China now ranks among the top five destinations for tourists in the world. As someone who lives in China, I can confirm this is true. More and more people really are visiting the Celestial Empire.
The Internet is overflowing with advice on how to get to different places here. But there are things about China that rarely get mentioned, yet it’s a very good idea to know about them in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
A crowd of passengers at the railway station in Zhengzhou on the first day of “Golden Week.”
- NEVER — I’ll repeat that — NEVER plan a trip during Chinese national holidays. In China, there’s no such thing as official vacation, and the only chance for people who live there to travel is during state-sanctioned official holidays. And…they really do travel. Everyone at the same time! It’s not an experience for the faint-hearted.
- All tourist spots during these times are literally swarming with people. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to see anything through the crowd. It’s best to check if your planned dates of travel coincide with any national holidays. And remember: four out of six of the main celebrations change their date every year. However, you can definitely rule out May 1st and the first week of October.