Home China Guide  Dates to Avoid

Dates You Should Avoid When Planning a China Tour

After traveling to China, our customers like to give us good feedback. Besides good experiences, one obvious problem for them is that it is too crowded!

This is understandable. After all, there are more than 1.3 billion people living in this country. Especially during holidays, nearly all Chinese people leave their homes and go traveling. Therefore, we have given you the dates to avoid when planning your China tour below, for reference.

dates to avoid in 2017

National Day: October 1–7

  • Avoid index: ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Tourist attractions: full capacity almost everywhere
  • Transportation: very crowded
  • Travel price: very high; hotels and international flights are costlier than surrounding dates
the badaling great wallBig crowds, Great Wall of China

During this public holiday (7-day period for all Chinese people), popular cities and scenic areas will be packed. You can’t imagine what the feeling is like when 1.3 billion people are traveling at the same time and in the same country. Train tickets to popular cities (Beijing, Shanghai, and Zhangjiajie, for example) are sold out very quickly.

Useful Tips If You Really Have to Travel During National Day

  • Avoid peak times for Chinese tour groups: avoid traveling in the early morning as this is when Chinese tour groups travel around. You may need to wait for about an hour to enter the popular attractions and restaurants if you coincide with them.
  • Go to quieter places: China's remote west and southwest, such as Xinjiang and Guizhou provinces
  • Early confirmation is highly recommended if you decide to travel during this period because train/flight tickets are sold out quickly and hotels’ prices are adjusted to a higher price.

Other 3-Day Peak Time Holidays to Avoid 

Crowds at Tian'anmen Square Crowds at the Forbidden City, Beijing
  • Avoid index: ☆☆☆
  • Tourist attractions: crowded for top attractions in each city
  • Transportation: trains and buses are crowded 
  • Travel price: normal price

3-Day Holidays List 

  • New Year: January 1–3
  • Tomb-Sweeping Day: April 2–4, 2017
  • Labor Day: May 1 (together with a 2-day weekend)
  • The Dragon Boat Festival: May 28–May 30, 2017
  • The Mid-Autumn Festival: October 4, 2017 (Mid-Autumn Festival will be as crowded as National Day in 2017)

The above 3-day short-period holidays are celebrated by all Chinese people. Because the period is quite short, some people may choose to stay at home and go shopping or go to parks in order to relax. But quite a large part of the Chinese population travel to cities around their home.

Chinese New Year Transportation Rush: February

crowded train stationCrowded train station
  • Avoid index: ☆☆
  • Period: February 15–21 in 2018, 2 weeks before and 3 weeks after Chinese New Year (January 27–February 2, 2017)
  • Tourist attractions: quiet
  • Transportation: over capacity, the most crowded time in China
  • Travel price: low

The Chinese New Year period is the most crowded travel season in the world, when all of China's transportation modes (trains, flights, and buses) are over capacity. Most of China is on the move. The Chinese New Year rush lasts for 40 days.

chinese new year The Chinese New Year period is best time of the year to experience China's traditional culture.

Although it is crowded during Chinese New Year, it is the best time of year to experience China's traditional culture. There are celebrations in every city and town. Take Beijing, for example. Beijing's Chinese New Year temple fairs reproduce the traditional customs of Beijing.

5 Days That Are Recommended: January 28–February 1 in 2017

Only 5 days during this period are recommended for traveling between domestic cities: the first 5 days of Chinese New Year (January 28–February 1, 2017).

During these days, most Chinese people will stay at home for some family time together and celebrations. This lightens the pressure on the transportation systems and presents you with travel conditions that are easier than usual. Cheap flight tickets are available during these five days!

Tibet Closure to Foreign Travelers: February to March

According to past years’ trends, Tibet is likely to be closed to foreign travelers a month or so following Losar, Tibetan New Year. In 2017, the first day of Losar is February 27th, so it is forecast that Tibet may be unavailable to foreign travelers from late February to March 31st.

Dates to Avoid Summary Table

Holiday Dates in 2017 Attractions Transportation Travel Price
National Day Holiday October 1–7 Very crowded Very crowded Very high
New Year January 1–3 Crowded Crowded normal price
Tomb-Sweeping Day April 2–4, 2017 Crowded Crowded normal price
Labor Day May 1 Crowded Crowded High
The Dragon Boat Festival May 28–May 30, 2017 Crowded Crowded normal price
The Mid-Autumn Festival October 4, 2017 Crowded Crowded normal price
Chinese New Year January 27–February 2, 2017
February 15–21, 2018
Quiet Over capacity Low
Tibet closure to foreign travelers February to March Closed - -

Places to Avoid During the Dates Above

Overcrowding is particularly likely to spoil your experience at the places below, especially at the times mentioned above, but in peak/shoulder season weekends are to be avoided too.

Whatever the Dates, You're Better Off Traveling with Us

tour guide Avoiding crowds

Need help planning your China trip? China Highlights' travel advisors can help you. We will offer you inspiration and personal suggestions. We know the best times to visit and what should be avoided. You can see our popular tours below for inspiration or tailor-make a tour according to your interests and requirements.

Other Useful Articles for Planning a China Trip