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Frequently asked questions

Please email your questions to campsinthedesert@gmail.com if you don't find an answer below.

How do I get a VISA to China?

A VISA can be applied from China Visa Application Service Centres. Application forms can be found on their website at https://bio.visaforchina.org/YTO2_EN/

If you need an invitation letter from our resort, you can email us at campsinthedesert@gmail.com

To draft invitation letter, we need information of the applicant (incl. full name, gender, date of birth, passport number etc.). Please include above information in your email to us.
 

How do I go to Shen Guang Xiang Sha desert resort from Beijing International Airport?

If you are travelling with us, you will fly to Baotou Airport on July 19, 2020. The travel time by air is one and half hours.

If you are travelling by yourself, you can either fly to Baotou Airport or take the high speed train to Baotou Train Station. You must arrive on July 19, 2020 for us to pick you up. The travel time by train is four hours. The train starts operation from end of December 2019. We'll provide more information by then.

Once you arrive in Baotou. You'll be picked up by our staff (who carries a sign of our summer camp). You will board our bus to the desert. The bus ride is around 1.5 hour.

What is the temperature in the desert when we are at the camp, is it too hot to attend?

Temperature during the day changes significantly during the day. It is around 20 Celsius between 5-9 AM and 6-9PM. Over 30 Celsius between 10AM to 5 PM. Outside activities will be carried either in the morning or in the evening, when it is cooler. There is a noon break between 12:30PM and 2:30PM. So you can stay in your room away from the sun.

What do I need to bring with me?

You will need to bring a light jacket, for morning and evening walk.

Any medication you normally take.

Umbrella

Campaign gear if you prefer your own

Swimming suite (the outdoor swimming pool might open depends on the weather)

Sun screen

Bug repellent

Your own music instrument

Some Chinese Yuan (we have a small shop on site)

Is it safe in the desert?

The desert is very safe. We have our own exit from the highway. Being in the middle of desert and far away from the city, it is hard for criminals to reach us.

Do you have first-aid supplies on site?

Yes, we carry first-aid supplies on site. One of the camp councillors will also carry the first-aid supplies with the camp.

Should we be aware of allergens?

A plant called ‘Artemisia desertorum Spreng’ is commonly seen around the desert resort. Many people are allergic to its pollen. Some have found wearing a face mask helps. Some campers applied over the counter eye drops and nasal spray for allergies three times a day. If you are allergic to pollen, it is the best to consult a doctor before booking for our summer camp.

Do you carry towel and shampoos in your resort?

Yes, we provide towels, shampoos, shower gel, hair dryers etc. You're welcome to bring your own too.

Do you have Wifi at the resort?

Yes, we have Wifi in all rooms and meeting rooms and dining rooms. However due to the restriction on web browsing imposed by the country, you will need to set up your own VPN account with one of the VPN providers before departing to China. Once you register, you can email us at xiangshashenguang@gmail.com. We can send a referral link of one of the VPN providers.

Is the water safe to drink in the Shen Guang Xiang Sha desert resort?

Our tap water came from underground of the desert, which had been filtered naturally by the sand, and contains many beneficial minerals and nutritions. We are proud of the purity of our water, and consider them safe to drink from the tap. However you are welcome to bring your own water filter. The store at the resort also sells bottled water.

Can you provide vegetarian/ vegan/ nut free/ dairy free etc meals?

Unfortunately as a small family run business, we do not have facility and training to provide special meals.

Do I need to purchase a travel insurance before arriving in Beijing?

Yes it is recommended for you to obtain a travel insurance arriving in Beijing.

Do I need to get additional vaccination before arriving in Beijing?

Your family doctor should be able to make recommendations on the vaccines based on your health condition.

What should I do if my child does not like the food provided at the Shen Guang Xiang Sha desert resort?

