Chinese New Year is fast approaching, and while it’s one of our favorite times of year, it can also be an overwhelming time to travel. With a majority of Chinese citizens off of work and traveling with or to see their families, it takes a bit of planning and preparation to make sure your holiday goes smoothly. Yet despite the extra effort, this is one of the most vibrant and exciting times to travel in China, especially if you like to watch fireworks and eat dumplings.
- Stay off the rails. If at all possible, try not to travel by train during peak holiday weeks in China. This is by far the most popular method of travel, and the word “crowded” takes on an entirely new dimension of meaning when we consider train stations during Chinese New Year.
- Bring earplugs. Fireworks going off everywhere and at all hours can make getting your zzz’s in a bit hard. Packing earplugs will make it that much easier to get a good night’s sleep when you’ve had enough of the festivities.
- Get off the beaten path. Avoiding big cities and popular tourist destinations will make your holiday more pleasant, while still experiencing China. For example, if you want to go to Yunnan, you might think about skipping Lijiang to head south to Xishuangbanna. Not only will it be warmer, there’s a good chance it will be less crowded as well.
- Call ahead. While most restaurants and sites will stay open during the week, it’s a good idea to double check before you go. Of course if you’re on a WildChina trip we’ve double (and probably triple) confirmed all of our activities, so you don’t have to fret that your trip to the Terracotta Warriors might be diverted.
- Be patient. It will be crowded, and noisy, but also really exciting and incredibly fun. If you do get a bit stressed out, you’re in the perfect place to go for a massage or take a calming tai chi lesson, enjoy!
Chinese New Year starts on January 26, 2009, and lasts for a week. Enjoy the Year of the Ox!