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Luxury in the lap of wildness

Updated: 2021-09-20 17:37 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Luxury camps at the Norden campsite on the Sangke Grassland in Xiahe city, Gansu province, offer visitors comfortable stay. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Apart from glamorous camping or "glamping", luxury campsites surrounded by grasslands or mountains offering fully furnished tents with the comforts and services of five-star hotels are also in high demand. So high is the demand that people have to book well in advance to secure such a tent.

Yidam Kyap, founder of Norden, a luxury campsite on Sangke Grassland in Xiahe city, Gansu province, wasn't surprised to see all his tents and wooden cabins fully booked for the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday and the weeklong National Day holiday in the first week of October.

The 39-year-old Tibetan, who grew up near the campsite, decided in 2013 to set up the facility on the traditional winter pastureland used by Tibetan nomads. The site started operation in 2015.

"I want people to get a taste of the lifestyle of Tibetan herdsman during their holiday without having to comprise on comfort," he said.

Norden, meaning "spiritual wealth" in Tibetan, is open for only about five months a year because the grassland needs to be returned to the herdsmen in the winter.

Maintaining a healthy balance between camping activities, and herdsmen's livelihood and environmental protection is our priority,"Yidam Kyap said.

In Norden, guests can wake up on the vast grassland in fully furnished tents or cabins and have all the meals prepared by top chefs although they have to pay 1,975 yuan ($306) for two for a night's stay in a tent, or 5,200 yuan a night for a family cabin even during off-peak season.

To minimize the site's impact on the environment, all materials used to set up the tents are carried to the campsite manually every year. They are also removed carefully when winter approaches, and all the toiletries provided are eco-friendly. "We don't provide bottled water. Besides taking home the memory of the grand landscape of the Sangke Grassland, we also want visitors to realize the importance of environmental protection," Yidam Kyap said.

He was worried about the spread of novel coronavirus infection and business prospects when the campsite reopened in May 2020, but "it turned out that my concerns were unnecessary. The site was as busy as always".

"In fact, I think the epidemic has made people want to re-connect with nature more than ever because they have realized how easily our life can change because of the power of nature," Yidam Kyap said.

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