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National Day Oct 1, 2010 Do I avoid going to China at this time?

National Day Oct 1, 2010 Do I avoid going to China at this time?

Feb 23rd, 2010, 01:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 119
National Day Oct 1, 2010 Do I avoid going to China at this time?

I am planning a 3 week trip to China starting the last week in September through the first 2 weeks in October. The first week would be spent in Hong Kong and the rest in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian etc.
I just learned that Oct 1 is the National day of the people and most people have a week off for travel and celebrating. Would it be better to postpone and start our vacation in Hong Kong on Oct 4 and travel to Beijing Oct 11th? Or am I safe with planning the first week (Sept 27th) in Hong Kong and flying to Beijing Oct 4? How big a holiday is this in Hong Kong?
I am assuming that the week off would be the week of Sept 27th but perhaps that is a poor assumption and the week will actually start on Oct 1 and go through Oct 8.
Any advice?
Alisonv is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 04:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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It's a bit more complicated than 'a week off'. The official holiday is only three days (October 1-3), but the Chinese work through the preceding weekend in exchange for two more weekdays as holiday and the following weekend, so they get Monday to Sunday off. Usually the exact arrangements are not announced until shortly before the holiday, but you're in luck because this time they were announced in 2009 (a first). The holiday is Friday October 1 to Thursday October 7. In exchange the Chinese will have to work the preceding Sunday (Sept 26th) and the following Saturday (the 9th) are also work days. The arrangements for Hong Kong are completely different, where October 1st will be a holiday and that's that.

Although demand for travel increases in the lead-up to the holiday and lasts for a few days afterwards, as those with any discretionary travel time bolt it on to the official holiday, in general your problem is only the beginning of the holiday and the end of it, when demand for public transport is very high. Even in the middle of the holiday period you may obtain heavily discounted tickets. This is a holiday for leisure travel, not one for visiting family, so the demand isn't anything like as high as at Spring Festival, and the main demand is on routes to tourist destinations. The people with money to spend on leisure travel mostly reside in the big cities, and the result is that these are generally quieter and easier to get around than they would normally be. In addition to the reduced traffic caused by the exodus all official government work unit vehicles are usually ordered off the roads for the holiday, too. All public attractions and restaurants remain open, however, and it's only banks and offices that are closed. Travel agencies may take the three official days but no more. Hotel rooms, at least at the middle to upper end, are usually plentiful and rates reasonable.

So generally within mainland China plan to be somewhere before the rush starts, and move on to your next destination in the middle, and your next one after the end of the holiday. The rush may tail off a bit more slowly this year since probably many will find a way to fudge having the Friday and Saturday off and only come home on the Sunday.

In short, it's not the ideal time to go, but it can be managed, and being in big cities during this period can even have its advantages. The October holiday marks the end of the autumn leisure travel season, though, so if you travel after it, with the exception of those hotels connected with the conference business and which will be very busy (late Oct is peak conference and exhibition season) prices and demand generally drop.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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We were in China for National Day last year and had no problem whatsoever. We were aware of it and arranged our schedule to be in Shanghai by September 29. By essentially following PeterN_H's advice, we avoided any issues. It was lots of fun to see the celebration on TV.
Gpanda is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 04:34 AM
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Thank you all very much. We will look into making our arrangements accordingly. Hopefully the hotel prices in Beijing will be reasonable that week.
Alisonv is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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What will the holiday be like in Hong Kong? We are planning to arrive in HK (from Taipei) on Sept. 29 and depart for home in the U.S. on Oct. 2nd or 3rd - any reason would that be problematic?
tekwriter is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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There's a large in-rush of mainland residents to Hong Kong during that period, so although many come overland, or save money by flying to Shenzhen and entering from there, you can expect the airport to be busy. HK is also used as a transit point for some bound overseas from the mainland, and flights can tend to be busy.

In town itself expect shopping areas to be busy, since the mainland influx spends more time shopping than doing anything else--the point of most visits is to buy foreign goods tax-free, and thus for much lower prices than on the mainland where, WTO agreements or no, imported foreign goods tend to be considerably more expensive than they are at home (wherever home is).

Demand for hotel rooms, especially more modestly priced ones, can be high.

Travelling outbound from Hong Kong by the 3rd shouldn't be a problem, the Chinese airlines that fly internationally tend to be the first choice of mainland Chinese, and there are plenty of direct flights from the mainland to the US which make travelling via Hong Kong to fly with a foreign airline usually much more expensive. The Chinese also tend to book very last-minute, so as long as you're making a decision a little way in advance, you should have little difficulty.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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Good info, Peter, thanks! Are there normally any special celebrations, fireworks, or festivals that we could enjoy during this holiday, or is it just vacation time for the masses?
tekwriter is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Last year you would have seen the biggest military parade in recent history cross Tian'an Men Sq (except that you wouldn't have been allowed anywhere near it. Perhaps a pavement spot beyond Dawang Lu.) But except for a fireworks display or two, most years there's not much. It's not an event you would plan to be in China to see.

Oddly enough the firework display in Hong Kong on the single day off may be more spectacular, the point still having to be made to much of the populace that it's now part of China and is happy about it, just in case it has forgotten. It is set off in Victoria Harbour, and can be seen from several kilometres of shoreline on both sides, from boats (if you can get a place), and perhaps best of all from restaurants high up in surrounding towers: Felix atop The Peninsula, for instance; Aqua atop No. 1 Peking Road, perhaps; maybe the restaurants at Hullett House where you can watch from balcony or garden seat, and the restaurants of assorted other harbourside hotels. But you'll need to book.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 06:56 PM
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In Hong Kong, there are often, but not always, fireworks in the harbour on October 1. If they take place, the are generally at 8 pm and last for about 25 minutes. They are quite spectacular, as they are shot off from boats in the middle of the harbour between Central and Kowloon. There are many places from which to view them, a harbour-view hotel room being a good option if you have it, but there are other options as well. Other than that, there are no military parades or anything like that in Hong Kong on Oct 1. It is a public holiday so places like the Peak can be quite crowded on that day, but otherwise things are open pretty much as usual (other than banks, schools and offices). Most restaurants and shops would be open.
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 28th, 2010, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Hi, Im in the same boat as you. My original plan was fly to Beijing Sept 29th, but a Chinese colleague suggested I push it forward to fly out of Sydney on the 7th Oct to arrive on the 8th. He said Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong are the three most hectic during this time. And getting out of the big cities can be a nuisance. As I won't be spending long in China, I decided to heed this advice. Good luck with your trip!!
Al_Core is offline  
Feb 28th, 2010, 10:12 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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My husband and I arrived in Bejing on Oct.2, 2009, the day after the 60th anniversary. We had a great experience. We did book the JW Marriott well in advance although at the time we were unaware of the holiday. The hotel was terrific. We had compimentary breakfasts all week in honor of the holiday. The only inconviences we experienced were an extremely crowded subway train, only on the Sunday following National Day, on our way to the Imperial Palace and the fact that Tian'an Men Sq and it's subway stops were closed. We thought it was great being in Bejing during the holiday week. Everywhere we went people were friendly and eager to tell us about the holiday. Video of parades were shown all week on tv and even on monitors on the subway trains.
acbm is offline  

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