October 19 - October 25 2024

Soviet Mongolia October Tour

Exploring abandoned Soviet sites around
Mongolia: Airbases, abandoned towns, and

This 6 night tour is an exploratory adventure
looking at remains left from the Soviet period
in Mongolia.

From 2100 USD per person

Please apply by 1st October, 2024.

Soviet Mongolia October Tour

Exploring abandoned Soviet sites around
Mongolia: Airbases, abandoned towns, and

This 6 night tour is an exploratory
adventure looking at remains left
from the Soviet period in Mongolia.

From 2100 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

  • Overall

    Exploring Mongolia's Soviet past.

    A new Mongolia tour in 2023, now improved for 2024!

    Mongolia was never part of the Soviet Union. But as a Soviet satellite, it received guidance, money, expertise, and infrastructure. The latter of which remained long after the country's independence.   

    This adventure takes us in and around Ulaanbaatar as well as down to the Gobi desert, looking at the Soviet history of Mongolia.

    We start within this nomadic nation's capital Ulaanbaatar where we'll explore dusty Soviet-era museums, wonder at bold 1950s architecture, and gaze at statues erected to red heroes and Russian giants. 

    Travelling on part of the trans-Mongolian railway, the tour will trundle south and explore abandoned apartments and once-sprawling Soviet bases. Built at the time of the Sino-Soviet split these large military installations were prepared for a war that was never to happen.

    Read more on the tour here


    • Experience Mongolia's little-known communist past. 
    • Wander around deserted Soviet-built apartments, explore abandoned military bases, and peer behind Ulaanbaatar's rapidly growing modern facade. 
    • Find hidden statues of Lenin, Marshal Zhukov, and the Mongolian leaders of their day. 
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 7
    1. Saturday, October 19th

      For all of those joining this adventure, you will be met at the airport upon arrival and transferred to our group hotel. The meeting time is 18.00. For those of you who arrive early, we will meet for an orientation walk.

      • Hotel Ulaanbaatar | Built in 1961, this is a hotel of many firsts constructed during the Communist period. It was the first hotel in the country, the first public building with running hot water, and the first 5-star hotel in Mongolia too. Designed by the wife of Mongolia's then communist leader Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal.
      • Sükhbaatar SquareThis square is named after Mongolia's revolutionary hero Damdin Sükhbaatar shortly after his death in 1923. In 2013, the square's name was briefly changed to Chinggis Square much to the ire of many local people. 2016 saw a change back to the original title which has remained. In the centre of the square stands an equestrian statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar himself. A large monument dedicated to Genghis Khan sits atop the steps of the government palace.
      • National University of Mongolia | It was established in 1942. We pay a visit to view its Soviet architectural style and to catch a glimpse of the statue of Khorloogiin Choibalsan. Choibalsan was referred to by some as the 'Stalin of Mongolia' as he oversaw the purges of the 1930s. It’s estimated over 35,000 people were killed.
      • State Department StoreEstablished in 1921, this relic from the Soviet period has seen many changes. But is worth the visit as it still has a few older retro corners to be visited. As well as its history, it houses everything you may need. From money changers to a supermarket and souvenir vendors.
      • The Beatles Statue | The Beatles never visited Mongolia. But there is indeed a beautiful statue erected for them. The story goes that local people raised money to have it built after the Soviet period, in memory of the music they illegally listened to during that period.
      • As we walk back to the hotel, we will pass the National Academic Drama Theater, the Mongolian Stock Exchange and The National Theater. All are excellent examples of Russian design and construction.

      Hotel | Hotel Ulaanbaatar

      Meals | Dinner

    2. Sunday, October 20th

      This morning, after breakfast, it is straight out as we explore the city on foot and by bus.

      • Mongolian Military Museum | This ageing museum is home to Russian MIGs, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns, and tanks. And that's only on the outside! The museum interior covers history from the Mongol empire right the way through to its more recent Soviet past. After our visit, it's on to the former home (now a museum) of Marshal Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov.
      • Marshal Zhukov House Museum | This small but exciting museum opened in 1979. It is the same house where Zhukov stayed from 1939 -1940 as he directed Soviet troops in the battle of Tavan Gol. We get to view his living quarters as well as pictures, maps and weapons. All from around the time of the Soviet defeat of the Japanese army at this little-known but crucial battle.
      • Marshal Zhukov Statue | Located in a small square next to the Zhukov Museum is a rather splendid figure of the man himself.
      • Lenin Statue | For those interested in Lenin statues, we have quite a treat. We pay a visit to the Lenin statue once located in front of the Ulaanbaatar hotel. This statue, commissioned in 1951, stood for many years. It was taken down in 2012 by the then-mayor of Ulaanbaatar. It has found a few homes since that time and now resides within a local residential area.  

