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Stephen Lioy

Travel Media Producer & Magazine Editor
An experienced photographer and travel blogger/writer who traveled widely around Asia before settling down in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.


Budget travel

I've been a budget traveler since the moment I started. The Points/Miles specialty mentioned elsewhere in my profile plays heavily into this, but a big part of budget travel is also just having the information you need on a region before you get there so that you can be confident of what the best values are and what are the easiest ways to save some cash. One note, though: Budget does not necessarily equal the CHEAPEST possible option. Instead, it often means the BEST VALUE. Keep that in mind!


I have a strong understanding of using Frequent Flier miles and Hotel Points to travel for free or nearly free. Much of my expertise here is specific to residents of the US (and users of US guest programs), so if you're not based there I'll need some background on your situation before I can tell you whether I'll be able to help.


I've been working as a freelance photographer for the past few years, doing advertising shoots for tour companies and engagement shots for couples traveling abroad. Check out my website (linked through my profile here) to see some examples.

Trekking & hiking

I've been hiking since the age of 14, first with the Boy Scouts and in adulthood independently and often alone. Whether you need tips on gear, packing, or trails I should be able to point you in the right direction. My personal favorite hike so far: 33 days in the Nepalese Himalaya.

Central Asia

I love Central Asia. No question. I first traveled through the region in 2010, on a short trip through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Since then I visited a few more times to explore the other countries (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) and finally decide to settle down in Kyrgyzstan to study Russian and find a job. Several years on, the region is no less enthralling.


I live here! Its an amazing place, whether you're interested in hiking into the mountains to spend your days with nomadic families or you want to party hard on the shores of the world's second-largest alpine lake. I'm based in Bishkek and can offer more info on the north of the country than the south, but if you have questions about either I either know the answer or know where to find it.

Hong Kong

I lived in Shenzhen (Chinese city just across the border from HK) for several years, and even since having left there continue to visit Hong Kong to see friends who have based themselves there. There is good hiking, great beaches, and all the shopping/partying you could shake your 点心 at.


This is one of my favorites. Ancient Silk Road history, surprising pockets of hiking in lush mountains, and all the desert sandcastle fortresses you could hope for. Add a bit of museum and a lot of hospitality, and its a great time. This is a place where the bureaucracy can be overwhelming, though, so if you're planning a trip to Central Asia this would be a good country to get some guidance on.

United Arab Emirates

This is not one of my favorite countries, but it is one where I seem to spend a lot of time for photography. I've got a pretty good mental map of Dubai in particular, though I've spent some time in Abu Dhabi as well. If you're looking to explore other regions, though, I may not be your man.