Tag Archive: Ger Camp

If you only have a day to spare, i suggest you spend it traveling down 80 kilometers to the Terelj National Park to engage in cultural immersion visiting rock formations and spending time with a nomadic family. BUT if you only have half a day, your best bet is to watch a Mini Naadam in Chinggis Khaan Kuree Ger camp.


The Ger Camp for tourists!


A cultural performance in one of the tourist gers.



The Mongolian Naadam Festival has its own brand of pageantry as well as intense competitions. Boasting of the “3 sports of men”, Mongolia has succumbed to girl power and allowed women to also compete in Archery and Horse Racing but NOT IN WRESTLING. Our guide explained however that a female once outwrestled a man, prompting the “change in uniform” of the wrestlers. The more revealing uniform has since deterred women from competing. Hmmmmmm. Not very good sports, ehh?




No height nor weight nor age restrictions. Just rough it up! FIGHT!


First to touch ground loses. Easy………..



In ancient times, Naadam — which means games — was held during weddings. In time, the festival included impressive parades of mounted cavalry with the most macho men warming up in an “eagle dance” before a wrestling match. As touristy as it gets, the mini Naadam Fest in Chinggis Kuree Ger Camp was a cultural performance where men wrestlers display their physique on a chilly afternoon, children and young teens on their saddles — often without a helmet — racing across the grassy plains, and men and women shooting arrows at impossible targets.




My friend tries archery. Good luck!


Horse Racing. But they’re just kids!



In this Naadam, we were also herded into a couple of gers. Not the kind where real nomadic families live, but “fancy gers” with animal furs spread over the tent to keep you warm, “thrones” ornately designed to make you feel like royalty, and some of the best performers with a knack for freaking you out. I mean that as a COMPLIMENT!




One of them “fancy gers”. And don’t forget to look up to check out those animal furs!


Thrones to take care of your royal posterior. Look at those furs! Can you guess which animals?



The operatic renditions of Mongolian classics left me wondering how these Mongolians can sound like Russians when they speak, but sound so like their Chinese neighbors when they sing. Amazing. But it was my first to hear “throat singing”. No, yodel is different. Throat singing is in a class all its own. Listen to this clip. I’m sure I’d never explain it enough.





So soon after the “throat singing” we were treated to another cultural performance. It took awhile to “recover” from this last one. This lady contortionist nearly freaked me out. How in heaven’s name does she do that? After her performance, I noticed that she walked on tiptoes, like her feet bones won’t let her press her soles on the ground. I wonder if that hurts?




OMG. This lady freaked me out!


The pageantry of a Naadam Festival.



What an afternoon! Before gunpowder was invented, all battles were won by sheer guts, innate intellect, physical skills and muscle power. My idea of a Mongolian warrior is that of a Gengis Khan lookalike aiming with his arrow while riding a horse at full speed. Fierce!




A Mongolian Baby!

To Ger or Not To Ger? It was a no brainer for us city folks. We love Nature, we’re quite open to new adventures, but…….




A REAL nomad family lives here. Spent time with them and had lunch in this ger.


This is LUNCH. Milk tea, homemade bread, biscuits, dumplings.



No sleeping in the “ger” for us. These circular tents are meant for nomadic families. About 70% of Mongolians still live in them. They’re used to it. It suits their lifestyles. Us? We’d stay a day with a nomad family, watch them cook, eat lunch with them, check their livestock grazing somewhere in the field, and pray to God our bladders will hold till it’s time to head back to our hotel in the city.




Homemade dumplings, STEAMED. Then the same boiling water was used to make our coffee. No kidding! More…… the excess hot water was used to clean the dishes.


Lone horseman herding the livestock. Busy on his cellphone!



Say what you like, but sleeping in a ger is out of the question 🙂 I can’t imagine myself walking out of the tent in the middle of the night just to pee. That wooden structure they call “toilet” does not suit me. And I do need my hot shower so forget it. Come to think of it, neither would it do for “during the day” pee breaks. One of us checked it out, described it, and the idea “locked our bladders shut” till we got back to our hotel.




They call her “something” which sounds like Kirle, or Girle. Whatever. She cooked lunch for us, and charmed us with her simplicity.


This is Kirle’s ger. A small circular tent with 3 beds around the stove which serves to warm the residents inside. Outside are the makeshift livestock pens.



There are other options. Around Terelj National Park, we found many tourist ger camps where “modern gers” are available. The toilets are still outside the tent, but you can sleep inside while possibly listening to animal sounds just around the camp. Could that be a yak, a fox, a horse or a goat? Once you grow tired of “feeling and sleeping like a nomad” there’s the tourist hotel right outside. You like the idea? Suit yourself. Different strokes for different folks. 😉




The “modern” way to stay and sleep inside a ger. Western toilets but still outside the tents. And a modern hotel just a few steps away.


Another tourist ger camp. I expect more tourist camps to sprout out in the vast Mongolian plains.