You might have heard or read about Mongolia a lot since you’re planning or already on your Trans-Siberian journey.
One would assume to make the whole Trans-Siberian railway, 9300 km long and taking 7 days non-stop. But the most effective itinerary is to take a couple of stops – Moscow, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude – an then, take Trans-Mongolian track down south in direction of Beijing. This is how you experience the full diversity of Russia, then exotic Mongolia and then overwhelming China on one trip!
Ulan-Ude is the best transport hub to Mongolia. There are all means of regular transport from Ulan-Ude to Ulan-Bator – cars, buses, trains, flights.
Departs at 7.30am. On some occasions they run another 7pm bus in summer.
going from Ulan-Ude to Ulan-Bator (Mongolia).
It leaves from Main (South) Bus Station in Ulan-Ude and arrives to the Dragon bus station in UB.
Reasonable leg space, no toilet on-board, no wi-fi. Heater and aircon.
All depends on traffic, your karma and border control.
You have about 6 stops for toilet, border, lunch, etc.
The boarding starts 30 minutes prior departure at the main Bus terminal.
GPS Coordinates 51°49’49.0″N 107°34’37.9″E
The bus will have a sign “Улан-Удэ – Улан-Батор”. The attendant will check your tickets and seat you according to it. Luggage is stored in a lower section of the bus.
In about 2 hours you reach the border. You’ll be asked to leave the bus with ALL your belongings and proceed to the customs and passport check on Russian side. Everything is quite straightforward, officers check your bags, officers check passports and migration cards (AKA departure cards), they don’t check registration papers. What to do if you overstayed russian visa?
After Russian side you board to the bus and drive to Mongolian side where you have same procedure. You will be given customs declaration and entrance card to fill out, it’s in English. Overall it should take you about 2-3 hours.
There are money exchangers (walking banks), you might want to exchange 10-20$ with them to have some mongolian money for lunch and taxi. Lunch is in one of the local cafes depending on driver’s choice.
You will arrive to Dragon bus station in the evening where you are usually attacked by taxi drivers holding hostels cards. You might take one of them or prearrange a transfer with your hostel. It’s quite a drive along the main street Peace avenue (one of the longest in the world) from the main square – Chinggis Khan square (up to 12000 Tugriks for a taxi).
How to buy bus tickets from Ulan-Ude to Ulan-Bator?
Our hostel sells it online and offline.
If you buy it when you arrive: 1900 roubles for 1 ticket, 1850 per person if you buy 2 tickets and 1800 per person if you buy 3+ tickets. Just ask our administrators in the hostel to buy it for you.
If you order it online (due to bank processing): 2000 roubles for 1 ticket, 1950 per person if you buy 2 tickets and 1900 per person if you buy 3+ tickets
To buy it Online you will need to fill the form below and send:
Names, passport numbers, date of desired departure.
Scanned copy of every traveller’s passport (the page with photo, information about full name, passport number, country).
Money transfer via PayPal (you can use your credit card there)
In case of any questions or requests contact us via email email@example.com.
- We buy tickets for you ONLY when we get the payment.
- Online order should be placed not later than 7 days prior departure, the tickets are sold out quickly in hot season (summer). If it’s shorter, ask our staff if there are tickets available.
- To proceed with purchase
a. Use this link to pay via PayPal. If that doesn’t work send money to firstname.lastname@example.org via PayPal.com with message like “I need 3 tickets for 23 July 2017. Our passport details: 1. John Smith #12345678 2.Hanna Smith #23456789 3.Johnny Depp #23456789”.
- You need to pick up the paper tickets at the hostel.
- DO NOT SEND THE MONEY TO email@example.com, our paypal address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Train from Russia to Mongolia
Trans-Mongolian railway is single-line, diesel engine operated track connecting Ulan-Ude and Beijing through Ulan-Bator. There are a couple of trains running this direction. The most used and popular one is “Irkutsk-Ulan-Bator” Train #361(from MNG)/362(to MNG). Only one or two carriages make it to Mongolia, other serve for local connection Irkutsk-Ulan-Ude. You can start either in Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude.
- Train 362 starts from Irkutsk at 9pm local time,
- it arrives to Ulan-Ude at 6:40am next day local time and then departs at 7:20am.
- Finally it arrives to Ulan-Bator at 6am next day local Mongolian time (-1h).
Overall it takes almost 36 hours from Irkutsk and 24 hours from Ulan-Ude to get to Ulan-Bator.
The prices are higher than bus and depend on a season – ±4500 roubles from Irkutsk, ±3500 roubles from Ulan-Ude.
So why is it so much longer? the answer is – border crossing, it takes up to 10 hours in total. Passport checking, customs checking, luggage checking, dog sniffing 🙂 And that multiplied by 2 sides – russian and mongolian. Plus carriage reordering within the train. Plus fitting the schedule of the local trains. That all makes it quite a wait.
- You should note that 3rd class platzkart is not available on this leg.
- Also mind that you can’t buy it online at the official Russian Railway website. How to buy domestic train tickets in Russia?
- The tickets are sold at train stations in major cities like Moscow, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude at special international counters. You can also use travel agencies to buy it.