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Dates You Should Avoid When Booking Your Trip To China

Besides its picturesque natural beauty, breathtaking cities and incredible ancient beauty, China also host numerous festivals and holidays. With millions of locals (1.3 billion to be exact) plus a huge number of tourists coming from all over the world to witness these traditional celebrations, crowds can become a problem.

Even though experiencing Chinese New Year, Golden Week and Labor Day - to name a few - can be amazing, booking your vacation over these times means that you will have to prepare yourself for packed public transport, queues everywhere and just an overall feeling of constantly being cramped spaces. To help you choose the best dates to travel, here are dates to avoid when planning your trip to China - and if you have already booked on these dates, then we have some suggestion on where to visit to avoid the crowds.

China 3.jpg

Source: ABC News

Golden Week

When: 1 to 7 October

Golden Week is a seven day holiday in October that starts with National Day on 1 October. During this period of time, most locals head to the large cities as well as the coastal cities, so tourists who want a peaceful city or seaside vacation should avoid China. The most densely populated areas are Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Qingdao, and Sanya. If you’ve already book your trip during this time, consider heading to the southwest, west, and northeast parts of China which are less crowded but still worth a visit.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese New Year 

When: Between January and February

The Chinese New Year period is the most crowded travel season in the world. Because most of China is on the move, all China's transportation modes including trains, flights, and buses, are full to capacity - and more often than not over capacity. The rush of Chinese New Year often lasts for around 40 days. Even though it is extremely crowded during this period, it is also the best time of the year to experience China's traditional culture with celebrations happening in every city and town. The best time to visit over this time is the first five days of Chinese New Year as most locals stay home to celebrate with family, and flights are usually cheaper.

China 4.jpg

Source: Sino Defense Forum

May Day

When: May 1st

Like most parts of the world, China joins in the international celebration of May Day (also known as Labor Day or Workers Day).  May 1st is a statutory holiday in China. Prior to 2008, May Day was a three-day holiday, since then it has been changed to just once a day. Many people still take the three days off and head to big cities and seaside towns.

Places To Avoid During Peak Times

Overcrowding can spoil any experience, so it is important to  know what attraction and destinations to avoid in China during its busiest times. A useful tip is to not only avoid these areas during festivals and holidays but also during peak season especially on weekends.

  • The Forbidden City, Beijing

  • The Great Wall at Badaling, Beijing

  • The West Lake area of Hangzhou 

  • The main mountain paths of the Yellow Mountains in Huangshan 

  • Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

  • Gulangyu and the Hakka building areas in Xiamen 

  • The ancient city of Lijiang

  • The city centre of Guilin

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Places To Go To During Busy Times In China

Yangtze River Cruises

The crowds of China has very little impact on the number of Yangtze River cruises which are usually fixed. Booking a river cruise during holiday periods especially Golden Week, are much harder to book than usual. It is important to book the ship you’d like to cruise with at least two months in advance. The Yangtze River cruise is the most popular cruise in China because of its beautiful natural landscapes and visiting various cultural places along the way.

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Source: Yangtze River Cruise Blog

Qinghai Province

Another incredibly beautiful area of China is the Qinghai Province which is located in the northwest of China. Qinghai is the source of the Yangtze River and is home to many ethnic groups which makes Qinghai a good destination for discovering Chinese culture. Qinghai Lake is a sparkling jewel in the northwest of China.

Xinjiang Province

Located in West China, Xinjiang Province is an ideal place to avoid the busy cities and enjoy the natural and tranquil beauty of China. As one of the less visited provinces in China, it is the perfect location to relax. A must-visit area is Baihaba Village which is located between China and Kazakhstan. It is a place where Kazak ethnic people and Mongolian people live, and the perfect place to experience the lifestyle and culture of traditional China.

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About the author

Ji Guo is a former professional travel writer. He's started several businesses in China and was born in Tianjin. Graduated from Yale University.


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