Introducing: the Mongolian Ger
Like the Japanese ryokan, yurts, or ‘gers’ as they are known throughout the country, are a quintessential part of many travellers experience of Mongolia. Unlike the ryokan however, which for the most part falls under the ‘been there got the t-shirt’ bracket and is unlikely to be done more than once, you’ll probably find that in Mongolia you will be staying almost exclusively at ger camps or in private gers. This is glamping at its best. Embrace it, and if you have difficulty doing this, take comfort in the fact that with the exception of the capital, good hotels are scarce. Naturally, the further you head from the city, the more basic the accommodation and rest assured that we’ve selected the best options available.
As with the accommodation options in Bhutan, ger encampments range from the ultra luxurious top dollar establishments (a small minority) to basic but clean and relatively comfortable, with nothing much in between. In general in Mongolia, being prepared to ‘rough it’ enables you to get further off the beaten track to more remote, less-visited areas. That said, with a little bit of magic from cazenove+loyd, we can ensure that even the most high-maintenance traveller can experience the country to the full.
A standard ger contains a variable number of beds, a covered floor, a table and chairs and a log-burning stove – the ultimate indulgence on an icy evening. Additional extras can sometimes include a screen to change and wash behind, sink-in-a-cupboard (generally with a tap and tank) and even under-floor heating. Staying in one of these traditional mobile homes allows you to experience the true Mongolian way of life. You’ll often be just a few minutes’ from a Mongolian family who will act as your hosts. It’s the perfect opportunity to get stuck into their way of life: try your hand at making mutton dumplings, help round up their herd of sheep and goats in time for the afternoon milking session or head out for a ride on their sturdy horses.
The most luxurious accommodation option is your own private ger, set up in any one of the numerous magically scenic locations throughout the country. This kind of mobile accommodation gives you the flexibility to explore the more remote corners of the country in comfort. Think memory foam mattresses, en suite bathrooms with fluffy bathrobes and hand-made natural Mongolian bath products: it’s the ultimate glamping experience. Alternatively, there’s the wonderfully named Three Camel Lodge, perfect for those who need a little more in the way of creature comforts. This luxury lodge can be found in the middle of the Gobi Desert and it certainly does things in style.