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With such a huge backlog of travelogues to be done, I decided to start with the most recent ones.

The first work trip of 2015 was a trip to Guilin, China for a meeting. I was a little disheartened to hear that the location for this meeting is in Guilin, as I still can’t get the Sanya trip out of my head. It was a full day of awful traveling from Singapore to Sanya and I still remember it. So the travel from Singapore to Guilin requires a transit at Guangzhou airport, so it definitely sounded like another Sanya itinerary. I was kinda dreading the trip until I was informed of our accommodation – Banyan Tree!!! And suddenly, the trip didn’t seem so bad!

So it was still a day of travel starting from early morning. And we reached Guilin airport at around 3 plus in the afternoon. And I was informed that the ride to Banyan tree is about 2 hours long! I was like “What!!??”. But there was no need to get flustered – cos we had a ride from Banyan tree and the service was excellent. We were first served chilled towels, informed that there are drinks in the car, that there is wifi in the car (which works!) and an iPad that we could use. Talk about service!!

And this is a common view along to way to Banyan Tree Yangshuo.

IMG_2337And we finally reached Banyan Tree Yangshuo. We had arrived for the resort’s soft opening and they were still working on the area leading to the resort. The pool was not ready for use which was unfortunate.

As there were about 6 of us during check-in, the check-in process took a while. When we were given our room key cards, we were told to wait for the buggy ride which would bring us to our rooms.

View while waiting for buggy

View while waiting for buggy: promising start!

And the room was like WOW! Its huge and very nicely done up. The bathroom is open concept but if you want to, you could close it up. And one thing that is definiftely new to me: the toilet floor is heated! According to my Chinese colleagues, heated flooring is very common in China. Everyone else in our party was pleasantly surprised with the heated flooring. What a lovely touch for winter!

View of the room from the entrance

View of the room from the entrance

The bathroom

The bathroom

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So there’s a bathtub, a WC and a shower stall. The shower stall has both rain shower and handheld shower.

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Did I mention there’s a balcony and it was quite a view?

That's a nice painting

That’s a nice painting

Look who Banyan Tree has sent to accompany me

Look what Banyan Tree has sent to accompany me

I took some pictures while waiting for time to pass.

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The block of my accommodation

The block of my accommodation

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Pretty

Pretty

So after settling in, we had dinner. Our Chinese host had arranged for a really sumptuous meal. The appetiser course alone has 7 courses and there’s a total of 8 or 9 main courses! We couldn’t believe the amount of food served! The food was really yummy and most of us were pretty full after the appetisers!

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One of the main courses

It was a rainy day the next morning! I sure enjoyed the cool weather!

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After a day of meeting, we had dinner outside the resort and had a show lined up for us. So we were sure to keep everything on schedule so that we wouldn’t miss the show. Dinner was unusual, to say the least. There were really exotic items on the menu. Stuff like snake soup, rabbits etc. Most of us sans the Chinese ate mainly the veggies and seafood. We stuck to food as we know it. I was really wary because my colleagues said there’s an odd smell upon entering the restaurant and the Chinese colleagues said jokingly its the smell of dog meat. Who knows, they might be right cos that restaurant serves dog meat! Dog meat was supposed to be on our menu and it was removed by our very kind host. And an American colleague said that he saw something furry running in a room (which is likely the kitchen) and I suppose everyone just wanted to be sure we’re not eating anything we don’t want to.

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I can’t remember what meat they said this was – I just didn’t try it

So the show we watched is the rather famous Impression show by renown director Zhang Yimou. I had read about this before and the special thing about this is that Zhang Yimou had used the natural scenery of Guilin as his backdrop. So his “theatre” was set in nature. We were told to dress warmly and we were lucky the weather was fine with no sight of the rain that had carried on the entire day.

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This show is about a mountainous lady called Liu Sanjie and there is no real plot. The entire show is to showcase Guilin’s scenery and the efforts of the people in putting up a spectacular lightings show.

Mountains on the right

Illuminated mountains on the right

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The show took place on water (80%) and land (20%)

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It was a very impressive show although the storyline (or rather lack of) was sorely missed.

View within the resort

View within the resort

The next morning, I woke up really hungry! And seems like most of my colleagues woke up hungry too! Just as well breakfast was buffet style! After breakfast, I decided I needed to walk a bit and explored the resort.

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There was no meeting on the last day and we had a river tour booked. Again, we were advised to dress warmly.

That's our boat

That’s our boat

Unusual landscape

Unusual landscape

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It was a very lovely river cruise. The water is calm and very clear. We also spotted some wild ducks. Very lovely to experience this coming from urban Singapore.

While some colleagues were checking out, the rest of us went to explore the resort some more and we got this:

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All in all, it was a great work trip! Learned loads and learned some more! I love Banyan Tree!

Having this experience in Banyan Tree Yangshuo, I really think I should plan for us to make a trip to Banyan Tree Lijiang – visit the place they call the Shangri-La.

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