Golden Week: Everything You Need to Know About China's National Holiday

Starting October 1st, China is gonna witness one of the two greatest flows of population of the year: the Golden Week. More than just a National Holiday, this period is a very peculiar one in China, challenging its infrastructure and affecting its economy.

Let’s discover more about it with ASI Movers, expats’ trusted moving partner from, to, and within China!

What Are Its Roots?

Image source: Source:

Twice a year, the Chinese population enjoys a one-week holiday period: one in January-February (around Chinese New Year) and one starting October 1st.

The second one was initiated in 1999 by the People’s Republic of China, to commemorate its foundation in 1949 (even though it was founded on September 21st).

Arrangements are made every year for the 3-day holiday to become a week-long holiday, to enable the population to make long-distance trips to visit their family. It is also a means to foster domestic tourism as, as we will explore in more depth later, tourist attractions are taken over during the period.

What Is Happening During the Golden Week?

Celebrations take place on Tiananmen Square every 5 and 10 years, namely, military reviews and parades, for the population to manifest its patriotic feelings, but these holidays are mostly about visiting family and sightseeing.

As such, means of transportation (buses, cars, trains, and flights) become crowded, as well as tourist attractions. In 2017, the most popular destinations were Sanya, Beijing, Kunming and Shanghai.

Yes, during Golden Week, it seems China is crowded everywhere. Millions of migrant workers go back home, overseas Chinese come back to visit their families, and a major part of the population takes the occasion to visit their homeland or simply go sightseeing. 

Many malls and supermarkets offer discounts and promotions, while small shops and restaurants are closed during the period. Urban transportation systems are working as during normal times, while government offices, schools, embassies, and private companies close.

Some underline the fact that these vacations create disruption in the economy and that they do not achieve significant results in promoting internal consumption. Moreover, the fact that government agencies – namely customs, tax and tariff collection, and legal affairs – close for a week impedes the normal functioning of the country.

Key Figures (2017)


million people on the move


millions outbound tourists


million trips


billion RMB of Tourism-Related Revenue

Tips For A Stress-Free Golden Week

  • If you can, avoid traveling in or from China during the Golden Week. The busiest days are the first two and the last one (for transportation and sightseeing). If you choose to travel just before or just after, you will enjoy lower costs and fewer tourists in the scenic areas and main cities.
  • Book your tickets (bus, train, flight) and make your hotel reservation well in advance, not only will you enjoy better deals, but you will also make sure to not fall short of seats or rooms on the D-Day.
  • Try to find less touristy spots on the Internet or thanks to your friends' recommendations. There are many hidden and beautiful places in China, Golden Week is the perfect moment to explore them.

people at Forbidden City in China during daytime

With a 10-year-long experience in relocating expats from, to, and within China, ASI Movers has developed a very strong expertise in understanding the challenges the latter face, as well as their expectations.

We are here to help you make your stay in China the smoothest from the beginning to the end.

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