What is Glamping? Tips on Your Glamping Vacation in India

The word glamping is a combination of the words glamour and camping. It refers to a style of camping without giving up on certain comforts. Known by other names such as boutique camping or luxury camping, glamping typically involves camping in spots of great natural beauty with the luxuries of a hotel such as king sized bed, washroom, portable kitchen, WiFi connection and spa among others.

Most of us have fun-filled memories from our childhood camping trips. Discovering a unique location in the middle of forests or hills, erecting a tent and building a fire gave us a sense of adventure and accomplishment. There were a lot of lessons to be learnt about responsibility and survival as well.

With age however our focus shifts from the rigorous aspects of adventure and lesson-learning to beautiful experiences, comfort and company. Traditional camping calls for specialized skills and hardships. You have to cook your own food over a live fire, use tools to set up tents and facilities and go behind the bushes to relieve yourself, even in the middle of the night. Things can get tougher if you plan to go camping with a large group of friends or families with elderly or young children. This is where glamping comes in. With all your needs and comforts taken care of, you can divert all your time and energy into having a good time with your family.

Although the word was officially defined in 2005, the concept of glamping was observed back in 16th century. The earls and dukes of England were accustomed to camping in absolute luxury with effects and possessions brought from their palaces. The sultans of the Ottoman Empire were known to camp out in exquisitely decorated tents complete with arrangements for banquets, floral decorations and exhibitions of paintings. Probably one of the most legendary tales of glamping goes back to the 1520s when King Henry VIII of England met Francis I of France in a diplomatic session. Legends say that over 2800 luxurious tents were erected with rivers of wine flowing through richly tiled walkways.

Photo by Ranch Seeker on Flickr

Difference between Camping and Glamping

To understand exactly how you can enjoy glamping over traditional camping, let us understand some key differences between the two.

  • Accommodation- Typical camping involves you putting up your own tents from basic materials. They have severe limitations in terms of facilities and comfort, and usually have enough room for a couple of sleeping bags. Glamping offers huge and elaborate tents which come with a variety of facilities such as washbasins, bug-screens, proper beds, cupboards and shelves, portable screens and bath among others. You can also select your own style of tent from a wide range of choices such as geodomes, tipis, yurts, RVs, cabin-tents and cubes.
  • Storage facilities- Going out into the wild with your friends and family will naturally involve carrying a significant amount of baggage to transport all the supplies and clothing. Traditional camping usually has no provisions for storage leaving you to rely on the space in your car or simply hanging backpacks from trees. Glamping spots have cottage or yurt facilities which give you ample room to store all your clothes. Some even come with refrigerators for you to store fresh food and supplies.
  • Availability of water- Easy access to water is the most crucial factor in setting up a successful camp. Unless you are well versed with the geography of the location, your camping destinations can be severely limited to vicinities of rivers and lakes. Added to this are concerns regarding the purity of naturally occurring water. With glamping, you have continuous access to clean water which are stored in tanks and hence can be made available even in remote locations. Glampers also enjoy access to washbasins, showers and properly equipped restrooms.
  • Managing your food- With camping you are stuck making your own food over a wood or charcoal fire. You cook whatever supplies you brought with yourself and hastily warp something up to kill the hunger pangs. Some glamping spots are equipped with a fully functional kitchen and quite a few have a fixed or variable menu restaurant. Most glamping stays have in-house chefs and catering services which offer tasty snacks and delicacies throughout the day.
  • Luxurious experience-This is probably the greatest distinguishing factor between camping and glamping. Camping trips provide little to no luxury with the focus being on learning from hardships. You have to sleep on the ground, keep away animals and pests and search for water sources. Glamping on the other hand comes equipped with luxury features that can match most hotels. TV screens, internet connectivity, game rooms, bars, spas and room service are just some of the features you get to enjoy.

Photo by Milla Rice on Flickr

Tips for making the most out of glamping vacations

While glamping is a pre-packaged experience taking care of all your needs and concerns, there are certain steps you can follow in order to have the best possible time with your family and friends. Mentioned below are some easy to follow tips for your glamping trip.

