If you are looking for souvenirs from Mongolia you should read this.
One task that faces many travellers is to choose which souvenirs they will take home. The best thing is to get well acquainted with the destination in order to know what the most typical products are; these may be decorations, utensils or clothing.
In the case of Mongolia, there are many items of Mongolian craftsmanship that can adorn your home.
Traditional Mongolian clothing and hats are strikingly colorful and are one of the most memorable things to bring back from your trip to Mongolia.
This country is one of the world's major producers of cashmere, a type of goat's wool that is very rare, as well as soft and comfortable. So it's not surprising that visitors to Mongolia buy sweaters, socks and all kinds of warm clothing.
One of the most sought-after cashmere items is shoes, which tend to become an indispensable feature of winter owing to their warmth and comfort.
The most widespread religion in Mongolia is Buddhism, so you'll find many objects related to this creed to buy in Mongolia. From Buddha statuettes to cloth manuscripts, stupas, tsampas or replicas of ritual daggers.
You'll find them near the most visited temples and also in traditional markets, and they are the perfect gift for lovers of all things spiritual.
Yurts are the large Mongolian tents in which the nomads live. Building them is an art that involves the family and, in some cases, the whole community.
Some of the decorative elements of the yurts are for sale as both replicas and originals. Be careful when buying antiques: their export is prohibited and could get you into trouble at customs.
One of the great attractions for those visiting Mongolia are the handmade leather products. Mongolian leather workers handle this material with skill and are able to make everything from the most delicate glove to the warmest coat, as well as wallets, purses and, of course, footwear.
Traditional leather shoes with a raised toe are one of Mongolia's best-selling souvenirs.
The Darkhan Nekhii company is one of the oldest and most prestigious manufacturers of sheepskin coats. It was founded to supply the Russian market, but today it has sales all over the world. You can visit the online store to get an idea of the quality.
Uncontrolled export is not allowed in Mongolia unless, once in customs, you can produce a certificate stating that you bought the goods in a traditional store. Therefore, it's not a good idea to go hunting for antiques at flea markets, but it is a good idea to go to conventional shops. Ulaanbaatar has many of them, enabling you to buy everything from Buddhist medals to old coins and snuff boxes.
Fans of antique and exotic weapons will love Mongolia. Here you can find everything from replica daggers to the chance to buy a real bow with its quiver and arrows. Nowadays, expert craftsmen make them in three sizes: women's, children's and men's. They are made of fine woods, the strings are made of animal gut and the arrowheads are made of either wood or bone.
Some travellers are especially attracted to masks. Mongolian ritual masks are particularly striking because of their colours. Some of them are pure fantasy, but others are copies of those worn by the ancient shamans in their rituals of communion with the gods.
If you can't leave a country without taking a memento of its soul, it's possible you have a beautiful collection of musical instruments from around the world. And it's the music that connects directly to the heart. One of the most typical instruments to buy in Mongolia is the morin khuur, a stringed instrument with a horse's head at the top of the neck.
Indeed, it is common to buy cushions, ornaments, pendants, etc. in the shape of a horse. This is no coincidence, because horses are one of the most important elements of Mongolia's nomadic culture.
Our advice is to go for traditional shops to buy antiques, but go to the Black Market for everything else. No, it's not a nest of smugglers. Black Market is the name of the big flea market outside Ulaanbaatar, called Naran Tuul in Mongolian.