Mongolia is a country, where traditions still play a major role, essentially in the countryside. Some are related to religion, others are inherent to nomadic culture and can take the form of superstitions.
As for cities like Ulaanbaatar, these practices are obviously less present and we see more and more people who do not respect the most of them. Nevertheless, we found it useful to share them with you so you can fully immerse yourself in the Mongolian life during your trip!
- Remain standing in the doorway when entering the yurt or house
- Refuse drinks or food in the yurt or in the house. It is customary for Mongolians to offer tea and food to welcome guests
- Whistle inside the yurt
- Lean on the beams of the yurt
- Touch somebody’s hat, or even worse, patting their head
- Throw water or trash into the fire, which is considered sacred!
- Step on the urgaa, kind of lasso to catch the horses
- Point at someone
- Pee in all natural waters such as lakes, rivers, streams ... The water is also sacred!
- Pour milk or milk products into rivers or lakes
- Talk or joke about bad things that could happen
- Ask for the name of a mountain while it is still in sight
- Ask the remaining travel time
- Say to often thank you, even for the little things that do not require it
- Greet people when entering in the yurt
- Give and receive gifts with both hands
- Try to speak Mongolian even if your vocabulary is limited: Hello (sain bain uu), Thanks (Bayarla!), Goodbye (bayartai!) ... See our Facebook page for more lessons!
- Enter or leave the yurt by the left side
- Accept food or drink with your right hand (or both hands)
- Bring a few small gifts, such as toys for children
- Mount your horse by the left side
- Touch the hand, arm, elbow or forearm of a person if you step accidentally on their foot
With all these good pieces of advice, no doubt that your trip in Mongolia will go very smoothly, making your integration more possible! You will then get lasting memories with the nomads!