First large-scale indoor orienteering race in China

On January 13, 2019, the inaugural congress of Orienteering Association of Foshan and the First Indoor Orienteering Invitational Competition of “MengXiang Cup”, with nearly 200 contestants, were successfully held in Guangdong, China.

In contrast to the outdoor orienteering race, the indoor view is very limited. If you think you’ll find more directional reference indoor, you’re dead wrong. After the start of the game you’ll find that the view is blocked by heavy walls and display boards. The structures of the buildings are very similar. The whole process is like running in a maze, searching for targets in the Chamber. The judgement of distance, direction, location and space is more difficult and challenging than that in the outdoor village orienteering race. In addition, breakthrough mission was added into the open group competition, which made the contestants very enjoyable.

“This is the first large-scale indoor orienteering race in China”, said Mo Jingxiong, a former national famous orienteer. Following the successful holding of the Orienteering World Ranking Event & Asian Orienteering Cup, Foshan successfully held the first large-scale indoor orienteering race in China.

Mo Jingxiong, a former world champion in orienteering and senior adviser to the Association, said, the 2019 Orienteering World Cup final will be held in October in Xiqiao, Nanhai, Foshan, the first time the World Cup makes its way into Asia. By then, there will be nearly 300 top players from 30 countries and regions present. He believes that, by hosting city races and introducing high-level races, more people will feel the charm of orienteering and become the city’s wonderful explorer.

3 Major Asian Orienteering Events in 2019

Now with 2019 in full speed—despite me writing 2018 by mistake a couple of times—it’s time to look forward to newer events, better results, and more fun! In the coming years we can see that the focus of orienteering shifts eastward from Europe towards Asia, with many major competitions receiving wider attention from the orienteering world.

Here are three major orienteering events in Asia that will take place in 2019, that you definitively cannot miss:

1. Asian Junior and Youth Orienteering Championships, Hokuto (Japan)

The Asian federations of IOF decided to launch the Asian Junior and Youth Orienteering Championships (AsJYOC) at the 2014 conference in Kazakhstan, with the first edition in 2015 in Hong Kong, and the second edition in 2017 in China. The age groups of M/W 20, 18 and 16 are included, to give young Asian orienteers more chances to compete on an international level. This year, the third edition will be held in Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture near Tokyo, in the cool late summer of Japan.

Website screenshot: it looks pretty cool, even when compared to European events like O-Ringen!
Website screenshot: it looks pretty cool, even when compared to European events like O-Ringen! (Copyright organisers)

Japan is known for many high mountains that offer mountaineering opportunities, but the forests in the foothills offer another kind of experience: fun, challenging orienteering in highly runnable forests.

The championships will run from 27 August to 1 September. If you are 20 or under with citizenship of an eligible Asian nation (as defined by the IOF, as listed in the bulletin here), you should pay attention to the national team selections. If you represent other nations, you can still join and run but cannot get a prize.

Over 20? The organisers say they will hold spectator events, so stay tuned!


2. Asian Trail Orienteering Championships, Hong Kong

I decided to give the spotlight to Trail Orienteering here as, well, it’s good for training patience and orienteering technique. But the big thing is that two major Trail-O events will take place in Hong Kong: the Asian Trail-O Championships in 2019 and the World Trail-O Championships in 2020!

The Asian Trail Orienteering Championships will be held from 29 November to 2 December. So far the Orienteering Association of Hong Kong has not released any info yet but do keep watch.

If you prefer foot orienteering, the Christmas WRE-series will be back to Hong Kong on 22-26 December this year. Time to plan your sunshine trip to Asia maybe?

Hong Kong is becoming a major orienteering hub as the sport becomes trendier in Asia.
Hong Kong is becoming a major orienteering hub as the sport becomes trendier in Asia.

