Though it might have gained momentum in recent years, glamping (aka glamorous camping) is far from a new concept. In fact, nomadic tribes in Mongolia and the Middle East laid the groundwork with portable yurts and canvas tents nearly a millennium ago, while Europeans later adopted more opulent variations in the 1800s on expeditions across Africa.
For those who want a little taste of adventure (but not too much), high-end camping offers easy access to the great outdoors without sacrificing the creature comforts of a sprawling bed, warm shower or well-mixed cocktail.
From the remote jungles of Bali to the foothills of Mount Fuji, these opulent accommodations ensure striking scenery is right at your doorstep.
One of Asia’s most-talked-about resorts, which debuted in 2018, sits about three hours southwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in the jungles of Southern Cardamom National Park.
Overlooking a series of waterfalls, the 15-tent camp is a joint initiative between Shinta Mani Foundation — a social enterprise that runs hotels, job-training programs and education initiatives in Cambodia — and resort designer Bill Bensley. An avid nature lover, Bensley purchased the 865-acre stretch of land several years ago and has been cooking up Shinta Mani Wild ever since.
The result is an eco-conscious property with Bensley’s famously whimsical style and lots of surprises. The experience kicks off with a dramatic 1,050-foot zipline entrance where you’ll whiz over the forest canopy, past a gushing waterfall and land at the bar only to be greeted with a welcome cocktail.
From there, it’s a gentle collision of nature and luxury — think all-inclusive food and drinks; spa treatments; and “adventure butlers” dressed in camo gear who can arrange early-morning birdwatching, fly-fishing lessons and relaxing river safaris.
Home to more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia has no shortage of beautiful beaches — and travelers have taken notice. In the past few years, some areas of Bali and Komodo have suffered from overcrowding as millions of visitors flock there each year. Moyo Island, however, has managed to fly under the radar. Just a 65-minute seaplane journey from Bali, the island is a nature reserve with just this one resort.
Sharing the land with macaque monkeys and rusa deer, you’ll stay in one of 20 eco-friendly tents. These 624-square-foot hideaways are kitted out with all the upscale fixings you’d expect from an Aman property: hardwood floors, corner sofas, Indonesian artwork, king-sized beds and superlative service.
The island provides an ideal mix of surf and turf, with easy access to the stunning Flores Sea (where you can swim, snorkel or scuba) and the jungle. You also can opt to set sail for the Raja Ampat islands or Komodo National Park via one of the hotel’s two luxury boats.
Near Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle — where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge — this resort is a unique property in the company’s portfolio. The all-inclusive experience begins with a relaxing ride down the Ruak River on a traditional longtail boat, followed by welcome cocktails at Nong Yao, the hotel’s restaurant set on a cliff above the jungle canopy.
Once you’re settled, a vintage military Jeep will whisk you away to one of 15 expansive canvas tents where a lesson in 19th-century luxury awaits. The attractive accommodations feature all kinds of rustic touches (zip-up tent flaps and outdoor showers) and more sumptuous extras like a hammered copper tub, an enormous terrace, plush bedding and vintage-inspired décor.
Should you tire of lounging in paradise, follow the winding paths to the alfresco jungle spa or across a suspension bridge to the camp’s dedicated cellar for nightly wine-and-cheese tastings.
But the best part may be the property’s location next to an independently operated elephant sanctuary. You will have ample opportunities to bathe, feed and walk with these gentle giants (many of which were rescued from logging or tourism jobs) during your stay.
Japan has no shortage of nature-inspired accommodations, from onsen hot spring resorts to traditional wooden ryokan hotels. But this enchanting hideaway about 75 miles southwest of Tokyo takes it one step further by delivering a gorgeous site, wildlife kits (binoculars, head lamps and reusable water bottles), horseback riding, forest yoga and fire-side dinners on the slopes of Mount Fuji.
Opened in 2017 as the country’s first glamping resort, the property promises all the treats you’d expect of an ultra-luxe hotel and then some. But, at the same time, these contemporary cabins are a wonderland for nature lovers with private decks, hammocks, telescopes and incredible views of Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji in the distance.
We’d recommend visiting in autumn or spring, when the red pine trees and cherry blossoms show off their most radiant shades.
The very mention of Ubud has the power to relax road-weary travelers thanks to its slow pace of life, ancient Balinese temples, dense jungles and deep sense of spirituality — and you’ll find all of that at this charming camp.
Also designed by Bill Bensley, this upscale tented retreat takes a more toned-down approach with 22 wood-clad bungalows in deep, soothing shades of brown, crimson, gray and gold. Set in the middle of the forest, each of the one-bedroom accommodations comes with a four-poster bed, salt-water plunge pool, spacious terrace, kaleidoscopic interiors and a flurry of antique fixtures (like an old-school phone and freestanding bath) that recall the golden age of exploration. Some tents overlook the nearby rice paddies while others peer into the depths of the bush or the rushing Wos River below.