Looks picturesque, isn’t it? Well, that’s where I was camping a month back. Yes, this comes in pretty late, but that’s what the camp does to you – makes you float in the euphoria that it takes five 10,000 walas to bring you back to reality.
I came across Exoticamp around a year ago. They had a camping session by the beach in ECR. I wanted to try it, but circumstances weren’t suitable. However, when my friend tried their Vagamon camp, I was pretty excited just by listening to her stories, and thus this camp of the lifetime happened.
There were a few questions that my other friends, who didn’t come for the camp asked
“Trip without alcohol. How is that fun?”
“Trip with 25+ people. How is it enjoyable?”
“Trip with strangers. How is that safe?”
I had these questions too. And then Camp Above The Clouds happened. I took the plunge and booked for the camp along with the transportation they provided for this trip. A Whatsapp group was created for co-ordination 2 days before the trip. And then on the day of the trip, the actual fun began.
While me catching the bus itself was a funny story by itself (for another time), from the moment I entered the bus to the moment I got down from it (two days later in Chennai) – neither did I access my phone for anything other than photography nor I felt bored for a moment.
At the end of the trip, I had answers for all the questions stated above.
When you are above the clouds, you don’t need anything artificial to get high.
Just like how you enjoyed your college trips.
I might not find travel buddies as lovely as these people were. Even if that’s a hit and miss scenario, the organizers are super friendly that never for a moment you feel like their customers. In fact, I have befriended all the organizers who traveled with me that we communicate on a regular basis like some work or college buddies.
Now, coming to what happened on the trip?
Friday night at around 8:30 PM we boarded a sleeper bus to Kumily from Chennai. Close to 15 seats were taken by Exoticamp. After a small ice-breaking, we started to talk and get to know one another. With the average age of the campers being 25-27, it was quite easy to blend in and communicate. Worry not, there were campers as young as 4 to campers as old as 45 or so. From what I heard from the organizers, even more diverse crowd comes for the camps. So, irrespective of your age or gender, you will have someone or other to connect with and most times, it’s the whole gang you connect with.
We reached Kumily around 6:30 PM on Saturday and had some breakfast in a nearby hotel. From there, we took jeep rides to Vagamon. We stopped at a lotta places on the way to click pictures, to drench in waterfalls, and play around in some meadows. By the time we reached the waterfalls for the morning shower, half of the campers have already got drenched from the previous waterfalls. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed swimming and having a dip in the private waterfalls, which was followed by a hearty Kerala style lunch.
After relaxing for a bit, we walked to our campsite, where the camps were already pitched. The camps were on twin or triple sharing basis. There was even a toilet nearby, so that women don’t have to worry on that aspect. Once we relaxed for a bit in the camping site with some hot-hot Chai, we started to explore the places around, take a walk, click pictures, and have conversations with fellow campers. While people were hanging out in gangs doing different activities as mentioned above, one of the organizers cooked delicious and unique soupy noodles for all of us. Ha! What more can we ask for than soupy noodles, chilly weather, a camp, and lovely people?
Gradually, as the night started to set in, we played some typical camping games that brought in a lot of nostalgia. Post dinner, which was cooked food served hot from the organizers, we got ready for the campfire, which obviously had ghost stories. Once, people retired to sleep, some of us sat inside a camp and spoke for some more time about love, ghosts, and comedy of errors – it all seems so related yet unrelated.
The next morning, we woke up to misty weather and hot chai. After taking a short hike nearby, we came back to the camp spot to have breakfast. After a while, we packed our bags to get back to the private waterfall we first went to. Post another small session in that waterfall, we started to explore Vagamon – thanks to our jeep ride, the sightseeing was all the more fun.
Finally, with heavy hearts and even more heavier memories, we got into our buses, only to realize that the night is still young and we had loads of games to play and stories to share.
I guess, by now, you already know why you must take this camp – if not, here is it – “This is the perfect getaway that everyone needs in their busy lives.”
The overall pricing for the camp was 3500 and the transportation was 2100 (Sleeper buses to and fro Chennai-Kumily)
Exoticamp does have a lot of other campsites in places like Munnar, Coorg, Tada, etc., which I am planning to explore and write about. As of now, if this camp excites you, they have one on 11th of November 2017. You can check out more details on their events page.
Let me know how your experience with Exoticamp and camping, in general, was in the comments below, once you try them out.