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Info for Travelers

Part 5 - Cultural and Environmental Information:
Mongolia's Do's and Don'ts

Reduce your impact on the community and the surrounding environment.

General Etiquette
  • Cover your head & wrists when presenting gifts/money
  • Pass and accept things with right hand and palms up
  • Accept food or drink that is offered to you
  • Try to speak Mongolian if you can
  • Address elders/authorities with “Ta” not “Chee”
  • Indicate object/direction with open palm facing up
  • Try to sing when asked (ability doesn’t matter!)
  • Flick alcohol in traditional manner when appropriate
  • Shake the hands of someone who you have accidentally bumped feet with
  • Establish a proper area to go to the bathroom or wash clothes and dishes
  • Pass or accept anything with left hand
  • Point with your finger
  • Talk or joke about bad things that may happen
  • Point your feet at someone or show your soles
  • Touch a man’s upper body without permission
  • Whistle inside
  • Enter a vehicle from its left side
  • Let blood touch the ground
  • Wash dirty dishes/ clothes directly in a body of water
  • Compliment a child with strongly positive words
  • Say thank you too much or for small gestures
  • Write on someone’s business card in their presence
  • Say you will do something you don’t intend to do
  • Place a hat or other “open” object face up
Guidelines For Visiting a Family
  • Ask before taking pictures and introduce yourself
  • Proceed to the left as you enter a ger or ortz
  • Offer to help by DOING not just by ASKING
  • Keep belongings neatly organized and in proper area
  • Offer a gift if appropriate
  • Grow accustomed to sitting in silence and just observing
  • Mail pictures to people if you said you will
  • Use the right side or an ortz door when entering and exiting
  • Step over food or objects on the ground
  • Talk in a foreign language excessively in front of others
  • Point the spout of a tea pot at someone or the door
  • Put anything in a family’s stove without asking
  • Pass anything between or lean against the ger poles
  • Block the sacred area in a family’s home
  • Refuse to try food or tea
  • Throw objects, especially inside
  • Pass the “midpoint” of a ger/ ortz without permission