For the next week I'll be staying with a friend in Ulaanbaatar but then I'm planning to move to some budget travellers' accommodation before I completely wear out my welcome. I want to stay in the city until about Christmas when my visa runs out so I want somewhere cosy/friendly.

Now I've stayed in many hostels in many countries and know how to check the reviews and ratings online. But I've spent a couple of hours going through Hostel World and Hostel Bookers and despite some doubtful 100% reviews they all have some very legitimate sounding very negative reviews so far.

A common complaint is that the staff are unfriendly to guests who don't book their tours. I have no intention of going on any tours. I'm here to experience Mongolian city culture and learn a bit of the language.

Other common complaints shared between multiple accommodations are curfews at midnight, Wi-Fi turned off at night, lack of hot water, and tiny common areas.

Is there a friendly/social hostel or guest house in Ulan Bator for a traveller who doesn't want to book any tours?

  • 3
    Hostels everywhere make their money by booking activities for residents. If you let them know when you make your booking that you will not be participating in any, they may not be disappointed.
    – choster
    Dec 5, 2013 at 4:49
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    Well none of the hostels that I've worked in. But it's still OK. I've been happy in some very rough/minimal hostels that still had either friendly staff or friendly other guests. Being the low/cold season could also be in my favour. I also have the luxury of being able to walk to places and check them out over the next week. Dec 5, 2013 at 4:54
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    I enjoyed Idre's Guest House, although yes, they wanted people to go on tours, once I said I couldn't they didn't press it. They were still friendly to me after that. There was hot water, wifi and breakfast.
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 5, 2013 at 5:11
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    @hippietrail yep, I'm just waiting on a msg from my friend as after Idre's I moved to his hostel as it was closer to town. Will combine into an answer when I get it.
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 5, 2013 at 5:15
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    Even better thanks! Also you're never in chat these days! d-: Dec 5, 2013 at 5:20

2 Answers 2


I stayed at first in Idre's Guesthouse. It was basic, reading some of the reviews has refreshed my memory - the kitchen and bathrooms were small, but there was free breakfast and working wifi. Indeed, the hostel did organise tours and immediately asked if I'd like to look at their options, but I couldn't fit it into my schedule, and it wasn't brought up again during my stay.

They were flexible, friendly, helped with directions.

The downside is that they're a decent 20 min walk from the city center. The upside is that they offered free pick up from the train station :D

I then moved to another one where my friend was staying in the city center. It was more convenient, but had no decent wifi, and had a curfew there as well which was frustrating. You had to whisper all the time, lots of restrictions, staff weren't welcoming at all. Unfortunately searching our emails and online we can't find the name of this hostel, sorry :/ If your Google Fu is better than mine, it was roughly here.

There was a tour company in the same building, so if you find them, you should find the hostel. The tour company's address is Room 14, Building 69, Sukhbaatar District, and is down the alley opposite the Golomt bank.

  • (all to be taken with a grain of salt as well - this was in August 2011)
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 5, 2013 at 5:41
  • 20 minutes isn't so bad today as it's only -9 outside. My friend's apartment where I'm staying now isn't much closer. I'll try to find it this afternoon. Dec 5, 2013 at 5:46
  • Updated with a maps link to where the other hostel is, if you are walking past.
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 5, 2013 at 5:47
  • it seems every single hostel/guesthouse in UB, other than Lotus is attached to a tour company. (Lotus is attached to an organization that helps street kids, but some of its reviews are also quite off-putting and believable.) Dec 5, 2013 at 16:33
  • Idre's is also one of the hostels that turns off their internet at night time. That's not a dealbreaker but it's pretty bad for when you come home late or when there's no other guests to hang out with and want to upload photos/blog/Skype home/etc. Dec 6, 2013 at 4:26

I stayed at the Golden Gobi in 2008. It felt a little cramped during late September not sure if it was the season or because of popularity.

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