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Anhui province is skipped by most travellers, except for a pit stop at Huangshan. This is sad because Anhui is a fascinating province with many interesting things to see and experiance. This long eastern province stretches from the north wheat growing region to the southern rice culture, making it very diverse. In the south there are many stunning mountains to see and experience and the north is home to some fascinating towns.
The borders of Anui have changed many times during history but the present day borders emerged during the Qing Dynasty in 1644. Today Anhui is an agricultural center for China, which makes it poorer then compared to its other east coast neighbors. There is an emerging industrial sector but this is mainly focused around the main cities and along the river valleys. The area also has a quickly emerging tourist sector and is home to several World Heritage Sites.
The northern part of Anhui rests on the North China Plain and the north central areas are part of he Huai River watershed. In the south the area becomes mountainous and hilly with the Yangtze river cutting the two mountain ranges in half. Because of the divers topography from the north to south of the province the weather is very different in all areas of the province.
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China has three "Golden Week" holidays per year. People get a mandatory two or three days off work for each holiday, and workers' companies can grant them the rest of the week off, making each holiday a total of 7 days. As you can imagine, having almost 1.4 billion people with the same days off can make travelling at these times arduous to say the least.
Travelling during the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year is incredibly difficult. Chinese New Year is China's Christmas, so the millions of migrant workers and students flood back to their home towns. Everybody else takes the opportunity to spend their hong bao (gifts of money traditionally given at CNY) and go travelling. Most of the time, since you are only allowed to purchase train tickets 6 days in advance and must be present in the city of origin, sometimes only standing room tickets are available. Be aware! The Spring Festival is undoubtedly the busiest time for the Chinese transportation system. Flying will avoid the crowded trains, but book early and expect to pay higher prices. All the main tourist attractions will be crawling with tourists (worse than usual), so unless you like crowds, it's best to avoid it altogether.
Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, so the date changes each year. The Chinese New Year/Spring Festival holiday is 7 days long and usually starts on New Year's Eve.
The two other national holidays are October 1st, National Day, celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China and May 1st, which is International Labor Day. Almost all Chinese get the two holidays off and many take the opportunity to travel. If you want to avoid the crowds, fly, but it should get a lot less busy towards the end of the week.
Hefei Luogang International Airport (HFE) is the main airport in the province and is located outside of Hefei. This airport has connections to most major cities in China, including Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Guilin, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Harbin, Xiamen, Dalian, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Kunming, Qingdao and Xi'an.
International connections include Seoul and Hong Kong.
It is possible to get to most major cities by train to Anhui province. Several different train lines cross the province.
Several train lines cross Anhui making it easy to get to major cities by train.
With the constant building of new roads bus is a great way to get around the province.
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