      After lunch, we continue with our tour as we visit further into the city. We stop at local apartments to view mosaics found still in place at the end of traditional Soviet apartment blocks. Our last visit of the day prepares us perfectly for our overnight train

      • Ulaanbaatar Open Air Railway Museum This pre-dinner visit sets us up perfectly for tonight's overnight train journey. The museum houses six locomotives used throughout the last 65 years. Many of the engines still have their soviet detailing and imagery, including a large image of Joseph Stalin.
      • Ganden Monastery | One of the few remaining Buddhist Temples which survived the Soviet purges of the 1930s and 40s. Today, it is the largest monastery in the city. It is home to enormous statues, hundreds of monks, and some beautiful traditional Mongolian architecture.

      After an early dinner, we board our local train to SainShand town, Dornogovi province. We have four-berth cabins as we trundle along part of the trans-Mongolian railway.

      Hotel | Overnight train

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    3. Monday, October 21st

      • Sainshand Town | We’ll arrive in the early morning at Sainshand Town. After alighting the train, for those awake enough, we will pause to view the small, but well-appointed Soviet outpost train station before heading into town for a basic breakfast.
      • Sainshand Town is the capital of Dornogovi Province. It lies due southeast of Ulaanbaatar, sitting to the east of the Gobi desert surrounded by scrub and flat arid terrain. This remote town is a real mix of old and new. Only 130 miles from the Chinese border, this position made Sainshand an essential military base during the Sino-Soviet split.
      • Sainshand was once home to the air-missile intelligence stations of the Soviet Union. These would protect the underbelly of Russia from possible attack from a hostile China. The town was separated into three distinct areas: north, south, and east. Unfortunately, in modern times, the northern section has been destroyed and used to construct newer buildings. The east was sealed off for use by the Mongolian Air Force.
      • Soviet Past | Following breakfast, we will see what remains of the town’s Soviet past. We look to the southern area of this frontier settlement. Luckily for us, a little still remains. Mainly used for habitation and business for local people.
      • Shivee-Ovoo | After lunch, we drive 2 hours north to the village of Shivee-Ovoo. This small habitation was once home to the Soviet motorised rifle division. Believe it or not, there were up to fifteen thousand soldiers once here. These days all that remains in this desolate windswept area are the former homes built for the servicemen and their families and the officer’s mess. A little exploring will also reveal a few fascinating mosaics.
      • Choir | Once we have finished our Soviet exploration for the day, we have our final drive to the provincial capital, Choir. Once here, we locate a local restaurant for our evening meal and then head to our hotel for tonight situated in one of the former Soviet district block apartments.

      Hotel | Art Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    4. Tuesday, October 22nd

      • Choir | After breakfast, we’re ready to continue our exploration of Choir. We will head to the Soviet-style Choir Railway Station. Outside here there is a Statue of Yuri Gagarin. It was built to commemorate the flight into space of Mongolia’s first cosmonaut Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa in 1981.
      • During the Soviet period, Choir housed the most extensive military base for the Soviet Union. But that has long gone with many of the buildings dismantled. We will explore what is left and make sure to visit the 25-meter high statue erected in honour of the USSR’s war heroes.
      • Former Airbases | Upon leaving Choir, we’ll continue north. After a while, we’ll make a stop at one of the region’s former airbases. Here it gets even more interesting as we have the opportunity for a bit of ‘urbex’ (urban exploration) and see one of the abandoned MiG monuments. (A former MIG fighter jet raised pointing skyward). We will also be permitted to enter the former base to see some of the remaining airfield buildings if we’re lucky.
      • Bagakhangai | From here, we’ll drive onwards to check on another former Soviet airbase located in the town of Bagakhangai. We plan to access the area and its abandoned aircraft hangers. Around the town, there are also some derelict buildings worthy of our time and attention for a bit more exploring.
      • Baganuur | Next, we drive across the rolling countryside to the city of Baganuur. Baganuur was created to serve the Soviet military base, which was home to the 12th Motor Rifle Division. The Russians have gone now, but the city retains much of its former Soviet design and currently serves the nearby Baganuur coal mine.
      • As we arrive late today, we head straight to our hotel for dinner and then some well-deserved rest.

