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There are good scenic and exotic places to go to in China where you can escape the crowds of traveling and touring people during Chinese New Year (around February 16, 2018). These places are out of the way or less-visited at CNY by Chinese tourists. They are good choices for quieter and less crowded Chinese New Year vacations.
Kashgar (喀什地区, Kāshí Dìqū) is on the far western Chinese border with Kyrgyzstan. The population is mainly Central Asian, and they don't really celebrate the Chinese New Year. You'll be able to enjoy a quieter holidays without crowds of Chinese in a unique Central Asian city, and most stores and restaurants stay open.
There is a mixture of several Central Asian cultures, a variety of restaurants, bazaars for shopping, and ancient places to visit.
You'll probably just want to retreat most of the time to fine heated hotels and restaurants and relax. The wind chill factor is high. The daytime highs only reach freezing in January and 5 °C (41 °F) in February.
You can avoid the crowded trains by flying direct from Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing or via Urumuqi.
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, and is less crowded during Chinese New Year also. You'll enjoy their cultural mix and relative affluence. Up until the third or fourth day of the holidays, the city isn't crowded, and a lot of restaurants stay open. Locals are mostly at home or out in the countryside. Things return to normal by the fourth day though.
Hot springs: Taipei's weather is mild but generally overcast in January and February, but you can go to several local hot springs such as Beitou where the warm sulphuric water of the valley is a wonder to see and smell.Culture and food: If you are familiar with the Mainland and never been to Taiwan, you might find their culture quirky, amusing, and refreshing as a break from life in China. There is a noticeable Japanese influence in the cuisine; it is lighter, fresher, and emphasizes seafood dishes.
Mountains and canyon: Taroko Gorge is a doable side trip especially after the locals return to work by the fourth day of the holidays. You could appreciate the beauty of the natural scenery in cool weather.
Xishuangbanna (西双版纳 /sshee-shwung-ban-nah/) is one of the few places in China with a tropical climate. The scenery and culture is reminiscent of Thailand, and the local Dai people are related to Thais. It is rarely crowded with tourists except on their major ethnic holidays such as the Water Splashing Festival.
Along with elephants, tropical scenery, and jungle, there is a large horticultural and agricultural research station called Tropical Botanical Garden. They research jungle plants and tropical plants and fruit.
The weather in winter is actually more comfortable than at other times since it isn't as rainy, hot and humid.
The local airport serves planes from a handful of Chinese cities including Chengdu and Kunming.
Longsheng is a couple hours drive from Guilin. What makes it attractive as a winter getaway is the countryside scenery that is renowned when the fields are growing but is still beautiful in the winter stillness.
A sprinkling of snow in January or February can decorate the famed terraces highlighting them in silvery-white glitters and gleams. Not many tourists come at this time of year, so you can walk around and enjoy the local farm culture and scenery.
Again, go by air if possible. We can aid with transport from the airport to Longsheng and arrange your stay. China Highlights is based in Guilin.
17-day Eastern China Winter birding tour: This may be the ultimate in a relaxing natural escape. We've developed birding tours where our expert guide will lead you to countryside and park areas where you can see and photograph amazing birds and other wildlife and get close to nature.
You can enjoy as many days as you wish in the countryside all around Shanghai. We've developed a travel itinerary that you can modify as you wish or extend to go to other regions of China as well in consultation with our birding and tour guides. The tour starts in Shanghai, and we take care of the travel arrangements from there.
We recommend air travel. The trains, even the fast trains, will be packed. Soft bed luxury cabins on the long-distance fast trains may be available as well.
There are large crowds in transit everywhere in China and Taiwan at this time of year at all of the major transportation hubs such as airports, railway stations, and bus terminals.
Arrange as much of your travel itinerary as possible beforehand. This will save you from having to constantly juggle your travel options and spoil the fun of traveling. You should especially book your flight tickets early on.
In China, transport returns more to normal after the big rush to return to work around the 7th day of the holidays (February 21, 2018). But for two weeks after Chinese New Year, there is more than usual crowding as people return from the holidays or move to new places. Taiwan's return travel rush is mainly on the 3rd and 4th days after Chinese New Year.
If you are planning a tour to China during Chinese New Year, let us help you avoid the problems. See these recommendations below for inspiration: