When and where to go in China

By | Category: Travel destinations

The Forbidden palace in Beijing

A Beijing based travel agency – The China Guide – has used the information it has gathered from thousands of travellers that travelled with them last year  look at the habits and preferences of them.

About 600,000 Britons holiday or travel to China each year. Many are business people with conducted groups and backpackers making up large proportions of the remainder.

The peak season for travel in China is spring (March, April and May) and autumn. (September and October) January and February are low season maybe due to the fact it can be very cold and there will be considerable snowfall in many parts. (Having said that a contact based about 60 miles north of Shanghai said that they had just seen the first snow of winter yesterday.) April is the most popular month to travel just ahead of March and May.  The agency warns that if you travel in southern China from April to August to be aware that this is the rainy season and trains maybe a better option that planes which can be cancelled, delayed or even diverted.

Shanghai skyline

Most people travel as couples of small groups of up to five people with ingle travellers making up less than 10% of visitor numbers. Half of all visitors spend only up to three days in China which surprised me. The China Guide suggests that this may be because they are taking advantage of the visit free transit offer which lasts up to 72 hours. Conducted tours, on the other hand can be anything from seven days to twenty-one enabling visitors to see much more of what is a very large country. Just 14% of visitors stay for more than eleven days. The agency says though that “usually one or two days is more than enough time to see the most popular sights in most major cities in China.”

some of the Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army, Weinan, Xian

Once in China, it will not surprise readers to know that Beijing is the top destination. Almost nine out of ten travellers visit the city. Xi’an (where the terracotta warriors are to be found) and Shanghai are the next most popular destinations each reaching about three in every ten visitors to China. After this Guilin and Yangshuo combined and Chengdu receive about one in ten visitors and everywhere else is in single digits. The most popular tours combine Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an because it can be done in  about a week and combines the opportunity to see modern cities and heritage sites.

If you want to be part of the incoming visitor crowd, The China Guide has told you where to go and when. If you want to  see a quieter and less busy China, this gives you a clue on where to avoid!

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