Getting there: Flights to Ulan Ude from Moscow leave almost daily. Or you can travel four days on the trans-Siberian train. A thoroughly enchanting city, Ulan Ude makes a great introduction to Siberia. Offering a rich array of cultural activities, spectacular scenery (including nearby Lake Baikal) and some of the friendliest people in Russia, it is definitely worth a visit.
Where to stay: The Hotel Geser (11 Ranzhurova str., Ulan Ude 670000; Tel: (301-2) 21-61-51; Fax: (301-2) 21-40-88; 900 rubles for a single) is a former Intourist hotel that seems to have successfully transformed to capitalism. Hotel Buryatia (ulitsa Kommunisticheskaya 41a; Tel: 21-18-35; doubles 600-1680 rubles) is one of the nicest and most centrally located hotels. Simple, but economical, the Hotel Barguzin (ulitsa Sovetskaya 28; Tel: 21-57-46; doubles 600 rubles) is centrally located. Bargain-hunters should search out Hotel Zolotoi Koros, near the central market, where a space in a two-bed room is under 200 rubles.
What to see: Highlights of Ulan Ude include the History Museum (ulitsa Profsoyunaya 29; Tel: 21-40-08 and 21-59-61; Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) with excellent exhibits on Buryatia’s history and Buddhist art, the Open Air Ethnographic Museum (About 10 or 11 km out of the center; Open Tuesday-Sunday 8:30-5), and Ivolginsk Datsan (one hour outside of Ulan Ude).
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