The Ultimate Traveling Camp - Chamba Camp, Thiksey
Thiksey, Himalaya, India
At a Glance
Amazing luxury camp located in Lakakh in Northern India
Totally off the beaten track overlooking Thiksey Monastery
En-suite bathrooms and private sit outs - the ultimate glamping experience
Explore the surrounding area by day including walks through remote villages, monasteries, trekking, rafting and even polo
Wonderful home-cooked food
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Ladakh is open for tourists only during the summer months of May to September as it is the only season when the passes open.
The weather of Ladakh remains cold and chilly for most part of the year. Winter usually lasts from October to May and its usually very cold. Frost bites are a common occurrence, making it a very inhospitable climate for visiting. During these months the whole area is covered with snow. Monsoon season experiences rainfall but due to the land slides, the area is closed. The temperature is cool and can go up to 33°C.
To start planning your vacation to The Ultimate Travelling Camp - Chamba Camp, Thiksey
The Ultimate Traveling Camp moves to Ladakh in the summer months from mid June to the end of September. Their Chamba Camp in Thiksey provides sumptuous tented accommodation, from which you are able to explore this magical part of India in style.
The Ultimate Traveling Camp offers the first truly mobile tented luxury camps in India. They provide camps throughout Northern India and are erected when the weather is best. The camps are located in Nagaland, the jungles of Dudhwa National Park, Srinagar and Ladakh. Chamba Camp in Thiksey, Ladakh is open from mid June to the end of September as this part of India is outside of the rain shadow and does not get affected by the monsoon and it is the best time to visit Ladakh.
The concept of the camps is to take you far off the beaten track, yet have a base that offers all the luxury you want. By day, you can explore to your heart's content - visiting areas that see little or no tourism, and by night retreat to your relaxing camp with excellent food and a luxury tent. It is at the cutting edge of experiential luxury travel and is breaking the mould in offering a fabulous insight into the destination you are exploring, without compromising on your creature comforts.
The camp has 14 air-conditioned tents and overlooks Thiksey Monastery. Each tent offers en-suite bathrooms with hot showers, crisp luxury linens and private decks offering views over the Monastery. Exceptional service is offered from your own valet and the excellent food is provided in a main dining tent, as well as private dining in several idyllic settings such as under a willow tree near one of the three water bodies.
There are a range of wonderful experiences to choose from exploring the many Buddhist Monasteries, walking through remote villages to more active options such as polo, rafting, trekking, cycling and archery.
You can of course combine the Thiksey experience with the Ultimate Traveling Camp at Diskit in the remote Nubra Valley of Ladakh to explore this region of the Himalayas more deeply. There are a host of combinations can also be arranged such as adding a beach element in Sri Lanka or the Maldives after your time in Ladakh making it a great summer honeymoon option, or customizing a journey to another corner of India.
The camp has 18 air-conditioned tents and overlooks Thiksey Monastery. Each tent offers en-suite bathrooms with hot showers, crisp luxury linens, safe deposit, laundry service, valet service and private decks offering views over the Monastery.
Sara Wells (Staff)
Chamba Camp is the most luxurious accommodation option in Ladakh. The glamping experience includes butler service and delicious cuisine, and the location of this property, overlooking Thiksey Monastery makes for atmospheric dining experiences. It is the perfect comfortable base from which to explore Ladakh's monasteries and local villages.
Run by the Ultimate Traveling Camp, the project is an unusual commercial and spiritual partnership. One of our monks was given responsibility to work with the camp, the Rinpoche says, explaining that he will use any funds gained from supporting Ladakhs first dalliance with glamping to educate the younger monks in his care. So although we do not know anything about luxury, we do have a person assigned to help oversee its operation.
My wife and I had arrived to test out the newly opened Chamba Camp Thiksey four days earlier. A brief early-morning flight from New Delhi took us to Leh, Ladakhs capital, which stands more than 11,500ft above sea level. A half-hour drive out of town later and the monk mentioned by the Rinpoche greets us as we arrive at the camps front gate, offering blessings as we adjust to the scenery.
The view is extraordinary. Patches of green dot the valley, where clutches of spindly poplar trees rise up amid rustic farmland that is irrigated once a year by water melting off the glaciers high above. Yet the mountains that envelop it are dry and dramatic, with arid brown peaks rising up suddenly on each side. Perched on Indias most northerly tip, Ladakh sits between the flanks of neighboring China and Pakistan. Until the 1970s, security concerns combined with the regions inhospitable topography meant it was mostly closed to visitors. Latterly, the area has offered a rough-and-ready form of tourism, drawing intrepid visitors with its moonscape scenery, challenging hikes and craggy Buddhist temples.