3. Orienteering World Cup Final, Guangzhou (China)

If you’re an active orienteer, chances are that this doesn’t need any introduction to you—the award of organising rights of the the Orienteering World Cup Final to China has been well advertised. For starters, however, the Orienteering World Cup is a series of events (which includes also the World Orienteering Championships) competed among national teams, with scores awarded according to the World Cup rules. World Cup events attract a lot of spectators who come to cheer for their teams (think a huge crowd cheering for Tove?) Last year (2018) the World Cup Final was held in Prague, Czech Republic with races in the vicinity of the famous Prague Castle.

China offers a very different kind of orienteering experience than Europe—while the vegetation might not be a friend to the forest-loving orienteering geeks, China does offer a very unique sprint orienteering experience—thanks to the tightly knit walled villages of Southern China (圍村/weicun/waichuen) that turn the heads of orienteers around!

Sprint competitions that were held late last year (Historical Road Championships in Guangdong, Asian Championships in Hong Kong) have already shown to the world the thrilling possibilities of orienteering. This year’s World Cup Final, scheduled for 26-29 October, will surely be a great hit—why not reserve a week on your calendar and see for yourself? It’s not known yet if there will be spectator races, but better still if there are!

Villages in Southern China provide thrilling orienteering challenges, like this one near Guangzhou
Villages in Southern China provide thrilling orienteering challenges, like this one near Guangzhou

Want more events? You can check out more on our Event Calendar!

Note: There was a mistake in the first version. The World Cup Final is in October not December. (Corrected 11 January 2019)

Asian Champs ended—and 2019 comes

Asian Championships (AsOC) in Hong Kong ended with middle distance and relay. Japan took the most high-ranks in middle distance while Hong Kong and China teams went well in sprint. A few European runners were top, e.g. Vojtěch Král and Denisa Kosová from the Czech Republic. Full results (relay results not posted yet at the time of writing) available on

Tomorrow (30 Dec) is the long distance which concludes the WRE-series in Guangdong and Hong Kong. However, something bigger will take place in China—the World Cup finals will come to Guangdong in October 2019, with a focus on sprint.


FINALLY!!! Despite the December cold, the orienteering gala in China will start tomorrow!!!

The first stage is in Zhaoqing, southwest of Guangzhou. You can watch the live stream here (pay attention to the time difference *GMT+8*):

“Orienteering Weeks” in South China: 8 events in 2 weeks—deadline approaching fast!

Christmas is near and it’s hard to miss with the winter cold and all the Christmas carols around! When darkness and snow fall and foot orienteering gets a pause—do you know there’s two weeks of orienteering adventure coming in subtropical South China?

Orienteering on Christmas Day, where there is no snow!
Orienteering on Christmas Day, where there is no snow!

If you want to be in (and avoid the snow and cold) keep in mind that the deadline is fast approaching! See the map below and click on the orienteering markers for more info:

Find tours with Urban Adventures

First, excuse me for the lack of posts recently—I am working on an app which will be launched very soon—stay tuned!

ORIEN.ASIA is now an affiliate of Urban Adventures, a tour provider of sustainable local travel in over 90 countries and 1200+ itineraries! Book here:

Don’t forget to join the large orienteering events of December—Historical Road Orienteering (Guangdong) and Asian Championships (Hong Kong)Merry Christmas!


Beijing O-Week—how was the terrain in the Chinese capital?

Orienteers who have checked Facebook should know that the Beijing O-Week cum PWT has ended just last weekend. If you don’t know, here is how the terrain looks like (with help from Yannick Michiels’ Facebook posts with maps):

Day 1 (21 Oct) sprint

Chinese parks are usually quite detailed, with many footpaths and impassable gardens. This park has however large forests and open ground, which provide an experience with technical challenges and route choices. Although there is a big lake in the middle, the route choices are not bad (at least not 10 times across the lake like sometimes the course goes!)

Day 2 (23 Oct) Middle distance WRE

The only middle distance of the whole week, which is in a forest but with many manmade features. It looks like a park with paved footpaths.

Ah, and orienteering through a cemetery!? Excuse me!?

Day 3 (25 Oct) sprint

Very, very detailed!

By the way, there are many “Garden Expo Parks” all over China.

