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30-year-old Hikes 5,800 km from Heilongjiang to Tibet

After hiking 5,793 kilometers in 209 days, Fan Qiangqiang finally stood in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region, on Sept 19.

Fan, 30, started the journey from his home in Yian county, Qiqihar in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Feb 24, after three months' preparation.

"In 2004, I came across an MV showing the holy and pure scene of the Potala Palace, which deeply attracted me," said Fan. "Since then I wanted to hike to Tibet."

"This year, I celebrated my 30th birthday. I want to leave behind something different," he added.

This is the first time that Fan has gone on such a long-distance hiking, so he spent much time on planning his route and getting familiar with the folk customs of Tibet.

By Tian Xuefei and Zhou Huiying in Harbin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-09-28 14:53

Fan Qiangqiang reaches Dongda Mountain during his hike to Potala Palace. [Photo/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Fan crossed Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Henan, Shanxi, Sichuan and Tibet.

He had to hike a minimum number of hours every day in order to reach his destination as early as possible.

"The longest time I hiked in one day was about 14 hours," he said. "Fortunately, I am in good physical shape."

The difficulties during his trip-serious altitude sickness, intense UV radiation, absence of human beings in sparsely populated areas and lack of fresh food-kept testing his will.

"However, I never thought of giving up," he said. "I had received lots of help and encouragement from my friends and family members, which led me to finish the trip."

During the trip, Fan met many fellow travelers.

"I made lots of new friends during the trip," he said. "When I encountered a debris flow in Nyingchi county, I succeed in escaping with the help of a fellow traveller."

"I felt quite happy that I finished the tour. I took many photos and videos to record my 5,793-kilometer trip. I introduced my beautiful hometown to the local residents whenever I reached a new place," Fan told China Daily.