1. If you are in a ger and feel the call of nature, go out the door – which always faces south – and head to the north-west if you are a man, the north-east if you are a woman. At a suitable distance you can relieve yourself. There is no toilet in a ger.

 

  1. Remember that you will generally be offered food in a ger. Milk tea, airag vodka, then boiled sheep ribs, followed by a stew would be a typical meal. It is polite to accept at least two bowls of stew.

 

  1. With ribs, always strip all the meat and fat and leave the bone clean. “We don’t forget that we have to kill to eat, so we don’t leave anything on the bone”, is the attitude of Mongolians towards their food.

 

  1. If you are offered a snuff bottle, gently loosen the top without removing it, sniff it, examine it briefly and then hand it back to its owner. The owner will sniff it again before putting it away or passing it to another guest. If you have your own snuff bottle, always sniff it first before handing it to a friend or guest and once again after it has been handed back.

 

  1. If you are offered airag vodka, make sure your sleeves are pulled down to your wrists and that you are wearing a hat. If you do not have a hat, briefly put your left arm over your head to acknowledge the fact.

 

  1. If, during a wedding or gathering, you leave the ger to answer the call of nature, leave your hat in your seat to show that you intend to return.

 

  1. After finishing a bowl of stew, pour milk tea into the bowl to finish off the last scraps. If you eat yoghurt, lick the bowl clean.

 

  1. Never look at, or face towards, a holy place while performing an ablution.

 

  1. Do not make a habit of praising people to their face. It will not be well received.

 

  1. Always enter a leave a ger via the left-hand side.

 

  1. Never pass anything between the two upright support poles in a ger.

 

  1. If you are offered airag, but don’t want any, just put the bowl to your lip and then return it or give it to the next person.

 

  1. Always make a point of examining family photos and items on the cupboards facing the door of the ger. Unlike English people, Mongolians don’t mind you picking up and examining personal objects in their gers.

 

  1. When leaving an ail, either on horseback or in a vehicle, do so in a clockwise direction.

 

  1. There is generally no need to remove your shoes when entering a ger.
  1. When receiving something, either food or an object, take it in both hands or in your right hand supported at the elbow by your left hand.