Nowadays most people know what a Central Asian ger or yurt looks like as they have been exported all over the world. A "GER" is a portable dwelling traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a compression wheel, usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall (again, steam bent). The frame is usually covered by layers of fabric and sheep's wool felt for insulation and weatherproofing. Tourist ger camps usually have the following facilities:
- 2 - 4 single beds per ger
- Wood burning stove.
- Coffee table.
- 2 or 3 low stools
- Restaurant and bar
- Hot water showers (separate ladies and gents)
- Western-style toilets
- Washing facilities
All the ger camps have a restaurant where a fixed menu is served, often European style food. There will also be showers,
washing and toilet facilities. In most camps the water is heated by solar power or by lighting a fire, so it's not hot 24 hours a day and not very powerful. Inside each ger there is usually a simple wood burning stove, the same as in the homes of ordinary
nomadic families, and you can light a fire if it's cold.
Some camps have electricity, which might mean just an electric light powered by a generator, or in some cases there might be an electric plug where you would be able to recharge cameras, phones and other electrical equipment. It's best to bring spare batteries for everything rather than depend on being able to recharge equipment.
Sometimes it is possible for a single person to have a ger to himself / herself but it depends on the policy of the ger camp and how many other guests they have that night. You might have to share with another person in our group, but you wouldn't be expected to share a ger with an unknown person. Bed linen and a quilt are provided, but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping bag anyway because some nights are quite cold, especially when traveling at higher altitudes.
In some areas, such as the Gobi Desert, the ger camps don't have a wood burning stove because the Gobi doesn't have trees and anyway in the summer at night time it is warm. Nearly all tourist ger camps are privately owned so the standards and facilities vary a lot.