Yunnan
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Glamping Above the Clouds in Shangri-la, Yunnan

The spectacular snowy peaks of Haba Snow Mountain in Shangri-La, Yunnan should be on every wanderlust traveler’s bucket list. Situated opposed the famed Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and above Tiger Leaping Gorge, Haba Snow Mountain means “golden flower” in the language of Naxi, the local ethnic minority. In order to visit Haba Snow Mountain, it is a 3.5-4 hour drive from the Old Town of Lijiang. The drive from the airport to the mountain is incredible however, as it includes the most spectacular journey through the Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡.

I took a last minute trip to Haba Snow Mountain this past March in order to stay at the newly opened accomodation, Clouds Glamping. It was actually a spur of the moment trip, which started with a call from my friend Qiqi asking if I was interested in going glamping. Qiqi is a creative and like me, always interested in new off-the-beaten path experiences (that and she’s also a Michelin-starred pastry chef that whips up some of the best desserts I’ve ever had!). Of course, like the start of all good adventures, I said yes without any prior research and booked a last minute flight to Lijiang, Yunnan.

Glamping is relatively a new concept in China so I really didn’t know what to expect, but when I finally met the charismatic owners behind Clouds Glamping, I could see how their vision of hospitality and entrepreneurship was incorporated into every detail of their property. I’ll let the pictures tell the story first because at an elevation of 3000 meters, Clouds Glamping truly felt like a hidden gem above the clouds.

Clouds Glamping in Haba Snow Mountain with panoramic glacier views

Dreamy clouds with beautiful sunshine, truly Shangri-La at its finest

Each tent has a slightly different patio, all designed with afternoon lazing in mind

A large yet cozy tent with a queen size bed, equipped with all the essentials you’ll need

The tent is kept warm by a built-in-fireplace and once all the windows are zipped up, it’s quite cozy at night even when the temperature drops

Total of three tents in addition to the two pictured here, all with unique features (one of them even has a professional star-gazing telescope!)

Where I most frequently relaxed during my trip–these chairs are definitely the best seats in the house to take a nap in

Apart from the tents, there is a central kitchen and community area for guests to use. The first floor is a L-shaped kitchen, the second floor is closed off with a glass panel for late night tunes, and the third floor is open-air and great for some morning rooftop yoga

The bar area was always busy with someone making fresh Yunnan Arabica coffee, a huge perk of glamping in Yunnan

A surprise birthday cake by Qiqi! She managed to make a cake with all the random ingredients she found in the kitchen (some simple butter cake, banana cream, and fresh fruit)

If you stay at at the site for a couple of days, you’ll see that the sun rays hit the valley differently at every point of the day–I personally found the afternoon sun rays the most stunning

My favorite travel necessities recently: an edition of Magazine B and my Sunday Somewhere sunglasses

Highlight of our personal patio: taking an afternoon warm bath in the mountains

Spending a birthday with my feet propped in an outdoor bath and a clear view of the snowy Shangri-La mountains

Breakfast is a guaranteed feast with a view–we had steamed buns, fresh Yunnan coffee, eggs, pancakes… and if you fancy cooking, you are more than welcome to add to the breakfast menu

Chef Qiqi making some scallion pancakes on the grill (seriously, it’s a privilege to travel with a chef!)

The owners making some fresh congee for us in the morning; hands down the most charismatic couple you’ll meet

Boiling eggs with some mountain herbs–a little cooking secret Qiqi shared with us to make the eggs more fragrant

Skillet fried pork dumplings that were, for some reason, so amazing we had THREE skillet full of these!

