Glamping in Asia – The Luxe Camping
When an average guy sets up a tent under the stars and prepares to rough it out in Nature’s lap, it is called camping. But when the same camp is lined with luxury and the guy looks at Nature through rose-coloured glasses with all the comforts including electricity, toilets in the tents, minibars, television, designer tents, designer furnishings and even Wi-Fi, it is called Glamping – the new age luxe camping.
Glamping is a happy compromise enabling city-bred travellers to explore Nature but do it safely and comfortably. Glamping tents are a revelation these days; they are fully insulated, tastefully decorated, have provisions for superb customized food, drinks, hot water baths and much more.
Glamping Opportunities in Asia:
People all over the world are discovering the pleasures of glamping holidays. Asia is a vast continent with many countries having great natural beauty. Glamping resorts have come up in many countries and made closer interactions between man and Nature possible. It is heartening to note that most of these resorts are giving prime importance to environmental sustainability and taking care not to disturb the delicate eco-system around them. Tourists from all over the world are flocking to Asia for vacations. There are fantastic and varied glamping opportunities waiting to be discovered here. We present you some beautiful glamping resorts in different countries in Asia.
Hintok River Camp at Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Accommodation: 38 luxury tents
Atop the Hintok Mountain and overlooking the River Kwai, this glamping resort was listed among the top ten adventure resorts in Asia Pacific in 2009. The wooden-platform mounted tents have the typical safari feel. Relax close to nature, indulge in adventure sports, soak in the natural spring pool and enjoy superb food at the restaurant with lovely views of river and greenery.
Amenities: Wi-Fi internet connection at the Clubhouse, campfire arrangement, traditional Thai massage, mountain bikes, secured parking space, security guard, superior water filtration system, doctor on call, tour and sightseeing arrangements, laundry service, transfer service, 24 hour camp security, electrical supply, air conditioning, balcony, in-room bathroom with shower, barbeque-campfire dinners; comfortable bedding, refrigerator.
Activities: Trekking at the historic Hellfire Pass, Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, mountain biking, canoeing, bamboo rafting, excursion to Mon tribal village, massages, elephant riding, opportunity to see the world’s smallest bat in the Lawa Cave, sun bathing, bird watching, boat trips, traditional Mon dance, bamboo rafting etc.
Best Time to Visit: November to March
Travel Tip: Bangkok to Hellfire Pass-Highway 323- two and a half hour drive
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand
Accommodation: 15 luxury tents
Located in lovely forest surroundings in the Chiang Rai province of northern Thailand, this camping resort offers unforgettable elephant treks through jungles, stunning forest and mountain views, Mekong river excursions and rejuvenating natural whirlpool baths. All this in beautifully furnished luxury tents with everything needed for a comfortable stay.
Amenities: Wired or wireless Internet, refrigerated private bar, multi-line phone(s) with voicemail, flashlight, emergency overnight kits, in-tent safe, tea/coffee maker, down pillows, hypoallergenic pillows, thick terry bathrobes, twice-daily housekeeping service.
Activities: Mahout training, elephant trekking, longtail boat cruise on the Mekong River, jungle trekking, Nature walks, bird-watching, massages, hiking, sightseeing trips, wine tasting and learning traditional crafts.
Best time to visit: November to March.
Travel Tip: Chiang Rai International Airport around 70 km from the campsite.
Kamu Lodge-Luangprabang, Laos
Accommodation: 20 luxury tents
Set amidst lush jungle and rice fields, this beautiful resort will open up a new world of rustic villages, jungle trails and the mighty River Mekong on whose banks the lodge is situated. Delicious local food is served on banana leaves at low tables. Interaction with Kamu villagers is a delightful and enriching experience. Participation in their daily activities like rice farming, fishing, weaving and even gold panning guarantees to transmit you into another world of charm altogether. The weather-proof, thatched tents provide the perfect place for relaxation after a wonderful day.
Amenities: Solar powered hot water and electricity, private bathrooms, room service, shower, toilet, dining room, restaurant, spa.
Activities: Excursions to nearby villages, observing and participating in the traditional Kamu lifestyle activities; body treatments, fishing, hiking, bird-watching etc.
