To travel or not to travel this October holiday
Every year before China’s Golden Week holiday I debate with myself the same question: do I go traveling or do I stay in Beijing? And if I stay in Beijing, do I plan on sightseeing or just relax at home and try to leave my apartment as little as possible? I am not the only person in this dilemma; most conversations I have with friends in the weeks prior to Golden Week are whether to travel or to stay.
This year at least, most of my friends, including myself, decided to stay at home. Why are we not willing to use those free days to go travel and experience more from China, you may ask? There are multiple factors for this decision.
During Golden Week, you have a week of free time which is perfect to travel around China. Since its autumn, most places will have very pleasant temperatures, not too hot anymore and not too cold, yet. And a week is a perfect amount of time to discover new places that are a little further away from Beijing, such as the Yellow Mountain, the grasslands of Inner Mongolia or the “Avatar” mountains in Hunan Province.
But since it is such a perfect time and opportunity to travel, you will not be the only person with that idea. So, the downside of traveling during Golden Week is that it will be very crowded! If you do not like crowds, try at least more unknown sights or more unpopular regions, for example North China.
At the same time, those seven days easily tempt you into staying in Beijing. Beijing is such a vast and fast city that there are always many new things to discover which, during a regular work week, one just cannot find the time for.
Beijing offers so many historical and cultural sights to see and do that a week can easily be filled with activities. But since Beijing is such a lucrative city for sightseeing, during Golden Week, you won’t be the only person around the capital’s historical and cultural sites. Therefore, this year, having done everything else in previous years, I decided to stay in Beijing, relax and unwind and stay away from the tourist hotspots. Nevertheless, I still seek to discover new places in Beijing and do things that I always meant to do. There are at least five breakfast places and three bars I meant to try. There are so many areas that I have never been to and have no clue what they are like. Next week, my goal is to take the subway and get off at least two stops that I have never been to and walk around. And of course, on my list are more obvious activities, such as going to the gym and finally finishing my book, reorganizing my closet as well as repotting my plants. Because Golden Week not only gives me the time to relax and discover but also to finally do a lot of things that have been on my list forever that I just never had the time to do.