Camels are fascinating creatures that can live off grass, survive extreme temperatures and they are absolutely adorable. They seem to be quite popular in China since you can ride them at most large zoos and even in the most unexpected places!
We once saw a camel dressed up all fancy right outside of our local supermarket. Have I mentioned that we live outside of Shanghai in a tiny economic development zone? Basically, it’s the last place you’d expect to find a camel and it is certainly not an ideal spot to ride one.
While the camels at Shanghai Wildlife Park are cute and cheap to ride, for a more authentic experience you should head over to Inner Mongolia. It’s a fascinating place to explore the grasslands, visit the desert, sleep in a yurt and drink horse milk, just to mention the most popular activities.
A lot of the tours from Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, are ridiculously expensive and not worth it considering the time it takes to get to the desert from the city. This is why we went with Anda Tours, organized by Anda guesthouse a.k.a. the best (and only) hostel in Hohhot. Everyone there is extremely helpful and will make you feel right at home!
The camel riding tour costs 660 RMB for the lunch and transportation +150 RMB for the camel ride 460 RMB (+150 RMB) each. The tour does involve a lot of driving, but it’s 100% worth seeing the vast desert and experiencing activities like strenuous sand-sledding. If camel riding is not your thing (in which case I’m surprised you’re even reading this), there are plenty of other exciting tours.
The camel riding time varies depending on the season from 15 minutes during scorching summer to an entire hour during the freezing winter. We went in early April and had perfect weather for our 20 minute ride.
Our large group had to be split in half since there were only seven camels. After the ride we got to take photos and all of the camels were extremely photogenic and friendly! I stuck my face about a centimeter from the camels nose and he didn’t even try to spit on me – which happened to me in Egypt…
Anyway, our trip with Anda Tours was a wonderful and unforgettable experience that we would definitely recommend! Everything was amazing, from the filling lunch to riding in the back of a bouncy desert car to get to the camels. In between camel cuddling (riding) and sand sledding, we got to meet some friendly locals that shared their roasted ram with us and gave us free beer!
For more information, visit Anda’s website: http://andaguesthouse.com/