With the weeklong National Day holiday just around the corner, massive domestic migration will soon begin, causing heavy traffic jams, packed trains and long lines at airports.
Travel records are expected to be broken again this vacation period as increasingly prosperous, holiday-happy Chinese travelers pack tourism sites at home and abroad.
More than 660 million trips will be made by road and water during the upcoming holiday, a slight increase over the same period last year, Xu Chengguang, spokesman of the Ministry of Transport, said Wednesday. Xu’s agency regulates those methods of travel.
China's fast-growing railway network is expected to log 110 million train trips, up by 11.3 percent year-on-year, China Railway Corp estimated on Wednesday. The peak of the railway rush will be Oct 1, when 14.2 million train trips are expected.
Air travel regulators were mum, but expect the skies to be just as busy.
While vacations are wonderful, hundreds of millions of people leaving for vacation at the same time can be stressful.
On Sept 30, evening rush hour will start an average of two and a half hours early in Chinese cities, according to a report by Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest car-on-demand service. The average time to get to railway stations and airports in major cities will increase by more than 20 percent, the report said.
The worst places for highway travelers to be are highways in Guangzhou and Sichuan provinces and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which are predicted to have the most crowded roads, according to a report from the Baidu search engine company.
Baidu data predict the most crowded times to travel will be the first and last two days of the holiday.
"Analysis of previous data shows that 8 am on Oct 1 and 4 pm on Oct 7 may be the peaks of the holiday rush by road,” said Li Zhitang, head of Baidu Map.
The National Day holiday, from Oct 1 to Oct 7, is one of China’s two Golden Week holiday periods, the other being Spring Festival, which usually falls in January or February.
While the huge migration in the spring is mainly caused by traditional family reunions, the autumn trips are increasingly motivated by tourism.
"Chinese people were celebrating holidays at home before, but now travel has gradually become a major way to celebrate holidays,” said Wang Xiaosong, CEO of Lvmama.com, a major online travel booking service.
He estimated that the number of China’s tourists during this Golden Week will again reach a record.
For some, however, the vacation period is not so golden for travel.
"I just want to stay at home and take a good rest. We rarely have a chance to enjoy such a long holiday and I don’t want to waste it on seeing ‘people mountain, people sea’,” said Xu Jiayu, a white-collar worker in Beijing, using a popular Chinese expression for crowds.
Netizens also made jokes online about tourists rushing to popular sightseeing spots.
"Instead of seeing the beautiful Great Wall, you can see only heels and heads,” one commenter said on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like social media service.