Mongolian Culture

Cultural Tips of Mongolia

Cultural Tips of Mongolia
A Guide to Mongolian Etiquette

Do and Don'ts in Mongolia

You are almost inevitably going to encounter the residents of the countryside. Things move slowly here and the standards of living you are used to are not the same. Part of Mongolia’s charm is its ancient customs and traditions. If you can learn and respect them before you step into the countryside, then you may get a more welcome reception.

To help keep the culture shock to a minimum, we’ve compiled this handy list of cultural do’s and don’ts, as well as a general etiquette guide that’ll help you blend right in when visiting this fascinating country.

  • Don’t – Let a post or fence come between you if you are walking with Mongolians
  • Don’t – Whistle inside a ger or house belonging to a Mongolian
  • Don’t – Let your feet point in the direction of the altar (which will be in the north side) when sitting in a ger,
  • Don’t – Let people walk over your outstretched legs
  • Don’t – Tread on the threshold of the ger when you walk over it
  • Don’t – Lean against a support column furniture or wall of the ger
  • Don’t – Stamp out a fire or put water or any rubbish on it; fire is sacred
  • Don’t – Walk in front of an older person
  • Don’t – Turn your back to the altar and religious objects at the back of the ger
  • Don’t – Touch other people’s hats
  • Don’t – Have long conversations in your own language in front of hosts who don’t understand it
  • Don’t – Point a knife in the direction of anyone
  • Don’t – Pass anything to a Mongolian with just two fingers
  • Don’t – Take food from a plate with your left hand – wave you sleeve as it is a mark of protest or extend the little finger of your right hand, as this is a sign of disrespect
  • Do – Keep your hat off when entering a ger, if you are wearing one, but lift it as a sign of greeting
  • Do – Receive things with the right hand or both hands and ensure that your sleeves are rolled down
  • Do – Ensure you remove your gloves when shaking hands, if you are wearing them
  • Do – Walk round inside the ger in a clockwise direction
  • Do – Receive food, a gift or anything similar from a Mongolian with both hands or with the right hand supported at the wrist or elf
  • Do – Take at least a sip or nibble of the delicacies offered
  • Do – Pick up things with an open hand, with your palm facing upwards
  • Do – Grab the hand of a Mongolian if you have accidentally kicked their feet
  • Do – Sit with your feet underneath you of cross-legged
  • Do – Leave a small gift, other than money, for your hosts.