A TOUR party of 30 people in red baseball caps piles off a coach at “Swan Lake”, a yurt park in Inner Mongolia in the north of China. “I wanted to see the grasslands,” says a woman from Kunming, 2,000km to the south, who is posing for photos beside a giant bronze statue of a pointy-helmeted Mongolian warrior on horseback. The “authentic Mongolian experience” costs 380 yuan ($55) a night. Yet unlike traditional yurts with portable metal or wood frames overlaid with thick wool covers, these structures are made of sheet plastic and have beds, windows, Wi-Fi and en suite bathrooms. And instead of being dotted across the steppe, they are arranged in tightly packed clumps. Glamping, or glamorous camping, meaning camping minus the hassle and grunge, usually in pre-erected and well-appointed tents, is becoming a popular pursuit for city folk at beauty spots all over China.
The proliferation of glampsites partly reflects an overall…Continue reading