For natural beauty, solitude and a truly immersive adventure, camping is the ideal way to experience a place.
Discard your old ideas about what it means to camp. This isn’t about quarrelling with siblings on family trips or getting stoned with friends during an adolescent escape. It’s not about burnt s’mores or muddy tents at a music fest. This is camping as it’s supposed to be: fresh air in the morning, star-filled skies at night and exotic locales that make you marvel at the majesty of Mother Nature.
From tropical forests to the highest mountains, pristine beaches to barren deserts, craggy canyons to the Mediterranean coast, here’s where to have an unforgettable holiday under canvas.
Ladakh | India
Ladakh – known as the ‘Land of High Passes’ – is a stunning part of the Indian Himalayas. The region is bordered by Pakistan, Tibet and China’s Xinjiang Province, giving it a rich and diverse culture. Camping amongst Ladakh’s barren but beautiful peaks is a unique way to experience the area (and its many Buddhist monasteries), provided you’re prepared to rough it in high altitude and a remote location.
Miyajima | Japan
Miyajima Island, one of Japan’s most scenic destinations, offers incredible natural landscapes as well as numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments. Most famous is the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is also well-known for its cherry blossoms and maple leaf foliage in autumn, as well as its domesticated deer. Camping and culture go hand in hand on enchanted Miyajima.
Corcovado National Park | Costa Rica
Located on the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a park National Geographic called “the most biologically intense place on Earth.” Corcovado National Park is a lush tropical paradise, home to a plethora of wildlife including many endangered species. Beaches, waterfalls, lagoons and rainforest wait just outside your (tent) door – not to mention the monkeys, ocelots, tapirs, tree frogs, macaws and, gulp, jaguars.
Sardinia | Italy
Italy doesn’t automatically come to mind as a must-see for campers, but the coastline and mountains of Sardinia are practically begging for you to pitch a tent. Can you say beach camping? The region is home to dozens of campsites nestled amongst its white sands, turquoise water and limestone cliffs. Make sure you dip into town to try some of Sardinia’s distinctive takes on pasta, wine, baked goods and cheese.
Wadi Rum | Jordan
Carved from the sandstone and granite rock of southern Jordan is Wadi Rum, an isolated and inhospitable area only permanently inhabited by the Bedouin people. The desert draws trekkers, climbers, day-trippers from Aqaba and Petra, and tourists on camel safaris, but to get the fullest experience, visitors should spend the night in a traditional Bedouin camp or simply stretch out under the stars.
Mount Everest Base Camp | Nepal
For camping on the extreme end of the specturm, there’s no place quite like a Mount Everest base camp. The two rudimentary campsites are perched 5151 metres and 5364 metres in the air, which means not only are the views magnificent, but the atmosphere is thin and altitude sickness can strike even the fittest of campers. If you can handle the physical demands, a trek to Everest’s base camps is a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Joshua Tree National Park | California
Love your nights amongst unadulterated stars? Then this is your spot to set up base. The area features some of the darkest night skies to be found in Southern California. The camp sites are first come first serve (as nature intended) but if you’re one of the few stragglers, worry not – Joshua Tree features 9 different camp grounds with over 500 developed camp sites. It’s also perfect for both individuals and large groups of your squad.
Liwa Oasis | UAE
If you thought the United Arab Emirates was all about soaring skyscrapers, you’d be very wrong. Driving four hours south leads you to a natural wonder of the world that only children’s story books could dream up. The Liwa Oasis is a region of lush greenery located on the edge of the notoriously barren Rub Al Khali desert – also known as the Empty Quarter.
Surrounded by sun, and 300m high sand dunes, it’s a perfect playground for wind-biking and off-road bashing. When you’re ready to set up camp, head over to the edge of the Liwa Oasis closer to the water. Set up any further out to the sands, and you could get lost and be in a world of trouble. We mean it too – the Empty Quarter is the world’s largest contiguous desert, meaning if you walk the wrong way, it’s 1,000km to the other side. Death: guaranteed.