This article first appeared in the Sep/Oct 2012 issue of World Gaming magazine.
Golden Week is traditionally a time to spend with friends and family and many Chinese also find themselves on the road. Quite regularly that road leads to Macau!
The National Day Golden Week (starting each year on October 1) is the second most significant holiday period for mainland China, eclipsed only by Chinese New Year. During the last ten years there has been debate over public holidays and their significance and impact on the Chinese economy. However, the October National Day Golden Week appears to be here to stay.
Well over 100 million Chinese travel during this Golden Week period. Many travel to meet relatives living in other cities or the countryside but many flock to popular holiday destinations such as Macau.
Macau gaming surged by a massive 40 percent last year with the casino floors packed with punters and hotel rooms all fully booked. If you are planning to head over during the first week of October it is advisable to plan ahead and book your trip well in advance, so that you can secure somewhere to stay.
It’s a simple matter of demand exceeding supply – Macau has around 25,000 hotel rooms and services around 80,000 visitors on an average day. During the weekends the number of people looking for rooms outweighs the number of rooms and during Golden Week demand is even higher. Regular visitors to Macau are used to booking in advance when looking for a bed for the night.
Chinese New Year and the National Day Golden Week are Macau’s busiest times and if you are planning on traveling here during this time you had better be prepared. Do your homework and look for accommodation as soon as your plans are set. You will find the range on offer diminishes quickly during busy times. You will also find you get a better deal the earlier you book.
Not only do you have to be mindful of booking accommodation you will also find that getting to Macau will be more problematic. Buses, ferries and flights tend to book up quickly and if you wait till the last minute you will end up paying top dollar, if you can find a seat at all. Also be aware the queues at immigration at the border gate and the ferry terminals can be very long.
So be a smart traveler and you will find that your Golden Week trip to Macau is an enjoyable experience and not one that you find frustrating.