Every year millions of Chinese residents leave Beijing to travel to their hometowns for Chinese New Year. This annual human migration—the largest of its kind, comprising some 2.8 billion trips over the course of the holiday—has left the one of the world’s most populous cities eerily deserted ahead of the holiday also known as Spring Festival, which technically begins on Feb 19th.
Beijing, normally home to 21.5 million people(only a little less than the population of Australia), now has blue skies, clear highways, and spooky, empty shopping malls.
Those who have stayed are enjoying the respite. As one Instagram user in the Sanyuanqiao neighborhood described it, residents who aren’t traveling for this year’s holiday are experiencing ”lonely but beautiful Beijing.”