HAIKOU ¡ª On a warm winter day in a park in Haikou, southern China's Hainan province, several recreational vehicles (RVs) are parked in an orderly line. Their owners are having afternoon tea and sharing travel experiences.
The 2017 Hainan International RV (Auto) Camping Leisure Tourism Expo concluded on Sunday, with RV enthusiasts from China's more than 50 RV camping associations gathering to prepare for their island tour.
Wang Jinshan and his wife started their RV trip after retiring last year, and they have now toured almost half of China. "We feel better and healthier," Wang said.
Inside Wang's vehicle is almost everything required for daily life: a bed, a sofa, a TV, a bathroom and a kitchen. "We don't have a washing machine, but we have everything else," he said.
"The best part of RV travel is the freedom," said Wang. "You can go wherever you want, without worrying about time, food or even accommodation."
"It creates a new lifestyle, and I like it very much," said Wang.
Affordability, convenience and personal freedom have made RV travel increasingly popular among China's retirees. As of 2016, the number of RV camps in the country reached 500.
Hao Xuepeng, 65, bought an RV five years ago when he retired. He and his wife have toured around China and 38 countries in the Europe.
"We are on the road 200 days a year," Hao said. Last year, he replaced his old RV with a better one.
"To me, RV living is not just for fun anymore, it's more of an outdoor lifestyle," Hao said. "I can forget about all my troubles when I travel in nature."
"I will continue RV living until I cannot move," Hao said, "until I am 80 at least."
According to a development plan released by the General Administration of Sport and National Tourism Administration in July, by 2020, China will build 1,000 camps with facilities for RV tourism.
"China's RV camps are still not as mature as those in the Europe," Hao said, "I hope there will be more camps with better facilities in the future."