Best time to visit: November to February
Travel Tip: Three hour lodge-boat cruise away from Luang Prabang.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Koh Kong, Tatai River, Cambodia
Accommodation: 12 luxury tents
Glamping has acquired a whole new meaning at the unique, floating, luxury tent resort on Tatai River at Koh Kong. Set amidst the lush forest lands, the floating tents are inter-connected by a floating wooden pathway; together they are linked to a central pontoon. With the river at your doorstep, jungles around you, four-star luxurious accommodations and gourmet fare by a top chef, the scene is set for an unforgettable holiday.
Amenities: Kayaking (mangroves), hydro massage (Tatai Waterfalls), queen size beds/twin beds, restaurant, library, Wi-Fi in room, minibar, room service, running water, toilet, telephone, TV, DVD and games rental, shower, pool, solarium.
Activities: Trekking in the jungle, experiencing local customs, beliefs, natural cures, visit Cardamom Mountains and Southeast Asia’s largest coastal mangrove, excursions around 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, kayaking in the mangrove waterways, hydro massage (of the majestic Tatai Waterfalls), fishing, sunset cruise, photography etc.
Best time to visit: November to February
Travel Tip: 10-25 minutes boat trip from the Tatai town.
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort – Cebu Islands, Philippines
Accommodation: 6 luxury tents
Located in the beautiful, isolated island of Sumilon, this is a fish sanctuary with a variety of marine life. The tents are set up near the beautiful picnic grove in the lagoon. Visitors can marvel at the crystal clear waters, colourful fish species and the ancient watchtower. By nights there are bonfires and special Saturday dinners enlivened by native dance performances. There are various packages – for couples, families and divers.
Amenities: Twin beds, in-tent minibar, toiletries, cabinets, lamps, fans, cell service, camp assistant, Pavilion theme dinners, spa services infinity pool and airport transfers.
Activities: Bird-watching, kayaking, hiking, sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling, massages, library, lounging, cave tours, picnics, sunset, fishing in the lagoon etc.
Best Time to Visit: December to May
Travel Tip: 125 km from Cebu city
The Serai- Luxury desert camp and Spa-Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Accommodation: 21 luxury tents: 14 tented suites, 6 luxury tented suites, Royal Suite
This luxury desert camp and spa is located in the Great Thar Desert of India. An oasis of beauty and luxury, the resort has won several awards including ‘World’s Top 100-Readers’ Travel Awards’, Condè Nast and ranked among the ‘101 Best Spas in the World’, Tatler Spa Guide. The tented suites have an outer relaxing area, a sitting room, a bedroom, en suite bathroom; luxury tents have private gardens with a sunken pool; the Royal Suite has a private spa, outdoor pool, dining and lounge tents. Choicest gourmet food and drinks complete the perfect resort experience.
Amenities: Dining Tent, library, bar, spa, boutique, linens, running water, pool, shower, toilet, towels, laundry service.
Activities: Historical tours to Jaisalmer forts and temples, camel safaris, sun downers on the sand dunes.
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Travel Tip: 290 km from airport in Jodhpur; 60 km from airport in Jaisalmer for private chartered planes.
Tsermang Luxury Eco Camp, Ladakh
Accommodation: 8 luxury tents
Ideally located 10 minutes-drive from Leh, the Tsermang Eco Camp promises you an enchanting view of the Indus River. Set with an aim of understanding nature, it offers a serene and rejuvenating environment. Spread over more than 300 meters along the river, surrounded by thick seabuckthorn bushes, mountains and sunshine, it sure is a dream-like place. But step in, and adventure begins almost instantly, especially at night. Amidst a starlit sky, moonlit mountains, a silver-shimmering river and a something more you will always wait for.
Amenities: 12×12 ft. living area, weather-proof tents with attached bathrooms; twin beds high quality mattresses; wash basin, hand shower, western-style toilets, mirror, hot water buckets, running water, laundry service, antique cupboards, traditional indoor games, library, solar plugs for mobile and laptops, boutique with local and eco-friendly artists’ products and airport transfer.
Activities: Raft down the Indus River, Ladakhi cooking class, Royal Enfield motorbike exploration (at a cost), climbing the 6000 m peak Stok Kangri, a ride down the Khardung La Pass in mountain bike etc.
Best time to visit: May to mid-September
Travel Tip: Within 10 minutes’ drive from Leh
Glamping is the new buzzword in adventure travel. You can still have your cosy mattress and explore the desert or mountain at the same time. It is also possible now to include elderly people or younger children who could not have roughed it out in a regular camp otherwise. Now you have to arm yourself with far less gear than the regular camp would require; a couple of good books, games, the spirit of adventure and you are good to go!