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            Tourists on a mission to capture scenic glory

            By Hu Yuyan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-22 07:23
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            Princess Lake Park on Ulan Butong Grassland provides a popular getaway in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. SUN LIJUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

            High-intensity travel a trend among young Chinese keen to see more sites

            Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Meng Jiao used the phrase "see all the flowers of Chang'an in one day (on horseback)" to describe the joyous mood following success at the imperial examination. Today, this type of high-intensity travel is being realized.

            A trend of "traveling like a special forces soldier" has emerged in China. It involves visiting numerous attractions in a short span of time and with a small budget. Some examples include touring Beijing in two days, tasting all the signature delicacies in Zibo in 24 hours and even conquering five mountains across five provinces in just five days.

            Since the May Day holiday, this style of travel has been favored by many tourists, especially college students. Su Yu, a college student from Hangzhou, had a "special forces-style" trip this summer, exploring four cities across three provinces in just five days: Yangzhou and Nanjing in Jiangsu province, Wuhan in Hubei province and Nanchang in Jiangxi province, according to China Tourism News.

            Su spent less than 1,000 yuan ($140) on this trip. To keep costs down, Su chose to take a hard seat, the most economical option, on an overnight train from Nanjing to Nanchang.

            "I fell asleep as soon as I got on the train, which saved me accommodation expenses and I woke up feeling refreshed in the morning," Su said.

            "Superficial sightseeing can also be a meaningful travel experience and the most important thing is to have fun," Su said. "As the internet saying goes, 'Youth is priceless and happiness is found in the present.'"

            Lu Ziyi, a history and geography enthusiast born in the 2000s, has planned a summer trip with friends to cross the Qinling Mountains. Their journey starts from Luoyang, Henan province, goes to Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and Hanzhong, Zhejiang province and ends in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

            Lu told China Tourism News: "I hope to make the most of my youth, time and energy by exploring and appreciating more places."

            For successful "special forces-style travel", it is essential to have not only physical fitness and well-planned itineraries but a highly efficient transportation network.

            According to Yangcheng Evening News, the opening of the high-speed rail in Guangdong province 13 years ago has led to a more than 50 percent increase in the number of tourists from the Pearl River Delta to cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Changsha.

            In May, a young man from Chengdu shared his "five peaks in five days" trip on social media. He attributed the success of this seemingly impossible adventure to China's remarkable transportation network. The five mountains are located in five different provinces, which are Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Hunan.

            Despite saving money and time and offering flexibility, high-intensity travel has its drawbacks such as fatigue and a lack of depth in travel experiences.

            In a "special forces-style" weekend trip, Xiao Wen, a college student, took an overnight train to Suzhou, Jiangsu province, after her last class on Friday, arriving early Saturday morning. She had a packed itinerary, which included visiting various attractions and taking photos wearing costumes. On Sunday afternoon, she rushed back to school without any rest, Wenzhou City News reported.

            Xiao said that while traveling with friends was enjoyable, she doesn't plan on having a similar trip again because it was too exhausting and that it was less fulfilling for her to explore a city for such a short period of time.

            Chen Ye, vice-dean of Nankai University's College of Tourism and Service Management, told China Tourism News that "special forces-style travel" and "budget travel" share the same objective of saving time and money. However, the former has gained popularity through social media and has become a trend among young people.

            Jin Binjian, president of the Zhejiang Tourism and B&B Industry Association, noted that many young people would eventually return to in-depth travel. "Special forces-style travel" is more like a preliminary exploration for them, Jin added.

            If their first travel experience is good, there may be a second, in-depth trip. This means that there are higher expectations for the quality of services and management provided by tourist attractions, Jin told Wenzhou City News.

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