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Passengers crowd the Hangzhou Railway Station as they wait for trains to go back home for the upcoming Spring Festival in Zhejiang Province on February 11.
Every Spring Festival, hundreds of millions of people in China migrate like flocking birds. The chunyun (spring rush) as it is called, is the largest annual movement of people in the world.
It is expected 3.6 billion separate trips will be made by passengers traveling to and from their hometowns, 200 million more than last year, according to an estimate by the National Development and Reform Commission.
The travelers take trains, planes, buses, cars and even boats, but the train is still the easiest and most affordable way for many, which makes tickets in particularly high demand.
Valentine's Day this year was also the start for the peak of the spring rush. Lovers kissed goodbye at train stations, and boys made marriage proposals on the train. When romance meets homesickness, homesickness takes the lead.
The rapid construction and development of high-speed rail during recent years has greatly eased the problems of capacity. However, high- speed train price is on average two times more expensive than normal trains. Because most train passengers are going long distances, tickets can cost 800 yuan ($128). Even with rapid improvement of high-speed train, airplane and bus services, it is still normal for many migrant workers to spend two or three days on the road back home.
Due to the scarcity of train tickets, many migrant workers have chosen to ride their motorbikes back home, stuffing wife and kids on the backseat or in a side car.
"In rural areas, it is hard to find bus services, and on the motorbike, I can bring my whole family and all the goods I saved back to my hometown. Motorbikes are cheaper and much more flexible," said one migrant worker in Guangzhou who is traveling back to Hunan Province. But the roads can be bumpy too. Yet accidents, bad weather, and cold food can't deter people's determination to get back for the eve of the lunar new year, when families reunite and the old year is cast out.
A man kisses his girlfriend, a railway worker, after proposing to her on Valentine's Day, February 14 as passengers watch.
A band of "motorbike cavalry" rides on the road in Guangdong Province.