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Dragon Burn 2019: Burning Man in China

For the Labor Day holiday in China this year I did something a bit different than my usual China travels: I went to Dragon Burn, China’s regional Burn event!

I knew very little about Burning Man beforehand; I knew we’d be camping in the woods for several days and needed to bring enough food and water with us, and I knew that there would be all kinds of workshops and performances going on. Beyond that I had no idea what to expect.

Now that Dragon Burn 2019 is finished, I have to say the event completely blew me away and is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in China.

Check out my video below for a glimpse of my experience at Dragon Burn:


What is Dragon Burn?

Dragon Burn is a Shanghai-based community focusing on interactive art, music, fire and pop-up participatory imagination. This was the sixth edition of Dragon Burn and was held in a wooded area about an hour outside of Huzhou in the Zhejiang Province. Dragon Burn is a 100 percent non-profit event that promotes the idea of sharing, giving, and leaving nothing behind.

There are many organized camps with themes that you can join, or you can Free Camp and just hop around wherever you like. Several friends and I free-camped and made friends with other Free Campers nearby.

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How To Get To Dragon Burn

The event is organized from Shanghai, so there are buses that go from Shanghai to the site outside Huzhou. Coming from Beijing we decided to just take a train from Beijing to Huzhou, then take a Didi to the event site about an hour away.

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Dragon Burn 2019

From the minute we walked into Dragon Burn I was surprised. The entire atmosphere is so open and welcoming, and you’re constantly meeting new people and being offered all kinds of gifts like fruits and jewelry.

I met some amazing and interesting people, mosttly people living in China, but many who also traveled from all over the world to attend Dragon Burn. Having never experienced an event like this, I enjoyed hearing their stories and experiences about previous Burns, and also loved hearing about their travels and thoughts about China and life.

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There were multiple themed camps with planned events all week long, and it was so fun to explore all the camps and see what activities were going on. Camp Nirvana welcomed you to the Burn with great DJs and good vibes, Camp Cucumburner shared their vegan curry, and Pura Vida had amazing sangria and salsa dancing. Flying Baozi had a massage tent and giant dome with all kinds of events inside, and then there was the Temple of Boom, the best place to end the night.

There was also a lake to swim in,  hammocks hanging everywhere, sites with face paint and henna tattoos, and dance parties every night. There was something for everyone to enjoy, and you could get involved with as much or as little as you wanted to.

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Burning the Dragon

The last night is the effigy night, where the giant wooden Dragon at camp is burned. It was an amazing way to end the event, complete with fire dancers and breathers and other kinds of performances.

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What To Bring To Dragon Burn

There are some obvious things you’ll need to bring to Burning Man, and then there were several things I wish I had brought and will bring next year if {when} I go again!

  • Food for 4 days
  • Water (2 liters per person per day is recommended)
  • Passport
  • Tent and Sleeping Bag
  • Sunscreen, Bug-repellent
  • Toilet paper, Toiletries
  • Good shoes – they will get dirty!
  • Rain gear
  • Trash bags
  • Towel
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Cup and Bowl! People will share food and drinks with you
  • Costumes/Outfits: More face paint and flower crowns and colorful outfits! This is the place to embrace your hippy side and wear outrageous costumes and face no judgement and it’s awesome.

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Dragon Burn 2019

If you’re not afraid of camping and getting a little dirty, and want to experience something unique in China, I recommend trying Dragon Burn! For more information check out the Dragon Burn website here.

Here are some other interesting experiences in China I’ve enjoyed:

*Not all these photos are mine! Many were shared from others at Dragon Burn.

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