Living in a tier-one Chinese city has many perks, one of which is its proximity to and transportation links with numerous incredible holiday destinations. You don't need to leave the country for an urban city break, a spa retreat in the countryside, a beach holiday, or even a hiking vacation in the mountains. Of course, you can also build up the stamps in your passport by doing all this outside of China too; Southeast Asia is waiting for you, just a few hours' flight away.
To make the most of your vacation, it's crucial to take advantage of the many Chinese national holidays, as well as those precious annual leave days. I recently spent 11 days in India, but only had to take 4 annual leave days, thanks to a long national holiday – Golden Week. Previously, I spent two weeks travelling in China, as well as an 11-day trip to Vietnam, using up a combination of weekends, annual leave days, lieu days and national holidays. This is all thanks to careful planning.
Anna in Dharamsala, India
Officially, there are 11 national holidays in China (and quite a few commonly observed non-official holidays). If you're lucky, you might get a few extra days off during holiday periods, because your students and their families have gone away – check with your manager if there are any specific arrangements because of this. Ultimately, on top of your contracted annual leave days, you could get up to two weeks of accumulated days off due to national holidays, so make the most of them! And remember – you can also fit a lot into 2 days, so capitalize on your weekends off too. I'm based in Guangzhou, in southern China, so in 2 days I can fit in a trip to Hong Kong, an adventure in mountainous Guilin, or even a long weekend abroad... Wherever you are, I'm sure there are plenty of equally interesting destinations to tickle your fancy.
Here's a list of all the national holidays celebrated in China during 2018. Check out an official holiday calendar and the EF production calendar to see which national holidays you'll be getting off next year.
1st January – New Year's Day
15th-17th February – Chinese New Year & Spring Festival (common days off until 21st February)
5th April – Qing Ming Jie
1st May – Labour Day
18th June – Dragon Boat Festival
24th September – Mid-Autumn Festival
1st-3rd October – National Day & Golden Week (common days off until 7th October)
25th December – not a national holiday, but usually a day off for EF teachers to celebrate Christmas!
Figure out your destination, do your research in advance, get online and check out the best transport and accommodation deals. More importantly, speak to your manager to work out the best way to take advantage of national holidays and use your annual leave days wisely. My manager has always helped me to arrange my vacations in a way to maximise my time off while minimising the number of annual leave days I take, so I can save them for future trips. Finally, there's one more thing to check before you're ready to go – do you need a visa?
Anna in Guilin, China
Chinese New Year falls at the start of February next year, and the Spring Festival celebrations usually last about a week – if you tack on your weekends either side and some annual leave, you could spend two weeks in some exotic location in or near China. Start planning now, and I'll see you on the beach!
Anna in Hoi An, Vietnam