Please be aware that Mongolia is a very traditional country with many customs that may be different from those of your own country. During your Mongolian adventure, your guide will introduce and explain many of these customs and traditions. Please listen to your guide and respect the traditions of the people you will meet and visit. In Mongolia, there’s a saying, ‘If you drink the water, follow the traditions.’ Therefore, please honor our way of life and be open-minded during your Mongolian tour.
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials for other countries with catchy slogans like “What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” or “Incredible India.” Well, Mongolia should have one that says “No Expectations.” We have some of the most incredible scenery in the world, some of the only true nomads left, and when you look at the sky, you’ll be truly amazed (day and night!). However, as far as the country’s infrastructure goes, it may be different from what you’re used to. In the cities, you’ll find fairly modern and comfortable accommodation to suit all budgets, although we still experience power outages and water stoppages. But in the countryside, it’s going to be as rustic as it gets. There are very few paved roads in Mongolia, and most of those are not in great shape. Much of the driving will be done on tracks, which are paths through the steppe that people have driven over many times to pack the dirt down. These tracks are not for fast travel; they constantly change due to heavy rains or getting too beat-up, so the going is slow and far from smooth. Most of the vehicles we will use are very basic 4-wheel drive vans and jeeps because of the harsh terrain. These vehicles may not look like much, but they are rugged and easy to repair, which is important out on the steppe.
Accommodation is very basic in the countryside; you will be sleeping in tents or in the gers of local families. Typically, this means we will be cooking our meals on portable stoves. We will have to stock up on food provisions in the cities, so even that will limit some of your options. As nomads do not have their own running water supply, we may not be able to have a daily shower, and going to the bathroom means using some place just outside of camp (nomadic families rarely dig a pit toilet since they move so often). If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is still possible for you to enjoy Mongolia. There are more vegetables being grown in Mongolia today than there were 10 years ago, but Mongolians eat meat, so that is what is mostly available. If you are the kind of person who loves an adventure, someone that can adapt to changing conditions, someone that is willing to try something new, someone that loves nature at its absolute basic and can appreciate a culture that has not changed much over the ages, then you, my friend, will LOVE Mongolia!