There is no better time than China’s annual “golden week” National Day holidays to get a feel of how many people China really has – so many that to use the term “tourist apocalypse” isn’t an exaggeration. Even the US federal government has been shut down so that pouring Chinese tourists won’t flood its national parks.
In almost every tourism destination, it’s “people mountain people sea,” as the Chinese would describe it. An extreme example is the famous Jiuzhaigou Valley in Sichuan province. On Wednesday, a lack of buses and long traffic jams to and from the mountain left thousands of tourists stranded for some 11 hours. Some of those who didn’t get a chance to see anything other than other people even mobbed the ticket office for a refund. Armed police were dispatched to keep order.
One guy who made it back successfully described his time at Jiuzhagou as “11 hours of chaos, anger, desperation and starvation,” which sounds more like Lost than vacation.
Other places, while better than Jiuzhaigou, can also be said to be hell-like.
Beijing, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It’s reported that some 110,000 people went to see the flag-raising ceremony on the National Day (Oct.1) and left some 5 tons of trash.
Mogao Caves in the western province of Gansu had so many visitors that the carbon level in several of its caves reached dangerous level for those thousand-year-old painting within. Some caves may have to close as a result.
Hangzhou, West Lake
The ancient town of Fenghuang
The Yellow Mountain
Zhouzhuang, a town in Jiangsu province
Shanghai, The Bund
Beijing, the Great Wall (of people)
Even more amazing is the fact that most of these tourists got to their destinations through epic traffic jams like the below one in Guangdong. Lesson of the day? Stay at home during public holidays in China!