The town was founded in 1666, and due to its location on trade routes between Russia, China and Mongolia it developed into a prosperous trading town. Ulan Ude is an important commercial and industrial center of Eastern Siberia, located on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway. It is the capital of Buryatia republic that is a home for Buryat, Evenk and Russian people. The city itself has a distinct Asian-like feel, perhaps because of the cultural mix and proximity to Mongolia. There are about 400,000 inhabitants, but it seems to be very calm and local people are friendly to visitors.
The months of January to March are the coldest, with temperature reaching as low as -27°C in January. April and May are also cold, but usually it is above freezing. June to August are the most pleasant months with lots of sunshine and temperatures rising to the low 20s. September and October are bracing months, but not yet very cold. November and December again sees a return to freezing temperatures of around -10°C to -20°C.
Generally, it is very contrast: in summer it may be very hot, and in winter it may be freezing. The months of January to March are the coldest, with temperature reaching as low as -27°C in January. April and May are also cold, but usually it is above freezing. June to August are the most pleasant months with lots of sunshine. Also, the whole of Buryatia, and Ulan-Ude in particular, is considered to be the place where there are the most sunny days during the year, compared to other places in the area. The average temperature during the year is: January -27 | February -18 | March -9 | April +1 | May +9 | June +18 | July +20 | August +22 | September +10 | October 0 | November -11 | December –19
- There are daily flights to/from Moscow airports on several airline companies (S7, Ural, Aeroflot) — the 6 hour flights from Moscow are overnight, arriving in the morning, with return flight leaving around 8-10 AM, arriving in Moscow before noon. A taxi from the airport to a city center should cost between 200 - 300 rubles. To catch a bus, walk straight out from the airport and turn left at the crossroad. After a 5-10 mins walk there is a bus stop. Buses 55 and 77 go to the city center (Ploshchad Sovietov) from the bus stop on your right. (Actually there are not buses but mini-buses called marshrutka, as usual in Russia.) Price is around 20 rubles.
- As Ulan-Ude stands in the middle of Trans-Siberian route connecting it to Trans-Mongolian railway, there are a lot of trains passing it by from any direction such as Moscow in the west, Ulaanbataar from the south and Vladivostok from the east.
- There are many daily trains to Irkutsk (takes 8 hours), Chita
- There is a couple of trains to Ulaanbaatar. Ulan Ude is the first major Russian city past the Mongolian border. It takes around 20 hours by train from UB.
- The way most famous among backpackers to get to Ulan Ude is to take a four day journey from Moscow.
- There are daily buses from and to Ulaanbaatar. Departing at 7.30am from either UB or UU, taking about 10-12 hours. Travel agents sell tickets for 1100R, including a 10% booking fee. This is a much cheaper and faster alternative to the train.
- Minibuses operate a service to the Mongolian border town of Kyakhta. The buses depart every hour from 7am to 7pm and the three hour journey costs 250R.
- There is a bus service operating both to Irkutsk and Chita, but the frequency depends on the season. Departs from the train station. Ulan-Ude to Irkutsk train station is 700 roubles. You just come to the bus, occupy seats and pay to the driver.
The center of Ulan Ude is relatively compact, and very walkable. Taxis roam the streets for the lazy, but don't expect any of the drivers to speak English. If you don't want to walk, shuttle buses (10-12 seat minibuses) run frequently to all parts of the city, each route is numbered (on the windscreen) so get help to identify the route you want, flag the bus down to get on, pay the driver and indicate when you want to get off. Inside the minibus there should be visible both the price (15-20RUB as of 2014) and whether you should pay when entering (посадка) or leaving (выход) the bus. There are also a limited number of tram routes. The main tram line is a circle around the whole city, with quite slow Soviet-era wagons that will give you the taste of the place from locals' eyes.
Since 2011 feb there are 2 major local bus stations "Severniy" or North Direction and "Yuzhniy" or South Direction. To get to lake Baikal's eastern shore (Barguzin, Ust-Barguzin, Maksimikha, Turka, Gremyachinsk) you need "Severniy" (better to ask a local what's available as time schedule is changed often, phone +7-3012-559927). Take either bus no.30 or no.29 and go to stop called "Baza" (ask a driver). You'll see a sign ABTOBOK3AЛ on one of the buildings.
