This week was a national holiday in China, which means that millions of people spent the week traveling through the country. National holidays are notoriously crowded in China–it’s never a good idea to travel on the first or last day of a holiday because it’s nearly impossible to get a ticket. Major tourist attractions are also unbearably crowded. A few photos of the Great Wall are circulating on the web–the crowd is so large that people might feel claustrophobic just from viewing the photos.1billionvacationers

While I never experienced a crowd quite like those photos, I saw my fair share. After my first year, I made an attempt to either travel outside China or to less popular destinations within China during national holidays. During my first year, I took a trip to Jiuzhaigou National Park in Sichuan Province for the May holiday and witnessed this crowd around Five-Color Lake. On the second day in the park, I was given advice on avoiding the crowds and was much happier.

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  2. I have seen a few pictures like this of crowds on the Great Wall and HuaShan etc. Why do they do it? It looks like such a bloody miserable time.

    I travelled to Yangshuo during a Golden Week years ago and it was just horrible. Thousands of people milling about on the street. The only place of sanctuary were the western-style bars and cafes as the Chinese didn’t want to go in them.

    I remember sitting with a friend, sitting in a cafe drinking a beer and gawping at hundreds of Chinese people walking by who in turn were all gawping at us.

    Worst holiday ever.

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