Day 4 (26 Oct) sprint WRE

Olympic Forest Park in Beijing. It looks more like middle distance terrain than sprint terrain. Doesn’t look like terrain and course suitable for sprint WRE (but good for middle distance).

It’s in a park, anyway.

Day 5 (27 Oct) sprint

This is a suburb park with something like colony gardens (or homes?) in the northeast. (I cannot find any photos of the area.) Great job with two different scales—but it’s better to have the larger scale (1:1500) coming after the smaller scale (1:3000), since it makes the race more exciting, rather than before as it happened. It looks like a great finale to the O-Week with different kinds of terrain, anyway!


In China orienteering is special but probably different than the Swedish way—orienteering is supported by the government and municipalities (communists anyway). Orienteering is part of the People Liberation Army’s training, elite orienteers can enter university through athlete admission channels (however not in Hong Kong where I grew up), but the most important is that the municipalities want to use orienteering as  promotion (I have heard about events on rice fields, even if it causes inconvenience to farmers!) An important factor for sprint orienteering is to attract spectators, and although details in maps, courses and areas can be improved, the venues are well chosen to create excitement, challenge and enjoyment.

Hong Kong has high speed rail now

The much debated project is now done: Hong Kong has high speed rail now to the rest of China since 23 September this year. With the inauguration, MTR and CRH are offering direct services to Guangzhou (2 hours) and shuttle to Shenzhen (14 minutes). There are also a few direct trains to other cities in China, like the daily train to and from Beijing for less than 9 hours.

Border control is done at West Kowloon (both Hong Kong and Mainland China).

If you want to try the high speed night train, you can take the Beijing to Shenzhen night train and change in Shenzhen. Probably much more comfortable to take the train from Sweden to Hong Kong through Siberia!

Timetables are available at MTR’s website.

Höghastighetståg till Hongkong (N509FZ@Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 4.0)
High speed train to Hong Kong (N509FZ@Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Orienteering app tutorial: ORoute Share

One headache I have after every orienteering event is that QuickRoute (the popular route drawing software by Mats Troeng) doesn’t have a mobile version. Which means that I have to wait until back home to draw my route. Which means I’m not gonna do it (read: procrastination).

An orienteer from China, Xian Chengbin, has written an app to help you share your route on your Android mobile phone! Now you can draw your route, complete your evaluation and share it online just minutes after finishing (or after getting back your map, whichever comes latter). For the meantime, however, it comes with only a Simplified Chinese version and only via private APK download (i.e. you won’t find it on Google Play). Here’s the link: (A handy reminder for APK downloads: you need to set your phone to allow APK installations first—see this external guide)

To guide you through the sometimes confusing sea of Chinese characters (for many Westerners, I suppose), here’s a tutorial to guide you through the app:

1. The menu

Click (+) to start a new course.

2. Basic course info

Choose date and time of event.

Date, name, place, result, class, comments. Then click on the pen.

Choose how you will import the map.

3. Draw route

Zoom to start, then click on the pen.

Start drawing your route on screen. When you reach the next control, click on the circle at the top.

You have reached your first control. Click A to add comments.

Comments and splits.

Continue above steps until you reach the finish. (There is no separate finish symbol in this app. If your course has 15 controls, your finish will be Control 16—don’t cringe!)

Done with the route!

4. Share

Click on the map to enter the page below. You can share your map as an image.

NOTE: The cloud option does NOT seem to work at this moment. (Appears to be server connection problem)


Back to the menu: there’s your new course!

The author of the app is from China, so the contact links are all Weixin and QQ which you might not use. Still, there’s the Facebook Group from the download link at the top! (Link: with export examples)

Now my comments…

It’s a very handy app which might prove to be a real game changer—provided that some of the following improvements are done:

  1. There needs to be an English version
  2. Add GPX-import capability from GPS watch, like what QuickRoute has
  3. Fix the cloud; if there is integration with map server packages like DOMA, that’s a plus

The best things about this app—

  1. All done on mobile, of course!
  2. Can add comments to each leg, exported with the map
  3. Easy export of images that are upload-ready to Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Give it a try—decide if this is better than your usual QuickRoute!