Shopping in Mongolia
Natural products make up most of Mongolia's economy. As with their cuisine, the Mongols relied heavily upon their animals to provide them with goods, and things such as leather, woolen clothing, furs, camel hair products and, most famously, cashmere items, are all traditional Mongolian goods. Arts and crafts are also popular.
Mongolia is one of the world's largest producers of raw cashmere, and it is a good place to look for high quality cashmere items at good prices.
This Mongolia Shopping Guide gives an indication of some Mongolian products you may wish to purchase as gifts or souvenirs. Also listed below are some stores that you may wish to visit, especially in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Also take a look at our Mongolia Restaurant Guide, which details traditional Mongolian cuisine and some recommended restaurants.
Mongolia Shopping Guide
Apart from the animal-based products such as leather, woolen clothing, furs, camel hair products and cashmere items, Mongolia also produces items such as hand woven carpets, various wooden carvings, toys and games, plus water and oil based paintings.
Clothing, postcards, wall hangings and snuff bottles also make popular purchases. In terms of general food shopping, you will find the supermarkets in Ulaanbaatar to be reasonably well stocked with Russian and European goods, although the prices are a little bit higher than one may expect, due to transportation costs.
You will see that many of the shops are actually smaller kiosks inside larger stores. Although the stores may be well stocked, you will often find that many shops sell the exact same types of items.
Therefore if you want something specific, you may have to search around to find it. Along the streets of the capital are many small kiosks, known as 'Tuts', which sell snacks, soft drinks and other small items.
One place that may be of interest to the more intrepid traveller is the 'black market', situated on the outskirts of town such as Narantuul, Tsaiz, Kharkhorin, etc. It is basically a giant flea market, and all sorts of goods can be found here. The market is always very crowded, and pick-pocketing is rife. Make sure you take care with your valuables, and don't walk around advertising an expensive camera or wallet.
Keep in mind that while bargaining is acceptable in places, it is not practiced to the same extent as in other parts of Asia. Vendors will often appear at the various tourist attractions outside Ulaanbaatar, at places like Karakorum and Lake Hovsgol (Khovsgol or Khuvsgul). If you are planning on buying these sorts of items, purchasing from these people is a good idea, as the money goes directly into the community.
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Sukhbaatar district, Peace Avenue, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Tel: +976 11 320506
Naran Department Store
Sukhbaatar district, Seoul street, 5 microdistrict, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Tel: +976 11 328841 - Fax: +976 11 320396
Sky Department Store
Tel: +976 11 319090 - Fax: + 976 11 315181
Sukhbaatar district, Seoul street, Ulaabaatar, Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar Department Store
Sukhbaatar district, 4th khoroo, 5th khoroolol, Peace Avenue-57
Tel: +976 11 323206
Sukbaatar district, Peace avenue, Cashmere house boutique, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Tel: +976 11 326867