Mongolia Homestay – General Information for Success
Tips on How to Travel Mongolia and Homestay with Mongolian Nomads Across Mongolia
First and foremost about Mongolia Homestays, when in Mongolia we as internationals must comprehend that there is a great different between our society and Mongolia’s societies as you’ve chosen to “Homestay” within Mongolian nomadic families – and yes societies… If you have lived in Mongolia for more than a decade, preferably a couple decades, you will begin to see how Ulaanbaatar is a mesh of Greater Mongolia whereas the further you go north, east, south or westwards – both the rural countryside as well as within small villages and larger Provincial Centers there are clearly differences. So rule one when traveling across Mongolia with the goal of utilizing “homestays” is first and foremost be responsible and do some basic research and reading as to where you are traveling within Mongolia and its diverse range of ethnic tribes… Yes there is a “universal” Mongolian Culture across Mongolia, however, the further your travel the more that becomes meshed with the given regions’ dominant ethic tribal cultures.
For example – geographically Western Mongolia home of Mongolia’s famed Eagle Huntress – is definitively and unarguably Mongolian Territory, however, starting from Uvs and onwards to Bayan Olgii and further westwards to Tavan Bogd National Park, etc., it becomes exceptionally clear that the Kazakhs within Mongolia are definitely and intentionally meshing their culture into becoming dominant culture within their region. That extends to children learning their Kazakh Language first before Mongolian Language as well as cultural studies within the secondary schools. In fact – in one of my recent visit to Bayan Olgii – when I spoke Mongolian with the children at a secondary school they had to ask their parents what foreign language was being spoken… they were clearly not being taught Mongolian Language at all.
So, if they have no reference of Mongolian language then of course their knowledge of Mongolian Culture will be definitively less… which means… what you may have learned to be acceptable within Mongolia from guidebooks or website research will be slightly useful but not entirely. That means it’s time to do more research as “the universal Mongolia approach” become less and less applicable.
As Mongolia, the entire country, desired its independent freedoms post 1989 – everyone across the country is eagerly re-identifying with their cultures and traditional ways of life… These individualistic expressions are indeed protected by The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – nonetheless – if they become less linguistically fluent with the Country of Mongolia then their social economic viability does become less – as it’s more complicated to do business with people who don’t speak the country’s first language (Mongolian)… even us foreigners study English, German, French, Chinese and other international languages to increase our social and economic viabilities. Hence, it’s important to respect all regions desire for “individual identity” and keep an open mind when traveling across Mongolia – culturally ignorant travelers, being overly rude, abusing rural hospitality to travel without paying fairly, etc., are no longer being warmly welcomed across Mongolia as these types of low budget travelers are greatly associated with many online and offline problems that Mongolia as a Country faces; today, “free-loading” low budget travelers are indeed becoming greatly disliked by both the private and public sectors across Mongolia among both the local and foreign communities alike – as we ‘good foreigners’ have become collateral damage in the wake of unethical low budget travelers and their issues.
It is VERY Important to Be Ethical, Fair, Knowledgable and Not Create Problems Across Mongolia
If you are planning to Homestay within Mongolia then I do have some practical advice for you:
- IF IT’S CHEAP THEN HEALTH AND SAFETY IS INDEED QUESTIONABLE – if you are paying exceptionally low prices and it doesn’t seem to be a properly accredited business then your health, safety and security is indeed at risk… Just like any other country around the world – it is not highly recommended to homestay within non-accredited homestays for health, safety and security reasons. The country of Mongolia doesn’t want to have to deal with YOUR ONLINE/OFFLINE ISSUES for being irresponsible and jeopardizing your own health, safety and security for choosing poorly to save a few dollars.
- IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD MONGOLIA THEN WAIT, SAVE AND THEN COME – over the years Mongolia has developed a SERIOUS dislike to low budget travelers that impose themselves onto companies and locals… often with the goal of making up issues to force companies to give refunds, etc. Today, I can honestly tell you that the Mongolian Government, Accredited Tour Operators as well as the locals have an “incredible dislike” for such travelers within its country; and I 100% understand their feelings. So even though homestay within Mongolia are cheaper than tours, hotels and hostels at times – if you can not afford homestay prices as well as can not afford your stay within Mongolia then it’s highly recommended that you shorten your Mongolia stay and depart or wait till you have enough money… Please don’t use a variety of ruses within Mongolia to scam travel – Mongolia isn’t a haven for low budget travelers and all their issues. So I HIGHLY recommend that you be a responsible traveler and do what we all have to do – work, make money, save and then budget trips in advance within one’s budget without all the unethical impositions on Mongolia and its public-private sectors – as well as damaging good foreigners’ statuses within Mongolia.
Good Solutions for Mongolia Homestay or Staying with Nomads in Mongolia
Now that I have provided you with plenty of ‘reality issues’ let me provide you with the solutions as well 🙂
- USE MONGOLIAN GOVERNMENT ACCREDITED TOUR OPERATORS THAT SPECIALIZE IN COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM OR MONGOLIA HOMESTAYS (not McDonalds like Giant Tour Operators that are not specialists but rather 5 Guys Burgers that are). Specialized tour operators have to continuously train human resources, abide Mongolian laws, ensure health and safety, ethically pay salaries as well as social insurances of locals, and so much more – we have many criteria that we must fulfill.
- AT GER to GER WE ARE A GOVERNMENT ACCREDITED OPERATOR THAT SPECIALIZED IN COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM AND MONGOLIA HOMESTAYS and also international specialists in social economic development, etc., as well as Travel Specialists… We know what you desire A) support locals B) money stays with locals C) etc… hence we’ve designed a whole section of Live Like a Local Experiences across Mongolia where local nomadic families earn up to 80% of trip finances and the remaining 20% goes for their social insurance and business management/international marketing efforts. As they are contracted with GER to GER, by contract, they must adhere to basic operational health, safety and security mandates – which means we’ve developed the best of both worlds… you are still an independent traveler that is safely and wisely traveling across Mongolia with nomadic families who’ve all received annual training and are in constant communications with us Specialists if anything goes wrong during your stay.
- AT GER TO GER IF YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TOUR PACKAGES WE OFFER LIVE LIKE A LOCAL NOMAD HOMESTAY EXPERIENCES as Benjamin Franklin says “One ounce of prevention is more that a pound of cure”; you get your own nomadic ger, 3 meals a day, unlimited teas, nomad guide to transfer you from one ger to the next ger, etc.
Now as for “Pragmatic Methods” of what to do and what not to do at nomads families across Mongolia during your homestay – this is greatly associated with Mongolia’s seasons, Mongolia’s weather and Mongolia’s ethic cultures. As this is a lot of information – we’ll provide some of it online via additional pages within this menu section of our website as for the rest we’ll provide it in our office prior to Live Like a Local Nomad Experiences during the office trainings.