I Scoffed At The Idea of Glamping…But Not Anymore!

The first time I heard of glamping (glamorous camping) was two years ago from a former work colleague. I scoffed at the idea of glamping because I arrogantly believed that camping was truly about roughing it out. I believed that camping was about being in the wild, bonfires, sleeping bags, and probably no showers. My first camping trip was in Yosemite National Park, California, followed by another in Kakadu National Park, Australia. I remembered not being able to shower for 2 days unless we were desperate to swim in the creeks where there were crocodiles lurking in the waters! Since then, I concluded that camping was spending time outdoors without the extra amenities.

However, fast forward to present time, I’m living a comfortable lifestyle in Kuala Lumpur (KL), and with ageing laziness creeping up on me, I’m not so keen anymore on “camping without glamour”. Ever since the colleague mentioned about glamping, I came across many articles written about this new trend quickly becoming an ultimate travel experience. There are various types of glamping experiences from luxurious treehouses, 5-star canvas tents to Mongolian yurts. The glamping trend is catching on in Malaysia, and so I thought, I’ll give it a try some day.

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It was just last weekend when my sister and I drove from KL to Janda Baik in the state of Pahang. Located just an hour from KL, Janda Baik is a Malay village surrounded by rainforest, river streams, babbling brooks and waterfalls. We were heading to our glamping site called Sailor’s Rest.

I booked my glamping stay via LocalUsher, a Malaysia-based online platform for city slickers like us, to discover and book local experiences. The experiences offered range from glamping, staying in a treehouse, food tours, hot air balloon rides to skydiving – unique experiences for the various personalities among us.

LocalUsher website home page

LocalUsher website activities

I love the design and layout of their website. Information about the activities is concise and properly placed around the website – the site doesn’t look busy with hyperlinks, pop-ups and garish colours. Pricing and add-ons for the activity chosen were clearly stated on the page pre-empting further questions or confusions. I was surprised and amazed by the booking process – it was so easy – the process took less than 10 minutes!

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As soon as we drove into the carpark area of the glamping site, we were greeted by our host, Mr Hashim. Mr Hashim is a congenial retiree who makes every guest feels welcomed with his warm smile and hearty jokes. No need for signing of forms that one would typically expect at a hotel but our host shared with us the general information about the site, and the dos and don’ts in order to keep the site clean (I overheard a camper guest asking him for keys to the tent – oh dear, city slickers, LOL!).

The tents accommodate a minimum of 3 and up to a maximum of 5 beds. The 3-bed tents are pitched by the riverbank while the bigger tents are placed in the beautiful gardens of the glamping site. Our tent is the 3-bed tent but the third bed is removed since it was just the two of us.

Smaller tents pitched by the riverbank
Smaller tents pitched by the riverbank
Larger tents are in the gardens
Larger tents are in the gardens

glamping sailors rest riverbank

The mattresses, pillows and bedding sheets are of good quality, and the comforters are so fluffy! A standing fan is placed inside the tent to help circulate the air as it can get stuffy in the afternoon. However, the weather gets cooler at night when the temperature is a pleasant 20-22 degrees Celsius. The temperature hardly rises above 28 degrees during the day. This is because Janda Baik is situated 600 metres above sea level on the Titiwangsa Mountain Range.

glamping sailors rest tent beds

glamping sailors rest inside tent

As soon as we settled in, we explored the site. In addition to glamping, Sailor’s Rest also has kampung chalets, a houseboat and a bungalow for visitors to stay for a weekend getaway. The entire landscape of Sailor’s Rest is so beautifully done with gardens of various tropical flowers and fruit trees, perfectly designed to provide visitors the tranquillity needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

glamping sailors rest gardens

There are ten common toilet-cum-shower facilities – hot and cold water provided – and very clean.

glamping sailors rest bathrooms

After exploring the site, we joined other camper guests at the riverbank. Many guests were swimming, playing in the river, chatting and just enjoying themselves. The water was icy cold but we didn’t mind – it was a respite from the sweltering heat in KL.

A BBQ dinner was served at 7.30pm at the dining hall. Mr Hashim and his wife came over and mingled with the guests. After dinner, folks stayed on in the dining hall – chatting and playing card games. By nightfall, our lullaby was crickets chirping as we dozed off in our tents.

