Chinese tourists stranded at Sichuan beauty spot

Jiuzhaigou park
Image caption When they finally got out of the park, many tourists asked for their entrance money back

Thousands of Chinese tourists have been stranded for up to 10 hours at a famous beauty spot after the shuttle bus system failed.

The problem at Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan began when some holidaymakers stopped a number of buses from moving because they could not get on board.

This triggered a chain reaction that disrupted the park's entire transport system.

Afterwards, hundreds of tourists gathered demanding their money back.

Ferried out late

The incident happened at one of China's most famous natural parks, renowned for its mountains, lakes and waterfalls, during this week's national holiday, which celebrates the establishment of communist China in 1949.

In a statement, park officials said the the problem began at about noon when a group of impatient tourists stopped several buses, the only vehicles allowed to take visitors around the reserve.

This meant coaches waiting on the roads behind were unable to move.

Tired of waiting, many other tourists then got out and started to walk, causing more delays on the roads.

No-one is allowed to stay overnight in the Unesco World Heritage site, but by 19:00 there were still 4,000 people stranded.

They had all been ferried out of the park, in a Tibetan area of Sichuan province, by 22:00.

But photographs posted online show that hundreds gathered outside the reserve's main gates demanding their money back. Many blamed officials for letting in too many people in the first place.

Most Chinese holidaymakers visit tourist sites during national holidays, leading to complaints about overcrowding.

One internet commentator wrote: "Terrible traffic jams in beautiful places shows there is a lot of catching up to do in terms of capacity for mass tourism."

But the park seemed to blame the tourists for Wednesday's incident.

"When you visit Jiuzhaigou scenic area, co-operate with park staff and show respect for order," officials said in a statement.