NOW Curious Traveller Diaries

MONGOLIA - Orkhon Valley
Genghis Khan Retreat

A six hours drive from the airport in Ulan Bator took us through the Mongolian steppe, where green hills touch the horizon and occasional gers (nomadic tents) are white spots in a wild, endless landscape. Nomad life is in-flux as they follow their herds in the wide-open land and relocate seasonally.

During the summer, Christopher Giercke, his Mongolian wife Enkhe and their children D’Artagnan and Cristina-Allegra join their extended Mongolian family and community as they move to the magnificent Orkhan valley with their horses, goats, yaks, cows and sheep in tandem with nomadic life and seasons.

Their commitment to sustain the Mongolian nomadic culture led to the launch of Genghis Khan Retreat which supports their Nomad community and training programs to educate a young generation of Mongol riders. It is a wilderness summer camp in Karakorum, in the heartland of Mongolia, one of the most untouched and remote places of the world. Christopher also produces the finest cashmere in the world which allows him to be a protector of the authentic nomadic life and customs.

In June, the community puts up the gers for accommodation, a kitchen, a spa, a dining and entertainment space, a tech room and solar panels to power the needed renewable energy. Fresh water is available from a nearby well. Fresh milk and meat is supplied from the herd and the rest of the food is brought in. D’Artagnan manages Genghis Khan Retreat from June to September and he is also the polo captain for the Genghis Khan polo team which competes around the world.

My friends and I stayed in one of the 15 gers reserved for guests and it was a most heart-warming interaction with the local people and customs. The same nomads who tend to the livestock all year also took care of us and made sure we were comfortable and pampered. They lit the wood stove in our gers morning and night to make sure we were warm and brought us tea, they served us breakfast in a shared table in the kitchen ger and filled wooden bathtubs with warmed water for our bath. They taught us polo, archery and kayaking in the river and rock-climbing. They proudly showed us the best look-outs for eagles and took us on a picnic on a hill top filled with edelweiss. The shaman revealed some secrets and healed our physical discomfort. Evening get-together in the dining ger starts with a piano concert followed by delicious candlelit dinners prepared by Chef Mingma from Nepal. On our last evening, the Mongolian community hosted a spectacular dinner with local entertainment and dancing.

Guests enjoy a most authentic and intimate encounter with the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle and connect with the pristine nature that is of ethereal and untouched beauty. The sky and the light was the clearest and most dramatic I have ever seen. This is the land of the blue sky!

Orkhon Valley, Mongolia

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About the Traveller

Reto Guntli

Reto Guntli Hotel & lifestyle photographer

Reto Guntli is visual consultant of NOW and a well-known hotel & lifestyle photographer.

He works for hotels worldwide and has produced more than 50 lifestyle books (TASCHEN, ASSOULINE) worldwide. He is based in Switzerland.

Living Positively


Music, otherworldly throat singing, acrobatics, poet reading and story telling are part of every feast of the proud, gracious and fun loving Mongolian people.


So much to learn from the modesty and perseverance of the nomads living a free and proud, yet extremely tough life. As I don’t ride, I opted for archery practice.


The sky and the light are the clearest and most dramatic I have ever seen.


Piano Recitals by an exceptional talent, the pianist Odgerel Sampilnorov, transformed our evenings into lavish occasions.

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