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Since visiting Mongolia, sleeping under the roof of a Mongolian ger is now officially one of my favourite things to do.
So what is a Mongolian Ger?
There is a little confusion here. A Mongolian Ger is a round tent, supported by two uprights in the middle. They are often called Yurts, but this is wrong. Yurt is a term used throughout the rest of Central Asia. A Mongolian Yurt is much more wigwam in shape.
I had little idea of what the accommodation in the Mongolian Ger Camps would be like when we got into the countryside. But I had prepared myself for a lack of showers and electricity. However, this wasn’t the case. Tourist camps are the best way to stay when travelling around this country, and as such they are geared towards a little more comfort!
So, I thought I would share some of the camps we stayed in and a little more of what you can expect from a tourist Mongolian Ger Camp.
They are usually clusters of up to 30 ger tents and sleep between two and three people. All of the camps we stayed in had a shower and toilet block. These did vary in size and comfort, but we had hot water at all camps.
Likewise, all the camps had some sort of restaurant. Again this varied, in size and style. Some were local families cooking in a small room. Others were much larger and with other people.
The best bit, and the bit that surprised me most, was that they all had beer! It was so lovely to be able to relax with a beer after a day of driving. Fun fact, if you want to bring your own alcohol, you aren’t allowed to buy alcohol in Mongolia on a Wednesday.
Ger camp 1 – Baga Gadzrïn Chuluu
When we pulled into our first tourist ger camp, Ger Camp Eden Ukhaa, it was so beautiful and so exciting. We were literally in the middle of nowhere and there was this collection of little gers waiting for us. It was actually one of the most basic camps, but one of my favourites because of its remote location.
I was sitting in the ger thinking how great a beer would be, and it was then I learnt all tourist ger camps have beer! What an excellent revelation.
The roof of this ger was also beautifully painted in the traditional style, as we travelled around some were and some weren’t.
Ger Camp 2 – Yolyn Am
The next day saw another lovely Ger camp, located in the hills. We went for a walk to look at the statues of the animals situated on the four hills surrounding the camp and watched a herd of goats come in. One tip for this camp, they serve goat for dinner. Apparently, this will make you ill unless you don’t drink any cold drinks with it and drink lots of hot water. We knew this was a real threat when even our local guide decided not to eat the meat!
This camp is also a perfect location for visiting the beautiful Yolyn Am gorge.
Ger Camp 3 – Khongoryn Els
The next day saw us travel into the Gobi region. We stayed at the Gobi Anar Ger camp to visit the sand dunes where we learnt how to play horse racing; a game using sheep ankle bones. I really enjoyed this camp. There were only 4 showers, however, so it was a bit of a race to get there first.
For dinner, we had a three-course meal that seemed to involve a lot of carrots. I have no idea where the carrots came from.
The evening was spent playing ball games with the owner’s adorable children. They really seemed to love having loads of tourists to play with, and never tired. We also sat and watched a spectacular thunderstorm.
Ger Camp 4 – Bayanzag
The following night’s stay was at Ger Camp Bayan Zag near the flaming cliffs. There was a basketball court. And while I definitely did not join it, there was an incredibly exciting game between some of our group and the guys who worked there.
This last one had a generator to provide the electricity, and so when it was turned off at 11 pm we had the most amazing view of the stars.
Ger Camp 5 – Tsenkher
As we ventured into the mountains and the temperatures dropped, the gers had stoves inside. It was the cosiest thing I have ever experienced. We went for a hike in the rain and came back to a warm, cosy ger, perfect for relaxing in with a book. Small tip – don’t try and dry wet socks on a ger stove. They burn.
The Ger Camp Shiveer Mankhan camp in Tsenkher hot springs was very welcome after a night camping in the middle of Mongolia. Hot, hot showers and a hot springs pool to relax and soak in. Plus a wake up in the morning from the local cows wandering around the camp.
Ger camp 6 – Khustai National Park
Our last camp of the trip greeted us with a flask of hot water and tea on arrival.
Final thoughts on Mongolian Ger Camps
All in all, these ger camps really helped to make this trip one of the most amazing. There is nothing like being snuggled in bed, with a stove lit and the sound of rain pattering on the roof.
All camps had hot (or tepid) water, all had western toilets, all had some sort of electricity at some point, some had comfy beds, and some had harder. All the people who work there are so keen to help and make your stay wonderful. We often ended up playing basketball with them, or some form of ball game with the kids. They all had a restaurant for breakfast and dinner – and they all had beer and vodka!
But most of all they all had the perfect Mongolian charm that I fell in love with.
Interested in visiting Mongolia? Have a look at some of my other posts on this incredible country!
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