Norden Camp Activity Guide

Norden Camp offers urbanites from around the world the rare opportunity to experience authentic Tibetan culture, community and traditions in complete comfort. Managed by and for the benefit of grassland nomads, Norden Camp operates sustainably, without compromising the existing Tibetan Buddhist culture or our spectacular natural environment. Located at 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) above sea level, the 11-hectare site borders a meandering river and is home to gazelles, hares, marmots and foxes, and visited by a vibrant array of migratory birds. Even if you are not a birdwatcher, one can’t help looking up towards the surrounding Himalayas as these majestic winged wonders soar overhead.

During the months that Norden Camp operates, weather in summer varies from 15 to 25 degrees Centigrade while September into October proffers warm sun, clear skies, brisk days and cool starry nights. Between seasons, our campsite reverts to its traditional role, as a grazing area for sheep and yaks.

We hope during your stay with us at Norden Camp that you will consider our grasslands home to be yours. While our Tibetan staff is still perfecting their English, please ask anything of us, we will do our best to fulfill your wishes. Our own desire is that you fall in love with this fabled landscape, its naturally hospitable people and captivating traditions as we have. To assist you in deciding how to spend your time at Camp, we offer the following activity descriptions. However, to tell you the truth, our own favorite Norden Camp pastimes include wandering among the wildflowers and sipping tea together on the private deck of our tent or cabin listening to the sounds of nature. You may wonder what there is to do here after dark, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Counting shooting stars keeps us in awe.

 

ACTIVITIES AT CAMP

FINNISH SAUNA
With a maximum occupancy of four people, the sauna is the perfect place to decompress. A bucket fed hot shower is available to complete the experience and the deck overlooking the river offers the perfect place to linger.

RATE: ¥200 per person for one hour (max 4 people)

WALKS
There are many beautiful walks around the camp of different intensities. We suggest walking accompanied by one of our guides since we are in nomad pastures and it is safer to go with someone from the area.

BIRDWATCHING
There are many beautiful birds around Camp. It seems like we’re introduced to a colorful new species every day. Our Tibetan staff will happily direct you to the best viewing areas and answer any questions you might have about what you’ve seen.

NORLHA LOUNGE
Make yourself comfortable in this cozy atmosphere, warmed by traditional furnace when necessary. Read our books about the area and Tibetan culture
while you sip tea to your heart’s content. This lounge may be reserved for private dinners and meetings.

EVENING BONFIRE
After dinner we invite you to our tradition inspired bonfire where dessert is served and drinks can be ordered. Stargazing is best in the clear nights of September and October, though for these we recommend wrapping up in your Norlha
khullu.

Many of our staff are excellent traditional singers and mandolin players. Around the Norden bonfire, barriers are broken as guests from different countries share stories and ideas and learn local song and dance from the Norden staff.

MEALS AT NORDEN CAMP
Breakfast and all meals are included in the room rate. Lunch and dinner are fixed meals that vary from the Western and Tibetan menus always prepared with local, naturally organic ingredients. Expect both
traditional ‘momo’ Tibetan dumplings with meat and vegetables as well as inventive variations, crisp salads of freshly picked ingredients from our surrounding gardens, traditional Tibetan meat dishes, comforting Chinese noodles and for dessert, Western favorites. We ask that guests let us know preferences and allergies in advance of arrival at Camp so we may do our best to accommodate you. Alcoholic drinks, coffee, juices, snacks are charged separately.

YOGA & MEDITATION
Guests are welcome to venture into The Space for some quiet time and yoga, if not already booked by groups. Yoga mats are available. The Space is complimentary for in-house guests. Coffee and tea can be ordered from the bar menu.

The Space is available for rent by outside guests. Rates includes refreshments, snacks and a gourmet meal.

ACTIVITIES AWAY FROM NORDEN CAMP

GUIDED VISIT TO LABRANG TASHI KYIL MONASTERY
11 km from Norden Camp is the spiritual heart of the Kanlho region, Labrang Monastery. Labrang is the largest and most vibrant monastery left on the Tibetan Plateau with over 1,000 monks, 18 halls and hundreds of monastic residences. Here, travelers are transported back in time to witness traditions rarely seen today. Norden will guide visitors through the monks’ daily routine with visits to the six colleges that make up the monastery. Start with a 3 km circumambulation around the entire monastery where you’ll see pilgrims from all over Tibet in their traditional dress. After touring the monastery and the three-story Barkhang, Labrang’s historic printing press with its impressive 20,000 wooden blocks, visitors can roam around town and take in the atmosphere of one of Tibet’s major pilgrimage sights.

For an overview of the Monastery we suggest a three-hour visit accompanied by one of our local guides. However, Labrang Monastery can very well be a full day (or more) experience if you wish to delve into greater detail. Please ask our team for further details.

DRIVING TIME: 20 minutes
ACTIVITY TIME: Approximately 3 hours
RATE: ¥1000 for one person; ¥200 each additional person
Norden is happy to prepare a complimentary packed lunch and give suggestions to restaurants in town. Dining in town is not included in the rate

SHOPPING IN LABRANG
We invite you to visit our boutique in Labrang, which is very popular with the local monks. You’ll find the most beautiful yak khullu products in the world here: hand spun scarves, dresses, shirts, jackets, felted bags, slippers, hats, home wares and toys as well as semi-precious stone prayer malas. Around the corner from the Norlha store you’ll find many Tibetan shops selling traditional chubas, malas, nomad silver belts, carpets, sheepskins and statues, among other things. We suggest you go with one of our guides for help with translating and shopping assistance.

