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Yidam Kyap

TOMO Hotelier

What do you consider your team’s greatest achievement?
My team is made up primarily of local nomads who came to us with no prior experience in hospitality. I feel our greatest achievement as a team is the genuine way in which we are able to welcome our guests and make them feel safe and at home. This innate ability transcends language barriers allowing visitors to experience a direct and unique connection to the land and the local community.

What do you most value in a hotel for your own holidays?
Of late, I have started to really appreciate any hotel or experience that is proactive in reducing our carbon footprint on this planet. I also love to talk to the staff at hotels and truly appreciate it when they are local people who appreciate the jobs and opportunities the hotel they are working at is bringing them. It is always nice being able to stay at a place with a conscience.

What is one place nearby that every one of your guests should discover?
I would highly recommend that all guests visit Labrang monastery with its vibrancy of culture and Buddhism.

What is your dream journey?
My dream journey is taking a few months off to show my daughters the Tibetan Plateau; the mountains, the valleys, the rivers and the grasslands. I want them to connect with the land that they are from and learn to love and appreciate it as much as I do.

What local dish do you never tire of eating?
The staple food of Tibetans across the Tibetan plateau is highland barley, tsampa, mixed with yak butter, and fine dried yak cheese . Each morning starts with this mixture and often my day feels incomplete without a bowl of Tsampa.

What motivated you to become a hotelier?
As a young adult I had the good fortune to travel to many parts of South East Asia. As many people opened their worlds to me and shared their culture, I was reminded of all that I too had that I could share with people from different corners of the world. I thought of the excitement I used to feel as a child when visiting other people’s homes but also when welcoming others to our house. I realized that this was what I wanted to do with my life; welcome people into a little space that I could call my own and share with them my land and my culture.

What was your greatest extravagance in creating your hotel?
The greatest extravagance, I believe might be the location and the concept of Norden in itself. When we first tried to explain Norden’s vision to family and friends, people were skeptical as to who would come to stay in such a remote location. The idea of creating comfort and luxury in the wilderness was seen as an extravagance, a whimsical idea that could not possibly be financially sustainable. Today, there are many camps that have opened up, some down the road from Norden Camp and more and more people have come to believe in this as a business model.

Where do you feel happiest on your property?
I love the camp as whole, made up of creeks and rivers, dwarf trees and myriads of flowers. I would say that the happiest I feel is more at certain times of the day rather than a specific location. The dawn with the first light of the day, the rustle of the birds and the fresh morning dew, is by far my happiest time of the day.

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