Glamping – new travel trend in Pakistan that combines nature and luxury
Islamabad: The idea of sleeping under the stars and being closer to nature has been around for centuries and continues to fascinate people, especially city dwellers. With this new travel experience, humans can reconnect with nature while staying safe and enjoying modern conveniences and luxuries.
It’s called “glamping” – a combination of “glamour” and “camping” that wonderfully combines the charm of camping with luxury and comfort.
Glamping, yurts and eco-pods, some of the modern ways to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the comforts of a hotel, are becoming popular among tourists in Pakistan. Imagine being surrounded by sparkling white peaks, lush green meadows and amazing sunsets during the day, then returning to a comfortable fully furnished room with panoramic views of majestic mountains and the night sky filled with endless stars right from your bed . You feel closest to nature while having all the amenities such as air conditioning, toilets and fresh meals. This unique experience makes glamping one of the most authentic ways to connect with nature.
Pakistan is home to the highest glamping site in the world
This new emerging tourism trend in Pakistan attracts both outdoor enthusiasts and vacationers. Glamp Pakistan, in the northern region of the country, Gilgit-Baltistan, offers a unique glamping experience in tents, domes and cabins. Both glamping sites have the most amazing locations: Deosai National Park which is the second highest plateau in the world and Katpana, the highest cold desert in the world located at an altitude of 2,226 meters above sea level. of the sea.
“We believe this is the highest glamping site on Earth at such a high altitude in the middle of a national park,” Fahad Mahmood, CEO and Founder of Glamp Pakistan, said in an interview with Gulf News. . The company only works in nature, and the closest town to the Deosai glamping site is at least a three-hour drive away.
Founded in 2017, Pakistan’s first glamping company goes the extra mile to make the travel experience eco-friendly with a focus on “conserve, preserve and sustain”. The accommodation is solar powered and has an international standard waste management system and green operations, leaving no footprints. Fahad says he has worked with the ministry and local authorities to manage the facility in the national park in the most sustainable way and in accordance with the law.
The glamping tents and furniture are designed and manufactured in Pakistan with sustainable materials. The company prides itself on building weatherproof accommodation sites using local materials, primarily PVC and canvas, and offering locally sourced food to visitors at its 35 sites in Deosai and Katpana. The tourist facility has also created job opportunities for local people with nearly 80% of Skardu’s staff. The company that started with four people is now a 40 strong team and continues to grow.
What led to the start of the glamping trip to Pakistan? Fahad Mahmood, a corporate marketer who pursued wildlife photography in his spare time, one day decided he was done with city life and ready to start a new adventure. Fahad describes it as “a family business” as he discussed the idea with his father Liaqat Mahmood, an engineer and teacher, and his wife. Both encouraged him to take the first step. Soon after, Fahad moved from the urban city of Lahore to Skardu, surrounded by mountains, with his wife and children and created what is now considered one of the most fascinating eco-travel experiences.
“About five years ago, people had no idea about glamping. They would love to see the camps, but then ask us to show them their rooms. It took time, but our efforts resonated with travellers,” says Fahad. Glamp Pakistan has two functional sites and is working on three more to be ready next year. They welcomed between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors last year. “We are excited to have more families, children and seniors coming and enjoying this new experience.”
Comfort with a magnificent view
Qasif Shahid, a fintech pioneer in Pakistan, believes glamping is “the future of outdoor vacations” as it offers a strong connection to nature. His experience of staying at the glamping sites of the Katpana Desert with his family offers the best of both worlds – nature and a luxury vacation. Most travelers are fascinated by the idea of extra comfort with a great view. Anam Hakeem, an adventure traveler, says she was “amazed” looking at the view outside her tent in the morning. But her favorite part was the solar-powered rooms, a cozy dining room, and enjoying fresh food in the middle of a desert. “You can’t experience that in the city,” she said.
Built to accommodate two to four people, each glamp unit includes solar power, bath kit, hot shower, room service, heating and air conditioning. The cost of a one night stay starts from Rs 12,000 and goes up to Rs 30,000 (55-138 USD). Outdoor activities include bonfires, fishing, hiking, jeep safari, golf, expeditions, archery, kite flying and board games. Visitor Talha Kamal says he and his family have “one of the most relaxing and memorable trips” to glamping in Skardu. “You experience camping with all the basic amenities in the middle of the Katpana Desert.”
Glamping trend is accelerating in Pakistan
Ali Raza, the co-founder and director of Khanabadosh Glamps, says the “trend of glamping is accelerating in Pakistan” as these tourist spots are “now doing their best to match their services with hotels and to provide a more comfortable but closer”. to nature.
Speaking to Gulf News, Ali Raza shared that when they encountered obstacles at the start of their journey in 2018, such as convincing people that “we cannot compare this experience with hotels in terms of services and prices because we operate in the desert, in very remote areas without proper facilities. Raza says they decided to set up glamping sites in the deep forest to “provide a unique experience” for those willing to make the long journey that rewards you with breathtaking views of the beautiful Panjkora River and pine treetops.
Khanabadosh Glamps offers luxury domes, pods and camps in Kumrat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The valley has become a top tourist spot after a visit and a tweet from former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Besides Kumrat, locally built pods are available in Murree, Kalam, Gabeen Jabba, Sharan Forest, Kalash Valley, Hunza and Deosai. The price ranges from as little as Rs2,000 to Rs15,000 ($9 to $69) for accommodation for 2 people.
Another company offering this unique experience in Pakistan is Hunza Glamping Resort. It was the project of Amir Raza Khan, an engineer by profession, who launched the resort in 2019 but the idea had been on his mind since 2005 when he visited a glamping resort in Heidelberg, Germany, with his family. . “It was a unique experience that stayed in my mind for a long time” and eventually led to the creation of Hunza Glamping. They launched the glamping sites three years ago in Mominabad, Hunza which was surrounded by stunning natural beauty, lush green fields and fruit gardens. But the company is currently in the process of moving sites for technical and other reasons. Khan says they plan to soon bring visitors a comfortable and fully eco-friendly tourist experience away from the noise of the city.
“I’ve always wanted to go camping with my grandchildren, but young people are often not ready to give up the comforts of city life,” says Abdul Rafiq. Now he feels his dream of sleeping under the stars while having his family by his side could come true at glamping sites in Pakistan ready to welcome travelers who want to explore the natural beauty while living comfortably.