How Chinese Travel in China

So I have half an hour at best to write this before I head to the airport for my final trip of the month (remember, I’ve had only two full days in Guangzhou in August, with the remaining time spent traveling).

My six days spent traveling with my aunt, a family friend, and his mom gave me tons of insight into how local Chinese people spend their holidays.

I can’t say I’m jealous.

In fact, I would avoid traveling anywhere in China during summertime, unless you find it fun to witness hoards of Chinese people everywhere, which brings me to my first observation:

1 — No foreigners spotted anywhere.
Foreigners, let alone local Chinese, are wise to avoid traveling to even lesser-known cities like the ones we visited (Qingdao, Changdao, Laoshan). Save for the Qingdao airport, I didn’t see one other obvious foreigner in these cities—only crowds upon suffocating crowds of Chinese people.

2 — People don’t seem to mind the insane crowds.
Oh, my God. I wrote about 人山人海, but I need to elaborate. We went to the Tsingtao beer museum at 8 a.m. AND IT WAS STILL CROWDED. Our tour guide said we went early to avoid even more crowds later in the day, but I really can’t imagine how there would be much of a difference. No matter what time of day during peak season in China, you will encounter crowds. Not sure how anyone would consider such claustrophobic environments to be “vacation.”

3 — For some reason, everyone travels in tour groups.
I have theories on this. Everywhere I went, I saw tour buses, tour guides, tour groups, tourists, tours tours tours. Can no Chinese person travel independently? But then I thought of how impossible it is to go anywhere in Qingdao, given the lack of a metro system, insufficient taxis, and buses that have lines stretching down the block. One can hardly expect a local to get anywhere quickly, let alone a lost tourist who only uses a smartphone for WeChat (although WeChat literally can do everything nowadays). In my view, the resulting downside of China’s modernization is that everyone—from the governments to the people—is still learning how to deal with it. Tourism is SUCH a huge industry in China for the locals who can now see the modernization but need the guidance to do so.

Alright, that’s all the time I have for now. Photo(s) coming eventually.