Mongolia, The Granular Detail

Mongolia is depicted as a pristine and untouched wilderness, but that’s not the whole story. The traditional nomadic way of life still remains, with vivid displays of nomad culture left by people from all different eras.

That’s correct.

And this is why.

Mongolia is using technologies like cell phones to literally catch up with the rest of the world. Mongolia has a mobile-first approach that is inclusive of all its citizen’s genders, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. While we might have a more idealized or romantic view of traditional Mongolian culture, Mongolia is actually much more complicated than that. To just experience the traditions and rituals of nomadic life would be to ignore basically three-fourths of Mongolia’s population.

Mongolian’s tend to use the words ‘Нүүдэлчин’ and ‘малчин,’ referring to a nomad in the first term and herders in the latter. This translates more accurately as a herder though, with approximately 40% of the population still using some form of nomadism. However, this just means that they typically move twice a year and move just a few feet at each location– all Mongolian herders / nomads have fixed pastures which they migrate to throughout the year.

Mongolia is a special country with a unique and beautiful way of life. You want to experience it as well, but be aware that the most important thing for many Mongolians is taking care of their livestock. The tourism guide books mention the traditional hospitality and hospitality service of Mongolian nomads, but don’t mention the everyday workload in their enormous country that often means there’s no time for you to sit and chat about this lifestyle with your hosts. Don’t expect them to be able to give you an extensive lesson on why being a nomad is good for Mongolia.

Mongolians are welcoming people. Their curiosity can sometimes make them reticent, but they’re definitely not shy. They might be stubborn, usually because they are tough to crack, and also a little hard to get along with because they often stick to their own thoughts. They’re also notoriously bad at keeping track of time and other bits of information.

But it’s OK if you don’t get to drink tea with a nomad. Attending a talk about Mongolians and the places they live doesn’t mean that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything authentic. Our founder visited Mongolia back in 2015, and came home with some amazing travel stories that he shared with us. Remember, genuine interactions come from wearing your heart on your sleeve. You will almost certainly comment on feedback surveys that you wish you got more interaction with the Rhodies that you met while they were here but they are just not the kind of people who are set up to be tourists setting up shop at a beer festival regardless of how much you like their beer.

You’ll always be connecting with real people living their lives no matter what changes, right?

Mongolia is a country of contrasts. It’s not an easy option, but it’s one that will challenge you. There are a lot of things to think about when planning your trip and the local people have devised ways to deal with those challenges. Don’t worry about whether or not the adventure you planned for will happen the way you thought-sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. The forces of nature, or changing dates on festivals, can cause air schedules to change, or rain can make a previous route impassable.

So. What do you do?

One great way to get a more accurate idea on what your trip will be like is by coming with an open mind to Mongolia. Mongolian culture is different from other Asian cultures, and many of the things you may believe about life in an Asian country don’t apply here. There’s a desire for knowledge and understanding that drives Mongolian society; change happens quickly, but it’s still worth remembering that a lot of major changes have occurred over the course of just a few generations! Be patient with Mongolia while they work through the changes needed to make it better but savor their gifts and try not to worry so much about smaller issues being met like hot showers.

Mongolia is a diverse country. The landscapes are vast and rugged. There’s also a small amount of trash lying around, which is both surprising and sad. These are welcoming people, especially in comparison to the more traditional culture that exists yet even they have embraced modernity.

And it’s this country that will have a significant impact on you. There is no question of that. But make sure to bring an open-mind, as well as good gear and some time to explore the various facets of the culture.

Author: admin

Kate loves to travel and write. She has been to many different places and has seen and experienced a lot of different things. This has given her a lot of material to write about, and she enjoys sharing her stories with others. She hopes to continue traveling and writing for many years to come.

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