January 2017 is a wasted month, unless…

Western New Year’s and Chinese New Year’s have always been cousins in a holiday type of sense. However, there usually would be about 6 to even 8 weeks of time in between the two holidays making them distant cousins at best. This oddly is different for the year 2017 as Chinese New Year already takes place on January 28th, making January 2017 a bit of a wasted month for foreigners in Beijing.

20 working days and three weekends is the exact amount of time in between Western and Chinese New Year’s in 2017. As a foreigner in China, it is hard enough to start yourself up for a regular work session after January 1st but this year is just the worst. If you are smart and have enough holidays left, you probably just take off the 26 days and spend them somewhere else. But if you don’t or can’t, you will probably have to find some other strategies to deal with the boredom. So, what can be done?

Go travelling somewhere far away

As mentioned before, your holiday account allowing, just take a long nice trip. Home is always a good destination but Beijing with its huge airport is actually a pretty decent starting point for a trip anywhere. South East Asia primarily comes to mind: Just a 4 hour flight away and with living costs below those of Beijing, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore etc. sound like a great way to escape the Beijing Winter cold. Also think of Hong Kong or Sanya.

Escape the Beijing cold

Go travelling somewhere near

If you cannot get away for longer periods of time because of work, just make the best of your days off. Anywhere within a 200km radius around Beijing is possible for day or weekend trips (Chengde, weird parts of the Great Wall, Tianjin) or, for destinations further away, use overnight trains aka the 8th Wonder of the World. Depart Friday evening, arrive Saturday morning, stay one night and leave again Sunday evening to arrive back in Beijing refreshed on Monday morning. Popular destinations are Harbin, Xian, Shanghai etc. 

A hotel on rails

Enjoy a staycation

Just stay in Beijing and book yourself into a nice 4 or 5 star hotel for a weekend. Make sure breakfast is included as that is usually the real benefit of your stay. Beijing supposedly still ranks among the lowest average price for a luxury hotel room so why not take advantage of it while you still can.

Ritz Carlton Beijing, kinda cheap

Enjoy the view of Chinese getting ready for Chinese New Year

You don’t have to spend lots of money on accommodation to make the best of your 26 days between the New Year’s. Beijing itself is actually quite an interesting place in the run up to Chunjie. Being the most important holiday in China, people do get into a holiday frenzy similar to what you may know from Christmas preparations back home. Just go to a shopping center or supermarket, look at all the people being stressed and feel happy that none of it is relevant to you – unless you have married into a Chinese family. In this case, good luck.