If you are planning a 2014/15 China tour some dates that are useful to know are the dates to avoid, such as "Golden Week" and other times when flights to Asia and within China are very expensive. Here is the lowdown (ordered by the size) to help you plan your vacation.
Period: September 29 – October 10
Almost all Chinese people will have a seven-day holiday at the beginning of October, because of the celebration of Chinese National Day. Generally speaking most Chinese people will take this government-given opportunity to travel to domestic cities, causing crowds everywhere and very busy traffic. Hotel and transport prices are increased, leading to high-budget travel during this period.
China Highlights suggests you avoid this period when planning a tour of China.
With crowds everywhere, traffic will be very busy, and you will spend longer on the road. Booking of hotels and flights can be very difficult (early confirmation is highly recommended if you decide to travel during this period). Hotels are much more expensive. You may need to wait in line for about one hour to enter the popular attractions, and may need to wait for a long time at restaurants. Traveling during this period is a matter needing thorough preparation.
You might notice that the National Day ends at October 7, but we include the following week in this peak period. The transport networks are most crowded during the period from September 23 to October 7, though they are less crowded in the week following "the Golden Week", when hotels charge peak prices.
Period: April 28 – May 4
As with Chinese National Day holiday, the Labor Day holiday period should be avoided when planning a tour of China.
Though the holiday only lasts three days (typically May 1 to May 3), the tourist peak will last from April 26 to May 4. The crowds at attractions, high travel costs, long waiting times, and busy transportation during this period may make your tour to China frustrating.
Period: February 4 – March 15 in 2015
In China there is a period of time with congested transportation everywhere, especially in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and other big tourist cities — this is the Spring Festival rush.
The Spring Festival rush lasts 40 days. However, there are five days that are recommended for traveling between domestic cities during these 40 days: the first five days of the new year (February 20 – 24 in 2015). During these days, most Chinese people will stay at home for family time and the Spring Festival celebration, which lightens the pressure on transportation and presents you with possiblely easier-than-usual travel conditions. Remember that cheap flight tickets are available during these five days!
In 2015 one of the most congested period on China's transport will be February 4 – February 19, when people are homeward bound. Another busy time will be February 25 – March 15, when millions of migrant workers and college students rush back to their work places and colleges. So traveling in China during these periods is likely to be challenge.
According to past years’ trends, Tibet is likely to be closed to foreign travelers during the Tibetan New Year period. In 2012, the first day of Tibetan New Year fell on February 22, and Tibet was closed from February 20 to March 31 (check out the news). In 2015, the first day of Tibetan New Year is February 19, so it is forecast that Tibet may be unavailable to foreign travelers from February 19 to March 31.