What to buy at the Mongolian Black Market (Naran Tuul)? What to Know.

Nomadic herder and his daughter, Mongolia

One of the most fascinating places to visit in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia is what the locals call the black market or (Naran Tuul). Though the name of the black market sounds like this market may be a shady place – filled with shady characters – along with illegal or counterfeit goods, it is not. Going to visit the black market is definitely worth your time.

There are a lot of great finds at the Black Market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Some of the more interesting finds that I found were horse and camel products, Mongolian style furniture and some antiques and antique reproductions. This is definitely a “must-experience” place for any visitor to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The black market is located In Ulaanbaatar, at the very eastern end of Narnii Road and near the corner of Nam Yan Street. But as this is a place many locals go to, if you ask your hotel how to get there, they should be able to help you.

About the Naran Tuul Mongolian Black Market, what you need to know before you go.

There are a few things you need to know before you visit the Black Market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

  • Product Selection – This market is not a tourist market, it is a market that a lot of locals go to. We saw some nomadic families there as they came into town to purchase supplies. So if you are looking for souvenirs or other touristy types of items, this may not be the place for you to purchase them.
  • Imported Products – As this is a market for the locals there will be a lot of imported products that are not made in Mongolia. For example, the fabrics and silks all look like Chinese made silks to me. There is no problem to buy them, but just understand they are probably made in China and not Mongolia.
  • Language barrier – All the vendors we spoke with, did not speak any English. So if you are serious about getting a good price or learning more about what you are buying, you will need to take a local guide with you. I can highly recommend the tour company New Milestone Tours, They can help arrange a local guide to take you around the market.
  • Watch your belongings – Like any other local markets you are traveling, watch your belongings. Do not flash around a lot of money. Watch to see if anyone is watching you pull out your money and keep your passport and other belongings safe.
Making the Sell, Mongolia
Making the sell at the Black Market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Some great Mongolian products to purchase from the Naran Tuul, Black Market.

There are some really great finds at the Mongolian black market. As I mentioned earlier many of the products sold in this market are imported, so I am going to concentrate on showing you some of the local Mongolian products and Mongolian artifacts.

Mongolian Furniture

If you love the bright-colored, hand-painted Mongolian style furniture that the nomadic herders have in their gers (yurts), this would be the place to purchase a piece This market is one of the places that the nomadic herder would go to buy this traditional style Mongolian ger furniture pieces.

I find this style of Mongolian furniture to be very interesting. You can definitely see the Tibetian Buddhist influence in their furniture pieces and designs, One of these furniture pieces could be a great find and addition to any home.

Mongolia Ger Furniture, Mongolia
Mongolia ger furniture for sale at the black market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

A word of caution, whenever you buy wood furniture that is solid wood unless the solid wood is treated correctly it may crack when you get it home to your own country. I do not know if these Mongolian pieces at the market will crack, but I assume they will, as they are for the local Mongolian market. When you purchase these items, understand this may happen.

Even wooden antiques will many times crack when they are exported to another climate. As wood is a natural material, this is the nature of wood and the drying, construction and finishing can all make a difference in how and where it cracks.

Spice bottles

When go into a Nomadic family ger, your host will probably offer to you a small bottle that you are to open and put some spices on your hand to smell. At this market, you can find a variety of these spice bottles in all shapes and sizes. This would also be a place that many nomadic herders would go to find and buy these bottles.

Spice Bottles, Mongolia
Spice bottles for sale at the black market, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Horse, Camel and other products

This market is filled with horse, camel, and products for the herders. If you are interested in these kinds of products, this is a place to look to buy them. Here are some very interesting items that I found.

  • Saddles: There are all kinds of saddles in all qualities and prices. If you are looking to get leather saddles then look closely to make sure it is really leather (there is a lot of cheaper leather or faux leather). If you want it to be hand made, you will also need to check this carefully. But if you want a saddle to hang up as a decoration or artifact this would be the place to go.
Horse saddles, Mongolia
Horse saddles for sale, at the black market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Whips – This place is filled with all kinds of animal whips. There are some very decorative and great pieces. They use a lot of leather and some are really nicely braided.
  • Briddles – There is also a lot of briddles. Some are very decorative and would make some very nice artifacts.
  • Stir up – There are also a lot of interesting stirrups. They could be a nice decoration. Some are plain and others have more decoration on them.
Horse, camel and other things for sale, Mongolia
Horse, camel and other things for sale at the black market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Horse Saddlebags – You can find some used horse saddles bags With a bit of the right cleaning they could be a great artifact to have.
Old horse saddles, Mongolia
Old horse saddles, at the black market, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Saddle stand – We found a really cute Mongolian saddles stand, that they use to put their saddles on.
Horse saddles holder, Mongolia
Horse saddle holder from the black market, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Brass Bells

There is a lot of brass at the market and you will find brass bells in all sizes and shapes. I was told for many of the smaller brass bells the nomadic herders will put them in the shoes of their small children so they can hear the children if they wander off. This would, of course, make sense as they have no fences so I am sure they must worry that the children could wander away.

Brass bells, Mongolia
Lots of brass bells at the Black Market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Brass bowls. canteens and other interesting artifacts

I found some very interesting brass bowls, canteens, and other interesting artifacts. Again, you need to really look around at all the suppliers but from what I saw many of them had some very interesting pieces.

Some of the items you know were collected directly from the nomadic herders. If you are looking for some interesting artifacts this is a great place to go explore.

Brass artifacts, Mongolia
Brass artifacts at the Black Market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Buddhist Boxes and other trinkets

Just like the nomads come to market to get their supplies, also this a place that the Buddhist monks may come to get some of their products and supplies. They had some very interesting Buddhist artifacts like some boxes and other things.

Russian Badges

The market was filled with old Russian badges. Mongolia was under Russian control from about 1921 to 1989, so there is no wonder you can find things like old Russian badges at the market. I thought a group of these all framed would make an interesting piece of art.

Russian Badges, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia
Russian Badges for sale at the Black Market in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia.

Conclusion

If you are looking for some interesting artifacts or interesting finds to bring back to your home, then the Mongolian Naran Tuul Black market is definitely worth exploring. If you are serious about understanding what you are buying or being able to bargain or understand prices, then it would be best for you to bring a local guide to help you navigate the market.

Related Questions:

Does the Mongolian black market (Naran Tuul) close if it rains or snows?

The Mongolian Naran Tuul Black Market is open every day from 9 am to 7 pm (1900) even in the rain or snow. But the market is closed every Tuesday.

is it good to buy Cashmere in Mongolia?

Cashmere is one of the major exports of Mongolia. But like a lot of other things, the price will depend on the quality of the cashmere. A top of the line, 100% cashmere can be expensive but it would still be cheaper than if you purchased it anywhere else. So cashmere is definitely something that should be purchased in Mongolia.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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