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Old 09-23-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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Whats it like living in Ulaantbaatar? What is the culture like? Are there things to do? Does it offer anything culturally that a non mongolian city couldn't? Would An American college student be able to enjoyably spend a semester here?

Sorry for so many questions, but I have the opportunity to go to Mongolia and I'd like to get input from someone who knows what its like before I decide whether or not to go.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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No idea except what I have read here and there. Nonetheless, I admire your rejection of the typical study abroad options in favor of something different and most likely quite fascinating.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggspc View Post
Whats it like living in Ulaantbaatar? What is the culture like? Are there things to do? Does it offer anything culturally that a non mongolian city couldn't? Would An American college student be able to enjoyably spend a semester here?

Sorry for so many questions, but I have the opportunity to go to Mongolia and I'd like to get input from someone who knows what its like before I decide whether or not to go.
Mongolia is an incredibly beautiful country, but UlaanBaatar is an incredibly ugly depressing place.

Mongolians are tough...they drink a lot...and walk around looking tough. Tons of bars and drinking opportunities. You can meet people easily enough.

The weather is only good for about 6-7 weeks. It starts getting real cold by the end of August and just gets much, much worse. Brutal cold.

Very little streetlights in UlaanBaatar. There is one main drag with street lights...the sidewalks are jagged and feels like an obstacle course.

Well, it would certainly be interesting for you to spend a month there. Pretty much everyone says the women are absolutely beautiful, if you are a guy.
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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I do a lot of reading about Mongolia as it is a travel interest of mine. I've thought about doing the Mongol Rally(look it up).

It sounds like Ulan Baatar is getting more modern but from what I have seen it is still rather polluted and there are some public drunkenness that goes on and other nonsense. The real bits of Mongolia worth seeing seem to be outside of the city.

This one guy I have been following for a year is back in Mongolia this year and has a great blog with tons of photos.

Sibirsky Extreme
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Macao
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The Mongolia countryside is unreal beautiful. Basically some main roads going out of the capital...but very quickly gets VERY RURAL. Like people riding horses everywhere....yurts everywhere.

When I was in MONGOLIA....the closest thing I could say...is it reminds me of parts of WYOMING or SOUTH DAKOTA...and would it might have been like 100 years ago. Just almost no cars...and not that many people....yurts (moveable houses)...dotted about here and there, with NO roads or driveways leading to them. Tons of horses everywhere, and quite a few people riding the horses as well.

The Mongolia countryside...which is pretty much the entire country outside of the capitol...is insanely beautiful and a real gem.

The city however....errr...one of the ugliest monstrosities I've ever seen! Soviet style architecture and just a mess all the way around. Interesting to see though!
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Texas
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I worked in UB for a year, from July 2002 - June 2003. I haven't been back since. I'm sure it's changed a lot. I can share my impressions and experiences, but keep in mind that it's been seven years.

There were not many things to do. There was an opera house where they staged ballet and opera. It was popular among foreigners and locals. The prices were low and the quality was pretty good. Most people shared pirated movies they'd either bought in UB or in China and hosted parties. There are some bars in town, though I'm not a drinker or night owl so I can't really comment on the nightlife.

The restaurants were so-so. Local food is mainly mutton. There were a range of expat restaurants serving Italian, French, American, and Indian food. (The Indian was exceptionally good, I thought.)

The real highlight of UB for most foreigners was hiring a guide and going out into the countryside. UB's awash with guides. You'll soon learn via word of mouth who the good ones are.

One thing you have to know about UB: it's FREEZING in the winter. And I do mean, FREEZING! It rarely snows, though. It's a dry cold.

I say go for it. I'm a total city boy. If I can survive a year in UB, anyone can!
Let me know if you want more information,
Scott
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:15 AM
 
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Thanks for the great responses everyone! I'm trying to decide between programs based in UB, Kathmandu, Chiang Mai. My ultimate dream would be Thimphu, but that seems like a pipe dream at this point.
I've heard similar things about Kathmandu that you guys are saying about UB, but they both sound like they have beautiful surroundings. Have any of you ever been to any of the other places I've mentioned or know what their like?
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggspc View Post
Thanks for the great responses everyone! I'm trying to decide between programs based in UB, Kathmandu, Chiang Mai. My ultimate dream would be Thimphu, but that seems like a pipe dream at this point.
I've heard similar things about Kathmandu that you guys are saying about UB, but they both sound like they have beautiful surroundings. Have any of you ever been to any of the other places I've mentioned or know what their like?
I spent a month in KATHMANDU. It also gets REAL cold in the winter, but have a feeling UB might be worse. I quite liked Kathmandu though, a lot of windy streets, a lot of interesting things to see everywhere. I think if it were me, I would choose Kathmandu over UB. But both are real interesting. Actually if you go in the summertime and can get out of the city for a long period of time, I think I'd choose Mongolia. But it sounds like you will be defined to a city.

I also went to Chiang Mai. I just remember the Thai Boxing and tons of drinking opportunities and interesting as well. Actually its been almost 15 years since I was in Chiang Mai, and I'm sure it has changed a lot.

I was in UB about two years ago, and probably hasn't changed much. I do remember a bar in UB called THE DETROIT BAR. Ive been to many cities in the world, and never seen any bar anywhere ever name themselves after my home state city
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Zagreb, Croatia
295 posts, read 757,431 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Mongolia is an incredibly beautiful country, but UlaanBaatar is an incredibly ugly depressing place.

Mongolians are tough...they drink a lot...and walk around looking tough. Tons of bars and drinking opportunities. You can meet people easily enough.

The weather is only good for about 6-7 weeks. It starts getting real cold by the end of August and just gets much, much worse. Brutal cold.

Very little streetlights in UlaanBaatar. There is one main drag with street lights...the sidewalks are jagged and feels like an obstacle course.

Well, it would certainly be interesting for you to spend a month there. Pretty much everyone says the women are absolutely beautiful, if you are a guy.
How many lives have you lived, T_B?

Whatever place pops up - you were there!
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:43 PM
 
67 posts, read 166,195 times
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[quote=Tiger Beer;16014491]Actually if you go in the summertime and can get out of the city for a long period of time, I think I'd choose Mongolia. But it sounds like you will be defined to a city./QUOTE]

The programs will be based in these cities, but ill definitely be able to get out of them. The idea of the programs is to emerse with the local culture. I know the Mongolian one spends at least 2 weeks traveling with a nomadic tribe. The nepalese one is focused on Tibetan and Himalayan culture and makes trips to India as well as occasionally Bhutan and Tibet.
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