When you are traveling through Mongolia there a few cultural norms you should be aware of as to not offend anyone during your travels. If you come from China and Southeast Asian countries, you should be aware that most Mongolians have negative stereotypes of China due to historical tensions and recent events surrounding trade and cultural appropriation.
Mongolians can be more direct in comparison to other Asian cultures and are proud of their historical identity. Chinggis Khan is everywhere as you would guess and beware not to mistake the swastika as the nazi symbol, since in Mongolia the swastika is considered peace and harmony through the Tibetan religions. Overall, as long as you are respectful of Mongolian people’s culture, history, and their traditions, you should be fine. (Like most other countries)
MEAT MEAT MEAT!!!
Mongolians can be very accommodating hosts and will keep putting food on the table as long as you keep eating. It is a tradition for Mongolian families to cook up some tea and other goodies whenever there is a guest. If you leave your plate empty, expect to receive more food and offers.
The Mongolian diet is a hardy one. With various forms of meats as the main cultural dishes. Sometimes you will see the back of a sheep on the table during special events and national holidays. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, it will be difficult to find any of those dishes.
Since Mongolia is a developing country, besides the capital, Ulaan Baatar, be sure to expect some bumpy road out in the countryside. Road infrastructure is still a work in progress, so there are a lot of dirt roads, but on the bright side, you will get to see untouched natural landscape and beauty.
It’s advised to have spare tires when off-roading and traveling through the countryside. Make sure to bring any equipment and appliances necessary since it can be hundreds of kilometers away from civilization if you get stranded out in the middle of nowhere.
Ulaan Baatar is considered one of the most coldest capital in the world. -40 celcius is a common occurrence during the winter. It is advised to visit during the summer as you will avoid the smog and smoke which is very bad during the winter periods in Mongolia.
Nonetheless, be sure to bring clothes for 4 different seasons, even in the summer, the weather can change drastically within hours. One moment it could be sunny, but raining shortly thereafter, and become chillingly cold at night.
If you are an adventurer and want to get a taste of natural landscapes, hardy foods, and test your will, Mongolia is the place for you.