HEFEI — Reservations for bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) soared as China's "Golden Week" holiday draws near.
Golden Week, or the National Day holiday, is one of only two week-long holidays in the country, the other being the Spring Festival marking the lunar new year.
People will have an extra day off this year, as Mid-Autumn Festival falls on October 4, bringing the total number of days off to eight.
Most Chinese use the holiday to travel, while the Spring Festival is mostly reserved for family reunions.
As Chinese tourists attach more importance to privacy and comfort, booking a B&B, and especially renting an entire villa, has become increasingly popular.
"Compared with traditional hotels, B&Bs offer specialized services and rooms. Not only can we stay with locals, but we can also cook with friends there," said Dai, who booked a villa with five friends for the upcoming holiday.
Dai and her friends plan to travel to Lugu Lake, a popular tourist destination in southwest China's Yunnan province. A night at the villa costs about 1,300 yuan (about $197) in total for Ms Dai and her five friends.
Data from B&B booking platform Tujia.com showed reservations during this year's "Golden Week" surged fourfold from a year ago. Among them, villa orders rose even higher, about five times the number last year.
The average price of a B&B room per night is 557 yuan, with most tourists booking up to 24.7 days ahead of their holiday. The most expensive reservation on Tujia was for a villa in Shenzhen, which was 38,000 yuan for seven days. Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu are the top three destinations for B&B travelers.
Xu Yingyan, who runs a B&B in a town in Huangshan city in East China's Anhui province, said all of her 58 rooms have been booked for the eight-day holiday. "Most tourists are on family vacation or are traveling with friends, and some even choose to stay for seven days."