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5 Good-to-Know Customs in Mongolia

Camels in Mongolia

When I left Mongolia over 10 years ago I never read any travel books and knew nothing about travelling and other cultures. I learnt through my experience. Here are some customs I had to alter and change living abroad. In Mongolia:

1. Shake hands if you stepped on someone’s toes. You can say ‘Uuchlaarai’ meaning ‘Sorry.’

2. Spit over your left shoulder three times in order to avoid bad luck, either when you mention good luck that you have had in the past or when you mention hopes you have for the future. Similar to ‘touch wood’ in Britain or USA. Please don’t take it literally, when I say spit I mean imitation of spitting.

3. Use both hands, or the right hand, to offer or to take something. Using the left hand is offensive and it is thought to be bad for the person who is giving. They are giving away their luck and fortune, well, metaphorically.

4. Don’t say ‘No, thanks.’ when the host offers tea, food or dairy products. You should accept it and taste (or pretend to) before putting it on the table. They usually prepare for your arrival, so it’s rude to reject their hospitality.

5. It is normal to hold  hands with your friends, you don’t have to be in a relationship. Putting their arms around each other’s shoulders is alright, too.

Do you know any other weird and wonderful customs? Please share with us, leave a comment.


3 responses to “5 Good-to-Know Customs in Mongolia”

  1. Mongolians consider that your life is your thought about it. That`s why whatever happens to someone and then he or she is asked ” How are you?”, he says like ” fine or good” although he is not feeling actually good physically or emotionally.


  2. I forgot to leave a comment on this when I read it.It’s funny how we all have our strange customs ,if you did half of those things in Scotland you would get a funny look. I love reading about how other people live. I have left a Liebster Blog Award for you on my blog.Pop over to my blog anytime and it explains how you pick it up.


    1. Thank you so much Anne. I sent you message on Twitter. Glad to hear that you enjoy reading about different customs. X


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