A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Tokyo vs. Ulaanbaatar for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Tokyo or Ulaanbaatar?

Should I visit Tokyo or Ulaanbaatar? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Tokyo

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is by far the most populous city in the world with a staggering 37 million people. As a worldwide hub for technology and business, it hosts millions of visitors annually. But Tokyo is not just a place for business trips. With its incredible mixture of historical temples and shrines, remarkably beautiful parks, endless shopping malls, and genuinely wonderful people, Tokyo is a terrific place to visit and to explore.

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia's capital city. It has a population of slightly over two million people, or about sixty percent of the country's entire population. You are likely to arrive in Ulaanbaatar either by train, coming from China or Russia, or by plane. Many people use Ulaanbaatar as a stop off while doing the Transsiberian Railway. The city is a great place to organize a tour of the surrounding countryside. It's also good city to relax, so make sure you allow yourself a few days to recover from your tour, enjoy some of the great food options, and see some of the fascinating cultural sights around town.

Which city is cheaper, Ulaanbaatar or Tokyo?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Tokyo is $170, while the average daily cost in Ulaanbaatar is $24. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Tokyo and Ulaanbaatar in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $160 in Tokyo For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $11. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Ulaanbaatar the cost is $22 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tokyo $80
    Ulaanbaatar $11
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tokyo $160
    Ulaanbaatar $22

Food

The price of a meal in Tokyo can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $40 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $16 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

In Ulaanbaatar travelers spend around $8.63 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Tokyo $40
    Ulaanbaatar $8.63
Typical Food prices in Tokyo

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tokyo:


  • Late Night Noodles
    $7.00
  • Conveyor Belt Sushi Snack
    $7.00
  • Meal at Airport
    $9.13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tokyo

For Tokyo, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • 1-Hour Tsukiji Fish Market Food Tour with Local Guide: $26
  • Unique Private Cooking Class with a Tokyo Local Emi: $78
  • Local Food Tour on Sunamachi Ginza Street: $83
  • West-Side Walking & Street Food Tour: $95
  • Private Ramen and Gyoza Cooking Class from Central Tokyo: $108
  • Private Japanese Cooking Class with a Local Chef: $120
  • Tokyo Food Tour: 3-Hour Culinary Adventure: $129
  • Gyoza Cooking Classes in Tokyo: $135
  • Private Dining: Wagyu and sake pairing dinner in Shinjuku: $136
  • Private Market Tour and Traditional Japanese Cooking Class in Asakusa: $142
  • Tokyo Private Food Tour: From Ramen Bars, Vending Machines To Cat Cafes: $174
  • 3-Hour Food Tour of Shinbashi at Night: $182

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ulaanbaatar

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Ulaanbaatar.

  • Cooking Class in a Traditional Ger Home in the Suburbs of Ulaanbaatar: $50
  • Cooking famous Mongolian dumplings with local nomads: $205

Local Transportation

Tokyo's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $21 per person, per day on transportation in Tokyo.

The cost of a taxi ride in Ulaanbaatar is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $2.81 per person, per day, on local transportation in Ulaanbaatar.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tokyo $21
    Ulaanbaatar $2.81
Typical Local Transportation prices in Tokyo

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Tokyo:


  • Metro from Airport
    $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tokyo

Also for Tokyo, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Departure Private Transfer from Tokyo City to Haneda Airport HND by Luxury Van: $187
  • Departure Private Transfer from Tokyo City to Haneda Airport HND by Minivan: $108
  • Departure Private Transfer from Tokyo City to Narita Airport NRT by Luxury Van: $302
  • Departure Private Transfer from Tokyo City to Narita Airport NRT by Minivan: $284
  • Japan Railway Station Shared Departure Transfer : Tokyo City to Tokyo Station: $25
  • Japan Private Airport Transfer from Tokyo City to Haneda Airport (HND): $97
  • Japan Private Airport Transfer from Tokyo City to Narita Airport(NRT): $182
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Tokyo to Narita International Airport (NRT): $121
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Tokyo to Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND): $78
  • Private Departure Transfer : Central Tokyo City to Haneda Airport: $144
  • Private Departure Transfer : Central Tokyo City to Narita International Airport: $267
  • Private Transfer from Tokyo City Center to Tokyo Disneyland: $119

