Is Ulaanbaatar Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Safety Index:
43
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
87
* Rated 87 / 100 based on 3 user reviews.

Ulaanbaatar, also known simply just as UB, is the capital of Mongolia.

It is the largest city in Mongolia, standing as its political, commercial, industrial and cultural hub.

Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s only major urban center.

Roughly half of Mongolia’s population lives here.

Most of the education and job centers are also heavily concentrated in Ulaanbaatar.

Therefore, Mongolians who grow up in the countryside naturally gravitate towards the capital in pursuit of education, career, and other opportunities.

If you’re the party-goer type, visit Ulaanbaatar during summer: that’s when all the “beach” parties, festivals and events will be held.

The people in the city are expecting foreigners to be around.

Warnings & Dangers in Ulaanbaatar

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

Ulaanbaatar is a city in one of the least crime-ridden countries to travel to in Asia. There isn't much to worry about as long as you take the basic precaution measures. Petty theft is the biggest problem in Ulaanbaatar when it comes to crime.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Generally, transportation in Ulaanbaatar is pretty safe and reliable. You can use taxis, buses and share minivans and jeeps, and you can also use camels. Just be aware of unmarked cars driving with the window rolled down, offering to give you a ride.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH

The biggest concern when traveling to Ulaanbataar or other large Mongolian cities is pickpocketing and bag snatching. You shouldn't fear violence, only petty theft, which can also be avoided only if you follow your common sense. Never keep your money in your pockets or purses.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

There is a variety of natural hazards threatening Ulaanbaatar such as floods, earthquakes, storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Violent crime is not common outside of the capital, and pretty rare in the capital, but still, caution is recommended at night, or in deserted areas and poorly lit streets. Unfortunately, xenophobia exists in this country and violence towards foreigners can happen so avoid interaction anyone intoxicated or anyone looking like they might want to start a fight.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Ulaanbaatar, attacks can't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM

Scams are common in every city frequented by tourists, and that applies to Ulaanbaatar too. Be wary of people trying to distract you, people pretending to be official personnel and street vendors trying to rip you off.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Ulaanbaatar is a safe country for female travelers. People are very friendly in this city and willing to help you at any time. Just follow your common sense in public places, avoid dark and deserted areas, walking alone at night and watch out for your belongings and your trip should go smoothly.

So... How Safe Is Ulaanbaatar Really?

Generally speaking, Ulaanbaatar is mostly a safe city to visit.

Its biggest problem is a petty crime that you may encounter on the streets.

Most common is pickpocketing, so be especially beware in touristy-areas or crowded places like on public transport, markets, and train stations.

Pickpockets often work in groups to crowd or distract you.

Similarly, one person might distract you somehow (e.g. bumping into you, getting into an argument, or “dropping” their change), while another thief picks your pocket or steals your bag.

Don’t stash any valuables behind you in a backpack pocket or put all of your cash in one wallet.

Separate your small spending money.

Another issue in Ulaanbaatar is the corruption of local authority, and locals are convinced that the police are not to be trusted.

Some even say that Mongolia is the most corrupted Asian country, so be careful when talking to authorities.

While you hang out in Ulaanbaatar, you may encounter the stereotype of the bad Mongolian driver.

Always be careful to cross the road.

If you planning to travel to Mongolia between mid-October to early March, high levels of air pollution can occur in Ulaanbaatar, and if you have the pre-medical conditions, it may aggravate bronchial or asthma conditions.

How Does Ulaanbaatar Compare?

CitySafety Index
Ulaanbaatar43
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70
Manama (Bahrain)54
Tianjin (China)67

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

A visa for Mongolia is usually required. A Mongolian tourist visa is usually valid for a stay of up to 30 days within six months from the date of issue. Your visa can be extended for up to 30 days once within six months. However, if you are not sure about your visa status, contact your local Mongolian embassy for further information.

Currency

Currency

Mongolian tögrög is the official currency in Ulaanbaatar. Credit cards can be used in hotels, shops and restaurants in Ulaanbaatar and other large cities and ATMs are widely available.

Weather

Weather

The weather is extremely cold during winter, while the weather during the summer is generally hot. As a result of these prolonged periods of intense cold, the city has an average annual temperature of -1.3°C.

Airports

Airports

Chinggis Khaan International Airport is the international (and busiest) airport located in Ulaanbaatar, about 18 km southwest of the capital.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Ulaanbaatar, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Ulaanbaatar Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -22° C
Feb -19° C
Mar -10° C
Apr 1° C
May 8° C
Jun 14° C
Jul 16° C
Aug 15° C
Sep 8° C
Oct 0° C
Nov -12° C
Dec -20° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
-16-12-3815212221157-5-14
Low
°C
-28-26-17-7171081-7-18-25
High
°F
3102746597072705945237
Low
°F
-18-15119344550463419-0-13

Mongolia - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Ulaanbaatar43

Where to Next?

3 Reviews on Ulaanbaatar

  1. I loved it here

    Yes, I totally agree: this city is filled with pickpockets. Be very careful when visiting to not show off your valuable things or money or credit cards. There’s not much to fear otherwise so I don’t get the 43 safety index. I think a 55 or even 60 would be more appropriate but that’s just me. This city is a lot safer that you’d think. Besides pickpockets and some scams that you can easily avoid, there’s not much to fear.

  2. A
    Algernon says:

    Far safer than it's made out to be

    I found it a very safe place to visit. Locals generally seem a little reserved with tourists but if you make a bit of effort and pick up a few phrases, they soon open up. I felt safe in most places across the city and it’s about applying some common sense about where you would and wouldn’t go like you would in most cities.

  3. T
    Triangle Man says:

    I observe that the crime organizations in UB are absolutely the same as elsewhere in Asia, but they’re more obvious because it’ll always be a band of antisocial people connecting through a call center and non-Mongol. This nuisance today is out in Eagle Town, and it’s a band of British-Chinese and Commonwealth organized criminals acting like meth addicts, sending foreign children through these large groups of local kids in the complex, entering the building, staying out of sight, demanding money for prostitutes by screaming about it from stairwells or through thin walls in the Chinese built high-rise.

    They aren’t running on the same schedules as working people or children in school, they aren’t Mongol, and these call centers are operating extortion and prostitution and drug distribution rackets from locations in Laos and Cambodia, organized out of Taiwan and the Philippines and Macau.

    They’re actually in a war with the PRC so your best bet is to report them to a foreign spy agency. These are designated terrorist organizations involved in civil wars with many willing enemies, absolute fair game.

    Across UB with few exceptions the biggest criminal threats involve large bands of people who are integrated into much larger transnational criminal organizations. Petty crime and theft or random violence is going on, there is currently a teenaged Mongol car theft ring that is operating across UB, but it’s mostly clearly identifiable British, Chinese, Korean, Japanese organized crime groups in places where prostitution and theft are being clearly advertised along with the ethnicity of the criminals. This is not subtle or ambiguous.

    Urban Mongols in UB are people living in their home country with the same goals and attitudes about doing that as anyone else, out in certain ger districts, things can become a lot more variable with security. Ger districts closer to the center are full of sedentary people who are not typically going to be your high achievers. The rapidly growing ger districts outside the center seem to better reflect recent migration, sensible ambitious rural people seeking opportunities.

Ulaanbaatar Rated 4.33 / 5 based on 3 user reviews.

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