First time glamping experience

The term “Glamping” is derived by blending the sounds and meaning of two separate words, “glamorous” and “camping” compounded together. To those new to the idea of glamping, it is a style of camping that allows your average traveller to live at a campsite with all the modern amenities and services which one usually wouldn’t associate with camping.

This novel idea of glamping was introduced to Lachung in North Sikkim by OurGuest Travels. They started out their pilot venture about a year back in the month of August in 2019 with four double bedded tents. The campsite is located in the serene area of Bichhu village, overlooking mountains on all sides and easily accessible by car.

Lachung is a small mountainous village hamlet, located close to the border with Tibet and China. It is surrounded by beautiful apple orchards which is the main cash crop of the region; besides apricots and peaches. It lies at the confluence of two rivers – the Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu and is situated at an elevation of 9600 feet above sea level, which makes the air around the campsite thin, crisp and always fresh!

The roads that lead you to OurGuest Camp in Lachung is abundant with wild Himalayan steams and waterfalls that are fed on the glacial meltwaters and connect to small rivulets and larger rivers as they flow downstream to the plains and finally drain into the Bay of Bengal. One can spot many a variety of wild flowers blooming all along the way – yellow, purple and pink ; once you get to the upper reaches; and the landscape too starts to change gradually.
The serpentine roads and narrow ridges through landslide prone cliffs give way to a verdant valley with the river perpetually on one side, as the climb to the campsite gets steeper and steeper. The first sight that draws you to the camp are the snow-capped peaks which are at a 360 degree angle from the tents and the sparkling stream beside the road. The mountains in the morning are a sight to behold with the morning sun slowly coming up behind it ! A rustic wooden slider gate greets you at the helm through which you can make your way to the tents and dining space via a modest kitchen garden tended by Mr Wongchuk. He always has a few organic vegetables on hand and guests can sample some of the fresh cabbages, radish, snow peas, spring onions and tomatoes that he plants. Besides the vegetables, you can also get a taste of his blueberry wine if it is in stock, which he prepares seasonally with the wild berries sourced and foraged locally around Lachung.

Coming to the accommodation, the guests are housed in tented rooms which can easily be shared by two individuals. The tents for the campsite are made from thick army green canvas, pitched to the ground which helps it sync with the colour and aesthetic beauty of the natural surroundings.The canvas material helps in keeping the interior of the rooms warm and cozy and also allows for maximum insulation against the outside weather. Each tent comes attached with a fully equipped western style bathroom, a wash basin, shower facilities and running hot and cold water.
The tents have a zip up door and windows which can be locked manually. This allows for the natural light to permeate through and helps in cross ventilation. The floor is carpeted from wall to wall and there is a wire rack to hang your clothes. Each tent is provided with an electric kettle, charging points, electric room heater in addition to bathroom slippers for the convenience of all guests.

The dining area by far was my favourite, as it looked like a scene right out of a fairy tale! Thick layers of snow carpeted the foliage outside like soft cotton and at a distance the warm glow of lights radiating from a cute rustic cottage. The sight of hot steam rising outside the open kitchen window and quickly dissipatingin the frosty night! For a second I thought I was in a Gimm’s fairy-tale! There were lanterns adorning the small porch outside and fairy lights adding to the magical atmosphere of the room inside, like a flash of diamonds across the landscape at night. The walls were made of indigenous material called “Ikra” amud and wood combination popularly used in the hills and painted all white, with framed pictures offering information about the local flora and fauna. The area was bright and airy with a glass wall on one side overlooking the hills and mountains while you dine communally, as there is no room service here. All meals are prepared fresh in the kitchen next door and guests are expected to convene during meal time here. You could learn a few local dishes if you wish to cook alongside the staff and acquire noodle making/ momo making skills while at it!

It was a pleasant surprise to find a place like this in such a remote, far flung area. So far away from the convenience of metropolitan cities and yet so safe, comfortable and homely. I’ve never camped in my life before and maybe this is the closest I’ll come to it! Being here brings things into perspective and makes one think about the larger picture. It makes us think about life and the happiness of everyday little things; like holding hands and walking or discovering a bushel of wild strawberries across a clear stream! That pure unadulterated joy of simple things that we’ve often forgotten. Being in a place like this, reminds us to pause, to breath, to take a break from the rat race of daily life, to nourish our souls and to heal our minds. To just lie down looking up at the stars and forget the world for a little bit !

Camping with Kids

Outdoor with kids – Why it is so important!!

Time for the annual family vacation. Kids have school holidays. Where do we go? Europe, SouthEast Asia, North-East India…maybe Sikkim? How do we decide where to go? These are the questions that run through the minds of many parents when the kids get their school holidays. Many factors like comfort, budget, shopping, trending destinations are “top of the mind” when deciding the annual family holiday. But have you ever thought of “being amidst nature” as one of the top factors to consider in your holiday planning?

In this modern age of technology, gadgets and obesity, it is so important for parents to inculcate in the kids the habit of being outdoors, amidst nature early on in their lives so they learn to respect and co-exist with nature in future. In nature there are so many amazing things they can discover. Just think – the birds and animals, the plants and trees, the rocks, the streams and ponds, the insects, the sounds, the weather, the wildflowers, and the many activities that can provide so much excitement. Would you want to take your family and kids on such a holiday where they get to see beautiful snow covered mountains right through their window, staying outdoors with clean air, surrounded by greenery and the sounds of birds chirping? And at the same time, you have all the modern amenities including attached bathroom, geyser, 8 inch mattress, room heater, warm blankets and duvets?

