Discounts multiply during gap between holidays
The National Day marked the last golden holiday this year, but the best is just beginning for those who have chosen to use their paid vacation later.
Many travelers are taking time off and traveling after the holiday to enjoy lower prices and quality tours.
“It would be a good time to travel from now to mid-December since most tourists will not choose to be on the road till the New Year and Spring Festival holidays,” says Shao Jihong, senior director of air ticket department with China’s biggest online travel agency Ctrip.
Flight and hotel costs have seen a free fall across the board after the National Day holiday.
Most flights to popular destinations have seen prices fall by more than 60 percent, while the costs were only down 20 percent during the holiday, Ctrip reports.
So, if tourists choose to travel between the period after the holiday and mid-December, they could save a fortune, says Shao.
Lin Limiao from Beijing has made a habit of traveling in the off season. He recently signed up for a group tour to Vietnam from Oct 21 to 29.
It costs less than 4,000 yuan ($600), and the flights and hotel arrangements are fabulous, Lin says.
“The same trip cost at least 2,000 yuan more during the National Day holiday,” he adds.
Less crowded scenic spots and much more smooth traffic are among perks for traveling after the major holiday.
A total of 593 million people visited tourist attractions around the country during the holiday, up 12.8 percent yearon-year, the China National Tourism Administration reports.
They spent 482.2 billion yuan during the holiday, up 14.4 percent.
Many scenic spots were then crowded with tourists.
Lin had a bad experience traveling to Jiangsu during the last Spring Festival.
“It was all jammed up around at the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, and many shops were closed in Nanjing,” he recalls. “The price was steep too.” However, post-holiday travelers seemed to have got a good bargain.
A one-way flight from Beijing to Yunnan province’s Kunming costs a little more than 500 yuan per person for late October and November on Ctrip’s website; the holiday week fare was 2,000 yuan.
Costs are around 200 yuan for flights from Shanghai to Fujian province’s capital Fuzhou; from Zhejiang province’s capital Hangzhou to Fujian’s Xiamen; from Beijing to Shanxi province’s Taiyuan; and from Hainan province’s Haikou to Hunan province’s Changsha.
In addition, hotel prices in hot tourist spots, such as Hangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Sanya and Lijiang, for late October have also generally dropped by 20 to 50 percent as compared with that during the National Day holiday.
Many retired people are also taking trips to Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan province, Huangshan in Anhui province and Zhangjiajie in Hunan province, where the autumn landscape color is now developing, Ctrip’s bookings show.
Hotel bookings through the agency for late October have surged. More than 50 percent of tourists have chosen highend hotels.
Hangzhou is the most popular getaway after the holiday, and many hotels around West Lake are fully booked.
Those near hot-spring resorts are also witnessing a surge of guests, as chilly weather sets in.
At the moment, Jiangsu province’s Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuxi, Yunnan’s Tengchong, Hubei’s Xianning, and Beijing are the most popular choices for post-holiday travelers seeking hot springs.
Those who have their eyes on destinations abroad are also in for a treat.
Flights to Southeast Asia have seen a 50-70 percent drop.
Flight from Beijing to Thailand’s Chiang Mai has been marked down to roughly 2,000 yuan for late October, as compared with more than 4,600 yuan at the beginning of the month.
A round-trip flight between Shanghai and Manila, Philippines, has dropped below 1,000 yuan for late October and November, and so have flights between Guangzhou and Singapore. Visitors can expect to pay roughly 1,500 yuan to fly from Beijing or Sichuan province’s Chengdu to Bangkok in the interim.
For ski lovers, trips to North Europe and Canada could also be cheap and cheerful, since flight prices are discounted, too.
Travelers can also see aurora by spending 5,000 yuan on a round-trip flight from Beijing to Reykjavik, Iceland.
Dropping hotel prices have made destinations in Japan and South Korea, especially areas with well-known hot springs, popular.
Lin plans to travel to Japan at the beginning of next year— but before the Spring Festival. He’s been only to Hokkaido before.
Some Chinese tourists choose to spend their paid vacation by visiting natural areas in China and abroad thanks to lower prices and quality tours.