Migration Nation: What does it look like when 1.3 Billion people go on Holiday?

Migration Nation: What does it look like when 1.3 Billion people go on Holiday?

The Spring Festival Travel Season, or Chunyun (春运), is well underway as people race home to chow down on dumplings and set the country ablaze with crackers and fireworks.

Of course Spring Festival and Chinese New Year is much more than overeating and going deaf or possibly being blinded, but we’ll talk about that another day, today it’s all about travel chaos, as millions pour into China’s transport system try to make it home.

The 2016 Spring Festival travel period runs from January 24 to March 3, a total of 40 days with peaks around February 5 and 7, and again between February 11 and 13. Here’s a number to scare you, it’s expected that a staggering 2.91 billion trips will take place according to the NDRC (more here). It probably doesn’t scare ticket sellers or petrol station owners though. read more

China Holiday Dates and When NOT to Travel

China Holiday Dates and When NOT to Travel

There are seven holiday public holidays in China lasting from 1 day to 3 days. The holidays are lengthened by people working weekends prior and after the break, holidays such as the National Day holiday/Mid Autumn Festival period can actually become 7 day breaks or longer.

New Year January 1
Chinese New Year 1st day of 1st lunar month (late January-Early February)
Qingming Festival 5th solar term (April 4 or April 5)
Labor Day May 1
Dragon Boat Festival 5th day of 5th lunar month (late June)
Mid-Autumn Festival 15th day of 8th lunar month (late September)
National Day October 1 read more

From Shenzhen to Hefei to Fuyang to Maanshan

From Shenzhen to Hefei to Fuyang to Maanshan

The Spring Festival travel peak was nearing an end and there was probably some chance of getting a train ticket or flight once again. For this trip it’s off to meet future relatives.

So how to get from Shenzhen to Fuyang? Theres the train, bus or plane. It’s almost 24hrs travel on a train so I’m guessing a bus is similar. Fuyang has an airport and so does the nearby Hefei, capital of Anhui Province. The train would be a great way to see some more countryside but train tickets are too hard to get. read more

Xiamen to Shenzhen Bus

Xiamen to Shenzhen Bus

In China there seems to be plenty of privately run bus services running here, there and everywhere but for a foreigner it’s usually much easier and simpler to just buy a train ticket. But in some cases the going via bus can provide huge time savings.

This is especially the case going from Xiamen to Shenzhen (or even Hong Kong). At the moment there isnt actually a train running direct between those places, but they are building a line to carry a fast (220km/h) train which is expected to be completed some say late this year, some say next year. read more

Guangzhou Metro (subway)

Guangzhou Metro (subway)

Guangzhou has a modern subway system which services a large part of the city. For me, I wanted to get from Ghuangzhou East Railway Station to Pazhou where the Canton Fair complex is. It turned out to be pretty easy, just buy a ticket at the electronic vending machine which accepts coins, 5 yuan notes and 10 yuan notes.

I had to take line 1 to Tiyuxilu and then change to line 3 and then get off at Kecun and change to line 2 whose second last destination is Pazhou. When I walked out of the Pazhou Station I was right in the middle of trade fair city where the Jinhan Fair and Canton Fair Complex were located. The International Sourcing Expo is also nearby. read more

Train from Shenzhen to Guangzhuo

Train from Shenzhen to Guangzhuo

I was heading to the trade fairs that are held every year in Guangzhuo, in particular the Canton Fair and lucky for me theres a regular fast train between Shenzhen and Guangzhuo East (Guangzhoudong).

Theres many trains running through the day on this route, about 24 trains a day, from early morning to early night. It takes just over an hour for the trip although some trains take a little longer at over 2 hours, maybe they stop at more stations but I’m not sure.

For my first trip I booked a standard ticket at 75 yuan ($11) and it was a modern comfortable train, it was a D series train if you know your China trains. The only downside is that the seats are a little cosy…. read more

Train from Shenzhen to Hong Kong

Train from Shenzhen to Hong Kong

Shenzhen is right next door to Hong Kong which worked out very handy for me as my visa was about to expire. Hong Kong being a Special Administrative Region of China is just like going to another country, so, it’s a popular place to visit and explore, and to then get a new visa if you wish to return to back China.

There are several ways to get to Hong Kong from Shenzhen, including the ferry, but for this trip I chose to go on the train. Apparently this is the most popular way to get across to Hong Kong via the Luo Hu Border. read more

Beijing to Shanghai via Train D305 – Soft Sleeper

Beijing to Shanghai via Train D305 – Soft Sleeper

This was my second trip on a train in China and again it’s an overnight train with the trip taking just over 10 hours. I would be travelling on the D305 which leaves Beijing South station an 9.40PM and arrives in Shanghai at 7.52AM.

The train leaves from Beijing South Station which is very modern, clean and an easy place to hang out featuring a KFC, McDonalds and numerous other cafes and a pair of restuarants. 

Being an overnight journey I went the the ‘soft sleeper’ option again with the ticket this time costing 685RMB ($107AUD) booked via the Red Wall Hotel tour desk. The train is newer than the one I took from Xian to Beijing   and also featuring a small LCD screen at the end of the bed which unfortunately only screened shows in Chinese. read more