When we left our home in Atlanta, we had our eyes set on living and working around Asia. But we never thought that we would meet so many wonderful and amazing people from all walks of life. And we surely never thought that we would have found an amazing Geocaching family living in the same Chinese city that we were living in. We also never imagined joining up with a community of geocachers who have turned a visit to Hong Kong into an adventure by hiding all types of geocaches and hosting some of the coolest events we have ever seen.
Lucky for us, we did.
Geocaching Life in Guangzhou, China
Whenever we settle into a new city, we often do the same routine to get to know our new spot. We go to our geocaching app to see what type of caches, if any, are hidden around us. Then we set out to explore the area, using the caches as a reason to go in different directions.
As we settled into our new lives as English Teachers in Guangzhou, China, we were extremely disappointed to see that this enormous city only had a handful of caches to discover. To top it off, many of those caches ended up being DNFs. How can we live in a city for over a year and there be no geocaches to go for?
So we decided to host an event on Pi Day to see if we could get any geocachers to come out and play. Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed with the turnout. We had only one other cacher show up, and he came from over an hour away. We learned that he was an expat teacher as well, and he was just as excited to meet us as we were him.
This event made Liz & I realize that in Guangzhou, a city of over 14 million, we were possibly the only geocachers. Luckily for us Hong Kong, was only 2 hours away by bus, and I knew from what I had seen online that it was full of cool geocaches.
Experiencing Hong Kong’s AMAZING Caching Community
Since we were so close to Hong Kong and there were absolutely zero caches to go for near home, we shifted our geocaching focus to Hong Kong. I was really excited to do more caching in Hong Kong — and from what I had seen on the Hong Kong Geocacher Facebook Group, they seemed to be a tight-knit group who put on some AWESOME events!
Some of the meet and greets they hosted would be at KTV, arcades, zorbing arenas, and many other really fun places. While we made numerous trip to Hong Kong, it wasn’t until Leap Day 2016 that we were able to attend one of their events.
The event was held at a German bar in the heart of Hong Kong, and we could immediately spot the lively group of cachers when we arrived. We grabbed a drink and started making the rounds to interact with people. We were immediately struck by how young, fun, and passionate these Hong Kong cachers were! But the other thing that struck us was just how international this meet up was. Due to Hong Kong being such an international destination for travelers, and the airport is popular for layovers / stopovers, we actually found ourselves meeting cachers from all over the world!
After a couple of hours chatting and snacking on pretzels and sipping hearty German beers, we counted and there were 12 countries represented at the Hong Kong Leap Day event! Not only was it really cool to chat with them all about their love of travel and caching, but afterwards we all went out caching together to find some of the best caches around Hong Kong (which there are many).
From our experience, the local Hong Kong Geocaching Community is one of, if not the, strongest geocaching communities in all of Asia. They were all so welcoming to us visitors and did a great job of showcasing their city and the awesome caches to be discovered. The Hong Kong geocachers also host non-traditional events like hiking events on nearby Lantau Island, as well as hosting geocaching puzzle sessions. These guys (and gals) are really a LOT of fun!
An FTF Leads to an Unexpected Fellow-Chinese Caching Family!
As we were getting ready to finish our teaching contracts in China, we realized that there was actually new cache hidden really close to our apartment in Guangzhou…and it was a possible FTF.
Well we couldn’t pass on a FTF in China.
We had only recently gotten our first FTF – in Macau, of all places. And we had gotten another FTF in Hong Kong…so we were on a bit of a roll. So we figured, we had to get an FTF in our China “hometown” as a memory of our time spent here.
So we made our way to the cache, but because of our past experiences trying to find caches in mainland China, we didn’t get our hopes up. The cache took us for a long stroll through one of the largest and most beautiful parks in all of southern Guangzhou – one that we had enjoyed visiting previously.
It was a perfect spring day and the sun was shining wonderfully (clear – without typical China pollution). After searching for quite some time at the wrong location, we did actually find the cache! And it was a great one – so creatively hidden and we were so happy to have and FTF in mainland China to our books.
We signed the log and gave our praises to the hiders online, Guangzhou Goonies. They quickly reached out to us and they were so happy to have someone find their cache. It seemed that they were just excited, if not more, than we were in discovering their cache.
Our New Friends, the Guangzhou Goonies!
Before we knew it, we were chatting like crazy with our new Geocaching pals, the Guangzhou Goonies. It was a perfect match. As it turns out, they were newbie cachers as well and were mostly interested in creative hides. They loved hiding caches and we loved finding caches. We discovered that they were on a mission to hide amazing caches all over Guangzhou!
Even better they lived really close to us, in the Panyu district. So they set up an event, and we came out to their part of town. We got together over a tasty BBQ dinner at a local restaurant. We met their family, husband and wife as well as two little ones. There were also a couple other expat friends of theirs, younger guys, who came to join us as well. We had a wonderful time talking about life in China, creative business endeavors on all sides, and geocaching.
After dinner, they took us to one of their favorite caches (Shuang Pi Nai – GC69G9C) that they hid near a traditional Chinese dessert restaurant. We ordered our Shuang Pi Nai dessert (so incredibly tasty), and while we were waiting for them to bring it to our table, Liz and I rushed outside to see if we could find this infamous cache they were all gushing about.
After a bit of hunting around in a dark alley, we knew we couldn’t let them down! Luckily, we looked high and spotted the cache…and WOW was it a great hide! After signing the log we headed back inside for our tasty custard dessert and chatted with the group more.
Want to know more about Geocaching? -> Geocaching 101
It was so nice to have met this international Geocaching family, but really sad that it was right at the end of our stay in Guangzhou. Before leaving China, Liz and I had wanted to leave our own geocache to remember our time living and working here, as well as remember our new friends. Fortunately for us, the Guangzhou Goonies said they would take good care of our cache if we wanted to hide one. We jumped on their offer and hid our first cache in a park near where we lived in Guangzhou. If you are ever in Guangzhou head over to (A Walk in the Park with Peanuts or Pretzels – GC6DY9Y).
Making Memories and Friends Through Geocaching Around the World
Geocaching around the world has been great for sure, but it’s for many reasons. As of now, we have found geocaches in 18 countries, and each has given us some fun and unique memories that we will cherish (as well as some unexpected adventures). But I think one thing that will stick out the most is the people that we have met on this journey around Asia. So many different people, from all walks of life, making their way to Asia…and finding (or hiding) Geocaches. What a truly cool experience
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