Want to run or hike the hills of Lantau and promote conservation at the same time?
Hong Kongers have that chance next month with the first UTML – aka Ur Trail du Mont-Lantau – offering nine different events ranging from a 2km walk to a 100km endurance race.
Organisers Ms So and Ms Chung say they took the idea from the famed UTMB around Mont Blanc, the world’s biggest trail race.
Ms So said with the government pushing ahead with the Lantau Tomorrow reclamation, “we wanted to hold an event to encourage people to hike the hills and forests to save Lantau.”
The UTML comprises nine different races, starting with a 2km road walk around Tung Chung, moving up to 10km -16km courses for regular hikers, and then three ultra-trail routes 50km, 60km and 100km in length.
The other twist on the UTML is it’s a virtual event. It will run for all of November and people can complete their chosen course in their own time.
“You go to Lantau, you pick one of the routes that we provide, and then you finish the trail,” said Ms So.
“Then you get the GPS record through a smartphone app, Strava, Polar, or Garmin etc, and you can screencap it and share it, along with photos taken along the route.”
The hashtags are #HKUTML #and IloveLantau.
Ms So said that apart from promoting the preservation of Lantau, she hopes to help bring together people with similar views.
“It’s about community building. This belongs to everyone who loves Hong Kong and loves Lantau.”
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Ngong Ping cable car numbers fell again last year, apparently due to the continuing decline in mainland visitors.
In annual figures published yesterday Ngong Ping 360, a division of MTR Corp, said the average daily number of passengers declined 3.2% last year to 5,254.
With the cable car out of operation for maintenance for five months, the total number of visitors, 1.04 million, was well down on the 2016 level of 1.71 million.
Ngong Ping 360 visitor numbers peaked at 1.83 million in 2014 and have fallen in two of the three years since.
In that time the proportion of non-Chinese tourists has increased from 51% to 57%, while the China share has declined from 31% to 27%.
Ngong Ping 360 says its reaping the of its greater focus on southeast Asian nations, the number of Philippines and Indonesian guests up 56% and 53% respectively.
The total number of visitors to Hong Kong last year declined 4.5% to 56.65 million, with the mainland total down 6.7%.
To boost growth, Ngong Ping 360 plans to launch a “virtual reality and multi-media sensory attraction” series next month, called VR360.
It has announced that it will increase the price of its annual pass by 22% from February 16.
Police say a body found near Ngong Ping is that of a 60-year-old man reported missing.
The missing man, surnamed Wong, is believed to have suffered a heart attack.
There are no suspicious circumstances.
Photo: Apple Daily
In a new episode of his travel series 48 Hours, former IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade leads Jon Hamm (Mad Men) on a whistlestop tour of Hong Kong.
Filming over Christmas, the droll pair taste offal skewers, buy corduroy suits and survive a bruising encounter with a masseur before taking the cable car to Ngong Ping.
Or as Ayoade calls it, En-gong Ping.
“That’s a big Buddha,” they agree as the bronze icon comes into view.
In Ngong Ping, they share a moment with a four-legged resident and discuss the lyrics of Kenny Rogers.
“This is the path to enlightenment,” remarks Hamm as they reach Ngong Ping Village.
“It’s certainly been paved.”
The segment starts at 30:34:
Photo (top): Screenshot
A 65-year-old man was airlifted out of a steep canyon near Po Lin Temple yesterday after a three-hour air and land search.
The man, surnamed Lau, had called police at 11 am saying he was on the edge of a cliff 15 minutes away from Big Buddha and was planning to jump.
Police and fire crews conducted a ground search. After being unable to locate Lau they called in the Government Flying Services helicopter, HK01 reported.
At about 2 pm, rescuers found him at the bottom of a ten-metre cliff near Ngong Ping.
Lau, who reportedly had a degenerative liver disease, was sent to hospital at 4:15pm.
Police said his hands and feet were injured in the incident, but a preliminary investigation found no suspicious circumstances, Oriental News said.
Samaritans Helpline 2896 0000
Suicide Prevention Service 23820000
Photo: Rescuers lift Lau into GFS helicopter (Oriental News)
Here’s a reminder that Lantau’s natural beauty and ecosystem are tourism’s best friend, not its enemy as the government and supporters seem to believe.
Ngong Ping 360 is running a butterfly-themed family promotion over the summer, taking advantage of the presence of Lantau’s 100-plus butterflies species. As well as butterfly-watching, there’s a workshop on taking wildlife photos, another on “butterfly art” a dance performance, and so on.
“We would also like visitors to understand the ecology of Lantau so that they may treasure the natural environment even more,” said Ngong Ping 360 marketing head Vivien Lee. Continue reading
Visitor traffic to Ngong Ping 360, one of Lantau’s biggest tourist draws, fell 11% last year, while the number of mainland tourists to Lantau posted an even sharper decline.
Just 1.62m people took the cable car or visited Ngong Ping in west Lantau, down from 1.83m in 2014 and 1.67m in 2013. However, because the number of operating days was also down due to weather conditions and maintenance, the decline in visitors per day was just 3.6%, Ngong Ping 360 said in a statement.
Just 469,800 mainland and Macau visitors took the cable car last year, 17% below the 2014 level and accounting for three-fifths of last year’s decline in overall numbers. Continue reading