"Yuzhniy" is in the center of the city, on Sovetskaya str. closer to the river Selenga.
- The World's Largest Lenin Head, main city square.
- The merchant's mansions. Historical relics of the town's prosperity as a trading center. The mansions are located along the banks of the Uda River.
- The Arbat street, it's locally called Arbat after famous Moscow Arbat, Lenin street in real life. The part of the street is pedestrian, the main place for meeting, walking, shopping for locals. You can get a feel for the atmosphere of the city by just sitting on a bench.
Datsans and Churches
- Odigitrievsky Cathedral. Founded in 1741. The first stone building in the town. Located at the beginning of Lenin street (near river Uda).
- Rimpoche bagsha, buddhist center Streletskaya st.,1. Not only a new nice lama temple, but scenic panoramic view of the whole city. Take bus 97 from Baikal Plaza hotel at Lenin's head square to the last stop.
- Ivolginsky datsan Buddhist Monastery — 23 km from the city. Buses no 130 leave from bus stop at the Odigitrievsky Cathedral or from Yuzhniy avtovokzal one after another for the forty minute journey to Ivolginsk village. Get off at the last stop and get on another bus/ shared taxi (which is the only there) and you're at the Monastery in 10 minutes. Expect to pay 60 roubles for the whole drive (40 to Ivolginsk and 20 to the Monastery, as of 2014).
- Ethnographic Museum, Verhnaya Beriozovka. Old homesteads and Buryat wooden yurts have been relocated to the site, and along with reconstructed streets representing traditional Buryati homes, this outdoor exhibition consists of seven large complexes. Only bus 37 goes there, price 27 RUB (in 2014). You can take it from Baikal Plaza hotel bus stop (south of Ploshchad Sovietov) and tell a driver to stop at "MUZEI". Takes about 20-30 minutes drive. The whole complex is open Wednesday to Sunday. On Monday only the small ZOO is open, on Tuesday the ZOO and one other house are open. Price is 100 RUB on Monday-Tuesday and 150 RUB Wed-Sun.
- History museum. Profsoyuznaya st., 29. The richest museum of the city. 400 years of Buryat history.
- Fine arts museum. Kuibisheva st.,29. Buryat painting, Buddhist tankas, horse hair tapestry.
- Nature museum. Lenina st., 46. Flore and fauna of Buryatia.
- Geology museum. Lenina st., 59.
- Museum of city's history. Lenina st., 26
- Rimpoche bagsha, Buddhist center, Streletskaya st.,1 (take a mini bus 95 till the final stop). There is a pretty nice view from the hill. You can see the whole city. free.
- Puppet Theatre Ulger, Lenina street 46, ☎ . 9am -6pm from Monday to Friday. The name of the “Ulger” theatre is translated as “legend”. Puppet theatre “Ulger” was founded in 1967 and is the only theatre for young audiences in Buryatia. Among the theatre’s productions are many plays by Russian and foreign playwrights, but the theatre also puts an emphasis on plays by Buryat playwrights. The theatre tours both inside and outside Russia, participates in different festivals, and frequently is a laureate of different contests, winning prestigious professional awards. In 2006 the theatre won the Golden Mask National Theatre Award in the nominations “Puppetry/Best Production” and “Puppetry/Best Actor”. “Ulger” Theatre gradually steps over the boundaries of puppet theatre. In the last five years the dramatic performances Dogs, Zoya’s Apartment, The Space of a Spirit, To Go and not Return were staged at the theatre. The theatre tours extensively in Russia and abroad. In 2006 the production “Singing Arrow” received the Golden Mask Award in the nominations “Best Production” and “Best Actor”.
- For some high-end gourmet food shopping head to "Sputnik" supermarket, near Baikal Plaza hotel (Yerbanova x Kommunisticheskaya intersection). Otherwise the city is full with small self-service shops, look for the "магазин" sign. For example "Slavyanskiy bazar" on Smolina street near intersection with Sovyetskaya street.
