Mongolian Customs

When you first arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, don’t be fooled by the tall glass building and highways. Customs, traditions, and taboos that we (Mongolians) inherited from Chingis Khaan times are still plays big role in our day to day life. Here are a few tips that will help you to have the best possible time in our beautiful country, Mongolia.
We are known for your hospitality, a guest is welcome anytime of the day:
  • Will always be welcomed with warm drink, and snack (food)
  • Be respectful to the host, greet them with “sainbainauu?” Hello? And accept what they offer (food, drink, gift)
  • Take off your hat and/or sunglasses (showing respect for the host)

What do Mongolians wear?

The people in the city wear modern-style clothing, but in the countryside modern clothing is inconvenient, so the traditional “deel” is a preferable choice.

Mongolian Ger

The Ger has been the main habitation of Central Asian nomads for thousands of years and continues to be the main form of dwelling in the Mongolian steppe. These structures are known in many parts of the world by their Russian name, yurt, while in Mongolia these sturdy, attractive homes are called Ger.

A ger is easy to assemble, dismantle and carry. Depending on the size, a yurt can be assembled or dismantled in anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours. After dismantling, the various parts of the yurt are loaded onto camels, horses and ox carts for transport. Today it fits nicely on a small all-terrain vehicle. As nomadic herders move at least three or four times a year in the search for good grazing lands, this feature is of essential importance.

Ger is warm enough to keep the coldest winter temperatures at bay and strong enough to withstand strong winds and the demands of a whole family.

Secure- the yurt can be fitted with a lockable wooden door. An entry cannot be gained even if the canvas is cut.

Weather proof- the yurt has proven itself in the harsh climate of central Asia for centuries. Warm in winter, with a relatively low roof, it is easy to heat. Insulating layers can be sandwiched between the frame and the cover. Cool in summer, the sides can be rolled up, or removed to admit a cooling breeze. Hot air rises out through the open Toono, and cool air is drawn in.

Inconspicuous- despite having ample headroom, the overall height of the structure is low, allowing it to be easily screened from unwanted attention.

Easy to erect- with a little practice the yurt can be erected or taken down in less than thirty minutes, even by one person.

Environmentally friendly- coppicing of hazel, ash and willow to provide poles, is good for the tree and woodland wildlife. All timbers are from the local community forest. The yurt is a low impact dwelling, causing no permanent damage to the land on which it is pitched. It can even be moved every few days to prevent the grass from being killed.

Long lasting- the yurt can stand outside for several years without harm, if used occasionally it should last indefinitely. In Mongolia the frame is expected to last a lifetime.


Top 10 Mongolian Cuisine

  1. Khorkhog / Mongolian BBQ
  2. Boodog / Traditional roast
  3. Buuz / Dumpling
  4. Khuushuur / Fried flat dumpling
  5. Boortsog /
  6. Lavsha / Noodle soup
  7. Tsuivan / Fried noodle with beef or lamb meat
  8. Budaatai khuurag / Fried rice with beef or lamb meat
  9. Banshtai tsai / Milk tea with mini dumpling
  10. Tsagaan Idee / Dairy products


Worshiping the nature

Until today most families offer milk or first pour of their morning milk tea in the morning, and/or alcohol at night to the sun, moon, stars, mother earth, sky, mountains, and hills. Asking and thanking for their blessings of well being, for success, good luck, harmony, abundance, prosperity, and spirituality.


Believing in holy spirits

It is forbidden to throw dirt, or rubbish to the fire, river, and lakes. Mongolians worship the holy spirits of fire, river, and lake. The ceremony of fire offering and worshiping an ovoo (cairn) is very popular among shamans and monks. An ovoois about 6 to 10 feet tall piles of rocks, with khadag (Buddhist scarf) tied on top of the wooden stick. When you pass by ovoo, the travelers have to stop by and walk around it three times while adding rocks on top. This symbolizes showing your respect to the spirits, and a good luck for your journey ahead.



During the Mongol Empire, ChingisKhaan times, shamanism was a respected state religion. Holding a fire offering ceremony, and performing an offering to an ovoo to predict the future and reconnecting to your ancestors is the most popular form of shamanism in Mongolia.

Male shaman is called Zairan, a female shaman is called Udgan. There are two kinds of shamans, black and white. Black shamans contact with bad spirits to put spells or curse. White shamans contact with good spirits to perform good deeds. Mostly tells fortunes and answers questions.

Spiritual power. Mongolian shamans of early years were said to have the power to call for rain from cloudless skies, cause thunderstorms, make rivers flow in the wrong direction, overcome difficulties in time and space and predict the future.


Mongolian Landscape

Four Regions and 21 Provinces of Mongolia

  • Bayan - Ulgii
  • Khovd
  • Uvs
  • Zavkhan
  • Gobi - Altai
  • Khuvsgul
  • Bulgan
  • Arkhangai
  • Bayankhongor
  • Uvurkhangai
  • Orkhon
  • Selenge
  • Darkhan - Uul
  • Tuv (Ulaanbaatar capital city)
  • Khentii
  • Govisumber
  • Dundgovi
  • Umnugovi
  • Dorngovi
  • Dornod
  • Sukhbaatar