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Trip Ideas

How glamping grew to become China’s largest journey pattern

(CNN) — “Each grassland is roofed with tents throughout weekends,” says 26-year-old glamping fanatic Yoga Tune.

Glamping, a fusion of the phrases “glamor” and “tenting,” is the newest journey fad amongst younger Chinese language.

Over the previous yr, Tune says she has taken greater than 10 glamping journeys in China, to each rural areas and metropolis suburbs.

She launched into her first glamping journey in April of 2021, heading for Zhongwei, a metropolis known as the “japanese Morocco.”

Situated within the principally abandoned Ningxia Hui Autonomous Area of northern China, Zhongwei is residence to the Yellow River, parts of the Nice Wall, deserts, wetlands and historic villages.

When she went, town was already dotted with boutique accommodations and homestays. However Tune opted to attempt one thing totally different: a tent.

When Tune arrived, she says there have been 5 tents located simply 10 meters away from the roaring Yellow River, with views of the Gobi Desert — the world’s sixth-largest — on the opposite aspect.

However it did not go easily. The climate was very windy in Zhongwei, sending sand and gravel flying. Consequently, all of the vacationer spots had been closed.

“That evening, folks working the glamping web site known as us out to have a look at the celebrities,” she recollects. “After I stepped out of the tent, all of the clouds that coated the sky lastly dispersed. The sky was huge, crammed with starlight — all the celebrities I can ever think about, and the silence was consummate.”

With the hustle and bustle of metropolis life left behind, vacationers are uncovered to an genuine, modern northwest China. Tune says glamping right here, surrounded by farms and pastures, provides vacationers an opportunity to sow, harvest and style locally-grown dates and wine grapes. Goats, yaks and sheep come by the tents infrequently.

This popular glamping resort is  perched on top of Hangzhou's Yongan Mountain.

This common glamping resort is perched on prime of Hangzhou’s Yongan Mountain.

Xu Yu/Xinhua Information Company/Getty Photos

Consolation over nature

On the planet’s most populous nation, time in nature can imply intense mountain hikes and desert treks or gentle picnics on the grassy garden of a park and enjoyable drives to the outskirts of a metropolis.

But whereas younger urbanites crave recent air and nature, many are unwilling to surrender creature comforts like comfortable mattresses.

Xiaohongshu, the nation’s foremost life-style web site, is a significant hidden hand driving the holiday fad as stylish camping-inspired posts flood into cellular feeds.

For a lot of younger Chinese language, glamping is simply the suitable exercise for his or her daka lists — a buzzword that describes web customers “clocking in” at Instagrammable locations.

1000’s of detailed lists of glamping gadgets, recipes for easy-to-prepare meals and suggestions for glamping locations throughout the nation dominate the Chinese language web.

Tune recollects seeing a Marshall speaker and large, handmade carpets inside her tent in Zhongwei.

Pure Camp, the positioning’s operator, proudly declares on its official Xiaohongshu (a Chinese language social media web site) account: “We maintain a superb selection of outside manufacturers, each home and worldwide ones.”

These embody mattresses by King Koil — simply as prone to be the identical ones present in five-star resort rooms — and out of doors furnishings from the upscale Nordic model Tentipi.

A one-night keep prices round 1,000 yuan ($148) for every particular person, Tune says.

The pattern is not simply occurring in mainland China.

Wade Cheung, advertising and marketing supervisor at Saiyuen, a glamping and journey park on an island in Hong Kong, has additionally seen bookings “enhance considerably” over the previous two years, with greater than 10% of tourists returning after their first keep.

“The lingering pandemic has impressed Hong Kong folks to discover the fabulous home-grown experiences within the metropolis,” says Cheung.

The positioning, on the island of Cheung Chau, provides varied lodging choices, from tepees to Mongolian gers, however essentially the most unique is the Sundown Vista, a 300-square-foot domed tent set in its personal 2,000 sq. ft area with non-public grassland.

