Where to Buy a Mongolian Deel in Ulaanbaatar

The best places to shop for a traditional Mongolian deel in Ulaanbaatar, for every budget and style.

One of the reasons I love Mongolia so much is because they haven’t lost their traditions. They still celebrate Naadam, a festival that’s been going on since the days of Chinggis Khaan. A large percentage of the population still live in gers and Mongolian food has stayed relatively the same through the decades.

Coming to Mongolia is still very much like visiting a place that time has forgotten. It’s incredible to witness, even though I see the country moving towards more modern ways of living every day.

But, no matter how much the country modernizes, there is one tradition I know will never leave Mongolia and Mongolians. And that’s wearing the traditional deel.

Even I love wearing a deel. They are comfortable, functional, and they make you instantly look like a badass. They help keep you warm when it’s cold, they keep dirt and mud off your clothes, and they double as a makeshift bed so you can take a nap anywhere. I highly recommend everyone purchases one as soon as they land in Mongolia. Plus, you get instant street cred with locals when they see you wearing one!

Table of Contents

What is a Mongolian deel?

Deels are the traditional garments Mongolians have been wearing for thousands of years. Locals still continue to wear deels today as they are very functional garments.

Mongolian deels are made of different materials, depending on the season in which it is being worn. Summer deels are light and made from cotton, silk, or other breathable fabrics. Winter deels are typically thicker, with sheep wool lining or stuffing between the fabric layers for added warmth.

When you visit Mongolia, you’ll notice most locals wear deels everyday when they’re herding and riding horses. They each have different deels for different occasions, wearing their best and fanciest deels on holidays, like Tsagaan Sar and Naadam.

You’ll notice slight differences in deels made for women versus men. Mongolians always have their deels custom-made, usually by a family member.

However, since you haven’t been adopted by a Mongolian family, yet, you’ll need to buy one that’s already been sewn and is ready to wear. Here are the best places to shop for a deel in Ulaanbaatar.

How to Put on a Mongolian Deel

Here are the basics on how to wear a deel the traditional way.

Firstly, button up all the buttons that are on the deel, especially the ones on the neck and chest area.

Secondly, the deel you have bought should come with its own belt. Use that and encircle it around the waist area as tight as you want. Mongolians forbid changing their belts with others. Additionally, the belt should never be on the floor or stepped on, this means bad luck.

Tips for wearing a deel:

  • For women, the traditional style is to wear your hair up when wearing a deel.
  • Men should wear a traditional long sleeved shirt and pants before wearing a deel. For women, a deel can be worn by itself if it’s form fitting or over your clothes.
  • If a deel is made with silk then it should be dry cleaned. However, if it’s made with other materials, such as cotton, it can be washed in the washing machine.

How to Choose a Deel

It’s quite overwhelming to choose a deel for the first time. So, here’s a quick guide to successfully choose one that fits you.

There are many different styles and types. For example, Mongolian women wear a “Dan deel” in the summer as it’s made with breathable materials and is suited for the warmer seasons.

If you wish to get a traditional deel, the first thing you need to check is if it goes below your knees. For younger people, vibrant colours like green, blue and purple are much more suitable. On the other hand, for those who are over 50, lighter colours like beige, brown, grey looks better.

Flower patterns look great on younger girls and traditional rounded patterns are recommended for women over 40 as it pulls the look together.

If you have a shorter neck than lookout for the deel that has a monk styled neckline which has a lower collar. That simply means it folds in the front and has no collar. Furthermore, if you have a longer neck then choose the one that has a higher collar.

Men should choose a deel that has a looser fit to give off a masculine feel and women should choose one that is tight fitted to the body.

Where to Buy a Deel in Ulaanbaatar

  • Narantuul (Black Market)
  • State Department Store, 5th Floor
  • Michel&Amazonka
  • Tod Torgo
  • Moncouture Custom-made Deels

Narantuul (Black Market)

Ulaanbaatar’s Black Market, Narantuul, has the cheapest and biggest selection of choices when buying a Mongolian deel. The deels you’ll find here are affordable and you won’t worry too much if you lose it or it gets damaged when you’re traveling in the countryside. Plus, you can find every color, size, and style being sold ready-to-wear. It is possible to negotiate the price with the seller, but they usually don’t budge too much from their original offer.

Location: Google Maps

Traditional Mongolian Deel

State Department Store, 5th Floor

The deels at the State Department Store are stylish and trendy, but also pricey. Since the State Department Store is one of the most visited places in Ulaanbaatar by tourists, their prices tend to be more expensive than anywhere else. But, sometimes paying a little extra is worth it, especially when the deel is as beautiful as the ones they sell here. If you don’t mind splurging, and you really want a special deel to wear while you’re in Mongolia, this is one of the best places to buy it.

Location: Google Maps

Michel&Amazonka

If you really want to make a statement with your deel, Michel&Amazonka is the hottest store in Ulaanbaatar for just that. Their designs are elegant, but with an edge, blending traditional and modern touches. All of their pieces are handmade and one of a kind – they release a new collection every season. I own one of the deel shirts they made for their 2019 collection and it’s still one of my favorite and most cherished pieces of clothing.

Location: Google Maps

Tod Torgo

Down the road from the State Department, hidden off Peace Avenue, Tod Torgo makes beautiful custom-made deels. If you have the time, this is one of the best places in the city to get a deel made just for you. They have floor to ceiling shelves with rolls of every fabric, texture, and design possible. The hardest part is narrowing down what you want your deel to look like. It usually takes about a week to have a custom deel made, so plan accordingly.

Location: Google Maps

Deel Mongolia

Moncouture Custom-made Deels

If you have a design in mind and wish to get it made when you’re in Mongolia, Moncouture is the place to get it done at. Their quality is hands down one of the best as they use 100% silk and cotton. Plus, they are well-known for their cuff and sleeve designs making every one of their deels unique. If you are getting a deel custom-made, plan on it taking between 14 to 21 days to be finished, depending on the intricacy of your design.

Location: Google Maps

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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