Chinese New Year Travel Tips
Travel within China during the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. On the plus side, it is one of the best times of the year to "rub shoulders" with the Chinese people (the Chinese tend to be open and friendly, but they are even more so during the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, a time when everyone except for the most essential staff enjoy a week's paid vacation), and the opportunities to "rub shoulders" with the Chinese people are indeed many, given the many cultural activities that take place during this period.The best places to watch these cultural activities are Beijing and Hong Kong. See top places to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
On the less positive side, it must be said that there are large crowds in transit everywhere in China at this time of year, not just at all of the major transportation hubs such as airports, railway stations and bus terminals, but also certain popular flights may be booked, trains in general are likely to be booked, and even regional and municipal buses can overcrowded.Train tickets are very hard to get. If you plan to travel during the Chinese New Year period, China highlights recommend you travel by flight. And of course shopping malls can be teeming with life, while public gatherings and processions can fill up plazas and block sidewalks.
In addition, many hotels are booked far in advance (the lower the rental price the quicker they fill up, naturally, which would suggest that the best strategy for foreign visitors is to make reservations as early as possible), restaurants can be jam-packed, and with such large throngs of people, all vying for the same limited resources, prices are naturally on the increase.
Still, the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, with their multitudes of Chinese people "in flux", need not be viewed as a strictly negative thing – in fact, some find the bustling crowds of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday period to be a large part of the attraction of traveling in China at this time of year.
The following collection of helpful tips are conceived with the foreign tourist in mind. Observing them will help you to avoid the most congested travel modes and destinations, the accumulation of frustrations from a lack of proper planning (such as not having made necessary reservations), and they can help you to take it all in your stride, as it were – i .e., with good humor and holiday cheer – where a certain amount of snags and glitches are unavoidable, given the sheer numbers of travelers, like yourself, looking to get from A to B, or to find adequate and affordable accomodations.
China Highlights' office is scheduled to close for the Spring Festival Holiday, from February 9 (Saturday) till 15 (Friday), 2013. China Highlights suggests you confirm your bookings as early as possible.
Most of us will leave for the holiday, but we still have some staff on duty to take care of your bookings and tours. For emergency matters, please contact us by:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Chinese Lunar New Year Travel Tips For Foreign Tourists
1. If at all possible, avoid traveling by rail, as this is the preferred mode of transportation of the Chinese people, partly because it is cheap and efficient (both excellent reasons for traveling by rail at any other time of the year in China!) and partly because it is a social event in itself. With practically all of the Chinese people on holiday – and many of them on the move – the likelihood of finding space on a train is minimal, and even if space is available, it can be a daunting experience for foreigners to be so tightly confined alongside so many people who do not speak their language. Where feasible, avoid the beaten path, i.e., stay away from the largest cities with the most popular tourist destinations, though, who would wish to avoid Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing or Guilin while visiting China?! If you insist on traveling to the the largest cities with the most popular tourist destinations, then heed especially the next two tips...
2. Arrange as much of your itinerary as possible beforehand, as this will save you from having to constantly juggle so many of your travel options that it spoils the fun of traveling. You should especially book as many of your flight tickets and your hotel rooms as possible, but of course you do not want to book hotel rooms unless you have booked your flight as well, otherwise you may end up paying for a hotel room that you do not occupy. If you wish to enjoy a loose, carefree, unplanned journey through China, then summertime is the best period for this, as the competition for accomodations and transportation is much less acute.
3. Try to exercise patience and maintain a cheerful spirit in adversity, for some level of snags at this time of year are almost unavoidable. Showing flexibility and maintaining a cheerful spirit will increase your chances of securing a satisfactory alternative arrangement, and it will of course make it easier on yourself. If you find yourself getting stressed over too many petty incidents, or over having too many people around you, try relaxing the Chinese way by visiting a sauna, where you can also get a relaxing massage, or attend a Tai Chi lesson or two; both are guaranteed to relieve stress!
4. Bring along warm clothing, and, depending on where you intend to travel (some areas of China are mild by day even if they are frigid by night, while a few are outright South Sea Island warm), you may find that "layered" clothing (sweaters, jackets with removable linings, windbreakers, etc.) is the best solution, as this allows you to adjust your clothing frequently, to match the frequent changes in the daily weather cycle.
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