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Hubei

Travel Guide Asia China Hubei

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Introduction

Three Gorges Dam

Three Gorges Dam

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Hubei is a province in central China with around 60 million inhabitants.

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Geography

Hubei is about 186,000 square kilometres big and borders Henan to the north, Anhui to the east, Jiangxi to the southeast, Hunan to the south, Chongqing to the west, and Shaanxi to the northwest.

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Cities

  • Wuhan - the capital
  • Yichang - gateway to the Three Gorges Dam

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Sights and Activities

  • Three Gorges Dam

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Events and Festivals

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.

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Getting There

By Plane

Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH) is the main gateway to Hubei. It's one of the fastest growing airports in the country and handles a growing number of international flights as well as domestic flights to nearly all major Chinese cities.

By Train

Hubei lies at an important central location with train connections in all directions. It's also the centre of a growing high-speed railway network with Wuhan and the central city. For example, the Hefei-Wuhan high-speed railway was opened in April 2009 there are high-speend trains to/from Hefei, Nanjing, and Shanghai (6 hours). Most of these express trains leave from the Hankou Railway Station. The new Wuhan Railway Station opened in December 2009 and China had its second high-speed train with scheduled runs from Guangzhou to Wuhan. It is considered one of the fastest trains in the world, with a topspeed of 394 km/h. The travel time between the two cities has been reduced from 10.5 hours to just 3 hours! Eventually, the rail service will extend north to Beijing.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 10:48 on Dec 19, 16 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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