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Dates to Avoid When Planning a China Tour in 2013/2014

If you are planning a 2013 China tour some dates that are useful to know are 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.

Tourist Peak 1: the "Golden Week" of National Day Holiday

Period: September 20 – October 10 in 2013; September 29 - October 10 in 2014

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.  

In 2013 the tourist peak of Chinese National Holiday will last from September 23 to October 14. China Highlights suggests you avoid this period when planning a tour of China in 2013 (and consider avioding a similar period in future years).

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.

Also read Top Places to Escape the "Golden Week" Crowds.

Tourist Peak 2: Labor Day Holiday

Period: April 26 – May 4 in 2013; April 28 - May 4 in 2014

As with Chinese National Day holiday, the Labor Day holiday period should be avoided when planning a tour of China in 2013 (and consider avoiding a similar period in future years).

Though the holiday only lasts three days (from April 29 to May 1 in 2013, from May 1 to May 3 in 2014), 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.

The Spring Festival Rush with Congested Transportation

Period: January 26 – March 6 in 2013, January 16 - February 24 in 2014

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, and in 2013 it lasts from January 26 to March 6. 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 10 – 14 in 2013). 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 2013 one of the most congested period on China's transport will be January 26 – February 8, when people are homeward bound. Another busy time will be February 15 – March 6, 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.

Possible Closure of Tibet

potala palace

Period: Februay 9 – March 31 in 2013, March in 2014

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 2013, the first day of Tibetan New Year is February 11, so it is forecasted that Tibet will be unavailable to foreign travelers from February 9 to March 31.

Check out Top China Tours in 2014

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