Try local Buryat cuisine. Mainly it's dumplings - steamed "Pozi", fried "Sharbin" or "Khushuur". Soups - meat broth "Bukhlyor" and noodles "Shuleen".
- Appetite Lenin's head looks at it. Quite cheap, tray style, russian food, free wifi.
- Modern nomads Ranzhurova st., 1 (at intersection with Yerbanova st.); mongolian cuisine, meals for 300-400 RUB, drinks from 30 RUB. Nice interior but hot in summer.
- "Museum" cafe, Lenina str, 46; on a way from Lenin's head to Arbat street (11.30-19.00). 150 r/meal
- "Baatar orgoo" YURT GER cafe, Verhnaya Beryozovka, Dokuchaeva str.11. Only minibus 37 goes there. You can take it from Baikal Plaza hotel bus stop, tell a driver to stop at "KAFE YURTA". Takes about 20-30 minutes drive. Only traditional food and very nice atmosphere. 500-700 r/meal
- "Buuza" cafe/bar, Communist str. 41a; on tram tracks, near hotel Siberia, 3 mins from Lenin's head
- "Buuza" (again?) cafe, Yerbanova str. 20; 1 min from Lenin's head, left to Baikal Plaza hotel
- "Tenghis" restaurant , Yerbanova str. 12; Inside Baikal Plaza hotel
- "Student snacks" cafe/bar, Razhurova str. 1; just behind Opera house
- "Buuza" (again?!) cafe, Communist str. 44; opposite Siberia hotel
- Dacha Lenin's head looks at it. Great place!
- Marco Polo Kommunisticheskaya st., 46; coffee house, breakfast, salads
- Safari Erbanova st., 20; coffee house
- Shokolad Karl-Marks blvrd, 11; top recommended coffee house. It's located just opposite the new russian drama theater which is about 15 minutes on tram. Nice location, nice coffee
- Marusia Lenina st., 46; russian cuisine
- Ulger Restaurant & Cafe, Kirova str., 8, ☎ . A restaurant with traditional Russian and Buryatian food. A nice terrace outside.. 7$ for full dinner;.
- Zolotoy Drakon, Lenina St., 46, ☎ . 11.00 to 22.00. Chinese restaurant 5-10$;.
- Churchill pub&grill, Lenina St.. On Lenin street opposite the Lenin's head. A restaurant in european style, with various meats prepared mostly on a grill. Price around 300-500 RUB. Probably one of the nicest/most expensive restaurants in town with staff speaking English. 10-20$;.
- Subway, Lenina Str., 21-B, ☎ . Located in the city centre, near the government buildings. Traditional Subway menu, decent English service available.
- Ulan Ude Travelers House, Lenin str 63, app 18, ☎ 7-950-391-6325, e-mail: email@example.com. The most central located hostel is just on the Soviet square with the famous giant Lenin's head monument. Clean and cozy. 10 minutes walk from train station, less than a minute to main sights of the city. Look for a 4 storey yellow building with a big sign 'S7 airlines' on the top, it should be between a building with 670000 sign on the top (post office) and a grey building with pillars (president residence). Right entrance, a black door between S7 airlines and a beauty saloon. Press 18 and B on terminal and wait for the door to open. Second floor, right door. 600 RUB including breakfast.
- Hotel Odon, Gagarin str., 43 (a 5 minute walk from the railway station), ☎ . Popular with Chinese businessman, rooms and hygiene standards reflect the low price. Cheaper rooms don't have a shower, and there aren't shared facilities on site. Consider getting a better room or hitting up the banya. Single rooms from 400R, doubles from 600R.
- Homestay, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 900-1000 RUB including breakfast.
- Baikal Ethnic Hostel, 12A Flotskaya Street, ☎ . Poselye village, Ulan-Ude. Far from city center, take the no. 4 bus to Lenin head for 14R. On average, the bus takes 25-35 minutes including wait. Wait is much longer at night with bus service stopping altogether by 11pm. At that point you must negotiate for a taxi, typically 150R-200R. 450-1650 RUB including breakfast.