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ulaanbaatar

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ulaanbaatar:

  • Departure Private Transfer to New Ulaanbaatar Airport UBN by Business Vehicle: $52
  • Transfer service to Terelj national park: $51
  • Airport transfer service: $43
  • Ulaanbaatar Arrival Transfer: Airport to Hotel: $33
  • Ulaanbaatar Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $33
  • Private Pickup Transfer from Chinggis Khaan Airport to Hotels in Ulaanbaatar: $27
  • Private Drop off Transfer to Chinggis Khaan Airport from Downtown Ulaanbaatar: $27
  • Airport Transfer Service: $25
  • Airport Transfer: $21
  • Arrival Private Transfer Ulaanbaatar Train Station to City by Business Vehicle: $16
  • Departure Private Transfer City to Ulaanbaatar Train Stationby Business Vehicle: $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Tokyo or Ulaanbaatar?

Prices for flights to both Ulaanbaatar and Tokyo change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Tokyo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $76 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Entertainment and activities in Ulaanbaatar typically cost an average of $4.27 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tokyo $76
    Ulaanbaatar $4.27

Tours and Activities in Tokyo

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Tokyo.

  • Samurai Spots in Tokyo Virtual Tour: $8.26
  • Tokyo Tower: Admission Ticket: $11
  • 1-Hour River Cruise Asakusa to Odaiba: $11
  • Japanese Snacks You Should Try: Online Experience by Local Guide: $12
  • [Virtual Tour] Japan: the bathing and Sento experience: $12
  • [Virtual Tour] Ghibli Spots in Japan: $12
  • [Virtual Tour] Tokyo Highlights: $12
  • Tokyo Online: Virtual Experience in Shibuya and Shinjuku with a Local Expert: $14
  • Virtual Tour to Discover Mount Fuji: $14
  • Online Japanese Archery Experience: $15
  • Tokyo Online Tour All in One, With 10+ Top Sights!: $15
  • Thermae-Yu Hotspring in Shinjuku Entrance Ticket: $21

Tours and Activities in Ulaanbaatar

Here are a few actual costs in Ulaanbaatar for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 1 Day - Tour of Hustai National Park: $262
  • 1 Day City Sightseeing with Bogd Khan Winter Palace: $77
  • 1 Day City Sightseeing with Bogd Khan Winter Palace and Traditional Concert: $97
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Aglag Buteel Monastery and Meditation Center Including Lunch: $106
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj (FREE dog sledding): $163
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj National Park Including Lunch: $124
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj National Park Including Lunch and FREE Concert ticket: $138
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Manzushir Monastery Including Lunch: $106
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Terelj National Park Including Lunch And Free Camel Ride: $123
  • 1 Day Erdenezuu Monastery Coach Tour Including Lunch: $118
  • 1 Day Horseback Riding Tour with Historic Temple in Mongolia Including Lunch: $111
  • 1 Day Private Tour of Taste of Mongolia (With Hotel Pickup and Meals): $790

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Tokyo, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $35.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Ulaanbaatar may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $3.70 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tokyo $35
    Ulaanbaatar $3.70
Typical Alcohol prices in Tokyo

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Tokyo:


  • Sake
    $5.25


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Tokyo and Ulaanbaatar, we can see that Tokyo is more expensive. And not only is Ulaanbaatar much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ulaanbaatar would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ulaanbaatar and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Tokyo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Tokyo than you might in Ulaanbaatar.

Budget Your Trip

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Tokyo vs. Ulaanbaatar Travel Comparison

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