The dome can accommodate 4 folks in complete, and features a non-public bathe room and bathroom, barbecue range, hammock and extra,

With a bay window overlooking the ocean and a web site excellent for stargazing, Sundown Vista has grow to be a success with Hong Kong bloggers and influencers.

One evening within the tent prices about $3,500 HKD ($446) to $4,800 HKD ($611), on par with an evening in a luxurious resort on Hong Kong island.

Company prioritizing consolation over nature have dominated the glamping web site as of late.

Cheung says the kind of guests they obtain has developed for the reason that begin of the pandemic. Earlier than, guests cherished tenting, mountaineering and nature, and could be impressed by the air conditioners within the tents. Now, company take into account AC a should.

“For instance, if there’s a frog sitting in entrance of the tent, the earlier guests will in all probability squat down and take a photograph with it, however for guests these days, it’d grow to be one thing that they should adapt to,” he provides.

A view from inside Saiyuen's dome tent.

A view from inside Saiyuen’s dome tent.


A Covid-fueled fad

Glamping has been choosing up steam since Covid-19 first hit. A report revealed by Chinese language journey operator CTrip reveals searches for tenting actions jumped eightfold in 2021.

In the course of the Labor Day vacation in Could of 2022, figures from one other platform, Qunar, reveals that ticket gross sales of parks that enable tenting in China soared over 50% in contrast with the identical interval final yr.

Bookings for homestays that present camping-related companies resembling RVs and tents additionally quadrupled within the nation in the course of the vacation over the identical interval final yr, based on the holiday rental web site Tujia.

An adventure walk at Saiyuen glamping site in Hong Kong.

An journey stroll at Saiyuen glamping web site in Hong Kong.


Covid-19 has actually performed a job on this newfound enthusiasm for out of doors luxurious experiences.

The preliminary outbreak in 2020 sealed China’s borders, retaining Chinese language vacationers at residence. Current Covid-19 outbreaks are estimated to have reduce home journey by greater than half, and persons are spending holidays even nearer to residence, because the potential penalties of journey have developed from getting locked out of China to getting locked out of 1’s residence metropolis.

Doubling down on its controversial “zero-Covid” coverage, China has been imposing harsh measures together with lockdowns and repeated rounds of mass testing to stamp out the newest clusters.

The mega metropolis Shanghai simply emerged from a nine-week onerous citywide lockdown which barred all residents from leaving their flats. Within the capital Beijing, a three-week-plus “comfortable lockdown” has left tens of millions of residents being requested to do business from home.

And there are echoes of earlier epidemics in Hong Kong.

It was virtually twenty years in the past, when the SARS outbreak struck town, that Cheung went on his first native mountaineering and tenting journeys. It was then that he found “Hong Kong is such a enjoyable place to discover.”

The decision of the wild

Whereas Tune agrees that glamping’s rise may be attributed to Covid-19 restrictions, which led folks to worth alternatives to get in contact with nature, she thinks there’s something extra to it. Specifically, the idea of “dwelling wildly.”

“Many life that we see on social media are too glamorous. The espresso tradition in Shanghai, for instance, is a bit glamorized. They set a precedent on how we should always idealistically look, speak and stay.”

However persons are realizing these life are missing one thing, Tune notes. Picnicking, which was common earlier than glamping grew to become the brand new craze, can now not fulfill urges to attach with nature.

But she cautiously attracts a line between “dwelling wildly” and “dwelling within the wilderness.”

“A few of my associates can simply go tenting on any mountain with solely a backpack. That’s too hardcore for me to deal with. A minimum of, fundamental sanitary requirements and dwelling situations should not be sacrificed,” she says.

The fixed enchantment of spending time within the wilderness means the glamping fad is probably going right here to remain, however is predicted to drop “to a secure stage” after journey restrictions loosen,” notes Cheung.

Amongst these visiting Saiyuen, round 60% of them are households, who will “nonetheless like to take their children to a bit of island of journey regionally” throughout weekends, he provides.

Prime picture: Hong Kong’s Saiyuen glamping resort is positioned on the island of Cheung Chau. Credit score: Saiyuen

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