China A to Z: C is for Crowds

It goes without saying that visiting China is not a mountain-top wilderness experience.

At the top of Taishan (Mount Tai) waiting for the sun.

People will always be in the picture…and between you and the picture.


One saving grace I have found is that, often, crowds are localized. For example, at the forbidden city there are wide expanses and the people are primarily funneling through a central path so, if you go out of the central area, you are all but alone. Pulling out of the crush allows one to take a break, in my case a much needed one.

Crowds heading toward the Hall of  Central Harmony. Taken while I was having a break from all the “harmony”.

In some cases, for me, some of the crowded feeling comes from the intense level of stimulation that Chinese people like. especially the flashing lights and loud noises. That can make the crowed feeling more intense.

Food street in Weifang.

A couple of coping with crowd tips:

  • I try to give myself way more time than is advertised as necessary to see attractions, that way I don’t feel like I have to stay with and in the crowd to see everything. Sometimes this results in serendipitous exchanges, and sometimes the crowds thin out a bit and you can slip closer.
  • In composing photos I sometimes use a mass of people as a framing element, like one might use bushes to frame a mountain. That way the picture gives a sense of really being there in a way that a picture without people cannot.


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