Long march: 73yo Chinese tourist gets lost in Forbidden City, walks 100km in 6 days

© Carlos Barria
A 73-year-old Chinese man will always remember his trip to famous Forbidden City in Beijing. After losing contact with his group, he decided to walk back to his native town, 1,500km away. He was found six days later after managing to cover about 100km.

The man, identified by Chinese media simply as Yu, was visiting the spectacular Palace Museum in the Chinese capital, also known as the Forbidden City, with his group October 13. The group mostly consisted of other pensioners from his home province of Zhejiang, eastern China. He somehow became separated from familiar faces while walking inside the crowded palace. The poor man was left without phone, any identity card or even the phone numbers of the tour guide or his children.

Yu, who can barely read or write, was left on his own. Later, he said that he tried to communicate with men “in the uniforms” at the tourist site, but no one understood his dialect. Yu doesn’t speak standard Mandarin Chinese.

So the elderly tourist made an unusual move – instead of waiting for help in the Forbidden City, he decided to walk to his hometown of Ruian, some 1,500km from Beijing.

Blisters, age and even the Beijing smog didn’t stop Yu. Using the sun as a directional aid, he kept walking southeast. Luckily for him, police found him by the time he got to the city of Tianjin.

Yu had money, so he managed to buy food on his way. However, he didn’t stop at hotels, choosing instead to sleep by the roadside.

"I shall never travel again," said Yu after he was found.