This is Part 5 of our 5 part series on planning the ultimate road trip to Leh-Ladakh in India. We will cover every aspect – itinerary, accommodation, packing, driving – of planning an unforgettable Ladakh road trip:
Read Part 1 – Leh Ladakh Road Trip I (Gulmarg and Leh Ladakh) (opens in new tab)
Read Part 2 – Leh Ladakh Road Trip II (Nubra, Pangong, and Manali) (opens in new tab)
Read Part 3 – Packing for a road trip to Leh and Ladakh (opens in new tab)
Read Part 4 – 10 Dos and Donts for a road trip to Leh-Ladakh, India (opens in new tab)
India’s seductive outdoors – like you’ve NEVER seen it before!!
A few weeks ago, the two of us left for a long-winded road trip of Ladakh. As we inched closer towards Ladakh, bucolic fields and orchards gave way to barren plateaux and brightly-coloured monasteries – splashes of colour in an otherwise tawny landscape. I stared at the vistas flying past the car window, waiting to arrive at our destination – The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC) in Ladakh.
On reaching Leh we checked into our abode at TUTC’s Chamba Camp Thiksey. Luxurious tents kitted out with all the modern amenities one would expect of a 5 star hotel welcomed us – with one difference! Unlike most luxury hotels, the camp site allowed us the rare luxury of sleeping amidst Ladakh’s star-spangled sky, overlooking the magnificent Thiksey Monastery. Slowly but surely I could see my fantasy – of experiencing some of the most remote landscapes in the world in a boho-luxe environment – come to life!
Our heated ‘tent’ had Persian rugs, hot and cold showers, decadent jasmine-scented toiletries, mini-bar, plug sockets, loungers, elaborate chandeliers, and 24 hour butler service (who can say no to coffee on call?). The long drive left us knackered, so most of the day was spent reading and napping between luxurious ivory bedspreads. Later that evening when we stepped out of our tent, I could see the warm glow of dozens of flickering lanterns. As we devoured a three-course spread while gazing at distant peaks, I could feel the disbelief creeping in.
The gorgeous dining room at Chamba Camp, Thiksey
We’ve been on a fair few glamorous camping escapes in Peru, Australia, and South Africa, but nobody does it like The Ultimate Travelling Camp in India – this is glamping at its most elaborate. Dining options range from authentic home-cooked Indian food to European delicacies. We loved the Indian thalis (tasting platters) and feta-laden Greek salads at Chamba Camp Thiksey. Every night, turn-down service is accompanied with chocolates and a little bedtime story based on a Ladakhi legend. Bedtime stories used to be my absolute favourite ritual growing up and I loved coming back to little scrolls every night at the campsite.
But it’s the panoramas that elevated these daily rituals to something else altogether. Living amidst Ladakh’s soundlessness with a cobalt-blue canopy above our heads, far far away from civilisation and the maddening crowds ensures a heady experience – a high like no other! It’s hard to articulate the lure of waking up to suspended clouds, sipping on coffee while admiring the sun’s glimmering rays, or staring at Thiksey Monastery at sunset.
So taken in were we by the entire experience that we decided to sample Chamba Camp Thiksey’s sister property in the Nubra Valley as well. The landscape in Nubra Valley is surreal to say the least! The barren panoramas resemble nothing you would’ve seen before. As for Chamba Camp Diksit, this is truly as remote as it gets! Nestled in a valley overlooking the gorgeous Diskit Monastery, the campsite boasts of upscale canvas lodging with four poster beds, spacious bathrooms, decadent furnishings reminiscent of African Safari camps, butler service, and al-fresco dining.
It’s no secret – true luxury lies in slowing down. Chamba Camp Diskit offers the perfect opportunity to do just that! It’s possible to go for a variety of excursions to the sand-dunes at Hundar, the impressive Maitreya Buddha at Diskit, or Ladakhi lakes such as Tso Kar. By all means explore the area. But keep an afternoon for allowing yourself the ultimate luxury of doing nothing. Here deep in the wilderness – away from everything and everyone – you’ll wake up to magical clouds suspended over your tent, bright rainbows in the distance, and glistening lagoons at every corner.
We spent an entire afternoon walking around the campsite, floating and gliding in this magic land – staring at rainbows, watching the Ladakhi wind play games with our hair. Once tired, we came back to a memorable lunch of watermelon and feta salad, pan-seared scallops with cauliflower foam and sun-dried tomato concasse, lamb chops, and freshly-baked chocolate brownies. I treasure the memory of that lunch as a talisman, one that will always remind me of our sojourn in Ladakh. Look at the photo of our lunch table below – can you blame us for believing glamping adds a special sparkle to travelling to remote locations?
The thirst for experiencing new places – THIS is how it’s satiated!! 🙂
- The Ultimate Travelling Camps at Camba Camp Thiksey and Chamba Camp Diskit are located in quiet locations with breath-taking views, away from traditional tourist trails. To us, this is what made them truly special.
- As with most luxury hotels in India, you can expect top-notch hospitality and excellent food. The remote location does not get in the way of gastronomic delights served at the camps.
- Book in advance as the camps run only from May- October and are usually sold out. We were there for 8 nights and it was booked to full capacity on most days.
- We would suggest spending 3 nights at Chamba Camp Thiksey and 2 nights at Chamba Camp Diskit. Lookout for special deals and packages online before you book your stay.
- This is camping at its most luxurious: tents boasts of four poster beds, heaters, hot showers, and decadent furnishings. It might be a camping site but expect all modern amenities of a luxury hotel.
- The itinerary, customised by The Ultimate Travelling Camp, gives guests a chance to relish local delicacies and visit local temples and monasteries, giving them a chance to acquaint them with the locals’ way of life
- There is no wifi in the tents but there is wifi available at the reception. Wifi in Ladakh is through satellite, so do not except super-fast speeds but it was satisfactory (even for an internet fiend like me!)
- Little touches like bedtime stories and chocolates, 24 hour butler service,jasmine-scented toiletries, bespoke meals, and Ladakh’s monasteries glimmering in the afternoon sun make a stay at The Ultimate Travelling Camp truly special
- Packages start at £1500/person. More information on their website www.tutc.com
Love finding offbeat accommodation all around the world? Read about our stay in an igloo
Planning a trip to India? Read all our articles from India
We were guests of Cox and Kings at TUTC. We are 2 extremely opinionated ninjas, so all opinions (good, bad, and hyperbolic) are our own. Read our Disclosure Policy for further information.