A casual lunch with the Clouds Glamping team–all fresh, seasonal vegetables from the local Naxi village

Yunnan-style chorizo is fired up with Sichuan peppercorn and chili oil, it’s an incredibly tasty dish that is local to the region

In the afternoons, even though there was WIFI throughout the campsite, I found myself spending less time on my phone and more time listening to the other travelers share their stories

The Clouds Glamping team are all avid coffee drinkers, they can even give you a little brewing workshop for those that want to learn the art of hand drip coffee

(L to R): me in my happy place, Qiqi loving the kitchen she can cook and brew coffee in, our fellow campsite visitor who’s a coffee addict, and the beautiful owner Yoyo finally taking a moment to relax

At night, we grabbed Shangri-La beers (excellent mountain water means exceptional beer) over a bonfire

This clear shot of the starry night was taken by a fellow camper–it’s hard to capture how beautiful the night sky was at the campsite and how tiny I felt staring up at it

A very reluctant goodbye the morning of our departure

Leaving Haba Snow Mountain and driving down to Lijiang which is a 4 hour drive–we stopped to use the rest station, and this was the view right next to it (surreal, I know)

Before leaving Yunnan we visited the central market in the Old Town of Lijiang, Yunnan (you can still see the snowy peaks in the background)

Shangri-la, Yunnan is a fictional heaven on earth…

Clouds Glamping is run by Yoyo and her husband, both with incredible stories and vision. Yoyo use to be a national baseball player and her idea of good fun is basking in the sun with a coffee in hand. Her husband on the other hand is this comically funny, big heart, big personality type of guy that is always sneaking out to go on hiking trips with us. In the afternoons, we would all sit on the patio to admire the panoramic views of Shangri-la and discuss politics, travel, and what entrepreneurship looks like in remote areas of China. Clouds Glamping is a passion project they have built by hand (most literally) and that is why they so carefully curate all the items they provide for visitors. Whether it’s handpicking Yunnan Arabica coffee beans from a local plantation or choosing speakers that echo nicely in the mountains, the dynamic duo want to craft an unique glamping experience in China.

Considering that Qiqi and I are avid food lovers, the farm-to-table concept at Clouds Glamping was the perfect addition to our stay. Even in Shanghai, I’ve always adored Yunnan cuisine for its seasonal delicacies such as foraged wild mushrooms and peppercorn-stuffed chorizo. But what I enjoyed most about dining at Clouds Glamping was the hearty mix of local delicacies and wholesome, Chinese comfort food. The typical breakfast repertoire every day includes coffee, eggs, steamed buns and congee. All the guests tend to dine together in the mornings so I found myself waking up everyday to the smell of delicious creations like scallion pancakes and soft boiled eggs with herbs. Lunch and dinners were free-for-all so you could utilize the kitchen, cook with local produce you pick up from the nearby Naxi village, or go hiking and have a picnic. We went with eating what the locals ate i.e. hanging out with the staff members and eating traditional Yunnan dishes with them. It’s a great way to converse with local villagers and try out the crazy spicy flavors they love!

There are things that will inevitably come with staying in the middle of a snow mountain. For one, the temperature drop at night is quite significant so Yoyo would heat up a campfire for us to huddle around and distribute local Shangri-La beers to warm us up. No electricity at night (Clouds Glamping mostly relies on solar power) meant we would all star-gaze and chat before retreating to our tents lit up by small oil lamps. Limited hot water meant we would be more mindful of our water usage and be courteous to everybody. In a way, these inconveniences were charming reminders of the luxuries we take for granted in the big cities we were all from.

In short, I am thankful that Qiqi kidnapped me on such an unforgettable trip to Haba Snow Mountain. I was inspired by the people I met, the good food I ate, and the snow-capped mountains of Shangri-La county. There are places you travel to that stay with you for a while. While very much off-the-beaten path, Clouds Glamping was definitely one of those for me.

love,
eatprayjade x.

 

Haba Snow Mountain 哈巴雪山 
Directions // From Lijiang Sanyi International Airport, rent a car to Haba Village 哈巴村 which is the base of the Snow Mountain, or if you plan to stay in Clouds Glamping they can arrange a car for you to and from the airport for 600RMB/one way.

Clouds Glamping 云阶
Reservations // Add them via WeChat ID: clouds_glamping (or email me at eatprayjade@gmail.com and I can arrange a reservation for you)
Price// 1800RMB/big tent, 1500RMB/small tent (price includes breakfast every day)

8 Comments

    • Definitely my type of camping as well! The food was such wholesome comfort food, a great way to try Yunnan local home cooking.

      Like

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