Ever wonder what life would be like if everyone in the country got a week off twice a year? Sounds amazing right? China's Golden Week holiday takes place twice a year. The first week is during China’s spring festival and is set around the Chinese New Year. The second begins around October 1st as China celebrates its National Day.
Since everyone in the country gets to go on vacation at the same time, Golden Week is a popular time for travel. Many offices and factories close down completely as everyone travels to visit friends, family or to take holidays both domestically and abroad. This means that about 700 million people travel by road, rail or plane in just a few days. Queues are long, tempers are short and there is the occasional riot.
Though the first Golden Week, set around Chinese New Year, is the busier of the two Golden Weeks as nearly all migrant workers and millions of Chinese abroad return home, Golden Weeks are not a good time for a foreigner to travel to and within China as both hotel rates and flight prices are raised. However, there are many festival celebrations during these periods and there is a fun atmosphere.
If you do need to travel during Golden Week, here are some tips.
- Travel before and after Golden Week as travel typically tends to be on the first and last days of the week.
- Taking public transportation in cities is usually fine
- Avoid the more popular tourist destinations and pick lesser known ones so you can enjoy the scenery more leisurely
- Book tickets and hotel rooms in advance
Planning a trip to China? Start planning your visit by first checking out China’s tourist visa requirements here.
Have you experienced Golden Week for yourself? Feel free to share your experience using the comment box below!