Sometimes souvenir shopping is a dilemma: is the money that you’re spending on a handmade gift actually going to the person who made it? Intrepid’s Laura Carroll shares her local Mongolia know-how so you can be assured that your purchase is ethically sound…
“Tsaagan Alt, a fixture in the shopping street just south of the State Department Store, is a wool cooperative set up by a Norwegian-Mongolian partnership. High-quality wool and felt goods are produced in the countryside according to traditional techniques, then brought to Ulaanbaatar to be sold at the shop. Felt slippers, coats and hats abound for every taste, and the quality of all the products is exceptional. To learn more about them, visit www.mongolianwoolcraft.com.
Another great place is Mary and Martha Mongolia, an organisation that operates a small shop on Peace Avenue, Ulaanbaatar’s main street. Blink and you’ll miss the entrance, but it’s worth the effort to find because they carry goods made throughout Mongolia, and once again the quality is superb. Part of their proceeds also go to support disadvantaged Mongolians in Ulaanbaatar, providing food, clothing, and micro-enterprise opportunities to some of Mongolia’s poorest citizens. For more information please visit www.mmmongolia.com.
While there are plenty of other places to buy souvenirs in Ulaanbaatar, these are the two main places that I recommend to my Intrepid groups. At each of them, you’ll not only find some of the best souvenirs to be had, but you’ll also be able to shop with a clear conscience, knowing that your money is going exactly where it should.”
* photo by Jillian Mitchell – Intrepid Photography Competition