The ger has been a part of nomadic life in Mongolia for centuries. To this day, more than half of Mongolia’s population live in ger camps. The traditional tent is light and easily transportable, providing the ideal base for Mongolian families, as they move through the ruggedly stunning landscapes that the country is home to. The thick material that gers are made from also means families can withstand the elements, even in the height of the harsh Mongolian winter.
Gers really are remarkable homes. They make the most remote parts of this fascinating country habitable as well as being a vital part of the historic nomadic lifestyle. Gers may not be unique to Mongolia, but the country offers some of the top places to stay in a ger. Here, we reveal our picks.
Khustain Nuruu National Park
Based in central Mongolia, Khustain Nuruu National Park was established in 1993 to protect the herds of Mongolian wild horses that roam free across its 506 square kilometre expanse.
As well as being able to view Mongolia’s most treasured animal – the country isn’t called the ‘Land of the Horse People’ for nothing! The park is home to Asiatic red deer, wolves, marmot, lynx, boar, steppe gazelle and Pallas’s cats, plus over 200 bird species.
Based close to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, it’s a popular spot for visitors and locals like. The park only has one ger camp, the Khustai Ger Camp, which offers overnight guests a taste of traditional nomadic life with a few modern touches.
In addition, the camp is kitted out with electric lighting, tea and coffee making facilities, dedicated toilets and showers, and coal-fired stoves to ensure a comfortable stay.
Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park
Next we head to southern Mongolia to Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. Although established in the same year as Khustain, Gobi Gurvansaikhan provides a very different landscape to explore.
Here, you can roam towering sand dunes, magnificent mountain vistas and even an ice canyon. Many travellers compare some parts of Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park to what they may be faced with if they were to land on Mars.
A stay at a ger camp is recommended in Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, simply due to the time it takes to explore this vast place. There are several ger camps to choose from,
including Dream Gobi, which is billed the most traditional and authentic. Guests here can enjoy a number of perks, including home-cooked Mongolian cuisine, which is served on a daily basis.
White Lake, or Terkhin Tsagaan Nuur as it’s known locally, is a freshwater lake with a fascinating heritage. It was formed millions of years ago by an erupting volcano, remnants of which can still be seen today. White Lake is lined by a number of extinct volcanos, making it an ideal place for hiking and wildlife watching.
There are numerous ger camps surrounding White Lake and in the nearby town of Kharkhorin. Oksana and Max from award-winning sustainable travel blog Drink Tea Travel named one ger camp at White Lake one of their favourites. Here’s what they had to say about their experience:
“Almost all of our time in the Gobi was spent in tourist gers, but our favourite tourist ger set up was at the White Lake in Central Mongolia. The views were beautiful, the surroundings – serene, and the lovely family welcomed us into their ger with a cup of yak milk and some homemade bread. Their gers were just as basic as the rest, but it was their warm hospitality that left a lasting impression on our stay.”
Wherever you’re heading on your trip, as a visitor to Mongolia, staying in a ger camp is a must for so many reasons. From your ger, you’ll be able to experience nomadic life first-hand, become a part of a traditional Mongolian community, and enjoy local food, accommodation and customs far from the trappings of modern life.