1. Four Rivers, Cambodia
Well, try soggy tents, bad backs from hard ground and queuing for a cold shower (if there is one).
Camping all too often seems like a better, more romantic idea than what the reality actually delivers, which probably explains why the world has gone glamping mad in recent years, with posh tipis and fancy yurts popping up in the strangest of places, and often for eye-poppingly extravagant prices.
After all, it’s the business class version of a trip to see Mother Nature – you’ll still get woken up by birdsong, but after a good night’s sleep rather than a fitful marathon of shivers, drunken neighbours and dagger-like rocks in the back. Plus you’ll be able to charge your iPhone, meaning the world won’t have to miss out on your tales of getting away from it all…
Ticking all the boxes is the 4 River Floating Lodge, based on a quiet corner of the Tatai River in the outer reaches of Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains.
Only accessible by boat, this unique lodge has a dozen seriously spacious safari-style tents, each atop a floating platform on the river, costing from £85 per night.
There’s no mouldy sleeping bags to climb into here. Oh no. Expect proper comfy beds, air-con and an en suite bathroom with hot water, not to mention the terrace, flat screen TV and minibar. Basically imagine a swanky hotel room, without proper walls.
That all means you’re actually going to enjoy the sublime surroundings, from the misty waters at dawn, to the splashes of jumping fish and the distant cries and growls from the creatures of the surrounding forest.
There’s also no shortage of activities on offer to keep you from the minibar. Whether it’s kayaking through the mangroves or trekking to waterfalls, there’s no reason to hold back – you’re guaranteed a shower at the end.
2. Elqui Domos, Chile
If camping is all about sleeping out under the stars, then glamping is admiring the heavens from the comfort of a double bed. At Elqui Domos, near the Chilean city of La Serena, you can do just that, from £82 a night. Sleeping options at the ‘astronomic hotel’ include two-level metal and PVC domes that come complete with decking, lounge and bathroom, while the roof of the tent over the bed can be opened to the sky.
3. Carre d’Etoiles, France
Not a fan of curves? Then the Carré d’Etoiles, or star cubes, should go straight to the top of your wishlist. Costing from £78 a night, these cube-shaped mini-houses, made from recycled wood, are all about escapism in your natural surroundings while not missing out on the mod cons. The fully portable cubes, which come with a telescope and skygazing portholes in the ceiling, can now be found sat on 14 riverbanks and hilltops across France.
4. Free Spheres, Canada
To literally take camping to a whole new level, try setting up for the night in a Free Spirit Sphere, where you’ll be bedding down in a pod suspended between the trees of Vancouver Island’s rainforest.
Handcrafted and hanging from a web of rope, the spheres cost from £95 a night. According to the Free Spirit team, that includes experiencing how “the magical environment of the forest canopy conjures up thoughts of elves and fairies”. Nuff said
5. Gypsy wagons. England
For a taste of the nomadic lifestyle without the worry of council officers moving you on, a night in a Romany Gypsy bow top wagon should do the job. One of the best looking and located of the traditional wagons, built on an original dray with gun carriage wheels, can be found in the orchards of Tregaminion, on Cornwall’s dramatic Lizard Peninsula.
Built and used by a genuine Romany, £75-a-night Elle, as the wagon is called, still includes original features such as a wood-burning stove.
Photos: James Florio (elquidomos.cl); Andrew Westbrook; Facebook