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Good, scenic and somewhat exotic things to do in China are good to escape the crowds of touring people during the May Day holidays (April 29 to May 1, 2017).
Around May 1, there is a three-day holiday that is the second or third busiest of the public holidays. To avoid facing huge crowds and congested transportation, it might be best to avoid traveling during this time. See more on Dates to Avoid.
If you do want to travel, here are 6 good choices for quieter and less crowded Labor Day vacations.
In general, Chinese don't go on holidays to Xinjiang Province in western China except to the eastern portion around Urumqi and Heavenly Lake. Most of the far west of Xinjiang is off the beaten path, and you can choose Central Asian city areas such as Kashgar and Shache or park areas such as Lake Karakuli.
Transport Natural scenery and ancient sites: The Taklamakan Desert is the world's second largest, and it is dotted with ancient ruins such as Mallikurwatur outside of Hetian.
You could fly directly to Kashgar, and then arrange for private transport or take buses to go to Shache (3 hours) or Hetian (10 hours).
Private touring: On our Taklamakan Desert Tour, you'll enjoy stark desert and beautiful mountain scenery. We'll steer around the crowded areas in the Urumqi area and travel the highways in the far west to Hetian, Shache, and Kashgar and visit the places you choose.
Hohhot (呼和浩特, Hūhéhàotè) is the capital of Inner Mongolia. It is south of Mongolia, and the people in the countryside retain Mongolian culture though the large majority of the people in the city are Chinese. The grasslands are green, and you could enjoy horseback riding, camping out in a yurt, and exploring the city and the region.
Though there are a lot of Chinese tourists on May Day, but there are less than in most places in early May. High tourist season starts in the summer. Many of the residents return home or go on vacation during the holidays, and this will help to make your trip quieter.
Excursions to the countryside and the Inner Mongolian Museum are recommended. It is a large museum and is the city's number one tourist attraction. It has an extensive fossil collection.
Food: Mongolian meat and diary dishes are a tourist favorite. There are Mongolian, Muslim and Korean restaurants.
The airport is an hour outside the city. Most of China's biggest cities and some smaller ones have flights there.
Jinghong (景洪 Jǐnghóng) is a small city in one of the few tropical areas of China. The climate is hot (average high is 33 °C), and the Dai people are like Thais and are warmer and friendly. There are not a lot of exciting things to do there, but that is the attraction: you can enjoy a quiet and relaxing holidays in the tropics without the crowds.
Less rain: May 1 is before the main monsoon season starts.
Lazy things such as floating on a rubber dinghy, relaxing, eating the Thai/Chinese food (make sure you have traditional Dai food), and visiting the large Tropical Botanical Garden are easy non-stressful activities. Taste the exotic tropical jungle products.
The local airport serves planes from a handful of Chinese cities including Chengdu and Kunming. However, the travel time to main attractions from Jinghong is long. Our tour guides can help with friendly private drivers.
Escaping to cruise boats on the Yangtze is an option too since the fixed passenger quotas aren't affected by crowds, but booking well in advance is necessary. Our tour experts can help you choose the type of cruise and places to see that you'll most appreciate. We can try to help you choose the ships that will stop at uncrowded places or you could also choose to simply stay on the ship at places with crowds.
The scenery: May is one of the three best months for the best scenery. The scenery in the Three Gorges is worth a side trip.
The newer, finer ships offer fine dining, fitness rooms, and steam rooms.
Schedule your cruise booking long ahead of time since cruises during holidays are in high demand. Our tour consultants can help arrange a trip suited to your schedule and interests.
Ganzi County is a high-altitude Tibetan region where Chinese tour groups don't usually go. The majority of the population is Tibetan, and other minorities live there too. May is one of the best months for travel since flowers bloom at this time. The main monsoon season in this area starts in the summer.
The town of Kangding is a good starting point for touring the region. From there, you can take road trips to various beautiful sights such as the Xinduqiao river valley that has Tibetan villages and Gongga Mountain that is 7,556 meters high.
Kangding has an airport that allows flights to Chengdu in less than an hour. Let us help you book the tickets to Kangding since during the holidays the tickets are in high demand. Our private drivers can help with touring the region.
The first of May is before the main monsoon season starts, and spring is a great time to be in nature. There is some rain, but the birds love it.
Bird watching tours are definitely a way to get away from crowds and to the wilder places in the countryside and parks. Our expert bird watching guide will steer clear of crowds to take you on a quiet nature trip.
Our 12-Day East and South China Birding Tour goes to Guilin, Longsheng, and other places such a Chongming Island outside Shanghai.
We recommend air travel. The trains will be packed. Soft bed luxury cabins on the long-distance fast trains are a possibility, but you'll face crowded stations. You should book your flight tickets early.
There are large crowds in transit everywhere on the transportation facilities. Transport returns to normal after the big return to work rush of May 1 and May 2.
If you are planning a tour to China around May 1, let us help you avoid problems. See these recommendations below for your inspiration: