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China: Around The Nation

Chinese traveller visits both ends of the globe - at the age of four

Company that provided cruise to Antarctica said boy was the youngest Chinese person to ever take the trip

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 2:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 2:51pm

A four-year old Chinese boy has visited Antarctica after a five-month trip with his parents overland from South America then by cruise ship to the southernmost continent.

The boy’s father, Xu Chenghua from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, named his son Simba after the character in The Lion King, as he wanted his son to be healthy and strong so he could explore the world.

Last Tuesday, Xu, 35, his wife, nicknamed Xiao Zhu (piglet), and son completed their six-day cruise to the Antarctic Circle, Zhehjiang newspaper Du Shi Kuai Bao reported.

Xu had to persuade the cruise company to allow Simba to take the trip as it is normally limited to passengers over the age of 10 for safety reasons. He was then told his son would be the youngest Chinese person to ever make the trip.

Xu is an extreme sports lover has gone on expeditions to Tibet and the Xinjiang region dozens of times. He met his wife – who later quit her job as an engineer to travel with him – during one such Tibet journey.

It has been widely reported by mainland media in the past that the couple had taken Simba to watch swans on an 8-day boat trip in Xinjiang and had camped on an island in the Philippines for more than three months. These trips were in addition to a 12-country, 180-day family tour mostly by motorcycle in 2015, including Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, and European countries such as Greece and Turkey. That trip included a visit to the North Pole, when Simba was 2 years old.

“The only thing that someone should do in their childhood is to play, Xu said. “The most important responsibility of parents is to accompany, guide and to grow together. I really hope our story inspires more Chinese parents to spend more time growing with their children,” Xu said.

The Xu family will return home next week where they manage a kayaking club at Qiandao Lake – a well-known landmark of Hangzhou.

The five-month journey which mainly covered South America cost the family of three a total of 600,000 yuan (US86,755). The most costly portion was the cruise to the Antarctic Circle, which cost 220,000 yuan for the three of them.