I had read a number of very mixed reviews about the Ger to Ger trips prior to booking my travel; I also read through Ger to Ger’s website on the Living Like a Local trips; what I surmised was that those who had a poor experience tended to be those who had strong expectations of a guided tour with every activity executed per the planned agenda; whilst those who had a positive experience were those who are independent travelers who are happy to figure things out on the go, who went with an open mind, who were flexible when things do not go according to plan, who made the effort to interact and communicate with the families. I made a conscious effort to adopt the latter attitude and booked myself on 2 horse riding treks in Terelj and Khuvsgul Lake, and I had a most memorable experience with 6 nomad families over the 2 weeks. Highlights were the horse riding, the beautiful landscape, watching / participating in tending to the livestock, playing ‘sharat’ (ankle bones) with the children, and ultimately experiencing the nomads’ lives first hand. The things that least appealed were the long walk to the hole-in-the-ground toilets (which in themselves were very unpleasant), the unsanitary cooking / eating conditions, and not showering for a week at a time (wet wipes and solar shower came in very handy)! Still they were all part of the experience.
We had a 2+ hr orientation the day prior to the trip. What I found useful were: advice on etiquette with the nomad families, guidance on navigation and basic outdoor survival skills. What I found bizarre was: the “re-learning of Mongolian history” which i did not find helpful. What I would have liked was 15 minutes of language lessons, so we could get our pronounciations right.