As China celebrates its National Day like every year on the 1st of October to remember the founding of the PRC in 1949, the so-called “Golden Week” gives most of us the opportunity for a week off work and the chance to use the spare time for travelling. But as pleasant being off the workplace for a few days is, the choice of where to go is always a tough one. To make your life easier, we dug out some of the best travel suggestions for you.
Traveling within China
If you don't mind fully seated trains, buses and plains and you decide to travel within China, there are some truly beautiful places to go. And if you haven't been much around China yet, a full week off is a perfect opportunity to do so.
One good way to get an overview of domestic travel prices is to pay a visit to a local travel office in your area. Around Beijing Lu, China Plaza and Tianhe in Guangzhou you will find a few of them. Usually, they are able to offer travel packages at very competitive prices as they buy flights and accommodations in bulk. To experience the most beautiful nature China has to offer, head to Yunnan or Xi’an. For both places, packages including flight and 6-day accommodation at a 3 star hotel are available for less than RMB 2,000.
If you haven't been to the Shanghai Expo yet, now might be the time. Although prices in Shanghai have soared since the event started it is still possible to book round-trip flights from Guangzhou to Shanghai for around RMB 1,000. Head to elong.net for an easy overview of availability and prices. The Expo of course is by far not everything Shanghai has to offer – combine your stay with a 2-day trip to Hangzhou to get your full exposure of big city life, Chinese culture and a relaxing atmosphere.
Destinations for a smaller budget which still give you the full holiday experience are Hainan and Guilin/Yangshuo. Both destinations are easily accessible by plane for less than RMB 500 for a roundtrip, or you might even consider catching an overnight bus to cut prices by a third.
Heading out of China
Given that China is pretty congested and Guangzhou is quite deserted during the Golden Week, it seems reasonable to head abroad. Fittingly, some travel companies started to blast out their Mid-Autumn flight promotions. Among them is well-known ctrip.com, offering one-way flights to destinations such as Seoul (South Korea) and Osaka (Japan) from Guangzhou for as low as 1,500 RMB and 2,000 RMB respectively, incl. taxes. Bathe in autumn sunshine during some of the best time to visit either of these countries and, if time permits, head to the famous South Korean Pusan film festival (7th-15th October).
If you are more of a beach guy, you would most naturally head southwards to the Philippines, Vietnam or Thailand. However, before booking an early bird flight to these destinations it is definitely recommendable to check out the weather report before departure and to trade the lowest airfare for a bit more security by booking not too early. During autumn, it is not uncommon that heavy monsoon rain is transforming paradise island into a muddy and potentially dangerous place. Be sure to check out the two main low-cost airlines serving the Philippines and the Southern Asia region, AirAsia (http://www.airasia.com) and Cebu (http://www.cebupacificair.com/), for their latest deals.
Longing for fresh mountainous air? Then Nepal or Bhutan should be on your radar. Kathmandu is served directly by China Southern, though you might save a bit if you go through Hong Kong. Going to Bhutan undoubtedly is more difficult and most costly, as just a certain amount of travelers are permitted to enter at any point of time and tour operators, often costing more than 200 USD per night, have to be pre-booked in order to gain a visa. On the other hand you can be sure when boasting about your Bhutan holiday on any party there most probably won't be any “me too”s.
And if after all these suggestions you still have no idea where to go, check out this nifty application on Kayak (http://www.kayak.com/explore/). Though it might not give you the cheapest available deals it will give you a graphic overview for all flights from a specified departure point within a certain price range.
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