Here's some tips to avoid crowds in China. The first part is a bit tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken (too) seriously...
- Take Taxis everywhere. If you do this, then you don't have to talk to anyone other than to tell the driver where you want to go. Better yet, if you want to avoid people and any potential crowding on the street, call the driver ahead of time to pick you up.
- Never take the bus or subway, especially at rush hour. (See photos)
- Have someone else do all your shopping. In Beijing, where the population is around 20 million people, there isn't a convenient time to go grocery shopping. But if you want to avoid the weekend crush, go during the week mid-day. It's not so busy then and you won't have to wait in line so long.
- Avoid parks, sporting events, restaurants, tourist areas, festivals, fairs and anything fun.
- Do not go to a Chinese hospital for treatment.
- Don't leave home.
Avoiding crowds in China is beginning to sound a bit silly and expensive. China is a huge country with a huge amount of people, so it's the norm to feel crowded, stand in lines and have your personal space invaded. If you're the type of person who doesn't like crowds, China is probably not for you. Crowds come with the territory and if you are thinking about going to China, prepare yourself.
- It IS a good idea to avoid public transporation at rush hour, if possible.
- Remember that Chinese people don't like being stuffed into the subway or bus with a ton of people either. It's just
- Make your apartment a quiet place to relax in. Without spending too much money, it's possible to turn your living space into a comfortable haven away from the city noise and crowds. Personalize your new home photos of family and friends.
- Have "Quiet Days"or decompress. Some days, I would stay home and leave the TV and computer off and read a good book. This helped me keep my sanity when I felt overwhelmed by living in such a crowded place.
- Get out of the city once in awhile. I remember the first time I went to the countryside after living in Beijing for awhile, it was so relaxing! Take a hike or do one of those Expat day trips (example).
What are your tips for avoiding crowds or recharging?