SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – An annual mass migration started in South Korea on Tuesday as people headed for their hometowns for one of the country’s major traditional holidays.
Chuseok, the equivalent to Thanksgiving in the United States, falls on Thursday this year, with the official holiday period running from Wednesday to Sunday.
Along with Seol, or Lunar New Year’s Day, Chuseok marks South Korea’s longest holiday in which many South Koreans head back to their hometowns for ancestral rituals and to spend time with their families.
Travelers streamed into the main train station in central Seoul, which links the capital to regional cities and towns across the country, as well as into express bus terminals.
Some 230,000 cars have left Seoul as of 2 p.m., according to Korea Expressway Corp. (KEC), with another 270,000 expected to be added to that number by midnight.
“The number has been constantly increasing since noon and it will reach its peak at around 7 to 8 p.m. when most travelers hit the road after quitting time,” a KEC official said, asking not to be named.
The total number of vehicles using the highways throughout the country is expected to reach about 4.6 million on Tuesday, according to KEC.
The estimated number of travelers during the holiday period hovers around 37 million in total, according to the Korea Transport Institute.