A few years ago, I was in the middle of a game of Scrabble with a member of my extended family. I don’t want to brag (just kidding, I actually do), but I usually score rather well in Scrabble games. This time, though, I was getting crushed!
I knew it was going to be a rough round when my opponent’s first word was “yurt.” What in the world is that? She explained that a “yurt” is a type of Mongolian hut. Well, that sounded pretty esoteric to me, and I never heard the word again until quite recently.
So, what is a yurt? More importantly, why should you care? You may be surprised that this four-letter word will give you more than just 20 points in your next Scrabble game. It just might give you a life-changing experience.
What is a Yurt?
Like my family member told me, a yurt is basically a Mongolian hut. This structure is a traditional home for certain Central Asian peoples, particularly nomadic people groups.
Yurts are round, with straight walls that go up to the top of the entrance and then bend to come together at the peak of the roof, leaving room at the top for smoke to escape. Some are permanent, while traditional versions are collapsible. Generally, they will be constructed with a lattice design and then covered with canvas or another similar material.
Why Stay in a Yurt?
So, if this type of structure is the preferred home type for people far away, why on earth do you need to know or care about them?
Well, yurts aren’t just for nomads anymore. And they’re not just for locals in the steppes, either. Today, there is a growing trend for tourists to spend their vacations in yurts.
The ability to stay in a traditional yurt has opened up new worlds and experiences for travelers. Gone are the days when most travelers prefer to stay in hotels and have predictable travel experiences! This is a new era of travel, where anything is possible.
My claim that staying in a yurt can change your life isn’t an attention-getting gimmick. Staying in a yurt in remote Mongolia really can give you a whole new perspective on the world. The culture of Mongolia is radically different from the experiences of most Westerners, so spending a week with a nomadic Mongolian family can teach you things beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.
This is precisely why you should consider staying in a yurt for your next vacation. While not all yurts are in Mongolia or elsewhere in Central Asia, and not all yurts come with a cross-cultural encounter, those that do can make a profound impact on your life.
Of course, you might not be looking for a profound experience. You might just be looking for a new way to have a good time. You can get that in a yurt, too! If you like tent camping but prefer to sleep in a real bed, you’ll definitely love staying in a yurt! Keep reading to learn where you can stay in yurt, whether you’re in Ulaanbaatar or Michigan.
Where to Rent a Yurt
If you want to experience the ultimate Mongolian cultural experience, going to stay with a nomadic family in Ulaanbaatar is the way to do it. The one in the link above is located on a farm, deep in the rural country near the city of Ulaanbaatar. You can experience authentic Mongolia this way, far away from tourist traps and surrounded by the traditional Mongolian lifestyle!
Wild Cherry Resort in Michigan sounds like a fancy getaway, but it’s really an RV park and campground. You don’t have to have any equipment to stay here, since they also rent out yurts! These rentals include a queen bed, plus a twin and trundle and a small table and chairs. This is great for family trips!
Even the United Kingdom is on board with the new yurt trend. Enjoy the beautiful woodlands of Wales in a Mongolian-style yurt! This yurt is decorated to reflect the structure’s Asian roots. It also offers you the lifestyle of a real yurt-dweller; there is not running water or electricity. You can fit four people in here and try your hand at cooking over a fire you build yourself!
Surprised to see yurts in South America? Don’t be! You can enjoy glamping in Patagonia with a fully-equipped yurt. The yurts offered by Patagonia Camp are more than just your basic, traditional yurt. They have attached bathrooms, heating, and a private terrace! This is barely glamping—it seems to be all glamor and hardly any actual camping.
The Luxury Safari Company has created a multi-cultural yurt in the Serengeti. Their camp in Loliondo has six yurts, and each is decorated with a mix of African, Asian, and European elements. Strangely, the yurts seem to fit very well into the African bush landscape.
Head to Canada for a yurt with a view of the Northern Lights! I can’t think of a more magical way to experience this natural light show. This yurt comes equipped with a deck that overlooks the nearby lake, and the stove inside keeps it nice and warm, even in the frigid Canadian winter. This is a great idea for families—it’s like camping, but without the discomfort and hassle, so everyone will be happy.
As you can see, the yurt craze is making its way across the globe. Pretty much anywhere you go, you’ll be able to stay in a yurt! This is a fun way to do things a little bit differently and appreciate the cultural variety we enjoy on this planet. Why not stay in a yurt on your next vacation? It will make it that much more fun!