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Shaanxi

Travel Guide Asia China Shaanxi

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Introduction

Xian outskirts

Xian outskirts

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Shaanxi (陕西) is a province in the north central area of China and is considered to be the traditional heart of China. It is known for Xi'an, the original capital of China. Shaanxi was also the hiding spot for the Communists and the Koumingtang during the Japanese occupation of China during World War II. This dusty mountainous province of China has much more to offer than just Xi'an and is worth exploring.

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Geography

Shaanxi is a dry province. Even though at one time it was the bread basket of China today it has turned into a sandy plateau with irrigated farms and mountains. Shaanxi shares borders with Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing, Sichuan, Gansu, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia.

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Cities

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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

There are 3 airports in Shaanxi province with connections outside the province:

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Getting Around

By Plane

Flights within the province are operated by Hainan Airlines between 5 airports:

By Train

Several train lines crisscross the province with Xi'an at the center.

By Car

Several good highways link cities and towns within Shaanxi, with Xi'an as a centre.

By Bus

The smaller towns are best accessed by bus from nearby bigger cities.

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Sleep

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This is version 18. Last edited at 10:42 on Dec 19, 16 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

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