January 16 marked the beginning of the world's largest yearly human migration as millions of Chinese began boarding planes, trains and automobiles to get home to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which lands this year on January 31. According to the New York Times, Chinese officials estimate that a record 3.623 billion trips will be made this year over the course of 40 days — an average of three trips for every person in China and 200 million more than last year.
For many people, the trip home for the New Year, known in China as Spring Festival, requires perseverance, improvisation and much patience, as traffic jams and sold-out trains make the journey increasingly difficult. To make things worse, according to Quartz, scalpers are using bots to buy massive amounts of train tickets at once online. Tickets for mid-January travel that went on sale in late December sold out within minutes.
In the face of such complications, some choose alternate methods of travel. Quartz's Lily Kuo writes that four students are choosing the most traditional mode of travel, walking or running 400 km from Hunan University in Changsha to their home in Chenzhou.
In the gallery above we've chosen some of the most impressive pictures from this and previous year's migrations.