How glamping became China’s biggest travel trend

Nichole S. Gehr

(CNN) — “Every single grassland is coated with tents all through weekends,” suggests 26-year-outdated glamping fanatic Yoga Track.

Glamping, a fusion of the text “glamor” and “tenting,” is the hottest vacation trend between younger Chinese.

Around the earlier calendar year, Song says she has taken much more than 10 glamping visits in China, to both rural regions and city suburbs.

She embarked on her initially glamping journey in April of 2021, heading for Zhongwei, a metropolis referred to as the “jap Morocco.”

Found in the mostly deserted Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of northern China, Zhongwei is property to the Yellow River, portions of the Good Wall, deserts, wetlands and historical villages.

When she went, the town was currently dotted with boutique accommodations and homestays. But Tune opted to attempt some thing different: a tent.

When Song arrived, she says there were 5 tents situated just 10 meters absent from the roaring Yellow River, with sights of the Gobi Desert — the world’s sixth-biggest — on the other aspect.

But it failed to go easily. The weather conditions was really windy in Zhongwei, sending sand and gravel traveling. As a final result, all the tourist places ended up closed.

“That evening, people today running the glamping web site known as us out to appear at the stars,” she recalls. “When I stepped out of the tent, all the clouds that lined the sky finally dispersed. The sky was huge, filled with starlight — all the stars I can at any time think about, and the silence was consummate.”

With the hustle and bustle of metropolis lifestyle left driving, travelers are uncovered to an genuine, up to date northwest China. Track suggests glamping in this article, surrounded by farms and pastures, features vacationers a likelihood to sow, harvest and taste domestically-grown dates and wine grapes. Goats, yaks and sheep occur by the tents from time to time.

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 News Agency/Getty Pictures

Comfort and ease over nature

In the world’s most populous place, time in mother nature can suggest powerful mountain hikes and desert treks or light picnics on the grassy lawn of a park and soothing drives to the outskirts of a city.

Still while younger urbanites crave refreshing air and nature, lots of are unwilling to give up creature comforts like comfortable mattresses.

Xiaohongshu, the country’s foremost way of life web-site, is a significant concealed hand driving the family vacation trend as stylish camping-inspired posts flood into cellular feeds.

For a lot of youthful Chinese, glamping is just the ideal activity for their daka lists — a buzzword that describes world wide web consumers “clocking in” at Instagrammable sites.

Thousands of detailed lists of glamping objects, recipes for simple-to-get ready foods and tips for glamping places across the nation dominate the Chinese world wide web.

Music recollects seeing a Marshall speaker and massive, handmade carpets inside her tent in Zhongwei.

Normal Camp, the site’s operator, proudly announces on its formal Xiaohongshu (a Chinese social media website) account: “We maintain a fantastic alternative of out of doors manufacturers, both domestic and international types.”

These consist of mattresses by King Koil — just as possible to be the similar types uncovered in 5-star lodge rooms — and out of doors furnishings from the upscale Nordic brand name Tentipi.

A one-night remain expenses close to 1,000 yuan ($148) for just about every person, Track claims.

The craze isn’t just happening in mainland China.

Wade Cheung, advertising manager at Saiyuen, a glamping and journey park on an island in Hong Kong, has also viewed bookings “increase considerably” around the previous two a long time, with far more than 10% of visitors returning after their to start with keep.

“The lingering pandemic has inspired Hong Kong men and women to explore the fabulous house-developed encounters in the city,” suggests Cheung.

The web page, on the island of Cheung Chau, provides a variety of accommodation possibilities, from tepees to Mongolian gers, but the most distinctive is the Sunset Vista, a 300-square-foot domed tent set in its very own 2,000 sq. feet place with private grassland.

The dome can accommodate four folks in whole, and involves a private shower room and toilet, barbecue stove, hammock and a lot more,

With a bay window overlooking the ocean and a web site great for stargazing, Sunset Vista has turn into a strike with Hong Kong bloggers and influencers.

