Boutique retreat Chamba Camp Thiksey brings a touch of luxury to the high Himalaya. You may have a personal butler, but you’ll also get a surge of adrenalin with included activities such as guided walks to mountaintop Buddhist monasteries and rafting down the Indus river. The retreat’s fleet of cream-coloured luxury tents each has a wooden deck from which to gaze at the surrounding mountain ranges (after you’ve spent the day conquering them). Meals are included too; when you’ve worked up an appetite, take a hike to the dining tent.
Double rooms from £709.12 (INR69,300), including tax at 5 per cent.
Stays of three to five nights include all meals; tea, coffee and soft drinks; guided excursions as specified in the tour programme; and airport transfers.
The in-house library has an impressive collection of books, which cover subjects ranging from spirituality and history of the surrounding land, to Himalayan art and culture.
The hotel closes annually from 11 October to 14 May.
At the hotel
Small handicraft boutique, library tent, free WiFi in communal areas, free laundry service. In rooms: each tent has personalised butler service, a private deck, snack drawer, pillow menu, and bespoke Ayurvedic bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each glamorous tent has 360-degree views of the Stok mountain range and a private deck where you can while away leisurely evenings. For added privacy and space, book the Presidential Suite, which is set further away from the main tents, has room for extra beds in its living room. It also has quite the vantage point for spying on the monks at famed Thiksey monastery.
Bring your sturdiest mountain-climbing boots and dress in layers to be prepared for all manner of outdoor activities; a cashmere (or yak’s wool) wrap will come in handy for evenings spent under the stars.
Live world-music and concerts played on regional instruments are hosted around the camp during the day and in the evenings as dinner is served.
Little Smiths aged six and over are welcome; family-friendly activities can be arranged, and there’s plenty of space for kids to run around. The camp’s extreme altitude, sitting 3,500 metres up, means it’s not suited to very young children.
The camp’s cleaning and bath products are eco-friendly and ingredients for meals are locally sourced – more than 80 per cent of the vegetables and herbs used in the hotel restaurant come from the organic gardens onsite – and the camp’s energy is generated by solar power.
Book a table on one of the camp’s overwater decks for a private candlelit meal.
For dinner, change from mountain climber to social butterfly; pull on one of the provided woollen ponchos if temperatures dip.
The elegantly understated dining tent has a beautiful block-printed ceiling, pendant lamps and wooden ‘campaign’ seating inside, and an alfresco dining terrace. Chef Swapnil Saikhedkar and his team serve up both internationally-inspired and local cuisine. Most of the kitchen’s vegetables and herbs come directly from the camp’s organic garden, and dietary requirements are surprisingly well catered for, considering the ‘get away from it all’ setting. Expect offerings such as freshwater Himalayan rainbow trout and thali spreads at dinner; breakfasts include baked goodies, fresh fruit, eggs cooked to your taste, and masala uttapam (thick savoury pancakes).
Breakfast is served from 7am to 9.30am, lunch from 1pm to 2.30pm and dinner from 7pm to 9.30pm.
There’s a stocked snack drawer in each tent and staff will happily accommodate out-of-hours requests.
Ki Ki Naga, Near Govt. High School Thiksey,
Leh / Manali Road
Chamba Camp Thiksey is surrounded by the Stok and Ladakh mountain ranges; the famous Thiksey monastery towers.
Most international flights stop over in Delhi before the 90-minute flight to Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport, which is a 30-minute drive from the hotel. Transfers are included in the room rates; call Smith24 to book your flights (03301 341 009).
Worth getting out of bed for
You’ll have no shortage of activities to keep you entertained at altitude; on-site offerings include archery classes, nature walks, cookery classes, croquet and demonstrations by local artists. Chamba Camp can also arrange guided village and heritage walks, cultural tours, day hikes, mountain-biking excursions, picnics in picturesque beauty spots, and rafting in the Zanskar and Indus rivers. Spend an afternoon touring nearby monasteries and temples; the Chamba Camp team will guide you through peaks and troughs to the magnificent monasteries of Thiksey, Stakna, Shey and Hemis, and the capital city of Leh. Hike through lunar landscapes or take an early morning cycle to Wari La, one of the most scenic passes in Ladakh, which overlooks the breathtaking Nubra valley.
All your meals are included, but if you’d like to sample local cuisine in an even more authentic setting, make your way to Leh’s Tibetan Kitchen or Summer Harvest diner on Fort Road.
If you’re in need of an afternoon pick-me-up while visiting Thiksey monastery, swing by Café Cloud (94 1998 3021), which holds the title for finest café in Leh Valley; sit outside to enjoy the view while you snack.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this tented hotel in the Himalayas and unpacked their locally-made silver jewellery and brightly-coloured shawls, a full account of their luxury mountaintop break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Chamba Camp Thiksey in Northern India…
If you’ve ever dreamed of being an intrepid explorer, but still like a hot shower and a soft bed to curl up in at the end of the day, Chamba Camp Thiksey offers butler-aided comfort in one of the world's most challenging climes. This luxury tented retreat has a team of high-altitude helpers to arrange all of your excursions, including day hikes in the Himalayas, craft demonstrations by local artisans, and visits to on-high Buddhist monasteries. Meals are served in and around a central, sociable white-canopied dining tent, but mountain vistas provide an incomparably romantic backdrop to a secluded meal for two on an overwater deck amid flickering candles.