Mongolia Travel Planning

Mongolian Etiquette: Tips for visiting a nomadic family

nomadic family

Our tours designed to enhance your learning, discovery, and people to people experience. For instance, all of our tours include a home visit in nomadic families and explore their daily lifestyle. The nomadic families are known as their hospitality, perhaps as a result of their very traditional way of life. However, please respect their customs and daily manners.

If you are visiting a nomad family, there are some formalities the you should follow:

  • Do not extend your arm and hold the door
  • Be seated only when invited to do by your host. In Mongolian ger, visitors usually seat in left hand side from the door.
  • Do not put your hat on the desk, put it on the bed.
  • Greet to all people in the family no matter whether they are acquaintances or not.
  • Now, try to use some Mongolian greeting, such as Sain bainu (Hello), Ta sain suuj bainu (Are you doing well), Zugeeree (It’s okay), Saihan tsai bain (tea is delicious) and Bayarla (Thank you) etc.
  • Mongolians’ diet is hugely made up of dairy and meat. Usually you will be offered tea, milk tea and dairy products. Just express your thankfulness. If you don’t want to have some, remember always touch or sip the given drink a little. Unless, hosts might get it disrespectful.
  • Nomads usually eat flour (prepared as noodle) more than rice and use spoon and fork. Chopsticks are not native in Mongolia; people are getting to use it lately.
  • Khoorog (nuff-bottled tool) is used to respect and greet for Mongolians. Snuff-bottle was originated from Europe and entered into Asia and it is believed to be introduced in Mongolia in 17th It is a box of snuff tobacco with fancy decorations. When owner of the khoorog slightly bow and give khoorog to you with right hand, receive it with both hands and touch it to your nose and give it back. Instead of touch it to your nose, you may spoon a little amount of tobacco and snuff it; which may cause you to sneezing hard.
  • Nomad families usually place their lasso pole (long wooden stick with a leather noose at the end) outside/north side of the Ger. Be aware not to step over the lasso pole– called Uurga when you are walking out. It is used for capturing a horse, and nomads state that uurga is most precious thing for them, as well as their horses.
  • Always express you’re thanks to the host when you leave. Respect their customs and be mindful of your manners.
  • Lastly, nomads are very hospitable; just enjoy your stay in a nomadic family.

Ideas and tips for Gifts

Do you feel puzzled when you want to buy some gifts for the nomad family you visit? Here we round up the following words:

  • If you would like to bring some gifts to them as a polite gesture, suggested items include Swiss pocket knives, flash light for man, cosmetics for house wife and some cookies, small toys, crayons/color pencils or painting books for kids are just as fine. Whatever gift you choose to present, the recipient will be most grateful.
  • Don’t be upset if they don’t open your gift or express thankfulness because nomads are very shy people and don’t usually their happy or sad expressions on their faces and I am sure they will be really happy with the present you give.
  • Wrapped gifts are never opened in the presence of the giver. Kindly avoid to wrap gifts with dark or red color paper.
  • Do not give: watch (locals signify “cutting off” a relationship), gifts with red writing (denotes death), or gifts in a set of seven (denotes bad sign).

There are more about Mongolians etiquette, check this out!