DRIVE TIME: 20 minutes
ACTIVITY TIME: We recommend you visit Norlha and explore the surrounding boutiques after your guided Labrang tour or during a visit to town to check your emails and enjoy a meal or snacks at Norden Café.

NORDEN CAFÉ IN LABRANG
Norden Café is located just outside the monastery walls in Labrang. It is operated by Yidam’s two sisters, Rinbey and Drolma, and is the best place in town for freshly prepared sandwiches, quiches, pizza, brownies, cookies and cakes, plus coffee, tea and fresh juices. The café also has free high-speed Wi-Fi and is a great place to hang out and check your email.

DRIVING TIME: 20 minutes

VISIT WITH A NOMADIC FAMILY INCLUDING LUNCH
An hour’s drive through rolling pastures brings you to a traditional Tibetan encampment where you’ll share lunch with a nomad family. A typical menu may include: Tibetan pulled noodles, yak yogurt, fresh butter, local bread, and a Tibetan staple made from roasted barley known as tsampa. Guests will observe nomadic life without any staging as Norden is about conscious, authentic travel in Tibet. (Available after mid June once the nomads begin moving).

DRIVE TIME: One hour each way
ACTIVITY TIME: Approximately 4 hours at the nomad camp
RATE: ¥1,600 for one person; ¥400 each additional person (max 8 people)

TIBETAN HORSEBACK RIDING
Fancy a ride across this breathtaking countryside on the backs of nimble local horses dressed with traditionally embellished leather saddles and hand knotted Tibetan carpets? Norden Camp can arrange horses for our guests to ride under the guidance of some local nomad friends. Guests who want a gentle ride while exploring our Norden neighborhood can opt to saddle up right alongside Camp. Those seeking the thrill of galloping across the Tibetan Plateau may venture over the hills and farther into the pastures.

DRIVE TIME: No drive time
ACTIVITY TIME: Varies

RATE: ¥200 per hour per person for ride near Norden Camp; ¥1,000 per person for 5-hour excursion

LABRANG TASHI KYIL HIKE
The size and majesty of Labrang Monastery can only be fully appreciated from a bird’s eye view. For our guests interested in a little exercise, a hike along the hillside surrounding the monastery is an ideal way to appreciate the scale of Tibet’s largest functioning monastery. Norden Camp will prepare a hearty picnic lunch of either yak or vegetarian sandwiches. Over lunch travelers may enjoy a stunning view of Labrang’s two districts, the monastery and modern town.

DRIVE TIME: 20 minutes
ACTIVITY TIME: 2 hours
RATE: ¥600 for up to 2 people; ¥400 each additional person

NORDEN CAMP GUIDED DAY HIKE
Norden Camp is spectacularly located in a wildflower-dappled valley, from which our guest can hike in all directions. Our favorite circuits close to Norden Camp include heading straight up the surrounding hills or into the valley west of Camp. We suggest you go accompanied by our local guides. 

DRIVE TIME: No driving required
ACTIVITY TIME: Varies
RATE:  ¥600 for up to 2 people; ¥400 each additional person

NORLHA WORKSHOP VISIT
Norlha is a groundbreaking social enterprise in China and one of the few luxury brands in the world merging cultural and environmental sustainability with the most sophisticated and enduring style. Norlha is internationally known for its innovation producing exquisite yak textiles while providing training and employment to over 120 local nomads. At Norlha workshop in Zorge Ritoma, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, guests will be guided through the transformation of yak wool into fine blankets, throws, scarves, clothing and a wide range of accessories. Visitors will experience each section of the workshop including dying, weaving, sewing, felting and product development. Textile aficionados can try their hand at felting under the guidance of one of Norlha’s expert felters. There will even be time to do a little shopping at the beautiful Norlha store. Traditional lunch is included at the Norlha Guest House

For guests who prefer to stay close to Camp, we maintain a wholesale outlet of a wide range of Norlha’s products at Norden’s Trading Post, near the guest welcome area.

DRIVE TIME: 2 hours drive each way to Zorge Ritoma on paved roads
ACTIVITY TIME: Approximately 4 hours including lunch & shopping. Complimentary lunch will be provided at Norlha House. 
RATE: ¥1,300 for one person; ¥300 each additional person

 

Activities Pricing (RMB)*

Activities* 1 Person
Total
2 Person
Total
Each Additional
Person (After 2)
Child Pricing
(12 & Under)
Guided Visit to Labrang Monastery 1000 1200 200 300
Visit Nomad Family (after mid-June) 1600 2000 400 500
Labrang Tashi Kyil Hike 800 800 200 Not Available
Norlha Textile visit 1300 1600 300 400
Horseback riding near Norden Camp 200 400 200 200
Horseback Riding Excursion 1000 2000 1000 1000
Sauna 200 200 100 Not Available

* does not include 8.5% standard service charge

 

Transportation Pricing (RMB)*

Transportation (One-way) 7-Person Private Van 4-Person Private Sedan**
Lanzhou Airport to/from Norden Camp 1700 1500
Xiahe Airport to/from Norden Camp 500 400
Labrang Monastery to/from Norden Camp (2-way) 400 300

* does not include 8.5% standard service charge
** Private sedan allows for two suitcases and hand luggage. For more than two guests the private van is recommended.