– When approaching a family ger beware of dogs!

– When entering the ger, step completely over the threshold and watch your head! If you accidentally trip entering the ger, you are bringing good luck to the family. If you trip while exiting the ger, you are taking away their good luck. If this happens, collect dried animal droppings outside of the door and re-enter placing them in the fire.


– Enter the ger clockwise (left) and sit on the west side. The ger door always faces south and it is disrespectful to sit in the north (this is where the man of the house sits). It is improper for women to sit on the floor so sit on a small stool when available. Men should cross their legs while sitting on the floor to avoid pointing their feet toward anyone. Men are always served first.

– Never pass anything or walk between the middle 2 support beams. Do not lean against these beams as it means you’ll be burdened with heavy weight in life.


– When receiving salted milk tea (camel or goat), fermented milk (mare or camel), tabacco snuff, cheese curds or stale pastries, accept with your right hand while supporting your right elbow with your left hand. Learn the finger game to decide who must finish the entire bowl of fermented milk and enjoy!



– When drinking vodka, the person who first serves, will always serve. Accept supporting your right elbow then dip your right ring finger in the vodka and flick three times offering it to the sky gods.

– When sleeping in a family ger the women should sleep on the west side and men the east. Your feet should always be pointing toward the south (door) and if you are in the north your head should point toward the alter and feet away from the alter.


– Never hang anything on the center rope as this is made of deceased animal hair (camel, horse, sheep, etc.) and is sacred.

Helpful phrases:

– Sain bain uu (hello)
– Sain uu (hello to children)
– Bayathla (thank you)

*The phonetic spellings of Mongolian words are inaccurate and hard to pronounce. Most k’s are silent and in most phrase books, thank you, pronounced bayathla is spelt ba-yar-la-laa. It’s hard to know when you are pronouncing something right, so listen to the locals.