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If you are planning a trip to China you should know about the dates to avoid when traveling, or you may find that everywhere you go is full of crowds, like 1) the Chinese New Year Period in January/February, and 2) National Day week Oct. 1–7.
Crowding is understandable as there are more than 1.3 billion people living in China. In the holidays, more and more Chinese people leave their homes and go traveling, leading to transport difficulties, price rises, and overcrowding.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only 5 days during this period are recommended for traveling between domestic cities: the first 5 days of Chinese New Year (February 4 – 10 in 2019).
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!
According to past years’ trends, Tibet is likely to be closed to foreign travelers a month or so following Losar, Tibetan New Year. In 2019, it is forecast that Tibet may be unavailable to foreign travelers from late February to March 31st.
|Holiday||Dates in 2018/2019||Attractions||Transportation||Travel Price|
|National Day Holiday||October 1–7, 2018||Very crowded||Very crowded||Very high|
|New Year||Dec. 31, 2018–Jan. 2, 2019||Crowded||Crowded||normal price|
|Tomb-Sweeping Day||Apr. 5–7, 2019||Crowded||Crowded||normal price|
|Labor Day||Apr. 29–May 1, 2019||Crowded||Crowded||High|
|The Dragon Boat Festival||Jun. 7–9, 2019||Crowded||Crowded||normal price|
|The Mid-Autumn Festival||Sept. 22–24, 2018||Crowded||Crowded||normal price|
|Chinese New Year||Feb. 4–10, 2019||Quiet||Over capacity||Low|
|Tibet closure to foreign travelers||February to March||Closed||-||-|
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.
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.