As the sun rose the next morning, we were woken up by birds chirping. The bed was so comfy that I seriously didn’t want to get up but my stomach was growling for breakfast. As true Malaysians, we instinctively knew the breakfast menu – nasi lemak (rice steamed with coconut milk and pandan leaves served with sambal chilli paste, anchovies, hard-boiled egg and slices of cucumber) and roti canai (paratha flatbread with chicken curry or daal) – our national dishes 🙂

glamping sailors rest dining-hall

We wanted to go waterfall trekking but the activity requires a minimum number of 10 people whereby a guide would be organised to take us through the trek. Unfortunately, the camper guests were not keen even though there were many of us that weekend to make up a group of 10. Hence, the activity was cancelled. We stayed for a few more hours at the site, then reluctantly checked out and said farewell to our hosts.

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Would I recommend glamping? Absolutely! I don’t think glamping will ever replace camping. It will probably remain as a recreational form of camping for folks who want to experience the outdoors without some of the perceived “discomforts” of traditional camping. Furthermore, I feel that, we urbanites, need to take time out from the pressures of city life, to chill out and to get in touch with nature again. As such, glamping is a perfect weekend getaway.

So, go ahead and book your glamping experience but remember, please leave your high heels behind 🙂

Disclaimer: Our glamping booking was generously discounted by LocalUsher but opinions, as always, are my own.

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I scoffed at the idea of glamping but not anymore katpegimana

 

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58 comments

  1. I just couldn’t get adventurous enough to go camping anywhere till date but I did go for glamping, reluctant at first, during a kayaking trip in Koyna, Maharashtra, India and Loved it! 2 days of bonfire, open area buffet, explore the wilderness, live in a tent – but the tent was no less than some 3 star hotel room without a TV. It had almost all the necessary amenities including a cooler. Hence, I totally related to this post of yours 🙂

    1. Hi Vaisakhi, oh give me glamping anytime! I don’t think I want to go back to camping now hahah…
      Thanks for your comment, good see you here 🙂

  2. That is pretty cool!! To be honest, I never did camping (not because I didn’t want to) but I would to try both way, the rough one and glamorous one hahaha. The tents are very spacious and beds look cosy!! Great review!!

    Happy to have you on #MondayEscapes 😀

    1. Thanks Allane, yes, do give it a try. So far I have not seen pics of glamping sites in Germany or Europe (??) but the US ones look pretty cool. Btw, Happy Easter and have a great long weekend!

      1. Heey Kat, I know that there are some here in Germany and Slovenia! I will probably stay in one in Slovenia in August 😀 I think you can call it glamping, it’s fancy though, with rooms with bathroom and kitchen and everything, pretty cool 😀 let’s see how it goes!
        Thank you, Happy Easter to you too (if you celebrate it of course :D)

  3. I would definitely go for glamping these days rather than camping…although will take my daughter for the proper outdoor experience at some point. I really like the look of this…a peaceful respite from the city in the outdoors but WITH a bed and it seems like it had quite a communal feel to it too. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    1. I reckon kids need to experience regular camping at some point in their lives, and glamping can be introduced another time, then they can make a decision on which activity they prefer..no? 🙂

  4. That looks like a lovely spot, and I like how bright the tents are amongst the trees. Shame you didn;t get your excursion, but a lovely place to relax, I can see!

  5. I am definitely a glamper rather than a camper – I camped around Europe one time, but staying in a tent again more recently confirmed for me that I want a bed, space and don’t fancy stumbling about to the toilet block in the dark. Maybe occasionally for the experience, but otherwise give me the glamorous kind! Thanks for linking up to #citytripping

    1. I suppose this one is more of a minimalist glamping haha…yeah, give glamping a chance, and see if it’s better than regular camping, or not 🙂 Thanks for your comment and visit to my blog, cheers!

  6. The camp is much more minimalist than I expected, I suppose I was anticipating something like that in Kenya when you go on safari and stay in “tents” that have stone floors and an ensuite at the rear of the tent.
    The KL version appears much more like real camping without having to set up the tent and nor get smoke in your eyes as you cook on a small burner.

