HOW TO GET TO THE BLACK MARKET-NARANTUUL MARKET
I’ve met several tourists on the street while living in Ulaanbaatar, and many have the same question, ‘how do I get to the black market?’
Hopefully, I will be able to answer that question for you. Let’s assume you are in the city centre, near the state department store or even Sukhbaatar Square itself, and you want to explore and do some shopping at the Market.
Buses, far different from western ones, can be an exciting experience in Ulaanbaatar and worth at least one bus ride. From Sukhbaatar Square, cross the road to the Blue Sky Hotel (it’s blue so you can’t miss it). There you will see a bus stop where you can catch either bus n.o 3 or bus n.o 30. Both buses will take you directly to the Black Market.
As you go down peace ave, the main street, you will turn left at the corner of the Kempinski Hotel intersection and straight down Ikh Toiruu Street. Once you see Sunday Plaza, you will almost be there.
Using the bus is super cheap, costing only 500 tugriks, approximately 15 US cents. You can also easily download the UB Bus app from the app store, which allows you to see all the bus stops, bus numbers and buses’ current locations. However, while it is cheap, be prepared for it to be crowded depending on the time of day.
If you want to use a taxi, there are several options. You can always do what the locals do and wave your hand out. A normal-looking car will stop and ask where you want to go, and that’s your taxi.
If you’re not feeling that adventurous, you can also use UB cab for an official taxi service. Taxis typically charge between 1000-1500 tugriks per one kilometre, so again it’s not going to break the bank. Once in the taxi, just say ‘Namaig narantuul zakh ruu hurgeed uguuch’ (Намайг Нарантуул зах руу хүргээд өгөөч). The taxi driver should have no problem knowing where you want to go.
AT THE MARKET
Once there, you will be greeted by a large entrance, and depending on where you start, you will see several different areas first. At the southern entrance, you will begin by seeing plenty of vendors selling shoes and furniture. You may even see some vendors selling nice leather belts or fur scarfs.
However, the western entrance is where you want to start if you are looking for food or even touristy items as well as clothing. In the centre of Narantuul, you will find your fabrics, masses of rolls of it, which is quite a sight to behold.
Whatever you are looking for, you will find something interesting here for you!
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
If taking the bus, it may be crowded, so keep a watchful eye on your belongings.
In the taxi, it may pay to keep an eye on how many kilometres you have done, so you don’t get ripped off.
While there is a lot to see at Narantuul market, watch out for the occasional pickpocket.
Some areas are in the shade; other parts aren’t, so bring a hat and water.
Remember to enjoy yourself and take in the vibrant Mongolian Market scene.