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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

My husband and I did a three night, four day "Live like a local" experience in Terelj National Park. It was not an easy experience. The conditions were less than sanitary, and it was tiring to constantly try to communicate and engage/connect with the families. It was totally worth the effort. We felt like it was pretty authentic, and we learned a lot and felt more connected to this beautiful country and people by the end of our short trip.

If you go in with appropriate expectations and an open mind and heart, I doubt you would be disappointed.

Date of experience: June 2019
Thank 825bethtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GERtoGER, Founder at GER to GER, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

From all of us... we wanted to kindly thank you for such a 'realistic, genuine and insightful' review - we indeed strive to ensure that you are having a 'genuine reality experience', and by doing so, you gain a lot by the end.

Again thank you and kindly wishing the both of you happy and safe travels!!!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2019 via mobile

I took part in 5nights 6days Winter Desert Travel.
Before you join the tour with this organization I'd recommend you to clarify your reason why you want to participate this tour otherwise you may feel quite disappointment.
This tour is very good to know the real normad's way of life and their culture. Their lives are quite simple. They dedicated their lives for livestocks. That's all for them and if you miss the point, you have to complain for everything. Hosts were mostly hospitable and helped me stay safe. However, I just had very little time for activities and there were plenty of blank time which is not on the itinerary. For me it was not a big deal but you may be confused.
As I got an orientation at their office which is mandatory to take, I got a bunch of information mainly for their culture and rules which was unfortunately exaggerated more or less in 4 hours. The itinerary was mostly meaningless due to be always not followed. These must be improved by the organizer so that participants feel unfair and waste their precious time and money.
If you'd prefer adventure or tours to famous attractions, better go other companies.

Date of experience: May 2019
1  Thank Taisuke2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GER to GER M, Founder/CEO at GER to GER, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2019

We absolutely 100% agree with you and your comments in the following manner:

1) Choosing What To Do: All travelers ‘must be more responsible’ in reading about what they are purchasing instead of buying something that’s clearly explained online and trying to force it to be something very different from the product’s instructions that are clearly provided on our website (on our homepage), “What to Expect”, emails, contracts, terms/conditions, 2+ hours of workshop trainings, etc. Note: GER to GER does provide “packaged tours” but you booked/traveled on a “Live Like a Local” experience.

2) Comprehending the Difference between “Tours” and “Live Like a Local” experiences: there is a big difference between “tour packages” for vacationers and “reality ethnographic style of travel” (living like a local) that is about experiencing the “Locals’ Realities” - not a tour.

3) Tours Don’t Need Lots of Training - for Legal Liabilities “Live Like a Local” Do: tour packages don’t require lots of training but when you travel on your own as a humanitarian on our “Live Like a Local” - it does - it’s part of our legal liabilities/risk mitigation. Trainings are designed to enrich your understanding of different types of nomadic communities “across Mongolia”, weather, activity risks, etc., (comprehending the difference between traditional/non-traditional nomadic families, history, geography, culture, language, heath/safety, navigation, etc.) not just in one national park but rather “across Mongolia”; as there are many conditions “across Mongolia” that requires preparing for (as I recollect the training was just over 2 hours - 4 hours - is a bit of an exaggeration).

Decision Concerning “Trainings”: For this reason - my team and I are going to add a section to our website “Knowledge Corner” where it will be “100% the travelers’ responsibility” to further comprehend what we teach so we can further reduce the training times. I’ve officially decided to lessen the amount of ‘quality time’ that people like yourselves will have access to International/Local Specialists like us… based on your suggestion - it will be like going into a Dojo where the Sensei states “go online to learn the rest of the lessons”. In today’s world why should a Master Sensei (25+ years of expertise) invest his time into “personally training” clients who desire not to be trained properly; history, cultures, styles, techniques, etc... I 100% Agree - our time, knowledge, skills and expertise can definitely be more wisely invested towards more valuable works with people who desire to learn properly; with those who are not interested in McDojos. Every martial artist will agree that even if one doesn’t use the skills outside all the time it doesn’t mean the knowledge/skills gained is useless and the Sensei is wasting people’s time. “The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them” Miyamoto Musashi and lastly learning “one ounce of prevention is more than a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin.

4) You Choose to ‘Live Like a Local’ which means “Live Like a Local”: "tour packages" keeps you busy all the time/entertained/watched-after whereas “living like a local” means just that - you are going to 100% learn how to live like a local “nomadic lifestyles, routines, paces, etc., like a distant-relative member (not a tourist)” which is 100% NOT a tour package (mentality/operations/etc) NOR did/do we market it like a 'tour package'. Hence, we train everyone to understand that it’s “100% up to you to manage your experience/expectations” (as my staff isn’t traveling with you like on a tour package) - so it’s completely up to you - whether you want to enjoy the relaxing down time; go into the mountains/desert dunes/etc., for a hike (use the family as a base camp); proactively involve yourself into activities; etc.

In short - I wanted to personally thank you for highlighting the important message that we’ve been trying to communicate for years...

Mongolia, the country, is generally different from anyone’s expectations; if you desire to be busy/entertained then travelers need to be responsible and choose one of our packaged tours instead of selecting our “live like a local” programs. We know that everyone has different expectations, based on the client’s culture/country/age/etc., and that’s why we are 100% transparent to better help you to understand the differences (before via our website/correspondences, during trainings, during trips via mobile call-ins to our office, etc.) so you can have a pleasant and safe experience in Mongolia - but sometimes as in your case - there are indeed slight failures.

