Philippe Touzin office manager in Zhuhai here!
Last week was the Chinese National Week (1st of October – 7th of October) which is the anniversary of China’s Liberation and Revolution.
It is more commonly known in China as Golden Week, and in Tourist Language “Hell Week”
Some facts from Wikipidia regarding Golden Week:
In 2012, the PRC government announced that national highways would be toll free for Golden Week, and as a result 86 million people travelled by road (13% increase compared to the previous year). The same year, the Forbidden City in Beijing had a new record of 182,000 visitors within one day on October 2, the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen had 215,000 visitors on October 4 (10 times the number of visitors on a normal busy day), 7.6 million people travelled via domestic airlines, 60.9 million people travelled via railway, and revenues from tourism totalled at 1.77 billion renminbi.
That is about 154.9 million people that travelled in the space of 7 days!! Now I know that China holds a population 1.4 billion, but how many people live in your country? If you are from France, Germany, UK…that’s double the population that went travelling…If your from the US, that’s half your population then went on a Wonder.
The movement of people is incredible, and thus comes the term of “hell week”, because if you are travelling within the Chinese borders, you can be sure that the buses, airports, train stations will be fully packed and then the hotels get booked out 2 weeks in advance. Now lets say you managed to be organised and booked in advance your hotel and train tickets, you may think you are now on your way to a nice peaceful holiday in the serene beauty that is China’s nature. No.no. and no. Bet that 10 million other people had the same idea than you to visit the “traditional village” during that exact same week.
That is what happened to me last year when I went to yangshuo in the Guanxi province. (my friend didn’t book in advance and ended sleeping on a mattrass, on the roof of the hotel . giggles.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love travelling in China, it is AMAZING and the infrastructure for travelling is great. Except during Golden Week. J
So this year I decided to travel to the Philippines for the Golden Week. Flying from Zhuhai to The Philippines, with a domestic flight in addition (flying between islands), cost me in total 160 GBP/198EUR/ 256USD. Basically the cost of a return Ryannair/ Easy Jet ticket. Great start!
I booked my flight leaving from Macau. Thus at the end of work 5h30pm, I left the office, took a tax and was at the border within 5 minutes, then it was 30 minutes of queues and shuffling about with my two friends, and we were in Macau! Our flight was at 9h30pm so we decided to go and have a beer in the old Portuguese colony and get to the aiport.
My friends who work for two Exporting companies here in Zhuhai and myself were looking forwards to a vacation with no computers, phone or internet.
We flew to Clarck who was and still is a heavily active US Airforce Base ( I didn’t know this) so it was abit suprising to arrive and be transported to the US form the street signs/roads and military personel. However we were there only shortly and then took our next flight to go to the Western island Palawan.
We landed on the East Coast, Puerto Princessa, where we had rented a doorless Japanese military jeep to do a 3 day road trip up north to El Nido.
No license needed, just a signature and off you go. I drove for 30 min (great fun, but slightly wonky) until I noticed my feet were wet with oil and saw that the pedals were leaking oil…not good. Drive back to rental place and get a nice Pajero instead to go road tripping..only issue no radio, so we each went on jingles duty…devastating experience.
Palawan is very much under developed with the bggest technological success being a road which goes ¾ of the way up North, this may be painstaking for tech junkies, but this was perfect and you don’t go to the Philippines (over 7’000 Islands) for development, but more Beaches, the water and sea life. To quote a hippie who was travelling to “find himself” I met. “This place has a raw and kind off elemental nature”
We drove to and stayed for one night in Conception, the to Roxas, TayTay and finally the dirt tracks to El Nido (I drove very safely on those roads 😉 ) The road crosses mountains, hills, rice fields, Rainforest. Beautiful
El Nido Was amazing, , touristy, but amazing, the sea, the renting of boats for day trips of snorkelling and fishing (2kg yellow fin tuna and some yellow/white fish). A good book, the beach and days of doing nothing except for eating, sleeping and swimming were great.
I could keep writing a give you a full detailed trip on Palawan, but the best to do here is go and discover yourselves, come to Zhuhai were you have easy access to all over S.E.A and go discovering. InternChina is of course there to help give advice and tips on where to go during Golden Week, including the Chinese hotspots if that’s what you are out for 😉
I will continue the description with the pictures below:
Thank you for reading and until next time!!