Ulaanbaatar. It’s currently around -28 degrees but it is approaching 8 in the morning so give it a few hours and it will rise to around a positively balmy -15.
Now. You might be reading this and thinking why? Why would anyone want to put themselves through those sort of temperatures? f you live in the northern hemisphere where your November through to February will be typically cold and dark why would you head somewhere even colder and darker? Or, if you live in the summer hemisphere where your November through to February are your summer months, why on earth would you give that up to visit somewhere cold and dark?
You may think that -28 does not make for a very enjoyable holiday but I like the sense of things slowing down and people becoming closer. Winter in Mongolia is when one’s relationships are renewed and strengthened. The horizon-hugging arc of the winter sun means short days and although the weather can be harsh it is a beautiful season to travel through the landscapes. It’s also a time of year when you truly appreciate a sauna experience. Back in 2015 I put together a series of ‘winter postcards from Mongolia’ posts that included ideas and tips on what to experience and where to head to. First up was the Gobi Sauna in Ulaanbaatar. Open 24 hours, you should have plenty of time to allow your achy travel muscles to unwind. You’ll emerge relaxed, revived and ready for whatever the day may bring. Even if it is -28 degrees.
Is located in Ulaanbaatar. Not the Gobi. It is a sauna though.
On the entry-level is a shower and sauna room and on another two levels there is a massage room, cafe, relaxation room, oxygen room and different sauna rooms:
Where Is It?
It is in the city district of Bayangol on Ard Ayush Avenue – known as the shopping district. Don’t let the hideousness of the building design put you off. I doubt any photographer could capture this building in a positive light! Bayangol is known locally as the ‘shopping street’ so having relaxed and unwound, head to the row of small independent shops and larger national department stores. There are great local cafes serving everything from good coffee down to the ubiquitous mutton pancakes.
In the words of our guest Megan Greentree:
‘I have to admit I felt like I had been let in on a secret. A little gem in an otherwise concrete heavy city. A place that let me meditate on what I had experienced in Mongolia in the past few weeks. After the sauna, a nap, ice cream and an hour long aromatherapy massage I breezed out of there refreshed and a lot cleaner than I had arrived.’