China’s Annual New Year’s Migration

WildChina > Insider Tips > China’s Annual New Year’s Migration

The Lunar New Year is almost here and the world is once again watching China as 130 million people prepare to crisscross the country for home. This year the public holiday dates are Feb 18 – 24.


If you’re planning to visit us during that time, we’ve pulled these crucial travel tips out of the WildChina blog archive:

Stay off the rails.
If at all possible, try not to travel by train during peak holiday weeks in China. This is by far the most popular method of travel, and the word “crowded” takes on an entirely new dimension of meaning when we consider train stations during Chinese New Year.

Bring earplugs.
Fireworks going off everywhere and at all hours can make getting your zzz’s in a bit hard. Packing earplugs will make it that much easier to get a good night’s sleep when you’ve had enough of the festivities.

Get off the beaten path. Avoiding big cities and popular tourist destinations will make your holiday more pleasant, while still experiencing China. For example, if you want to go to Yunnan, you might think about skipping Lijiang to head south to Xishuangbanna:


Yourantai in Xishuangbanna. Not only will it be warmer, there’s a good chance it will be less crowded as well. Contact us and we’ll have you on your way:

Call ahead. While most restaurants and sites will stay open during the week, it’s a good idea to double check before you go. Of course if you’re on a WildChina trip we’ve double (and probably triple) confirmed all of our activities, so you don’t have to fret that your trip to the Terracotta Warriors might be diverted.

Be patient. It will be crowded, and noisy, but also really exciting and incredibly fun. If you do get a bit stressed out, you’re in the perfect place to go for a massage or take a calming tai chi lesson, enjoy!

From the outside, China’s annual migration is a hectic and messy picture, but at WildChina we know that everything is worth a second look.

For a closer view of the Chinese New Year migration, we recommend the documentary Last Train Home, a touching film that opens a window into lives of a migrant worker family as they make their way home.


This film pairs beautiful cinematography with and intimate look at one migrant family’s experience. It’s the kind of beneath-the-surface story that WildChina travelers look for.