Chinese New Year Transportation
China's biggest and longest national holiday is the Spring Festival that starts on the Chinese New Year. In 2013, the Chinese New Year is on February 10, 2013. People will try to get to their family reunions or their hometowns by Chinese New Year's Eve on February 9, 2013. The Spring Festival holidays last for a week or two. The holiday starts from January 23, 2012. Most people will also get the weekend, and many people will get the whole next week as their company vacation. Some people will take a two or three week vacation. Transportation into the country, around the country and in the major cities and tourist destinations will be very crowded, so it is best to either avoid traveling during this time or get your tickets in advance.
Flights into China
If you plan to visit China during the Chinese New Year, or 2-3 weeks ahead or behind it, it is best to try to get your tickets well in advance. Chinese living abroad and Chinese students at foreign universities try to get their tickets well in advance to return home during the holidays and university winter vacation periods.
China's major international airports are in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing. If you land in Hong Kong, instead of taking flights between Hong Kong and mainland cities, it is much cheaper to go to Shenzhen's Baoan airport or to go to Guangzhou. There are direct ferries between Hong Kong's International Airport and Shenzhen's Baoan airport. An alternative way to go to the Baoan Airport is to take the MTR train to the Luohu border, and then take the airport bus from the bus station at the border.
For those planning to travel by rail in China, the pre-holiday ticket sales are expected to peak around early January. Major cities such as Guangzhou and Chengdu will use a real-name ticket selling system. Some Chinese will use a telephone booking system. However, it is best for foreigners to buy their tickets in advance from train station ticket windows.
It is best for foreigners in China to go to the train ticket windows directly. There are unofficial people trying to sell tickets to foreigners in the stations who are called "touts," but they often are scamming or selling the tickets for a lot more than the window price. If possible, it is best to get a hi-speed CRH train ticket or a bed ticket on a regular train. The hard-seat compartments are generally crowded and uncomfortable. The no-seat tickets are very uncomfortable. There are several classes of tickets available. Read more on China train
Cities that are an overnight journey distance from each other are connected by overnight long-distance buses. Most of these buses have bunk beds and no seats. These are usually cheaper than hard-bed train tickets, but they are less comfortable. Foreigners are usually overcharged for tickets. There are both "official" buses and private buses. Both may give good service, but be careful about your belongings. The buses may not be clean, and many foreigners have difficulty sleeping. There are rarely bathrooms on the bus. Read more on China transportation
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