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'Shandong iron butt bus': Long-distance tour draws online attention

Updated: Jun 7, 2024 By Quan Zhanfu chinadaily.com.cn Print
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A grueling bus tour from Jining, Shandong Province, to Lhasa, Xizang Autonomous Region, has captured online attention for its epic distance and challenging journey. Nicknamed the "Shandong Iron Butt Bus" by netizens, the 6,800-kilometer round trip tests passengers' endurance but offers a comprehensive travel experience.

The month-long adventure, operated by Jining Chixun Auto Service Co, covers various scenic spots along the famed G318 National Highway. The all-inclusive price tag exceeds 8,000 yuan ($1,180) per person. Despite the demanding nature of the trip, securing a seat requires booking well in advance, according to company manager Du. The comfortable, over-30-seater buses cater mostly to local Jining residents, reflecting a growing national trend for long-distance bus tourism projects.

Online users have acknowledged the route's length while marveling at the beauty of the G318, a popular travel destination. This surge in interest has spurred other Shandong cities like Yantai and Jinan to launch direct bus services to Lhasa.

The "Iron Butt Bus" isn't the first such odyssey to capture public imagination. In 2018, a bus route connecting Dalian, Liaoning province, to Novosibirsk, Russia, garnered significant buzz. The over 5,500-kilometer journey, spanning three days in China and six in Russia, offered a taste of diverse landscapes across numerous cities. However, this route ceased operation in 2023, with no word on its potential revival.

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