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Top Places to Travel Around National Day Holiday

Since 2000 China National Day on Oct 1st has been celebrated by Chinese people with a 7-day holiday lasting from Oct 1st to Oct 7th. One can expect lots of crowds everywhere in China, from popular attractions to major streets during this time.

When visiting popular Chinese destinations during National Holiday high hotel rates, traffic jams, and crowds make it a travel nightmare. Nevertheless, the weather is really pleasant in most places in China and a lot of resort areas are at their best during this period.

If you’re planning to visit China at this time or if you live in China and are looking  for an outing, there are still some ways to maximize your enjoyment. Some places with fewer crowds might be worth a visit. However, no area in China is totally without crowds during the holiday.

Now that you are ready, here are three places we highly recommend for travel during the national holiday in China. Making reservations weeks earlier will turn out to be a smart choice.

Lhasa-The Last Hidden Land

Lhasa PeopleLhasa has been a  top destination due to its amazing scenery and mysterious Tibetan culture. It has been even more popular  since the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in 2006. Furthermore the rail track is scheduled to reach the  Everest gateway—Shigatse in August,2014.

Travelers from Shanghai and Beijing can reach Shigatse directly via rail to  climb the world’s highest mountain, which is the most popular destination in Tibet outside of Lhasa.

Why go?

Wander around Barkhor Street to experience the authentic Tibetan culture and step into Potala Palace to have a glimpse of the Dalai Lama’s winter palace. Visit Jokhang Temple, which receives the most local worshipers. Other places like Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Norbulingka are worth visiting in this colorful period.


 After the summer holiday, most Chinese travelers leave Tibet and it is the time to soak up the beauty and tranquility of Lhasa. This is absolutely good news for travelers wishing to travel during the National Day holiday in China.

Getting there

A train ride from Shanghai to Lhasa requires 47 hours and 34 minutes. A flight from Shanghai to Lhasa takes six hours and 40 minutes. Two hours will take you from Lhasa to Shigatse by rail. 

According to our experience, we would highly recommend you take flights instead of trains during this period since train tickets are hard to buy and the scenery from Shanghai to Xining is not striking. 

What we recommend

As a local tour operator, we work for a lot of foreigners living in Shanghai, businessmen and travelers. Most of them take 4-Day Tibet Discovery Tour from Shanghai from $1899 for saving time. For those having enough time, they love to enjoy 8-Day Tibet Discovery Tour from Shanghai by train from $1159. 

Yangtze Cruise—The Perfect Option at Any Time

Yangtze RiverThe Yangtze River boasts amazing landscapes, crystal water, dense forests, and unique landforms. The best and most popular section extends from Chongqing to Yichang, which includes the three gorges. With the completion of Three Gorges Dam in 2009, the area now attracts even more foreign visitors.

Why go?

Yangtze River is always one of top options for foreign travelers because of its impressive views. In summer the view of the verdant mountain ranges, with cool weather, and  high water make for a comfortable cruise. In winter, the water level is relatively low but the water is clearest..

However, October might be the most attractive season for a Yangtze Cruise as the red leaves of Wu Mountain are at their best. A Red Leaf Festival is held every autumn. Most Yangtze River pictures are taken during this period. Victoria Cruises offers a cruise from Shanghai to Chongqing.


It is hard to find another popular destination like Yangtze River where crowds won’t be a bother during  Chinese Golden Week.  On a  four or five day cruise, visitors can enjoy different activities, or just recline leisurely on the sundeck enjoying the impressive view.

Getting there

Passengers can embark on a Yangtze cruise from both Chongqing City and Yichang City. A flight to Chongqing from Shanghai takes 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Shanghai to Yichang takes 2 hours by air. D-trains running from Shanghai to Yichang take only 7-8 hours and to Chongqing 12-13 hours.

If taking a Yangtze cruise from Shanghai to Chongqing for 9 days, passengers should embark on a Yangtze cruise from Wusongkou International Terminal in Shanghai.

What we recommend

Visitors with limited time are always choosing 4D/3N President Cruise Downstream Tour from Shanghai from $539 from Chongqing to Yichang. The scenery along the way and the experience are much thrilling. However, if you want to take a visit to modern Chongqing and its Ciqikou Ancient Town leisurely, 5D/4N President Cruise Upstream Tour from Shangha from $539 will get you. 

Kaili and Sanjiang—The Mysterious Dong People

A Dong GirlThe Dong People,  also known as the Kam People (侗族),  are mainly distributed in the conjunction of Guizhou Province, Hunan Province, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Kaili, Sanjiang, and Darong Jiang are the most famous and populated area of the Dong People. The Dong are an ancient ethnic minority dating back to the Qin Dynasty (B.C 221—B.C 207). With fresh air and unique scenery, these areas have become known to the outside world.

Why go?

Ancient architecture like Wind and Rain Bridges, Drum Towers, and local residential houses are the symbols of the Dong People. No area in China has such kind of architectures. These structure and  shapes are amazing even to Chinese people. In addition, Dong songs are famous across China, which are also called Kam Grand Choirs (侗旅大歌). It seems that these people are specially favored by God with a  singing gift! Sing whenever you stand before the Drum Tower!

If these are not interesting enough for you, Dong girls and their special clothes are charm for most people. These bright local embroideries are definitely worth owning.


The difficulty of access to Kali, Sanjiang, and Da Rongjiang is its saving grace!. Most visitors are locals or from nearby areas. One can still book guest houses and enjoy a less-crowded holiday in these places with fresh air.

Getting there

The one downside to these Dong areas is that they are difficult to get to.

A flight from Shanghai to Guilin needs two hours. Then take a bus from Guiilin, to Sanjiang, Guangxi for four hours. Another four driving hours will take one from Sanjiang to Rongjiang, Guizhou province. Then it takes about three hours from Rongjiang to Kaili, Guizhou province by bus. 

Or one can take a flight from Shanghai to Guiyang and transfer to Kaili to start the trip. Then fly back to Shanghai from Guilin.

The good news is that at the end of 2014, D-trains between Guizhou’s capital Guiyang and Guilin will be put into use officially and the travel time will shrink from 11 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours! Five or six days will make a special trip to the Dong people.

What we recommend

Regarding tour to Dong areas, Longsheng and Sanjiang in Guangxi, Rongjiang and Kaili in Guizhou are the most popular destinations. One can choose the interested ones and our travel advisors can plan a tour for you for free. Contact us if you are still considering what places you should go.

Battle of Recommended Places to Travel Around National Day Holiday



Yangtze Cruises

Kaili and Sanjiang


Pilgrim worshipers
Potala Palace
Mount Everest

Three Gorges
Red leaves along the river
Three Gorges Dam

Unique Dong buildings
Dong Songs
Dong clothes


A little busy at holidays

Definitely no crowds but
busy in transit cities Chongqing and Yichang during holiday

Pleasantly empty on weekdays and a little busy at holiday

Travelers number index





Worth visiting in October but prepare for the crowds at train stations and airports.

Short distance and fewer tourists than that of most destinations.

Hard to get to but unique culture and scenery are outstanding.

Travel Time and Tour Booking Tips

  1. At the beginning and end of National Day holiday avoid travel if practical! It is wise to book the flight as early as possible. Starting the tour two days before or two days after October 1 is our suggestion. Also never fly or take trains on October 7.
  2. Make hotel bookings for any must-see destinations at least two weeks early.
  3. If possible, don’t take trains. Planes are less crowded.
  4. A tour guide and a good travel advisor will absolutely save time, trouble, and help you make the most of your time during the holiday!