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Ways to Experience GER to GER
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3 - 8 of 16 reviews
Reviewed October 7, 2019

Dealing with this company is the most bizarre experience I've ever had.

On the one hand, a friend and I took the 'Marvels of the Gobi Desert' tour and found it to be very good -- excellent and skilled drivers, a young and very good guide who spoke great English, nice ger camps, quite OK food, and lots to see and do. We were paired up with a Dutch couple and it was all a great laugh.

On the other hand - while booking this trip, we also booked activities with GertoGer to follow our Gobi trip:. a day tour for four people to the Chinggis Khan Statue and other nearby sites, plus one archery lesson and one khoomei lesson. Prior to leaving, the very nice woman who runs the office (Bogie) sent us a secure link to pay for these activities We agreed that we would use the link to pay the day after returning to UB from the Gobi (a Saturday).

I paid in the morning. The banking site said 'Success'! It also advised to call Ger2Ger to ensure payment had gone through. I both phoned and e-mailed the office several times that day, but there was no response. Finally, we got hold of the owner (Zanjan [-]) via Facebook Messenger at about 5:30 p.m.

This is when things got very, very strange. Rather than treating us as valued customers and people about to spend another US $600, Mr. [-] acted like a big child having a massive temper tantrum: The problem with the link was 'a banking problem' and not his! He would not be lectured! Other businesses would deal with us by simply refusing to deal with us! We were being unreasonable in expecting his staff to be available on Saturdays and Sundays!

Rather than pay money to a business that thinks nothing of insulting and demeaning paying customers, we cancelled all future business with GertoGer. His reply: "It is your right...have a good evening."

Well.

In its advertising, GertoGer emphasizes how it cares for local people and pays them fairly etc etc etc. In our case, we would have employed a driver, a guide, and two local 'masters' (archery and khoomei). Our cancellation resulted in four people not getting work -- a fact that did not seem to make a bit of difference to the owner of this business.

Finally, if this review seems a one-off in a sea of positive reviews, check Trip Advisor four or five years back and you'll read of other people having experiences similar to ours with the owner of this business (he makes much of the fact that he's from Alaska). I wish I'd seen them before deciding to give this company a single penny.

P.R. We did re-book the tour with another company and were treated with utmost civility and professionalism. GertoGer is not the only game in town, after all.

Date of experience: September 2019
Thank Plantaganet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2019

Let me start off by saying that I'm glad I made this trip. This was what I wanted when I got to Mongolia. First I went on a tour with a guesthouse, which was fine, but it was a lot of driving around, seeing big sites and areas - but it wasn't riding on horseback! Ger to Ger presents the opportunity of actually riding/trekking from and to each nomad family, -with- nomads. I loved it.

As a solo traveller, I was going alone. I didn't speak the language, and neither did they speak English. While this provided ample opportunity to meditate on the gorgeous plains, hills and mountains surrounding us, I worried that I might get restless and bored when I couldn't talk with anyone. But, as it turns out, Mongolian hospitality is extremely accommodating. They won't stop feeding you and curiously peer over your items and try to talk to you until you go away. And this is another aspect of the nomad culture I really like: If you want to be left alone, you will be left alone. Family members come and go into the ger without greater fuss, and especially before and after meals. So it's no big deal if you do the same.

I had the most fun when I was out with a nomad guide riding to the next ger. With a phrasebook and a bit of body language, you can get really far, in spite of much confusion and delayed comprehension on my part! I had fun trying to learn and memorize new words, especially with Mr. Byambaochar, who, with some success, drilled Mongolian Ger vocabulary into my brain. I was also glad that I got to ride my horse by myself, and not be towed by the nomad, or having to follow close in his heels. I even managed a bit of galloping at the end, when I was comfortable enough with the terrain.

The tour followed the itinerary on a broad scale and with the biggest sites, but it clearly got modulated. A few things went down differently, and I had a lot of other interesting experiences which wasn't part of the itinerary.

For example, I saw a "Worship of the Fire" ritual with my second family, where two buddhist monks entered and commenced a lengthy ceremony with the gathered families, all of them gathering in the Ger I was supposed to sleep in! I was almost falling asleep during the ritual (Buddhist droning + a day of horseback riding = lullaby), much to the families' amusement. I found it pretty hilarious as well - after I got that craved sleep, that is. One of the monks couldn't keep up with the rituals and had a bit of trouble with his eye-veil, drum, and well, practically everything, which also caused no small amount of ill-concealed snickers and giggles. Truly, a unique and fun experience!

This wasn't part of the itinerary, by the way. This was just something that 'happened' to occur as I got there. Very interesting!

So, all in all, a very nice trip, considerably cheaper than my first one, more physically challenging (which was what I wanted) and it's giving back to the communities that guide you, to boot. I highly recommend this as a in-depth experience of Mongolian nomadic culture. And if you learn the language before-hand, or get some basic understanding of it, oh boy, you're going to have a fun time.

Date of experience: June 2019
1  Thank KimG2953
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2019 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 June 20, 2019

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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