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Culture of walking catching on in cities

China Daily | Updated: 2023-08-21 09:05

Compared with tightly-scheduled travel plans and picture-taking tours, city-walking focuses on the free, casual and spontaneous experience. [Photo/Xinhua]

A casual stroll along the Beijing Central Axis, connecting the Drum Tower, bustling Nanluoguxiang Lane, Jingshan Park and the majestic Forbidden City — this was Zhao Xianghan's maiden city-walking journey in the spring of last year.

Since then, the 21-year-old student from Beijing Foreign Studies University has remained a city-walk enthusiast, believing it to be the best way to "rediscover a city".

"I visited Beijing before the start of my college life here, and it was a typical package tour during which going to scenic spots and taking photos was a big thing. The crowded tourist attractions gave me the impression that Beijing was a noisy place," Zhao said.

"But now, a city-walk allows me to see a whole different side of Beijing, which is full of serenity," he added.

With the increasing variety of travel options, conventional group tours no longer satisfy people who are looking for a more personalized and differentiated travel experience and hoping to delve into every part of the city in a more immersive way, according to a blog posted on social media platform WeChat that has garnered more than 100,000 views.

Compared with tightly scheduled itineraries and picture-taking tours, city-walking focuses on free, casual and spontaneous experiences, a recent article by People's Daily said.

The trending city-walk culture, which promotes experiencing urban life with no transportation means other than one's legs and feet, has also made splashes on various social media platforms.

On the video-sharing app Douyin, the Chinese version of Tik-Tok, a recent video about citywalk routes in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, has gained more than 171,000 likes, with 72,000 viewers adding the video to their favorites.

According to a report from lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu, in the first half of this year, searches about city-walks increased 30-fold from the previous year.

Netizens also share their citywalking experiences on microblogging platform Sina Weibo. One post recommended a classic city-walk route from Wukang Road to Fuxing Park in Shanghai.

"The route offers a glimpse into the culture and landscape of Shanghai in different historical stages, as well as its beautiful natural scenery," it said.

Following his experience in Beijing, Zhao has also explored Wuhan in Hubei province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and other cities through city-walking tours.

"City-walking is all about doing whatever you want in your own exploration of a city, and it is actually the kind of slow-paced, low-carbon lifestyle that I relate to so much," he said.


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