Although Mongolia isn’t particularly well-known for having a lot of high-end shopping malls, if you’re a shopper looking for adventure, this far-off and remote country is bound to yield up a few treasures.
You can exchange money at some hotels and banks, although some shops will accept US dollars. Don’t count on shops accepting your credit cards or debit cards, although some of the larger shops in Ulaan Baatar will take them. Be sure to exchange money ahead of time though if you’re going out of Ulaan Bataar, because outside of the capital city, you’ll have a hard time finding ATM machines.
Bazaar or Black Market
What is there to buy in this vast country? You’ll find some incredible works of art here, and clothing and blankets made from soft cashmere and camel wool. Jewelry and handicrafts are abundant and exotic, and you’ll be sure to find something worthy of taking home. Just outside of Ulaan Bataar is a large bazaar, or black market, where it is said that you can buy just about anything, although it is mostly a local shopping venue. However, if you don’t mind a little adventure, give it a go and you’re sure to end your day with a smile and a full bag of trinkets. If you do venture out to this area, beware of pickpockets and thieves.
Many of the products are created from natural sources, and the climate makes items made from fur, cashmere, and camel hair quite popular for locals and tourists alike.
No Malls and Mandarin
You won’t find large department stores or malls; most of the shopping venues consist of small vendor stalls contained in a larger area. The tuuts located throughout the major streets are small stands, usually selling food items.
While shopping, it may be hard to find English speaking vendors. Most people speak Mongolian, which is quite different from the Mandarin language used in neighboring China, so that Chinese phrase book won’t do you much good here.