Also, generally speaking, if travelers have budget problems and can’t afford a tour package then it’s high-time for travelers to be even more responsible and start properly budgeting for their travel expenses properly and save their finances for ‘a proper tour package’ instead of purchasing a lesser expensive “live like a local” experience and expecting that it’s going to be a vacation holiday. That’s not how “live like a local” programs are designed NOR marketed - metaphorically - that’s like expecting a ‘kitchen sink’ is going to operate like a ‘fully automatic dishwasher’ when everyone is explaining to the customer it’s a “kitchen sink” but the customer doesn’t listen and continues to buy the “kitchen sink” thinking it will be just like an “automatic dishwasher” instead of buying an ‘automatic dishwasher’ of which we also offer/sell but the client doesn’t want to buy.

Anyhow, we wanted to thank you as we do 100% agree... today travelers really need to be more responsible for their choices which involves more proper researching/reading/comprehension/asking more questions and making proper decisions - to purchase a “tour” or to “live like a local”; instead of complaining afterwards that they choose wrongly and belittling everyone else for the travelers’ poor research works/decisions/purchases... Especially when countless other travelers have chosen the exact same ‘Live Like a Local’ experience and greatly enjoyed it. In fact, one family (travelers) have even generously sponsored a nomadic child’s complete higher-education from that region, etc.

Simply, all travelers 100% need to do BETTER research works/make BETTER decisions for themselves based on THEIR own personal interests/travel goals as no one from GER to GER forces/unethically persuades any travelers into doing a ‘Live Like a Local’ experience instead of a “tour” - that we and others may offer.

I also 100% invite you to share your experiences (positives and negatives) by email at Fromer@GERtoGER.org so we can definitely incorporate your criticisms/positive experiences into our trainings with our nomadic communities as well - as it is 100% community based.

Again thank you for your time :)
Kindest regards,
Mr. Fromer

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2018

Ger To Ger offers its customers to visit nomad families in Mongolia without a guide. Those families are still living in a nomadic lifestyle and only little adapted to tourists and modern life luxuries (such as TV). The life with the families in their own gers or guest gers is very interesting and challenging. You will have to come over the language barrier, as most nomad host only speak little English. In fact you are more likely to meet someone, who speaks German. Be aware that the iternary the company provides you with is just for orientation. The real experiences there depend on weather conditions, season, work load and so on. The food is quite unusual to Europeans in the first place, but tastes really great.
The only thing one could complain about is that the introduction you will get on your first day by one of the managers is quite exaggerated. To us it felt more like a conversion to a better style of tourism, that only this company can provide, than like a informative lecture. Still, we would definitely do this trip again!

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank timsteinberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GERtoGER-NATGEO-AMB, Owner at GER to GER, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2018

Thank you kindly for sharing your experiences. As for the training - as our senior team (myself and my colleague) have been abroad (business travels), we had our junior team provide the training... please accept our apologies that we weren’t present in Mongolia to provide the professional trainings ourselves - our junior team is indeed developing their capacity and hopefully in the years to come they will indeed improve. We would love to have you back in Mongolia again - we have tons of great summer routes! Kindest regards, GER to GER Admins :)

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Reviewed August 11, 2018

Let me start off by saying that the experiences we had while on our trips with Ger To Ger will be with us for the rest of our lives. The traditional Mongolian life is sacred and precious and vulnerable. It is important to be mindful of the impact of tourism on such cultures. Ger To Ger is primarily a humanitarian organisation which provides relief for Mongolian communities when they need it most due to climate and economical change. To do this, they make sure that tourism is conducted in a responsible manner and that the communities see real change from Ger To Ger’s work.

We signed up for two excursions with Ger To Ger, the first was a 6 day Karakorum to Hot Springs package tour which combined some tourism with nomadic family stays. We were joined on this trip by a guide who translated and told us information about the country and introduced us to the culture. We stayed with three wonderful families and spent the other nights at camps.

For our second excursion, we headed out into the Dundgovi region for 12 days. Dundgovi has been hit by a few hard seasons resulting in loss of livestock and stunted pasture regrowth leaving the communities there in desperate situations - all the more reason to visit this beautiful region as 80% of the fee goes directly to the families you visit. This time, there was no guide. It was just us and the families - occasionally a driver would appear to take us the long distances across the desert. It was a daunting prospect at first but the support network put in place by Ger To Ger and the local coordinator (Narangarav, you are awesome) made sure that we are informed and safe. We stayed with 10 amazing families in four distinct areas of Dundgovi where we experienced true Mongolian nomadic life out in one of the most difficult terrains to live in. Activities included hiking, horse riding, camel riding, herding, preparing food, sewing, carving, fetching water, and playing with all the incredible children. The most rewarding element of all is meeting the people and connecting with them.
I will carry my experiences here with me for many, many years.

I highly recommend this authentic humanitarian experience. Tour responsibly and help out some families in need at the same time. Thank you to all the staff at the Ger To Ger office for getting us prepared and then debriefing on our return.

Date of experience: June 2018
4  Thank molexroots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2018

The host families we stayed in were all very friendly and made us feel very welcomed! You really do get as much out of the experience as you put in. Me and my friends asked if we could help out at all so they allowed us to milk goats, sheer lamb, and herd back the goats which was my favorite part of the trip. We played with their children and went scrambling on the rocks nearby as well.

Regarding the staff at Ger to Ger, they are some of the nicest and experienced people I have ever met! Even after our trip was over, they spent hours helping us arrange a personal trip me and my friends were gonna do. They are all very well versed in the Mongolian terrain, public transportation, and what to expect when your in specific areas.

I will definitely come back and do another trip with them!

Date of experience: May 2018
2  Thank Eugene L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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