Wild Coast Tented Lodge Yala Sri Lanka

Asia's Best Luxury Glamping and Tented Camps

5 September 2018

Forget tins of baked beans around the fire – camping these days is a much more glamorous affair! Thanks to a range of jaw-droppingly luxurious camping retreats that have opened in some of Asia's most stunning destinations, you can experience all the splendour of nature's beauty and the spirit of tropical adventure, without any of the uncomfortable drawbacks. From private nature sanctuaries to eco treehouse villas, here are a few of the best luxury camping options in the region… no sleeping bags, we promise.

Capella Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

If you've exhausted Bali's beaches and surfing spots, Capella Ubud delivers a dose of something completely different – an unforgettable stay deep within the Indonesian rainforest. Not a single tree was cut during construction of this sumptuous tented camp, making for a truly immersive experience in the heart of Bali's beautiful natural surroundings.

Bill Bensley's signature exquisite design rears its head again in Capella's 21 tented retreats (plus one even more sumptuous two-bedroom lodge), all of which boast their own private saltwater pools. All guests receive a welcome duffel bag packed with camp essentials, along with 24-hour service from a dedicated Capella Personal Assistant, and there's a full range of amazing tailored experiences to take advantage of too – including jungle trekking, mountain biking, candlelit picnics and temple visits. For homelier pleasures, don't miss dinner under the stars at Capella's Camp Fire, where your hot chocolate and marshmallows come served with tales from a local storyteller, movie screenings or the music of a full-blown jungle orchestra.

Wild Coast Tented Lodge Yala, Sri Lanka

Locations don't come much more spectacular than that of Wild Coast Tented Lodge. Nestled where the jungle meets the beach on Sri Lanka's southern coast, this majestic safari camp sits mere minutes from Yala National Park, meaning some of the world's most incredible wildlife lies literally right on your doorstep – including leopards, monkeys, sloth bears and elephants… who have even been known to make midnight appearances on the beach itself.

The retreat's 28 cocoon-like tents take luxury to whole new levels, with a vintage explorer style that features teak floors, plush leather armchairs, free-standing copper bathtubs and Pinterest-worthy four-poster beds – but without stinting on mod-cons like air-conditioning and Sonos sound systems either. There's an open-air restaurant, spa and infinity pool on-site too but trust us – you'll want to dedicate most of your free time to safari drives to the park, where naturalist guides are on-hand to showcase the area's breathtaking biodiversity.

TreeHouse Villas, Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

If you remember playing in treehouses when you were younger, get ready to relive your childhood – except in much more fabulous style – at the gorgeous TreeHouse Villas. Set in Koh Yao Noi's jungle canopy, these stunning duplexes are decorated with upcycled materials in an eco-chic aesthetic, and each feature their own private plunge pool, direct beach access, an open-air living area complete with a double swing, and a spacious upstairs that boasts a king-size bed, hammock-shaped bath, jungle shower and awe-inspiring views over the treetops towards the sea.

With a strictly adults-only policy and accommodation that's tailor-made for two, TreeHouse Villas is the perfect choice for couples – so why not take the resort up on some lavish romantic in-villa dinners, or even a private candlelit meal on the beach? Other options include divine spa treatments (which can also be done in-villa on request), guided island tours, snorkelling and scuba diving trips and traditional Thai cooking classes… if you can tear yourself away from your treehouse, that is.

 

The luxurious upstairs escape

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Shinta Mani Wild, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Set to open in November 2018, the newest property by renowned resort designer Bill Bensley, Shinta Mani Wild is a private nature sanctuary, set along 1.5km of river and waterfalls at the intersection of the Kirirom, Cardamom and Bokor National Parks, deep in Cambodia's untamed southwest.

Built in partnership with a number of conservation organisations, along with the Cambodian government, the resort is designed to have as little ecological impact as possible, and the Shinta Mani Founation will provide employment and education opportunities to the local population. Comprising just 15 100 square-metre tents, perched over the river and designed to offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort to intrepid travellers, the Shinta Mani Wild aesthetic is unashamedly lavish, described as "Cambodian Safari meets Jackie O". Far from roughing it, the camp will offer visitors a restaurant that utilises the area's own foraged ingredients, a spectacular waterfall bar and even a spa that uses only naturally-produced Khmer products, for a truly authentic back-to-nature experience.

The Pavilions Mongolia

Some 360 kilometres west of Ulan Bator lies the Orkhon Valley National Park, home to numerous historical sites, wild landscapes and The Pavilions – a magnificent tented camp offering unprecedented luxury in rugged surroundings. Ornately-painted wood-and-canvas "gers" (traditional Mongolian tents) are made cosy with wood burning stoves, cashmere blankets and hot water bottles, while the camp boasts hearty dining options, freshly prepared each day.

Your stay also includes a packed itinerary of bracing outdoor activities, featuring kayaking, archery, mountain biking, horse riding, rock climbing and trekking. History buffs will enjoy the guided historical day trips, with destinations that include Karakorum (former capital of the Mongol Empire), while keen photographers will appreciate the unique light, sweeping views and starlight night skies of the Mongolian Steppes. There's even a spa, run by The Pavilions' resident shaman, and regular yoga classes to help you find a meditative frame of mind after a hard day's exploration.

The Pavilions Himalayas, Nepal

Nestled within lush forest in a picturesque Nepalese valley outside the city of Pokhara, The Pavilions Himalayas comprises just 14 eco-villas, making for a tranquil and exclusive getaway. The villas occupy part of an organic farm and focus on delivering a blissfully intimate yet highly sustainable stay, through the use of solar energy, biogas and rainwater harvesting to power the resort, which also aims to offer employment to 50 per cent of the local population on its property.

But while the resort certainly operates consciously, a stay at The Pavilions Himalayas is no exercise in deprivation. The plush private villas offer welcome home comforts including wood fires, deep bathtubs and private terraces with spectacular views. Meanwhile the resort's chefs craft the homegrown produce into delicious fresh Nepali dishes, with a seasonal menu that changes weekly. Activities and excursions abound, including tours of the nearby Phewa Lake, temple visits, hikes and mountain biking around the valley, where you can experience the stunning natural vistas all around you.

 

Chalet room

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HOSHINOYA Fuji, Japan

It's no real surprise that the Japanese take on glamping is an exercise in minimalist elegance and HOSHINOYA, overlooking the beautiful Lake Kawaguchi, is a perfect example of the genre. Offering contemporary, glass-walled cabins crafted from raw concrete and decorated in a pared-back style that puts the focus firmly on the beautiful views outside, the comfortable accommodation is blanketed year-round in red pines, cherry, gingko and maple trees.

Over at the restaurant, a multi-course French menu takes its inspiration from its surroundings, offering game cooked with wild herbs, fruit and vegetables according to the season. For something a little simpler, guests can prepare their own al fresco feasts using the outdoor Dutch ovens and skillets at the Forest Kitchen or retire to their cabin's balcony to soak up the beauty of the night sky accompanied by the in-room dining menu. With workshops that include food smoking with natural woodchips, horse riding and early morning canoeing, there's plenty here to fulfil all your wild living fantasies.

Rachel Read & Kate Farr

Kate Farr and Rachel Read are freelance writers, editors and bloggers based in Hong Kong. In addition to writing for the likes of Flight Centre, Hong Kong Tatler, Jetstar Asia, Home Journal and Expat Living, the pair also founded their own lifestyle blogs; Kate writes about parenting and travel at Accidental Tai Tai, whilst Rachel blogs about beauty and food at Through The Looking Glass. Follow their adventures on Instagram (@accidental_tt and @rachttlg).