Accommodation, however, has been limited mostly to home-stays and more basic hotels something the self-styled nomadic super-luxury camp plans to change. The concept was to go to places that didnt have much in the way of infrastructure, where there werent any five stars. And there, Ladakh was an obvious choice, says Prem Devassy, the facilitys general manager. After a trial period this month, the camp will be open fully from June next year for Ladakhs four-month tourist season.
In the interim as the much longer winter closes in and before the handful of mountain passes that connect the region to the rest of India are closed the camp is to be packed up and sent off by truck, to be pitched in other corners of the country. Planned locations include a stop in Nagaland in Indias distant northeast, along with another at a jungle site in Dudhwa National Park, close to the Nepalese border.
We spend our first day acclimatising to the altitude and nosing around the site, which is dominated by two large marquees. One has comfortable sofas and a bar, where we are greeted with steaming mugs of Himalayan tea a tasty concoction of Earl Grey, peach juice and sugar. The other provides a dining area, serviced by eight chefs and innumerable friendly waiters in uniform.
The plush bedroom tents, meanwhile, come with wooden floors and a four-poster bed, along with an elegant colonial-style chest and writing desk. Light-toned drapes cover the walls, while a huge air-conditioning unit blasts warm air to fend off the night-time chill. The en suite bathroom isnt heated but is pleasantly furnished with warm fluffy towels and a brass sink imported from the UK.
Much of the pleasure of the accommodation comes from just unzipping the front flaps and sitting on the balcony. To the left, over the river, lie the Himalayas. To the right, the Karakoram Range. And, straight ahead, the improbable jumble of Thiksey monastery itself, where a dozen storeys of white buildings are packed on top of one another, perched on a hill a few minutes down the road.
More of the areas natural beauty rolls by as we drive down the valley to watch a polo match. Riders in cheery red and blue uniforms stand in line as we pull up and proceed to kick up clouds of dust as they gallop around on small ponies. The early evening sun casts moody shadows over the mountains, while local musicians helpfully strike up a tune whenever a point is scored.
The rest of our stay is mainly spent on gentle walks and mountain-bike rides in the nearby countryside. We pass an afternoon ambling around Leh, visiting its ancient palaces and windy backstreets. There are more adventurous options, too, including rafting trips down the Indus and much longer guided treks (which can add as much as a week to a trip). On our penultimate day, we plump for the latter, heading to the 17,300ft Wari La pass.
On the corkscrew journey up, herds of shaggy-haired yak and dzo a half-yak, half-cow hybrid stand near the roadside; we also spot a few furry treacle-colored Himalayan marmots scampering about in the distance. But the real treat comes on the return leg, when we are greeted by a table and canopy on the mountainside, under which the camps staff provide a surprise three-course picnic. Polishing off my pudding, I realise its the highest meal Ive ever eaten.
Next came morning prayers, where dozens more monks gathered to chant in a darkened assembly room. The effect is surprisingly relaxed: butter tea is poured for guests, while the younger participants (some of whom look no more than four or five) grin playfully at each other in the pews. None of this, however, provides much insight into why the Rinpoche allowed the camp to set up in the first place, so I press for an audience, which is granted on our final morning, just as we head to the airport.
As our time in his chambers draws to an end, I ask whether he feels the monastery will benefit from its new visitors. Ladakh is not what Ladakh used to be, he says. Today everyone is a little bit more busy. People used to come and volunteer and help us maintain our building but now we must look at other ways. The monastery cannot do everything. Even so, he appears content with the venture, and enthusiastic about its future.
Ladakh In Style
Delhi, Nubra & Thiksey
from $4300 pp 9 nights
- This itinerary allows you to get totally off the beaten track whilst staying in some spectacular accommodation with two Ultimate Traveling Camps
- Through this itinerary you'll be able to enjoy exceptional experiences such as walks through remote villages, monasteries and trekking
- Itinerary includes a drive over the highest motorable pass in the world, surrounded by striking scenery
Location & directions
Thiksey, Himalaya, India
Thiksey is located about 1-hour from Leh the capital of Ladakh.