- Hostel House, Smolina str 54a, 3rd/last floor, ☎ 8(9025) 620-888, e-mail: HostelHouse@mail.ru. Free laundry but you need to use your own detergent. It's the only apartment there. About 10 minute walk to the city 15 to the South bus station. Room is big and very clean. Look for a glass building right at the corner as you might miss the small sign. There is no code so unless the door is opened, you have to call the number which posted outside. Challenging if you don't have a RU number. If you stay out late or leave very early morning, you might wake the staff up. They're not too happy about it. The staff there speak limited English, not so friendly. 600 RUB w/o breakfast.
- Point Hostel, (Y)Erbanova str. 1-22, ☎ , e-mail: , email@example.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. 6bed, 4bed and double bed dorm, for 500-600-700 RUB. 15 minutes walk from the train station, 5 minutes from the bus station / Soviet square. Entrance is from the back of the house. Free WiFi and tea/coffee in a kitchen. around 600 RUB w/o breakfast.
- Hotel Geser, Ranjurova ul., 11. Tel: +7 3012 211-178, 215-383. Fax: 216-151 E-mail: Hotel_geser@mail.ru  A cozy hotel with English speaking staff. Sgl room 2300 RUB (summer 2008)
- Hotel Baikal Paza, Erbanova ul., 12, ☎ , fax: 463-828, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Recently refurbished hotel on the central square. No elevator. 'burnet' wireless internet available (access cards cost 100 RUB). (Summer 2008) A single room w/o a/c is 2000 RUB; twin room with a/c is 3000 RUB.
- Hotel Buryatia, Kommunisticheskaya ul., 47a., ☎ , fax: 21-15-05, e-mail: email@example.com. About a 10-minute walk from the train station, this central hotel is located in a large and some-what run down complex. Rooms from 700R. However, if you talk to someone from Baikal Naran Tours (their office is conveniently located in the lobby), they may be able to book rooms for 500R.
- Hotel Sagaan Morin, ul. Gagarina, 25 (bus stop "Elevator"), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Medical Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, 6 Sakhyanovoi Street, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. a good place to receive treatment for both acute and chronic ailments using traditional Tibetan herbal compounds.
- Burnet Internet Cafe, Borsoeva, 16 (just opposite to the railway station, after the bridge over the railways). Tel:7 3012 212-886 — open twenty-four hours.
- Hotel Geser (see 'sleep' section}
- Central Post office internet cafe, right on the central Soviet square in front of Lenin's head
- Train station, Ulan Ude train station, 1st floor, VIP hall.
- Lake Baikal — the deepest and oldest lake in the world and, by volume of water, also the planet's largest freshwater body of water. It contains 20% of the world's liquid fresh water and is just over one mile deep. A daily bus service runs from the train station, leaving about 7:30AM, returning about 3:00PM, cost 300RUB each way.
- Ivolginsky Datsan Buddhist Monastery — 23 km from the city. Buses no 130 leave from South Bus Station (Yuzhniy avtovokzal) on a regular basis, one after another. It will bring you to Ivolginsk, there is another bus or shared taxi waiting, it just says ДАЦАН (datsan) on it. It will bring you to the Monastery. Expect to pay around 60R each way (40 + 20). It takes 40-60 minutes one way.
- The next noteworthy stops on the Trans-Siberian Railway are Irkutsk to the west and Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky to the east. There is also a branch line from Ulan-Ude to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
- Ulaan-Baatar, Mongolia Take TransMongolian from Ulan-Ude towards capital of Mongolia. 3 options - a train, an airplane and a bus. Trains are popular, it takes about 24+ hours (long border stops), kupe carriages are only available, so it makes more expensive; buses are cheaper (~1000+ roubles) and it's about 10-12 hours (depends on traffic); airlines is EZNIS.
- S7 Airlines , 63 Ploshad Sovetov.
- Buryat-Avia Airline Ticket Agency, 20 Erbanova St. Tel:+7 3012 221-122, 221-133 Tickets sold for all major domestic and international airlines.
|Routes through Ulan Ude|
|Novosibirsk ← Irkutsk ←||W E||→ Chita → Khabarovsk|
|Irkutsk ←||N S||→ Sühbaatar → Ulaanbaatar → Beijing|