Ah, Golden Week, the week-long holiday devoted to commemorating the Chinese National Day as well as a tourism boom. Already known for its hellscape of queues, traffic jams and scrums of people, apparently this year, it's going to be busier than usual.
From next Monday, an estimated 800 million Chinese – more than half of the country’s population – will hit the road for vacations at home and abroad, reported The Beijing News citing a detailed report by Baidu Map, Ctrip and other Chinese tour agencies. The number is a whopping 100 million more than last year, which saw some 700 million locals bringing major tourist sites to a halt just two days into the Golden Week.
In terms of domestic travel, the cities of Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Qingdao, Hangzhou and Xiamen are forecast to be among the top local favourites, with landmarks of the Palace Museum, West Lake and the Bund expected to draw the heaviest foot traffic compared to other hot spots.
For overseas travel, Japan and Thailand continue to lead among other top destinations, which are then followed by Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and US in the top 10, according to Baidu Map and Ctrip.
So what can we expect here in the capital? No surprise: Heavy traffic. Beijing is projected to have the worst traffic in China during the seven-day period due to the impending closures and traffic disruptions
making ways for PRC’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Just to give you an idea, the report has forecasted the average speed for drivers on Beijing’s roads: 38km/hr, so forget about DiDi. Just hold onto that shared-bike and perhaps lock it somewhere that no one can find.
With gridlocked traffic throughout the cities, it shouldn’t come as a surprise the report reveals that the urban dwellers in Beijing, as well as Shanghai and Guangzhou are most likely to flee the city during the break. And with highways lifting tolls from Oct 1 to 7, peak travel time will kick in from midnight on the first day, and the travel rush is expected to hit major motorways at 10am everyday from Oct 1 to 4.
Batten the hatches; the tourists are coming.