China is a country that’s known for many things, and being crowded is definitely one of them. With nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants, it’s easy to see why the most populous country in the world has garnered such a reputation about excessive crowding.
So just in case you’re planning a trip to China and have a slight case of claustrophobia, we put together a helpful guide to help you navigate your way through China’s most crowded destinations.
Beijing – During Chinese New Year
It’s a well known fact that Beijing has some of the world’s worst traffic. The local government even limits who can drive on which days according to their license plate, but there’s one part of every year where Beijing turns into an unfathomable nightmare on the roadways – Chinese New Year.
Every year in February as Chinese New Year draws to a close, the hundreds of millions of people (yes, hundreds) who’ve scrambled across the country to spend time with their families are now scrambling to return home in order to make it back to work.
Exact figures are unclear, but reports of 35-50 lane traffic jams that last for days are becoming more and more common, which makes sense considering that Chinese New Year is the world’s largest annual human migration.
Hong Kong – Yick Fat Building
Although Hong Kong isn’t technically a part of China, the Yick Fat building located in the Quarry Bay area of the island deserves a mention due to it’s iconic status. The building’s compact structure has turned it into a must-see for incoming tourists, after having been featured in dozens of movies and TV programs.
Shenzhen – Dameisha Beach
Shenzhen’s summer temperatures frequently creep into the 90s (Fahrenheit), and with a humidty percentage just as high, the city’s booming population needs a place to cool off. Dameisha Beach is that place, so be prepared to get there early if it’s on your list.
Shanghai – Metro at Rush Hour
Nearly 10 million people per day rode the Shanghai Metro in 2016. Take our word for it, and try to avoid the Metro at rush hour, typically around 7 in the morning or near 5 in the evening.
Two spots that acutely demonstrate overcrowding are People’s Square Station and Century Avenue Station. Located at intersections of three and four Shanghai Metro lines, respectively, these transfer depots are stretched to their limits as people go to and from work each day.
Jiuzhaigou National Park – During Golden Week
Crystalline blue-green waters and tree-covered mountains make Jiuzhaigou National Park in southwestern China’s Sichuan province one of the country’s most serene and beautiful locations⏤on most days. But during each autumn on October 1, the retreat from work and busy schedules during China’s “Golden Week” paves way to an influx of in-country tourists, as the site’s popularity is growing steadily within the nation.
We strongly recommend that you avoid the park during this time, as the frenetic pace of the park will overshadow it’s tranquil beauty.
Beijing – The Great Wall at Badaling
Unfortunately⏤or fortunately, depending on how you look at it⏤the Great Wall of China might be more famous around the world even than it is within China. This leads to it being packed regardless of which time of year you go, in particular, the Badaling section.
Directly accessible by train from Beijing, the convenience of Badaling attracts the masses. If you’re ok with this, make sure you’re there no later than 7:30 a.m. opening time. Otherwise, head to a less crowded section, like Si Ma Tai. Inaccessible by train, Si Ma Tai is best experienced with a private driver.