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Adventures / Trip Ideas

An old couple’s shoestring tour around China

By Minjun Xu

January 19

An old couple from Deyang, Sichuan has accomplished their tour around China over the past five years. Four notebooks covered with postmarks, a box of train tickets, and 70G of photos have witnessed the couple’s wonderful later years.

An old couple from Deyang, Sichuan has accomplished their tour around China over the past five years. Four notebooks covered with postmarks, a box of train tickets, and 70G of photos have witnessed the couple’s wonderful later years.

Cai Baolin shows his notebook covered with postmarks
[Image Credit: xinhuanet.com; photo by Wang Mingping]
Cai Baolin and Fu Zhonggui, an old couple from Deyang, Sichuan, accomplished their goal to tour China. The couple has four notebooks covered with postmarks, a box of train tickets, and 70 gigs of photos capturing the wonderful journey they have had in their later years.

It has barely been a month since the couple completed their tour of China, which took them five years and two months to accomplish.

“He just cannot stop traveling,” said Fu Zhonggui. The wife describes her husband as a man with a “restless heart.” In 2004, the 64-year old Cai spent more than a month cycling to Beijing. It was supposed to be a four-person group, but only Cai overcame all the difficulties and finally completed the ride. The trip tested his physical condition and steeled his willpower for long journeys.

In October 2011, Cai and his wife finally set out on their China tour starting in Deyang. From the far northeast Mohe, to Hainan Island in South China Sea, to the vast Xinjiang and bustling Shanghai, the couple tried not to miss any breathtaking views in China. They even visited Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia in Southeast Asia.

In the past few years, the couple has used up eight 8G SD cards and one 16G SD card to store the photos they have taken during the trip. Even the train and entrance tickets from scenic spots are sorted out and collected carefully by Cai.

The trip, spanning more than five years, cost over 300,000 yuan, most of which was the couple’s retirement pension. Like many other independent travelers, they traveled on a shoestring. They opted for small hostels with bargain prices, and when they arrived in a fascinating city, they would take a break and rent a house for a few months near the suburbs to have a more in-depth understanding of the place.

“I’ve had a physical examination in Shanghai during our trip. It says my heart is in quite a good condition,” said Cai. He and his wife are planning to travel around the world in six months.

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