      Hotel | TBC

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    5. Wednesday, October 23rd

      • Urbex 12th Motor Rifle Division | We’re up and out early today. We drive out of Baganuur further east to have a look at what remains of the base that once belonged to the 12th Motor Rifle Division. Much of this has now gone. It has been taken down and recycled, although some of the living quarters remain and offer us a little more ‘urbex’.
      • Ulaanbaatar | Once we have finished exploring the remains of the Soviet base, we board our vehicles and begin to make our way back to the Red Hero City, Ulaanbaatar. As we journey back, we will stop at one of the small towns that serve the still functioning aerodrome. The MiG 21 in the children’s play area here is a particular highlight!
      • Genghis Khan Statue | As we make our way back, we’ll stop at a more modern statue built for the ancient leader, and most famous Mongolian; Genghis Khan. Finished in 2008, the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue makes for a great visit, offering views over the surrounding countryside.
      • Ulaanbaatar Resident | Once we return to Ulaanbaatar, we will visit the home of a resident who has, over the years, amassed an impressive array of Lenin statues and memorabilia. He loves to meet interested visitors to show off and talk about his collection proudly.
      • Once we’ve arrived and checked back into our hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day to rest and relax.

      Hotel | Ulaanbaatar Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    6. Thursday, October 24th

      • Mongolian National Gallery | Today is another day of exploring the nation’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. This morning, we’re out on foot to visit the nearby Mongolian National Gallery. This impressive building houses many of the artworks of Mongolia. As well as the art, the architecture here is terrific. It incorporates some fantastic mosaics and stained glass windows from the country’s communist past.
      • From art to dinosaurs. We’ll walk further into the city to view some of the small city squares that would have once been adorned with monuments commemorating Mongolia’s socialist neighbour. They have since been replaced with more nationalistic Mongolian figures and symbols.
      • Mongolian Dinosaur Museum | Our destination is the Mongolian Dinosaur Museum. This building once housed the nation's Lenin Museum built especially for the father of communism. The outside is adorned with brass reliefs depicting the great man himself as well as Engels and Marx. Although once inside, you may need to use your imagination a little! The architecture remains. Although where Lenin's statue once stood now stands Mongolia’s very own T-Rex!
      • Zaisan | After a spot of lunch, we’ll head across the city to the upmarket Zaisan area. We’re not here to drink an overpriced coffee but to climb the 612 steps up the hill to the famed Zaisan monument. Built in 1956, the monument commemorates the friendship between the USSR and Mongolia.
      • Revolutionary Mongol Tank Brigade Monument | The lower reaches of Zaisan incorporate the Revolutionary Mongol Tank Brigade Monument. This monument combines an original T-34 tank and a map of its journey from manufacturing in the Soviet Union to Berlin. Following our tour of the remaining Soviet sites in Ulaanbaatar, we’ll return to our hotel before heading out into the city for our last group meal.

      Hotel | Ulaanbaatar Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    7. Friday, October 25th

      Departure day

      We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes, and your memories, and have a safe trip home!

      Included Meals | Breakfast

  • What is / is not included?


    • All Listed Meals
    • All Listed Accommodation
    • Local Guide / Tour Leader
    • Visa Assistance
    • Transport & Driver
    • Water
    • National park entrance fees 
    • Site entrance fees
    • Airport Transfer (only on trip start/end dates)


    • Flights to/from Mongolia
    • Travel Insurance
    • Snacks/Drinks/Extra Expenses
    • Tips for crew 
    • Meals not listed
    • Airport Transfer (outside of trip start/end dates) 30 USD

Please apply by 1st October, 2024.

[email protected] | + 86 10 6416 7544
Room A409, Jucai Building. No. 76 Caoyuan Hutong.
Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100027, PR China

中国北京市东城区草园胡同76号聚才大厦A 座409 室,
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