Ulaanbaatar - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local buses cost around 25 cents and have just recently been upgraded. You can wave down just about any car and they will stop and give you a ride for 1000 MNT per km. The US embassy doesn’t advise that you use this method but we do occasionally. There are also plenty of nice taxi services that can be hired via app or text message. - Jan 2024

The local buses are cheap, very crowded, and pick pockets are common. Taxis are generally safe and affordable; however, I recommend using taxi companies recommended by the RSO. Most people only use the train if they are on vacation and it is not fancy but relatively safe. - Aug 2022

We don't use them. Buses are probably safe to use, but during the pandemic they are packed. There are a few private taxi companies we are recommended to use. Street taxis are not recommended, likely due to the language barrier rather than them being "unsafe". - Jan 2022

There are two reputable taxi companies that are safe to use. Buses and gypsy cabs are off limits. Pickpocketing and robbery seem common to these. - Sep 2020

There are inexpensive, trusted taxi services. Informal taxis are cheap but not recommended due to safety, likewise for public buses. - Aug 2020

Help Taxi is very reliable and reasonably priced. - Jul 2019

Buses are not recommended due to over-crowding and pick-pocketing. There is an English-speaking Taxi service called "Help Taxi" that is a bit more expensive than local taxis but they are reliable and speak English. Overall, it's pretty cheap to get around town. - Oct 2016

Trains are pleasant and cheap and a first class sleeper car (for 4 or 2 persons) is the way to go. They are slow but the fun is in the journey itself, and it's a great way to see the diverse landscapes of Mongolia. We travelled a lot on the trains and they seem perfectly safe. As we drove ourselves everywhere, I can't comment on the buses. Taxi services are quite well organised and seem well managed - given the ultra-slow traffic speed in UB I would't worry about accidents. As for personal safety again, based on hearsay, so long as you use a good company it should be fine. - Feb 2015

Taxis are safe and affordable. Trains are a Mongolian experience. Buses are said to be a haven for pickpockets, but very cheap. - May 2012

Yes. - Feb 2012

Local trains and buses are overcrowded and not advisable for use by expats. The costs to ride in local trains and buses is nominal. I think it's about $.50 to get from Zaisen to the embassy. Taxis are plentiful here. But only use taxis from a reputable taxi company. Almost anyone with a car claims to be a taxi driver. And yes, taxis are affordable. It costs about $2 USD/one way, to go from the main embassy housing complex to the embassy. Seat belts in the back seats of taxis are often hidden by seat covers. Passenger seat belts are often removed or don't work. - Feb 2011

Trains are generally safe. Buses are jammed and have pickpockets. Buses are privately owned (by each driver)who tries to maximize the number of fares on each bus. Few buses are well-maintained. Taxis vary as to safety and are generally cheap (i.e. less than US$5). - Jan 2009

Train is ok, buses are old and not maintained, any car can be flagged down for a ride. Regular taxi driver will try to rip you off because you are a foreigner. - Oct 2008


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