Replies: 18 - Last Post: Aug 29, 2012 7:53 PM Last Post By: dickie009
Jun 28, 2012 8:03 PM
15The thing I will never forget about my trip to see the TC Warriors was having to hold my camera at arms length over my head to photograph, like a reporter covering a rock concert from up near the front. The crowd was surging left, right, and forward with its own rhythm and pace, like strong waves in an ocean. I was just carried along like driftwood. Had I fallen, I would surely have been trampled into fine bits of dead meat and bone, never even noticed until the night cleaning crew arrived. It was utter madness and extremely unpleasant.
Admittedly, that was during July of last year, but it was on a weekday. Admittedly it was also mid morning, and arriving very early or very late might have been a more strategic plan. Admittedly your mileage may vary, but I have not the slightest uncertainty about how the place struck me at the time. And I'm interested in Chinese history and had even read a lot about Qin Shihuang and his era beforehand.
I went with a Chinese lady friend, not with a tour group. My friend is more used to domestic crowds than I am, and was still very put off by it. She was actually kind of scared. We could not talk because of the din. Everyone was shouting to be heard by their relatives or friends, and the tour guides with their loudspeakers seemed to be having a noise-making contest on top of that. The result was a savage roar of human voices. It was a mob.
Trying real hard now to find some offsetting "positive" aspects: The only one I can think of is that I now know the pits were bigger than I had previously envisioned. Some years before I had seen some of the figures themselves in a museum exhibit (British Museum in London) so I was not surprised at their scale or detail in Xi'an. I will admit that seeing a few of them again (under glass) last summer reminded me how life like they are. And I also liked the horses very much. Maybe even more than the statues of the people.
But, in summary, I would not go there again unless you paid me, and paid me a lot, something well north of 10,000 Yuan. Realize that's not likely to happen. Am certain I would not even consider doing it for 5,000, in Red Mao cash stacked neatly before me on the table. I would just shake my head and walk away.
Jun 28, 2012 8:26 PM
16When dealing with the Big Sights of China that attract a lot of domestic tourists and particularly the big bus groups, you simply MUST understand how these groups move and then do whatever it takes to minimize your overlap. I find Chinese tour groups to move very predictably. Any or all of these strategies will help:
1) Winter--November through February except Chinese New Year. The Chinese hate cold weather. Exception would be a winter carnival such as Harbin Ice Festival, but there aren't many of these.
2) Early in morning at first opening. I mean at the ticket window by that time. Chinese tour groups will not miss their breakfast, and given the time it takes to corral them into a bus and to a sight, usually it's about 9:00 when then show up. If something opens up at 07:30 or 08:00, you have the jump. Head immediately for the biggest draws, then go to the periphery. You'll be on your way out when the crowds come in.
3) Lunch time. Chinese tour groups will not miss their lunch. Often there is a lull in the crowd between 12:00 and 13:30. Not emptiness, but a noticeable fall-off after the morning groups leave and before the post-lunch groups arrive. Especially when it is outdoors and very hot. Take a snack, forego your own lunch, and take advantage.
4) Late afternoon, particularly one hour before closing. Usually for many sites, this is enough to see the highlights and get around, and often if you are inside the grounds, the staff will let you have a few extra minutes to finish up.
5) Evening/dinner time, for those sites carrying extended opening hours. Chinese tour groups and individuals will not miss their dinner at the usual time (about 6-7:30 pm BJ time).
6) Weekdays over weekends, though at the very largest national-caliber attractions such as the Warriors, this is of less impact. It is a more useful strategy at sights which tend to get more localized travel from a relatively close radius.
In general, the worse times to visit popular sights are between 09:30 and 12:00, and between 13:30 and 15:30.
Jun 28, 2012 8:50 PM
17Extremely useful strategies, @Jiejie. Thanks for posting them all together here in one place for easy reference.
I used your technique at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Base, and it worked perfectly. This "avoiding the crowds" project requires a study of "Chinese herd behavior." Agree it is highly predictable.
March usually also works out OK for me as a travel month, since the weather hasn't really warmed up much by then.
Aug 29, 2012 7:53 PM
18xian - TERRACOTTA WARRIORS -HOW TO GET THERE. hope this helps anyone trying to get to the warriors without taking a tour! from xian city get to the train station, if you stand facing the train station then head towards the right and you will find an area of busses. look for bus 306. it costs 7rmb. there are three stops and the warriors are the third stop. depending on traffic it takes about an hour. once at the warriors you will be dropped off in the parking lot, before following the signs for the terracotta meseum look for the ticketing booth. you need a tickets before you start heading up to the meseum. you will be haggled by guides and you will also be asked to buy a bus ticket to get to the mesuem, dont, you can walk, it is about a 10 minute walk up. the meseum is fantastic and is a defiante must do. i highly recommed you to go as early as possible, the first bus from xian leaves at 7am, get on this one. i arrived at the meseum and headed stright to pit 1, i was able to be there with only about 10 other poeple who were all quite and respectful of it being a mesuem, i got to really feel the atmosphere of the warriors. in about 30minutes however the chinease tourists started to flog in and soon the whole meseaum was clouded by noise nosie noise! there are volunteer guides within the meseum who are passionate about the warriors and are happy to give you free information about them, so you really do not need a paid guide. To get back from the mesuem head towards the same bus parking, catch the same bus back, dont be fooled onto another bus for the same price as these smaller busses stop at many palces on the way back so your trip home is lengthened! hope you enjoy it.
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