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Lunar New Year to See 32 Million People Traveling Home

2012/01/16 Source

Some 31.54 million people are expected to travel to their ancestral hometowns from Jan. 20 to 25 for the Lunar New Year holidays, a 2.1 percent increase from last year. The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs forecast the number of travelers on Sunday based on phone interviews by the Korea Transport Institute of 6,800 households across the country.

The exodus from Seoul at the start of the holidays is expected to be fairly smooth, since Lunar New Year's Day is next Monday and most travelers are expected to drive over the weekend. But the last day of the holidays falls on Tuesday, meaning congested roads on the way back to Seoul.

The biggest group of respondents (31.5 percent) said they plan to travel to their hometown on Sunday morning, a day before Lunar New Year's Day, and head back to Seoul on Monday afternoon (34 percent).

When traveling on major highways by car, the journey from Seoul to Daejeon in the central part of the country is expected to take three hours and 40 minutes, to Busan in the South seven hours and 10 minutes, to Gwangju in the Southwest five hours and 40 minutes, and to Gangneung in the mountainous eastern province of Gangwon four hours and 10 minutes.

The drive back to Seoul from Daejeon is expected to take four hours and 20 minutes, from Busan nine hours and 10 minutes, from Gwangju six hours and 30 minutes, and from Gangneung three hours and 40 minutes.

Most people (81.4 percent) said they plan to make the trip by car, while 13.8 percent said they will go by express bus, 3.8 percent by train, 0.6 percent by plane and 0.4 percent by ferry.

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