When you are planning your China travel, the three Chinese national “Golden Weeks” should be avoid because the sightseeing area would be much crowded, which may spoil your enjoyable China trip.
Chinese New Years (Lunar New Year). This is the worst time to travel. The exact dates each year varies since it’s based on the Lunar Calendar, but it’s usually around late January to mid-Feb. Technically about 2 weeks but many Chinese will just get the first week off. Chinese New Years is the most important of the traditional holidays, kind of the equivalent of Christmas in the West. A huge chunk of the population — from white collar to migrant worker — takes off work to travel back to their hometowns to spend time with their families. Most businesses shut down completely, so your options for eating and shopping also become severely limited in smaller towns. Of course, if you don’t mind the crowds, it can be lots of fun (festivals, street activity, etc). But if you hate crowds and the incessant noise of firecrackers going off at all hours, I’d suggest earplugs and/or a lot of beer.
National Day (starts Oct 1) A week-long holiday that celebrates founding of People’s Republic. In particular, avoid Beijing sites (Forbidden City, which is next to the parades at Tiananmen Square, as well as the nearby Great Wall of China). During this period, Chinese also choose this time to have their China travel for relaxation.
Labor Day (May 1). Until 2007, this was a week-long holiday but has since been scaled back to a long 3-day weekend. So not as crazy as before but still definitely want to avoid being in transit during this time.
By the way, last minute China travel deals during this period would be money-inefficient, because fees for hotel, transportation as well sightseeings are all much expensive than those in shoulder seasons. So traveling during this period should be avoided.
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