When people hear ‘Hong Kong’ they naturally think of towering, futuristic skyscrapers in a city teeming with people. As one of the world’s most densely populated cities, to the uninitiated, Hong Kong wouldn’t seem like a place with mountains suitable for hiking and mountain biking. But it turns out there are tons of fantastic trails on those mountains you see from the city and lots more beyond the cityscape than most tourists see or experience. Today we’re going to chat with two experts about hiking and mountain biking opportunities in Hong Kong.
Episode 49: Hiking & Mountain Biking in Hong Kong
Steve Coward and Dave Stamboulis
Trevor explains that on his only venture to Hong Kong, he explored a bit of the city over several days and can’t say he didn’t see a single tree: he went up the cable car atop Victoria Peak and he became aware that there are some mountains out there, but he never imagined there was hiking or biking trails, let alone camping
Scott says he’s never mountain biked or hiked in Hong Kong, although he’s threatened to on a number of occasions. It’s mainly been time that’s been the issue when he’s visited. Scott has friends that have lived there and they recommended trails to hike but it’s yet to happen. His real interest lies in mountain biking there. He has heard there are some good trails but you have to know where to ride.
Scott and Trevor then talk about how Hong Kong is made of various islands and while some are urban, some are about as far away from a major city as you could imagine. Scott has a friend who has mountain biked out on an island there and he said it’s incredible. There are few massive cities in the world where you also have such outdoor opportunities literally in your backyard and their guests are about to tell everyone all about it!
Guest One: Steve Coward is the owner of CrossCountry Hong Kong, a company that specializes in mountain bike tours of Hong Kong’s mountains and green spaces. They also teach basic mountain biking skills to get more people up on two wheels and out on the trails. He joins us from Hong Kong by Skype.
Scott and Trevor ask Steve Coward the following about Mountain Biking in Hong Kong:
- Where are you from originally and what brought you to Hong Kong?
- What got you into mountain biking?
- When did you first start riding in Hong Kong?
- What are the trails and riding like there? Is it geared towards experts, beginners, etc?
- How and when did the riding scene in Hong Kong get started?
- Is the sport growing in popularity/who’s riding?
- Who maintains the trails?
- How does the riding there differ from other areas in the region?
- Is mountain biking something that a casual visitor to the city can take part in?
- How is the air quality?
- Any words of advice for someone coming to the city that would like to get out mountain biking?
Guest Two: Dave Stamboulis has over 3 decades of adventure travel, writing, and photography under his belt. After traveling throughout Europe and the Americas in the 1980’s, Dave moved to Asia in the 1990’s, calling Japan home for 3 years and then riding a bicycle 45,000 kilometers around the world. The result of this journey was the well received book, Odysseus’ Last Stand, which won the silver medal for Travel Book of the Year in 2006 from the Society of American Travel Writers.
For the past 7 years, Dave has resided in Bangkok, Thailand, where he works as a freelance photographer and travel writer. In addition to knowing Dave through his travel writing and photography, which has been published in numerous magazines around the region, including one’s Trevor has also worked for, he knows Dave through the Bangkok craft beer scene, which is an important hobby for any writer.
Trevor and Scott then discuss the following about hiking and camping in Hong Kong with Dave Stamboulis:
- Where are you originally from and what first brought you to Asia?
- What inspired you to go on a hiking expedition in Hong Kong and was this recent trip the first time you’ve done so, or is it something you’ve done before and just wanted to document this time around?
- I understand you hiked and camped along the way? Is this correct?
- If yes…was this a series of day-hikes that you strung together or are there genuine camping sites and a series of interconnected trails designed for multi-day adventures?
- If no…how many different trails are you aware of in the area?
- What range of hikes were there – is there everything from easy strolls to epic slogs?
- Aside from camping, for a casual traveler to the city, is it possible to enjoy some of these hikes as a day trip?
- For someone planning to recreate your trip, either as a day trip, single night, or multi-day adventure, what should they do to prepare?
- Tell us about a couple of the most popular/best hikes or your favorite part of the hiking experience that you would recommend our listeners try if they wanted to.
- What makes hiking in Hong Kong unique/different from hiking in other areas in Asia?
Get ready for our next episode, Number 50
‘50 Things We Love About Traveling in Asia’
Don’t miss it!
About our guests:
- Steve Coward’s Crosscountry Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Biking Areas Map
- Dave’s Book: Odysseus’ Last Stand
- Dave Stamboulis’ website
To learn more about Scott & Trevor:
- Follow Scott on Twitter: @scottcoates73
- Trevor’s Blog
- Scott’s Blog
- Groovy Map Seoul
- National Geographic Cambodia
- National Geographic Thailand
- Follow Talk Travel Asia on Twitter
- Follow us on Facebook
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Vine
- Theme Music by Jamie Ruben
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