  • Choose your location wisely- No matter how comfortable or luxurious the glamps are, your primary objective as a tourist is to experience the place. There’s no point in staying at an expensive and comfortable camp if you cannot enjoy the location. Hence, it is wise to research the destination and find out about the activities you can undertake.
  • Pack enough clothes- Unlike your regular camping experience, glamping is akin to staying at a hotel and so has provisions for storage of luggage. You should carry enough clothes as demanded by the duration and nature of stay. Campers pack light due to apprehensions about storage and maintenance but with glamps you don’t have to worry.
  • Keep the environment in mind- While ensuring your comforts is a vital part of glamping, understand that your glamps are located in places of great natural beauty. Your luxuries and facilities should never come at the cost of environmental damage. Before you pick a glamping stay or go about setting up your own glamp, consider the carbon footprint of your stay and look for opportunities to reduce energy consumption.
  • Prepare for the wild- Considering you are staying in the wilderness, it’s important to understand your surroundings and prepare for them. For instance, if you are glamping in a rainforest, leech guards, mosquito repellents and raincoats can come in plenty handy. Needless to say, you should always carry sturdy hiking shoes and plan clothing according to the region’s weather and natural characteristics. A flash light, hat, water bottles and a light backpack for walks are other useful items for almost all experiences in the nature.
  • Experience the natural beauty- The purpose of glamps is to ensure that you are relaxed and energetic enough to go explore the wilderness. The luxuries are present so that you can completely focus on enjoying the location. Do not become a couch potato within the comforts of your glamp. Get out there, breathe some fresh air, discover local flora and fauna, and watch the sunset with your family.
  • Don’t waste too much time cooking- While it is true that some glamping stays provide well-equipped kitchen and fresh supplies, you should keep your cooking responsibilities to a minimum. The aim of glamping is to relax without having to worry about anything else. If you decide to cook for your friends and family, then stick to using only one pot and cook simple dishes.

7 awesome glamping stays in India

India is a country that is not only famous for its vast diversity of exotic natural location but also for its exquisite sense of hospitality. Needless to say any glamping experience in this country is going to be a memorable one. Mentioned below are top five glamping stays spread all over the country that not only provide a breathtaking view of nature but are also lavish with their hospitality.

1. Grassroots Wayanad, Kerala – Mid-range

Hidden deep within the foliage of coffee plantations, the Grassroots at Wayanad focuses on providing a five-star experience to its guests. With all the urban amenities available, the glamp also organizes tourist activities such as bird watching, bamboo raft riding and bicycle rides.

2. Serai Desert Camp and Spa, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan – Luxury

This princely glamping resort provides a very luxurious experience in the desert of Rajasthan. Complete with swimming pools, spas, thousand feet long tents and lounge bars, the Serai puts the glamour in glamping.

3. The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambore, Rajasthan – Luxury

Situated just a few meters from the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, the Oberoi Vanyavilas brings the together the adventurous experience of finding Royal Bengal tigers with the comforts of a 5-star experience. You can take a birds-eye view from the hotel observatory or relax in the ayurvedic spa after a long day’s trek.

4. Bheemeshwari Adventure and Nature Camp, Karnataka – Mid-range

Famous for the extensive diversity of flora and fauna, the Bheemeshwari Adventure and Nature Camp is placed on the banks of the Cauvery River. The resort offers many opportunities and activities for both adventure and relaxation. Birding, river rafting, coracle rides, warm bonfire with snacks, wildlife movies and nature walks – this stay is truly an in-the-nature experience.

5. Tsermang Eco Camp, Ladakh, J&K – Budget

Located on the banks of the Indus river, Tsermang Eco Camp offers one of the best experiential stays near the Himalayas. The camp is equipped with solar chargers for electronics, offer cooking classes and access to ethnic cuisines, meditation and yoga classes and transportation.

6. Banjaar Tola by Taj, Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh – Luxury 

The Banjaar Tola sprawls across 90 acres of private land which directly overlooks the Kanha National Park. With a beautiful river as a backfrop thelusurious cmap provides, swimming pools, private dinning areas, libraries and glassdoor equipped luxury suits all presented in a modern and artistic fashion.

7. La Mangrove, Canacona, Goa – Luxury 

La Mangrove is a chic and luxurious eco stay in South Goa. Restaurants with exotic cuisines, glamorous teepees with attached bathrooms and lounge beds across the riverbanks, La Mangrove ensures that your experience of the Goan beauty is filled with comfort and style.

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