    1. Yeah, I have googled glamping pics before and the ones in the US, African safari look really cool and more glamorous for sure! You’re right the KL one is more minimalist and we didn’t have to cook on a small burner – food was served to us at the dining area :-). Thanks, Sally, for your comment and visit, cheers!

    1. Yeah, please give it a try, I will definitely experience it again 🙂 Thanks, Tanja, for your comment and visit to my blog, cheers!

  7. What a cool opportunity/trip! I’ve never even been “real camping,” so glamping would probably be a good starting point for me. If you want to link up with the Travel Tuesday link-up over on my blog, too, it’d be great to have your post with us!

  8. This is the second time this week I’ve come across a post about glamping! I’d love to try it. I like regular camping but why not take it up a notch 🙂 #citytripping

    1. Yeah, why not, try it and see if you like it better than regular camping, or not 🙂 Thanks, Lillian, for your comment and visit to my blog, cheers!

    1. You’re welcome, Suyash. US has a lot of glamping sites, and they look pretty cool too, probably more glamorous than the one I tried here 🙂

  9. This is definitely my type of camping! What a great location too. We camped a lot before having kids so it didn’t matter so much on the really cold nights or when we needed to pop to the toilets at night. I can’t imagine finding it as enjoyable with small children. Glamping would definitely work better! #MondayEscapes

    1. Yeah, glamping is suitable for kids. I saw 3 families with their children at the glamping site and they seemed to be enjoying themselves 🙂

  10. It looks great – I’ve done my share of camping in two-man tents and a dodgy sleeping bag so I think I’d be much happier to go glamping these days! I’d definitely have gone waterfall trekking with you – such a shame you missed that. #MondayEscapes

    1. Yeah, as I get older (hopefully wiser), I’m not too keen on camping anymore, so glamping is the best bet now 🙂 Thanks Clare, cheers.

  11. They invented glamping for people like me! I have never liked roughing it:). Looks like a wonderful time! I hope you get to do again–they have some wonderful glamps in the Western portion of the United States . . .

  12. i have never heard of this before – glamping. You report is tasty and I understand if people go for this. Had I been a city person, I would. But, as I was practically born in the forest, I prefer camping. i still do camping in the mountains, but more and more these old bones want at least a hostel, and preferably a B&B. I’m not much for hotels – too big and no charm.

    1. I agree, Ann Christine, a city person would enjoy glamping. I, too, prefer B&B and I reckon staying in a B&B in a village or countryside set by the riverbank in the rainforest would be lovely as well 🙂

    1. Absolutely, while we promote new ways of travelling, I’m hoping that society continues to learn to respect nature and the environment.

  13. I’m definitely with you on the no vote for camping, but glamping I might just be able to stretch to when the kids are old enough for it to be realistic. This looks like it was a good first experience for you Kat. One to try again?

      1. Me too, definitely. But at the moment one of mine is only 7 months, the other 2 and a half. Getting them to sleep, and getting them to actually stay asleep when we are all together in a glorified playhouse (in their eyes!) might be a little tricky and take the holiday shine off it for us adults!

          1. Actually kids don’t need glamping at all – they are so adaptable to anything, as long as their parents are there. This comes from my own experiences with our kids – typically kids just think it’s a huge adventure to go camping and don’t notice the uncomfortable circumstances at all. These days, I think it’s me who needs glamping instead of regular camping 😛

            Very interesting to learn about this place, Kat! Sorry you did not get to go trekking..

          2. Hi Danial, during that weekend, I saw 3 families, and one of them brought a 6 month old baby. The other children are probably around the ages of 3-8.

      2. Or maybe the other way around – get them exposed to camping first (ease them into it), and then when they are older, it’s their choice to continue with camping or switch to glamping? Depends on the generation of kids, really. I’m still a Gen X kind of baby, LOL! 🙂

    1. Definitely, I will try again 🙂 20 years ago, I enjoyed camping but creature comforts are a must for me now. I can rough it out in a 3-star hotel or guesthouse when I travel but not anything less than that. As such, I’m all in favour of glamping 🙂

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