A Map Of China's Impending Travel Hell


This Friday, the 31st of January, is the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Over in China, that means that we've entered into the period of the Chinese year named "Chunyun," the 40-day period around the holiday when people traditionally travel home or to see family.

Basically, it's travel hell.

It's estimated that some 3.62 million trips will be made during Chunyun, which will last from around January 16 to February 24. During this period, the rail system becomes so bad that Beijing's major train station is known to locals as "busiest place on the planet," the BBC notes, while the road system becomes clogged with huge, horrible traffic jams (for a glimpse of what that looks like, check out these pictures from October, during the similarly bad Golden Week travel chaos).


Baidu (often referred to as "China's Google"), is keeping track of all this congestion, using location data from Baidu Maps and other apps to show the most popular journeys being made. The company's map, which updates once every four hours, reveals a lot of trends in the trips being taken.

You can check out the interactive version of the map here.

It's a fun map to play around with, but right now the results are probably what you'd expect - Beijing is the most popular city to arrive at, and to leave. As the Wall Street Journal notes, most of the routes fit with popular economic migration patterns, from the huge coastal cities to inland regions.