On Trans-Siberian Railway journeys that include a stopover in Ulaan Baatar there is the option to camp out in a ger for two nights in Terelj National Park.
Mongolia is the home of the 'ger' or 'yurta' as it is known in Russia. More than 70% of Mongolia's population, many of whom are nomadic, live in gers, and have done since the time of Marco Polo. The Mongolian ger is built to withstand some of the harshest climate extremes, from the freezing gale force winds that blow from Siberia and winter temperatures which regularly fall to minus 40 degrees to the summer heat of the Gobi desert.
Easily assembled and disassembled, its components can be loaded on a couple of camels or horses. It is made of a wooden framework covered by large pieces of felt. A decorative cloth covering may be laid over the felt. The ropes which go around the ger, called bus (belts), are usually made of braided horse mane and tail hair. The wooden framework consists of collapsible walls, topped by poles radiating from a central smokehole ring.
Inside, gers are deceivingly spacious. Entering from the southern side, in the centre is a stove, with a pipe emerging from the roof. This provides the ger's occupants with warmth and hot food. The internal layout always follows the same traditional pattern, in that to the west is the men's side and to the east, the women's side. On the men's side, saddles, weaponry and the airag (mare's milk) bag is kept. Cooking implements are generally stored on the women's side. The most revered part of the ger is the northern part, where today families keep heirlooms and keepsakes.
NOTE: During the winter months (usually October to April, although dependant upon the weather), due to the harsh weather conditions, clients can decide upon arrival, whether to stay in permanent accommodation in Terelj National Park or a Mongolian ger.