A bit afraid of heading out in the dark by yourself? It can be if you don’t know your surroundings and if you are not really bright.
The city centre is safe and usually most places are safe, however there are a few places you should avoid.
Places To Avoid
It’s best for you to avoid the northern, northwestern, and northeastern suburbs. Those places are ripe for mugging because if you are a foreigner you will most likely stick out.
Wondering whether Mongolians can tell apart Koreans, Japanese, South East Asians from Mongolians? Yes, Mongolians can distinguish most other Asians from Mongolians.
If you are Kazakh, Kyrgyz, or Mongolic in origin or relation it could be a little harder, but still don’t take your chances going to bad neighborhoods in Ulaanbaatar.
Even your average Mongolians prefer not go out to the suburbs towards the northern part of the city.
There are a lot of drunks and the communities are less developed, which leads to crime in that area.
Going Out At Night
If you are like to party, dance, and enjoy the lights at night, you could go by yourself because the city center is usually safe with police patrolling around the neighborhood.
However, don’t even think of the suburbs or heading out to areas in the city you are unsure of.
The city center and the neighborhoods around Zaisan/southern part of the city are safe and well developed.
What about bars and nightclubs?
You are taking your chances, but if you are a guy and traveling by yourself late at night you do run the risk of coming across a nationalistic Mongolian who may have had a bit much to drink.
The later it gets, the more I suggest you to go home and call it a day.
Even if you are going with a group of friends, you guys will still stick out.
Alcohol and Mongolians honestly don’t mix that well. Not all, but some Mongolians get belligerent and try to cause trouble. It is pretty common for me as a local to see a few Mongolians arguing with one another because they had too much to drink during later hours in the evening.
Do Tourists Get Assaulted?
As long as you stay away from the bad neighborhoods, Ulaanbaatar is safe and no you won’t get assaulted, but you should be wary of pickpockets around touristy destinations.
Pickpockets work in groups and use means of distraction to employ their tricks, so it’s best to be mindful of where your belongings are and suspicious looking individuals who are too eager to talk to you or interact with you.
Most Mongolians mind their own business and don’t bother people unless it is an important issue, so random people coming up to talk to you should be suspicious.
Relatively How Safe Is UB?
Compared with places like New York, Chicago, and other major cities of the same level, Ulaanbaatar is relatively safe and you won’t get into much trouble.
Just steer away from drunks at late hours, have friends or a local Mongolian to accompany you. Avoid certain bad neighborhoods as well, and you should have a safe time in Mongolia.