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That’s a great place to learn about how these nomads live, and have impromptu encounters with the local people. We are writing some of them:

Try Snuff (Sniffing Tobacco):

It’s starting to sound like you have to sip spirits or snort stimulants to have fun in Mongolia. In reality, snuff will be offered to you as a form of respect and if you choose not to inhale the powdery poison into your nose, you can simply take a whiff of the bottle and hand it back without actually ingesting any. Whether you decide to take a hit or not, always receive the bottle with your right hand while placing your left hand on your right elbow and avoid rejecting the offer completely. At the very least, smell the bottle and hand it back.


  • There is no need to knock on a ger door (even if it’s closed), you can just go ahead and enter.
  • Do not step on the wooden threshold at the entrance.
  • Walk clock-wise when entering. The west part of the ger is for guests, the north is for an honored guest or elder and the east is where the family will sit.
  • Don’t walk over food.
  • Don’t put paper or garbage into the burning stove. Fire is considered sacred.
  •  Don’t walk over anyone’s legs.
  • The door always faces south.
  • The roof is never fully closed; part of the canvas will always remain open.
  • Don’t whistle inside of a ger, or other buildings.
  • Always accept food with your right hand, while your left hand supports the right elbow. Alternatively, accept food with two hands.
  • Out of politeness, always sample the food that you are offered, no matter how unappetizing it may look!
  • Always accept anything and everything that you are given, but there is no obligation that you must eat or drink it. Sampling the food is the polite thing to do but if you are scared of the milk or don’t drink alcohol, just put the cup on lips without drinking and nobody will be offended.
  •  Roll down your sleeves before taking or giving something, or before being introduced to an older person.
  • Hold a cup by the bottom, not by the top rim.
  • If you step on, kick or touch someone else’s foot, offer them a quick handshake.
  • Do not throw any trash or litter into the fire. This is disrespectful to the fire. Put the trash into the fuel bin or the metal pan in front of the stove. It will be saved to start the next fire. ‘Trash’ is transformed into ‘fuel’ by this brief stop in the fuel bin.
  • Always hand a knife over by the handle, never the blade.
Published: 2017-11-16 20:32:38