One particular evening in the tent costs about $3,500 HKD ($446) to $4,800 HKD ($611), on par with a evening in a luxurious hotel on Hong Kong island.

Friends prioritizing consolation more than nature have dominated the glamping web site these times.

Cheung states the sort of website visitors they acquire has progressed because the start out of the pandemic. In advance of, readers beloved camping, climbing and character, and would be impressed by the air conditioners in the tents. Now, visitors look at AC a must.

“For example, if there is a frog sitting in front of the tent, the previous visitors will most likely squat down and take a picture with it, but for visitors these days, it may possibly come to be a little something that they require to adapt to,” he provides.

A view from inside Saiyuen's dome tent.

A look at from within Saiyuen’s dome tent.

Saiyuen

A Covid-fueled fad

Glamping has been buying up steam given that Covid-19 initial strike. A report revealed by Chinese travel operator CTrip reveals lookups for tenting activities jumped eightfold in 2021.

All through the Labor Day vacation in Could of 2022, figures from a further system, Qunar, reveals that ticket revenue of parks that let camping in China soared above 50% as opposed with the exact period final yr.

Bookings for homestays that give camping-similar providers such as RVs and tents also quadrupled in the region all through the holiday break more than the exact same period very last calendar year, in accordance to the holiday rental web site Tujia.

An adventure walk at Saiyuen glamping site in Hong Kong.

An experience wander at Saiyuen glamping web page in Hong Kong.

Saiyuen

Covid-19 has definitely played a function in this newfound enthusiasm for outdoor luxurious encounters.

The initial outbreak in 2020 sealed China’s borders, retaining Chinese travellers at residence. Modern Covid-19 outbreaks are estimated to have slash domestic vacation by extra than 50 %, and individuals are investing holidays even nearer to home, as the possible penalties of journey have advanced from getting locked out of China to getting locked out of one’s household metropolis.

Doubling down on its controversial “zero-Covid” plan, China has been imposing severe measures together with lockdowns and repeated rounds of mass screening to stamp out the latest clusters.

The mega metropolis Shanghai just emerged from a nine-7 days hard citywide lockdown which barred all residents from leaving their apartments. In the funds Beijing, a three-week-furthermore “tender lockdown” has left tens of millions of residents being questioned to get the job done from household.

And there are echoes of prior epidemics in Hong Kong.

It was virtually two a long time in the past, when the SARS outbreak struck the city, that Cheung went on his initial regional hiking and camping excursions. It was then that he identified “Hong Kong is this sort of a pleasurable place to take a look at.”

The phone of the wild

When Song agrees that glamping’s rise can be attributed to Covid-19 restrictions, which led people today to worth opportunities to get in contact with mother nature, she thinks there is one thing extra to it. Particularly, the principle of “dwelling wildly.”

“Many existence that we see on social media are too glamorous. The coffee society in Shanghai, for illustration, is a little bit glamorized. They set a precedent on how we should really idealistically seem, discuss and are living.”

But folks are noticing these existence are lacking some thing, Song notes. Picnicking, which was well-known prior to glamping became the new trend, can no more time fulfill urges to join with character.

Yet she cautiously attracts a line in between “residing wildly” and “dwelling in the wilderness.”

“Some of my mates can just go camping on any mountain with only a backpack. That is far too hardcore for me to manage. At least, primary sanitary standards and residing circumstances should not be sacrificed,” she claims.

The constant appeal of shelling out time in the wilderness suggests the glamping fad is probably in this article to continue to be, but is anticipated to fall “to a steady degree” immediately after vacation limits loosen,” notes Cheung.

Amid people checking out Saiyuen, around 60% of them are people, who will “still like to consider their youngsters to a little island of adventure regionally” through weekends, he provides.

Major impression: Hong Kong’s Saiyuen glamping resort is located on the island of Cheung Chau. Credit history: Saiyuen

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