Chinese New Year Travel Tips

Is it worth going to China during Spring Festival? Well, traveling to China during the period of Chinese New Year has both advantages and disadvantages. It is wise to weigh up if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • You will be able to see authentic celebrations such as fireworks, dragon dance, lion dance, NiuYangge (traditional dance in northern China), and enjoy other interesting activities.
  • It is a great opportunity to observe local customs.
  • Most of the Chinese people will be at home with their families, so there may be fewer people at some of the tourist attractions in big cities.

Disadvantages:

Chunyun
 
  • Public transportation is extremely crowded.
  • Popular tourist attractions may be very crowded. 
  • Northern China is extremely cold and most of China is cold.
  • Tour guide service fees and hotel fees will rise during the Spring Festival.

2021 Spring Festival Travel Period

Dates in 2021 Activities at Home and on the Streets Transportation At Work/What's Open
Feb. 4-10 Houses and streets cleaning and decorating, shopping, school holidays from Jan. 11 Crazy crowded: homeward travel rush Year-end events, winding down
Feb. 11 (CNY's Eve) Decorations, family reunion dinner, CCTV New Year Gala, fireworks Locally busy Businesses closed in the afternoon
Feb. 12 (CNY's Day) Firecrackers, greetings, lucky money Relatively quiet Offices/banks shut, shops and malls reopen
Feb. 13 Welcoming sons-in-law with dinner and gifts Locally busy Shops and malls open, offices/banks not
Feb. 14-16 Visiting relatives and friends Locally busy Limited offices/banks services, shops, and malls open
Feb. 17 The week-long public holiday period ends; most people prepare to go back to work. Very busy: city return journeys Some businesses reopen one day early.
Feb. 18-26 (CNY days 7-15) Life returns to normal; schools reopen after Mar. 1; decorations up until Lantern Festival (Feb. 26). Crazy busy: return journey rush Business as normal by Feb.19 (CNY Day 8)

Tips for Traveling to China during Chinese New Year

day 2

1. Try to avoid traveling by rail as trains will be crowded during the period of the Spring Rush (Chunyun). Train tickets will be sold out very quickly.

2. Arrange your itinerary beforehand and make reservations for flights and hotels in advance.

3. Collect as much information on Chinese New Year celebrations in the city you are going to stay, such as firework shows, temple fairs, and other celebrative activities for the locals.

4. Learn enough about the cultures of Chinese New Year, and get familiar with what Chinese locals will do during the festival.

5. Bring enough warm clothes as Chinese New Year usually comes on the coldest days of the year in China.

6. Chinese people prepare a lot of luxurious and delicious food during the Spring Festival, what they eat is rich in calories, and people may get sick by having too much Chinese New Year food. It'd better prepare some medicines in advance and try to have good control of the temptation of the delicacies.

FAQs about Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Lion Dance
 

1. Can I travel to China during the Chinese New Year?
Yes, of course. But you have to face that a big crowd of people head back to their hometowns. Airports, railway stations, coach stations are full of people. And the price of transport is more expensive than usual. But the situation will be much better after Chinese New Year's Eve.

2. Which places are warm destinations to experience Chinese New Year?
Yunnan Province in Southwestern China, Sanya, Hong Kong in the south of China.

3. Whether I need to book in advance during the holiday?
Yes, for sure. It is wise to book hotels and flight tickets for two months in advance. Four months in advance is even not a bad idea. However, last-minute bookings won't be a big problem with a higher payment.

4. Is everything closed during Chinese New Year?
No. Most restaurants, attractions, hotels, and airports won't be closed. But the working hours will be limited and shorten.

5. What is closed during Chinese New Year?
Government offices, factories such as clothing factories, some small restaurants, and shops will be closed.

6. Can I eat out on New Year's Eve?
Yes. Booking in advance is the best way. Some restaurants and hotels offer a unique meal for New Year's Eve. If you want to have a traditional Chinese New Year's Eve meal, just book it ahead.

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