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Camping and glamping, the post-pandemic rage

More families are opting for the experience of staying on campsites rather than hotels.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read
Suhaida Mat Jusoh keeps an eye on one of her children at a campsite in Labis, Johor, in July 2022.
Suhaida Mat Jusoh keeps an eye on one of her children at a campsite in Labis, Johor, in July 2022.

For years, Suhaida Mat Jusoh and her husband took their children on vacation during every school break. 

They would pack their bags and, together with their two sons, travel to popular tourist destinations throughout the peninsula. 

Their family tradition came to an abrupt halt with the onset of Covid-19 nearly three years ago, when borders both domestic and international were closed as part of efforts to curb the virus spread. 

"Once we were allowed to cross district lines again, we took our children to open areas like the beach and waterfalls," Suhaida recalled. 

"At that point, the hotel sector was not yet fully reopened, and it was hard to make reservations.

"So my husband said, why don't we try camping?"

Worried that their children would not enjoy the experience, they began slowly, renting the tents and equipment they would need instead of buying them. 

But the boys took to camping almost immediately, and the family began exploring campsites throughout their home state of Johor.

They also began investing in basic camping necessities such as tents and cooking utensils. 

Now, two years later, they have ventured beyond Johor and are visiting campsites across the country. 

They estimate that they have spent between RM10,000 and RM15,000 so far on camping items. 

"We bought the basic things first, then upgraded to other items as well," Suhaida said.

"Some of the older things that we bought at first, we sold. 

"Sometimes it's a race because everyone is looking for the same things and they're all out of stock. Whatever we put up for sale, there are people who buy it." 


While Suhaida and her family are happy to enjoy the conventional camping experience, there are also those who prefer to use camper vans instead of sleeping in tents on the ground.

Then, there are those who go "glamping" – glamorous camping – where accommodation and facilities are much more luxurious and exclusive. 

Such activities are popular, especially in the wake of the pandemic where greater emphasis has been placed on outdoor activities and the benefits of fresh air. 

Several business owners who spoke to MalaysiaNow said that demand for camping and glamping had seen a 200% jump from the year before.

"My campsite is just in front of my family home," said Noor Farazila who operates a campsite in Hulu Langat, Selangor. 

"Before the pandemic, it was mostly just university students who would come to stay. 

"Now, we can't keep up with the demand. Some people come from as far off as Johor Bahru and Kelantan." 

A businessman who sells camping equipment on TikTok meanwhile said that any stock he had on hand could finish selling in a matter of days. After that, he has to contact his suppliers to ask for fresh stock. 

"Often, the new stock arrives late because I'm not the only one who's trying to top up," the businessman, who introduced himself as Lim, added. 
Popular items include medium-sized tents, folding chairs, tables, ice boxes and portable gas stoves. 

"These are hard to get," Lim said. "They always run out very quickly." 

Yusuf Bahri, a camper van salesman based in Subang Jaya, said his business too was on the rise. 

"I began running this business in 2011, after coming back from Australia," he said. 

"Back then, not many were interested. People saw camper vans as a waste of money because they thought that cars were enough. If they wanted to stop for the night, they could go to a hotel.

"Now everything has changed. Camper vans are more popular because people can stop anywhere they like." 

Suhaida agreed, saying her family had eventually grown bored with staying at hotels. 

"The kids would go to the pool, then go back up to the room and sleep. Sometimes they would watch TV, then we'd have dinner." 

With camping, she said, her sons could explore and play with the children of other families who stay at the same site. 

"From morning to night, they are on the go. They're never bored, and they never get tired." 

With 2023 just around the corner, Suhaida and her family have big plans for another camping trip.

But as eager as they are, for Suhaida, safety comes first. 

"I always check the weather forecast first, and whether the location we have in mind is safe for the children," she said. 

"We need to know how safe a place is before we head out."