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Daily Drip

Post-Gaokao Travel Up 500% as China’s Students Relieve Exam Stress

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While some of us were happily munching on zongzi (粽子 sticky rice dumplings) and building LEGO Dragon Boat sets, students across China spent much of last weekend undergoing the notoriously stressful gaokao 高考, or national college entrance exams.

So now that the tests are over, how are the more than 10 million students who sat them celebrating? Some of them might be hitting the club or going a little wild to Jinx Zhou’s anti-school anthem “Gao Kao”, but many seem intent on getting away from it all.

While gap years are still a rarity for young people in China, post-gaokao travel is definitely on the rise. According to data released by leading Chinese travel service Ctrip, in-app searches and bookings for graduation-related travel is up this year by a whopping 500%.

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The Ctrip data goes on to state that 35% of that cohort will be spending less than 1,700RMB (around 246USD) on such trips, 24% will fork out 1,700-2,900RMB (246-419USD), and that 41% will drop over 2,900RMB on their travel. In contrast to older generations of Chinese traveller, who still tend to go on group tours, these recent graduates are expressing a strong preference for independent travel.

The majority of these trips are taking place within China’s borders. Xiamen and Sanya, both of which come with beaches and warm weather, lead the way for the domestic destinations, with places such as Yunnan province‘s Dali and Lijiang also proving popular.

Cover photo: Dali by wenkui xiao on Unsplash

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.

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