OurGuest Camp Lachung was born out of this idea to let our visitors have the best outdoor experience possible. It is located in the beautiful village of Beechu in Lachung, surrounded by mountains on all sides, seasonal crops grown nearby and a small stream within walking distance of the campsite. Many of our guests live and work in the cities where they do not get enough time to spend outdoors because of their busy daily schedule. In such a scenario, the children especially, constrained to their apartments, have to depend on modern gadgets for their daily entertainment.
In these modern times,children spend very less time outdoors and are less connected to the natural world.The lack of outdoor play, learning and nature connection in childhood is a big problem in our metros.Multiple pieces of evidence now exist that show how a life without time outdoors in nature has significant impacts on the physical and mental well-being of children as well as their willingness to care for and protect the environment as they grow.

So how can we lure our children, and ourselves, away from the dazzle of technology to reconnect with those simple pleasures which can only be found outdoors? Opening the back door and expecting them to switch off the tech and run outside to play in the garden (if we are lucky enough to have one) is often not enough. The most effective way is to get the whole family out of the house, to physically remove ourselves from the plastic toys, computer games, tablets and TV shows.

Camping with children can bring you back to the simplicity of nature. It increases your awareness of your surroundings and can refresh your appreciation for the many things that so often go unnoticed.Spending time outdoors brings children closer to the natural world, and if they live in an urban environment, it is particularly important to ensure that a proportion of their free-time activities provide the chance to experience some of the wonder and beauty of nature.

Going camping, even if it’s just for one night is fun. A new environment, unfamiliar sights and sounds, brings about a sense of adventure and excitement, especially for the children. Our family-friendly campsiteat Lachungprovides a safe, and relatively secure environment for children to play and explore in, giving them a sense of freedom. This freedom, combined with a more natural environment is a great way to boost creativity; instead of relying on a tablet or smartphone for entertainment, children use their imagination to play games and entertain themselves; something they typically don’t need to do when they’re at home.

Developing love and respect of nature is much easier to do if children get to spend time outdoors, and camping is an excellent way to immerse children in the natural world. I am sure you and your family have gone for many vacations to beautiful destinations, but how many times have you gone camping with your family and kids? Did you stay away from camping because of lack of essential amenities and comfort? Well, OurGuest Camp Lachung has all the modern amenities to ensure the comfort and safety of your family. So don’t wait anymore. Take the leap and book your stay to experience one of most beautiful campsites that you will find in the country.
OurGuest Camp Lachung – Welcome to Nature.

Romantic Getaway

Why choose OurGuest Camp Lachung for a Romantic Getaway?

I often wondered what Jane Austen meant when she wrote, “completely and perfectly incandescently happy” in her book Pride and Prejudice? Taking it in it’s context, was it the success of finding the perfect partner and living near perfect lives that qualifies one for this kind of implausible happiness and unconditional love? If so, then what about us lesser beings, who do not have a Mr Darcy in our lives to rescue us from our everyday mundane tragedy?

What I feel is that, most people do not understand what real romance is.  Just about anyone can buy you flowers, gifts, chocolates, jewellery etc. However, the truly romantic things in life are those little gestures that you do every-day that often go unnoticed.

So on that note here are a few romantic date ideas that you can experience at OurGuest Camp Lachung without burning a hole in your pocket:

1. Stargaze –
Sitting in the dark and admiring the constellations can be a great experience to bond with your beau and learn a little about the cosmos and something much bigger than ourselves. After all a certain darkness is required to see the stars.

2. Bonfire –
A cozy campsite bonfire tops the list of all romantic activities that one could experience at Camp Lachung. Spend your evenings besides the glow of a warm firemaking s’mores -roasting marshmallows on sticks, playing songs on the guitar and drinking some warm millet beer or Tongba.

3. Movie Night –
At Camp Lachung you have the option of watching movies on a huge projector screen with pre ordered snacks and beverages. Watch romantic comedies, dramas, local documentaries or whatever your favourite genre is, in a totally new and unique environment. We promise you, it will be an experience you won’t forget easily.

4. Local Wine Tasting –
Try out our in house special Blueberry wine made by Mr Wangchuk Lachung, co-partner of OurGuest Camp Lachung. The wine is brewed and bottled at home by him and made with organic wild blueberries. The wine is not yet sold commercially and hence it would be your only chance to try something which is straight from the producer.

5. No Electricity Night –
Since you are in an environment which is far from the modern comforts of everyday life, why not experience something which is a way of life for most people in the remote hilly interiors? Try going electricity free for just one night! Dine by candlelight, warm yourself by the fire, listen to the sound of fireflies and use rubber hot water bags to bed instead of electric heaters to warm yourselves in the tent.

6. Romantic Village Walk and Picnic –
You can go for a romantic guided walk around the village of Lachung with its scenic mountain views, verdant hills and numerous nameless waterfalls and streams. End the walk with a beautiful picnic lunch beside a perennial stream next to a few Chuthas (Tibetan water wheel)
Keeping all that in mind, one should understand that respect is the bedrock of all lasting love. There are many ways in which one can express their love for their partner. However, being the best version of yourself is the best romantic experience that you can gift your partner.