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    Iran
    Iran is home to a unique language, culture, foods, and history. Even within the Middle East Iran is unlike any other country. Explore Iran!

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    Bangladesh: Traditional houses. Go Now!

    Bangladesh
    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

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    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    Mongolia
    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

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    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Social Life in Mongolia

Behavior

The Mongolians are somewhat conservative in most aspects of their lives partially due to their Buddhist faith, which preaches modesty. However, they are somewhat aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are quite curious of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accepted, although interested local may question these behaviors.

In addition to dress requirements (above), the greatest behavioral requirement to be aware of in Mongolia is the Islamic dietary restrictions, which forbid pork and alcohol (see our Mongolia Dining & Food Page for more information). In Muslim parts of Mongolia the restriction on pork is closely adhered to, but alcohol is often times available and consumed, even by Muslims. Additionally, avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

The traditional dress of Mongolia is called the deel (or del), which is similar to a loosely-fitting large coat closed with buttons. The deel is worn by both men and women and there are multiple styles and thicknesses as they can be worn during the warmer summer months or the cold winters. Women generally wear more brightly colored deels, while men tend to prefer browns and other dark colors. Belts, boots, and hats are also obligatory items in the wardrobe. Belts and hats are worn year round with thicker hats during the cold months. Boots can also be worn year round with riding boots in the summers and heavy felt boots in the winter.

Today this traditional dress is still commonly worn in the country, but people in Ulaanbaatar and other large cities are moving to more western-styled clothing and today this is the norm. As a visitor to Mongolia be aware of your surroundings when you decide what to wear. The people in the cities are fairly accepting of all dress, including showing legs or arms, but in the countryside the people are more conservative and will stare oddly at you, and not just because you're foreign. Most Mongolians will frown upon dress that is too revealing or too tight so, even in cities, dress on the conservative side when in doubt.

Additionally, some of the population, particularly in the western part of the country, is Muslim. If in a Muslim area, there are a number of religious laws which should be obeyed, such as women should cover their hair at all times in public and both women and men are expected to cover their legs and shoulders; showing your knees and/or shoulders can be very offensive to Muslims.

This page was last updated: November, 2013