Ulaanbaatar’s Black Market

Locally known as Naran Tuul, a good name to know if you’re grabbing a taxi off the street to get there, Ulaanbaatar’s Black Market is about as far away from a tourist trap market as it gets. This is the real deal. Or maybe I should say, the real deel. (You’ll get that joke soon enough.)

Mongolia Souvenir Black Market

A-class dad jokes aside, the Black Market is about as authentic as it gets, with locals, especially those from the countryside and the districts surrounding the city, coming in to stock up on goods of every sort.

While the name itself might suggest something more ominous, the market – a sprawling (and I mean sprawling) spread of vendors hawking just about everything you could imagine – from leather goods and boots to electronics and housewares to knives and equestrian supplies to everything you’d need to build your own ger and everything else in between, the market will no doubt overwhelm you, but it will certainly mesmerize you as well.

Some of my personal favorite finds include reindeer fur-lined winter boots, the most beautiful of summer deels (traditional Mongolian garments) in arrays of prints and varying degrees of detail, to cashmere underlayers, mink hats, and pocketknives.

It’s a one-stop-shop and the best people watching you’ll find anywhere in the city, meaning it’s one of those places that shouldn’t be missed when you have a few free hours. Add in that it’s also certainly the best souvenir shopping out of anywhere around, especially when it comes to selection and pricing, and you have one of Ulaanbaatar’s best kept secrets.

Black Market Ulaanbaatar

Shopping at Ulaanbaatar's Black Market

There are two areas when it comes to the market – one unofficial vendor area outside the gates and one official vendor area inside the gates. While both areas will be packed with vendors year-round, inside the gates is where you’ll find the good stuff.

Like all markets, all around the world, haggling is part of the process. But don’t expect Mongolians to budge too much when it comes to pricing. And don’t start this process unless you’re certain you want to buy whatever you’re looking at. Things here are already going to be fairly priced (for the most part), and keep in mind that this isn’t Southeast Asia where things are dirt cheap – Mongolia can be expensive thanks to the need to import everything and highly skilled local craftsman being hard to come by – so don’t feel too ripped off when you hear a deel going for a few hundred thousand MNT, for example.

Mongolian Deel

In between all of your browsing and exploring, don’t forget to be aware of pickpockets. Especially since you’ll (most likely) be carrying a wad of cash with you.

Which brings me to my last and final shopping tips – make sure you do bring cash with you, vendors here will only accept cold, hard MNT (and maybe the odd USD or euro, but that is entirely up to the vendor to decide).

Make sure you stop at an ATM or cash exchange before you go, I would not recommend trying to find or exchange cash here.

The market is absolutely free to enter – do not let a local try to convince you otherwise.

Getting to the Black Market

If you’re staying in the city center, which you most likely will be, you’ll need to grab a taxi off the street to get to the Black Market.

Any taxi driver will know Naran Tuul, and the ride will take about 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic, from the State Department Store.

Tips for Visiting


10 - 19:00 Daily
Closed Tuesdays


Narnii Road,

Free entry

Don't expect to see many other foreigners during your visit - this is a locals market through and through.

Best Things to Buy

Mongolian deels, cashmere, and other Mongolian-made wear are the best items to buy here.

Author: Breanna Wilson

Hi! Sain uu! I’m Breanna, an American travel writer and adventurer living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for more than 5 years. I’ve written for and been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, Forbes, and the New York Times, among others. Read more of my Mongolia travel articles here.

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