rooted in hospitality, and Uliastai is no exception. When interacting with locals, it is important to show respect and always remove shoes when entering a home. Mongolian dress is also conservative, so dress modestly when visiting sacred places.

Best Time to Visit Uliastai

The best time to visit Uliastai is during the summer months from June to August when temperatures are more comfortable for outdoor activities. However, for those who enjoy winter sports such as skiing and ice fishing, the winter months from December to February are also a good time to visit.

Do’s and Don’ts of Uliastai


  • Take off your shoes before entering a home or a sacred place
  • Respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting temples
  • Experience nomadic lifestyle by visiting a local family


  • Disrespect sacred places by taking inappropriate photos or touching religious items
  • Litter in natural areas
  • Ride horses that look malnourished or mistreated

Safety and Health

Safety in Uliastai

Uliastai is generally a safe place to visit, but travelers should still exercise caution when exploring the wilderness or crossing rivers. It is also important to be aware of potential scams when interacting with locals or buying souvenirs.

Health in Uliastai

Travelers should be up to date on routine vaccinations such as measles and influenza. As Uliastai is a remote destination, visitors should also pack a well-stocked first aid kit and any necessary medications. It is also recommended to drink bottled water to avoid getting sick from contaminated water sources.

Getting to Uliastai: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Uliastai

The closest airport to Uliastai is Ulaangom Airport, which operates domestic flights from Ulaanbaatar.

Bus Stations Near Uliastai

Buses run from most major cities in Mongolia to Uliastai, but travelers should expect long travel times due to the country’s rugged terrain and underdeveloped roadways.

Other Options

Renting a car or hiring a private driver is also an option for those who want to explore at their own pace.

How to Get Around in Uliastai

The best way to get around Uliastai is by renting a car, hiring a driver, or joining a guided tour. Public transportation is limited, and taxis may not be readily available in some areas.

Where to Go Next from Uliastai: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Kharkhiraa Turgen National Park
  • Khyargas Nuur Lake
  • Khovd Province


Uliastai is a destination that offers a unique blend of adventure and culture. From hiking in the mountains to experiencing nomadic lifestyle, Uliastai has something for every traveler. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be ready to explore everything that this hidden gem in Western Mongolia has to offer.