Mongolia Travel Tips
from cultural perspectives

Absolutely valuable Mongolia travel tips for your upcoming trip to Mongolia. Generally Mongolian people are very open minded and merciful towards foreign travelers' mistakes, however, bear in mind they are also quite superstitious people, especially, the nomadic people in rural areas.

The further you travel from the capital city, the more conservative the culture and customs become. Although they see you as guests from far-away land, they still hang on to their centuries old traditions and may get offended at best and at worst afraid of bad luck if you 'desecrate' their superstitious conscience.

Mongolia Travel Tips:

  • Proper greetings according to the age, gender, timing and special events. If you attempt to greet in Mongolian, you will win the hearts of your hosts. 
  • Enter in traditional dwelling of Mongolian people with care. Please, do not step on or stumble upon doorsteps and beware of your head because the door frame is pretty low!
  • Insist the hosts to enter first, especially, men and elderly people. The guests walk to the left of the ger, clockwise. Women will insist you enter first, do not fight that.
  • Inside the ger, do not whistle. It is a sign of calling evil spirits and bad luck. Do not lean on the poles and walls, never go between the two poles, outstretch your legs or step over or in between others' legs.
  • You will see that every nomadic family has their religious objects on the altar. It is a sacred place and any sign of disrespect such as turning your back to the altar, pointing your fingers and feet towards it can be interpreted as an insult.  
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Mongolia Travel tips:

  • Fire is also a sacred as it represents life and at the same time destruction. So, avoid throwing small trash, leftovers from your dish or stamping on fire or pouring the water to quench.
  • Mongolian man's head and hat are also to be respected. Always ask for permission if you are intrigued by their hat, ask to touch and double ask if you want to wear it. Do not be surprised when they spit into their hat after your use. It is a ritual of removing of uncleanliness.
  • When are served with a cup, always take it with two hands and touch it with your lips before putting it down. Tea will be very hot and mare's milk smell is strong. Also, touch the dishes with your right hand when it is presented even when you are not picking up something. Never say NO.
  • If they give you knife to use, observe the manner they hand, so that you can return the same way. Never point to the people with your knife in hands. Place the knife in such a way that tip does not point to the altar or other people.
  • Do not throw objects inside the ger, or to other people. Never give things with your pointer and middle fingers only. Do not show show your small finger, it is equivalent of sticking your middle finger.

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For example, Afa shared the following tip:

Taking train to Mongolia and back to Beijing, it was a Mongolia train, all their staff were Mongolian, they don't speak English, so make sure you have some Mongolia currency ready for your hot drink when they come to served you, don't think it is a free drink come with the train ticket (that was what I thought), they came and collect money at the end of the journey before I alight the train, caught me by surprise.

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Hi, I am T. K. and I am the head eagle hunter of my tribe, just kidding! Connect with me on FB and leave  your comments, questions etc.