Camping in the Bhutanese wilderness
Bhutan is home to some incredible places to stay. However, it is worth leaving the comfort of your lodge, so that you can enjoy a night under the stars camping in the Bhutanese wilderness. Venetia Stanley describes her experience.
Bhutan is home to some incredible places to stay. However, it is worth leaving the comfort of your lodge, so that you can experience a night under the stars camping in the Bhutanese wilderness. From the tent location, the chef and the menu to the evening activities and interaction with locals, every small element has been carefully considered and honed to perfection.
We snaked through the Punakha landscape, criss-crossing from one side to the other towards a secluded valley, until we arrived at our riverside camp with not another soul in sight. Bows and arrows had been prepared for a round of archery on our arrival, before a fly-fishing lesson with Utam before dinner.
Our bell tent was basic but extremely comfortable, with everything we could have possibly needed for a good night’s sleep, including inflatable mattresses, solar-powered chargers, wood burners, yak blankets and the warmest sleeping bags – all with a pristine backdrop. The only sound was the rushing river, and with the sun going down, the lovely team prepared a huge campfire as we settled into some pre-dinner drinks.
For supper, our amazing chef, Choda, prepared the most delicious food on the barbecue, with a rack of lamb, wood-fired local vegetables and grilled chicken thighs. Everything was excellent, and we couldn’t believe he had managed to rustle up such incredible dishes with no light and simply using a small head torch! Afterwards, we were given marshmallows on long sticks, which we enjoyed toasting, together with the most amazing fresh s’mores that Choda had created for us. We relaxed, feasted and stargazed under the clearest night sky until it was time for bed.
Needless to say, we all slept extremely well, and woke feeling refreshed and excited to see what was in store for us the following morning. As we emerged from our tent, a wash station had been made using hay bales and dishes of cold water from the river, so we could freshen up. Breakfast was the most colourful spread of fresh juices, homemade granola, boiled eggs, fresh yoghurt and hot chocolate.
Camping in the Punakha Valley is such a fun experience for couples and families alike. It added a totally different element to our trip and allowed us to experience something really unique that combines well with some of our favourite hotels and lodges. We were able to observe the slower pace of life and witness some of the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife that Bhutan has to offer.