Exploring Tibet with Norlha: 5 Things to Do at Norden Camp

With DARA’s much-anticipated launch of Norlha Textiles’ new fall pieces, the visionary brand’s homeland of Tibet is our latest source of travel inspiration. To indulge our wanderlust, we’re taking a virtual tour of 5 unmissable activities at Norden Camp, a boutique hotel in rural Tibet that Norlha’s founder, Kim Yeshi, helped establish. The camp represents a new frontier in sustainable tourism. Besides providing a one-of-a-kind “glamping” experience for discerning travelers, it is also an important source of income for former nomads. With luxurious touches like environmentally sensitive plumbing, advanced insulation, Norlha furnishings, a Finnish sauna, and a former Aman Resorts chef, there is no detail left unturned. Click ahead for our roundup of Tibetan adventures.

  • Tour the Labrang Monastery

    Founded in 1709, Labrang is one of the six great monasteries of the Dalai Lama’s sect. Although nearly all of its original structures and artifacts were tragically destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, Labrang still remains one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist sites and is home to around 1,500 monks. In addition to the chapels, residences, gilded temples, and monastic colleges, Labrang also houses a traditional printing press with 20,000 woodblocks.

  • Visit a Local Nomad Camp

    The 30-minute drive to a local nomadic camp will take you on scenic journey through the area’s stunning pastures. The camp provides a rare glimpse at the day-to-day activities of nomadic culture, like yak milking. A nomad family will invite you into their yak hair tent for a picnic lunch to sample local cuisine cooked on a traditional mud stove, such as yak or lamb meat and Tsampa, a kind of porridge.

  • Horseback Ride on the Tibetan Plateau

    Guided by local nomads, Norden Camp’s daily horseback tours of the surrounding landscape offer a breathtaking glimpse at Tibetan nature and wildlife, all miraculously untouched by outside development. The area is home to many animals--hares, marmots, foxes, gazelles, numerous bird species and of course large herds of yak. The hills are covered in a carpet of wildflowers, stretching as far as the eye can see. From May to October, the flowering plants and bushes bloom in stages--pink, then yellow, then multicolored.

  • Outdoor Camping

    Norden’s outdoor tents are made of handspun and handwoven yak hair, the traditional material for nomad tents. Each tent takes over six months to construct. For added warmth, they are heated with wood stoves and the walls insulated with a layer of locally made yak felt. Norden makes the most of local nomad’s ancestral knowledge while adding contemporary elements for maximum comfort. Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the humbling tranquility of the Tibetan plateau, from gazing at shooting stars to waking up with the sound of calling birds.

  • Visit the Norlha Atelier and Workshop

    Norden Camp’s beautiful cabins are furnished with Norlha’s luxuriously soft yak wool blankets and felted pillows. To experience the marvel of yak wool weaving firsthand, guests can visit the Norlha Atelier. The workshop is built in the traditional style of the area with wooden beams and pillars and a flat roof. The atelier includes two wings to house an office and sewing and knitting sections, a felting unit, a dyeing unit, a guesthouse, a visitor center, and a kitchen where meals are prepared daily for employees.

Written by DARA Artisans.Nov 16, 2015
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DARA Artisans promotes cultural curiosity and a sense of discovery by offering a sophisticated edit of handmade artisan crafts to an audience seeking authentic, responsibly sourced designs with a modern aesthetic.