Perched upon the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau is one of China’s best-kept secrets for whole body wellness, Norden Camp. Norden Camp offers visitors a tantalizing glimpse into what life is like on the ‘roof of the world’ and is the perfect place to reconnect with a less-stressed, healthier version of yourself.
Tibetan-style camping rewards (wild) wellness travelers with off-the-beaten-track adventure among the unique landscapes, wildlife, and cultures of this sacred plateau. In the majestic province of Gansu, far from the hustle and bustle of China’s coastal cities, lucky visitors can unwind in seclusion and surprising luxury.
Norden Camp offers sweeping vistas epitomizing the word ‘sanctuary.’ Here, you can rediscover your bliss and reconnect with nature in a way that will relax and rejuvenate you. It’s the perfect place for a wellness retreat from it all. Read on to discover the treasures to be found in camping on the Tibetan Plateau.
Get Grounded in Nature
Rolling grasslands of rich green spread as far as the eye can see, framed by snowcapped peaks and dotted with yak and sheep – these are the scenes that welcome visitors who choose to camp in this quiet corner of China. This is untouched wilderness, Tibetan style, with winding rivers fed by fresh snowmelt from the Himalayas cutting through lush, green pastures.
Tibetan Yak wander through the camp, foxes, and chiru (Tibetan gazelle) run free in the grasslands, and rare species of birds hide in pretty patchworks of summer flowers. Camping out on the Tibetan Plateau offers visitors a glimpse into one of the few places where this unique mosaic of wildlife remains intact to this day.
Feast On Sustainable, Local Ingredients
Norden Camp was founded by and is staffed by local nomads, offering visitors the perfect introduction to their way of life. When you first arrive you’ll be warmly welcomed with a dinner of local cuisine, and throughout your journey, the staff will be at your beck and call, hoping you love their home as much as them.
These migratory herders roam about the region, accompanied by their sheep and yak. Taking a peek into their tents, and perhaps having a bite of what’s stewing in the cooking pots is completely fine, as they treat travelers like old friends.
To lower the camp’s ecological footprint, all dishes are sustainably sourced, and simple yet delicious, with Tibetan staples like wild mushrooms, highland barley, and yak cheese. What’s more, these wholesome, hearty foods are ideal after a busy day exploring the surrounding countryside.
Be Heart-Centered and Give Something Back
Visitors can rest easy here, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be giving something back to local communities while enjoying low-impact living.
Guests can get crafty, learning to weave delicate yak wool fibers together at Norden Camp’s sister project Norlha workshop, part of a local NGO. At Norlha, luxury and sustainability meet in a project that capitalizes on the region’s abundant supply of yak wool, spinning high-end goods like scarfs and blankets to be sold all over the world. This not only means taking home beautiful handicrafts to treasure, but also helping the precious skills and traditions of local artisans to live on long after the camping trip ends.
Camping here offers the choice of staying in a yak wool tent or log cabin, living as the nomads do. Despite the simplicity of it all, visitors will slip into luxurious comfort, sleeping under handwoven yak wool blankets and kept cozy with a warm stove. This is the ideal place for couples to cuddle up together, or for the world-weary to simply get away from it all and rest in a place of supreme bliss.
Leg-Stretching, Eye-Opening Experiences
With all the crisp Tibetan air and unspoiled scenery, it’s foolish to not go rambling through the countryside. Horseback riding and hiking throughout the surroundings is the ideal way to take in the sweeping views of this boundless plateau and get your blood flowing.
The gleaming, golden-capped roofs of nearby Labrang monastery offering a dazzling, unmatched display, while the waft of incense and chanting of sutras inside the temples leave many spellbound. Pay homage, Tibetan style, by making a kora (Tibetan pilgrimage) around this imposing, city-like complex. Well-regarded as one of the better walks in China, you can join Tibetan pilgrims who prostrate their way around the temples, stupas, courtyards, and monuments of this busy scenery. This walk will do your mind, body, and soul some good.
Once the day is done, stargazing into the infinite skies over the so-called ‘roof of the world’ is simply breathtaking. Camping here means you’ll be admiring those same night skies that have remained completely unchanged for thousands of years, just like this place.
As spring is here and summer approaches, now is the ideal time to explore this spiritual kingdom, as it reawakens with the warmer days. Get planning your Tibetan Camping Retreat today.