At our summer camp, we try to provide a variety of food to ensure a balance diet of fruits and vegetables, proteins and carbs. Our vegetables are from our own garden; chicken and eggs are from our own animals at the resort. Lamb and fish is provided by a close-by trusted farm (we also visit this lamb farm as a field trip). We recognize it is difficult for children to adjust to food from a different culture. We have a small electrical oven, and few electrical pans for volunteers to prepare a variety of Weston food. In 2019, the campers made pizza and pancakes along with dumplings and Chinese pastries. Should you decide to volunteer on Western food demonstration, we can arrange the kitchen to be open to you in certain time of the day. Campers will also benefit this demonstration, and will have a ton of fun.

Do I have to sign up for the guided tour in Beijing?

It is not mandatory to sign up for the guided tour. This tour is provided by a third party travel agency, to give those who have never been to China some great experiences in Beijing. This tour does not take you shopping, instead will focus on a few main famous tourism spots. The tour guide will pick you up from the Beijing International Airport after you have landed. And the guide will also take you to Beijing Airport on July 19, 2020 to board the flight to Baotou Airport. You will arrive at the desert resort in one hour from the Baotou Airport.

What are the volunteer positions available?

Airport/custom in China coordinator (arriving in Beijing)

Beijing tour coordinator (this person need to be registered for the Beijing tour as well)

Train trip from Beijing to Baotou coordinator

Bus trip to desert activities lead

Costume coordinator

Bonfire coordinator

Camping site set up coordinator

Drama practice coordinator

Movie night coordinator

Mongolian farm trip coordinator

Lamb farm trip coordinator

Morning story time coordinator

Noon break quiet activities coordinator

Residence to classrooms lead morning

Residence to classroom lead noon

Residence to classroom lead evening

English and Chinese translation

Non-Chinese cooking/ baking demonstration

Chinese cooking demonstration

Arts and craft assistant

Chinese paper art demonstration

Chinese calligraphy demonstration

Music instrument during activites

Activities on sand coordinator (Need to speak English)

Activities on sand coordinator (Need to speak Mandarin)

Gardening coordinator

Animal care coordinator

Photo taking and sharing within the group

Bus trip to Baotou activities coordinator

Train trip to Beijing coordinator

Airport and custom in China coordinator (Departing Beijing)

Promotional video and photo sessions before the camp

Promotional video and photo sessions after the camp

Other volunteer activity you can offer

If I sign up for a volunteer position, does that mean I am solely responsible for that activity?

No, our camp staff are responsible for all activities carried out at the camp.

A volunteer is to help facilitate. However given the camp opportunity was offered at a minimum cost based on your volunteering hours, we do expect you to carry out your volunteering duty in a professional and responsible manner.

What does a day look like at your summer camp?

This is only a sample schedule. Time and activities are may change due to weather condition or field trips

8-9:30 Breakfast and outdoor activity

9:30-10 Morning reading

10-10:30 Morning snack

10:30-12 Indoor activities

12-12:30 Lunch

12:30-2:30 Noon break (nap or quiet play)

2:30-3:30 Indoor activities

3:30-4 Afternoon snack

4-5 Parties/Movies/Drama practices

5-7 Activities on sand

7-8 Dinner

8-9 Quiet activity/ Setting up camping sites

Why is my payment on Eventbrite paid to a Chinese individual PayPal account?

The Shen Guang Xiang Sha does not have capacity of receiving foreign currencies electronically. Due to numerous regulations, it is nearly impossible for a family run resort to get a privileged bank account to receive foreign currencies. Hence your payment through Eventbrite is deposited to Taoyan Guo (郭桃艳)'s PayPal account, who is an employee at the Shen Guang Xiang Sha desert resort.

If my child is participating as a volunteer camper (7-12 years), but also has a sibling, can the sibling be enrolled in the camp as a volunteer as well?

If the sibling is between 4-6 years old. This sibling can be registered as a volunteer camper using the same link for the 7-12 year olds. The same registration fee ($100 CAD) applies. Please note some children in this age group are not ready to attend the full day camp. If needed, the guardian needs to take care of the child.

Siblings younger than 4 years old cannot join as a volunteer camper. However can stay at the desert resort with a guardian. No registration fee needed.

When registering as a volunteer counsellor, please make sure to specify the names of your campers and children under 4 years.

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