Bali indulgence 2015 Part 1

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Like my previous posts, I am going to combine all 4 days of our Bali trip into 1 post simply because we didn’t do much except to eat and have massages. So it was really nothing much to talk about. So we had decided on a villa about 4 weeks prior to our trip. But somehow we never got to booking it. It was only while discussing about this trip with friends, that I realised we then had at 2 weeks to go before our flight. So, that very night, we decided to book the villa we had wanted and of course it was fully booked by then! Scrambling like mad, we then chanced on this villa called iVilla. It’s a new villa and of course, to make one sound fashionable these days, adding an ‘i’ to everything helps. The pictures of the villa look good and reviews were excellent as well, so we booked iVilla! Our package included airport transfers, which was what most villas offer. So with this trip sounding like a poorly planned trip, I had made lunch and dinner reservations/plans way in advance!!!! So we were picked up at the airport and arrived at the villa and we were happy with our choice of villa. We had wanted a modern looking villa as opposed to traditional balinese villa and I suppose we got what we wanted. We were introduced to our villa by the staff. An iPod is provided for playing music; but it has only balinese music. We were also provided with a mobile phone which was very useful in making calls for taxis or spa appointments. There was a his and hers amenity pack which contain stuff like insect repellent and suntan lotion etc. Oh and all snacks and drinks in the minibar are complimentary and I think they are supposed to be replenished daily. Well, we didn’t empty out the minibar so no idea if it was really replenished daily. Here’s our villa:

Dining table

Dining table

Pool

Pool

Bed

Bed

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

So lunch on our first day in Bali was at Naughty Nuri’s. We had been to Naughty Nuri’s a few times but all were for dinner. Since lighting at Naughty Nuri’s is rather dim, I thought lunch would be better so we could see exactly what we were eating.

Bintang beer to kick off lunch

Bintang beer to kick off lunch

Porn corn

Porn corn

I like the corn. It has a nice BBQ taste to it and the gravy is not too sweet. I was tempted to order a second one.

Nachos

Nachos

After my first bite of the nachos, I recalled I had ordered this before and that I didn’t like it much. Yep, second time round, my feelings are still the same.

The famous ribs

The famous ribs

And the ribs are tender and delicious as always! And the dessert we chose was …..sinful deep fried banana. The hot weather ensured that the ice cream melted fast.

Fried banana

Fried banana

So we popped into the shop next door which sells Naughty Nuri’s memorabilia. I suppose some of the items could make for some cute souvenirs. And after lunch, we took a cab and headed the The Care Spa and had foot reflexology. This time round, the receptionist didn’t recommend any male masseuse. While the female masseuse we had were good, I think the male ones are definitely better. While having foot reflexology, I decided to have a manicure at the same time. Hmmm, I suppose if one is looking for a real sophisticated manicure, this would not be the place to go. But if one is looking to tidy up and paint the nails, this manicure would be fine. Nothing beats a nice foot reflexology 🙂 Then we spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing but lazing around. IMG_3722 Then it was time for dinner. I don’t think we were hungry but heck, who cares about full stomach! Dinner was at Metis. We would always head to Metis whenever we’re in Bali. This restaurant for first recommended by a French lady we met at a spa years ago. She has been traveling to Bali every year for about 20 years and Metis is highly recommended. And we never looked back. Metis has got to be one of the more expensive restaurants in Bali. I always compare the price overseas with Singapore and again, Metis is rather affordable compared to similar offerings to Singapore. Of course, there are those who argue that things in Bali shouldn’t be that expensive given that Indonesia is less developed. I don’t mind paying for better food when I’m overseas; I suppose its akin to paying for an experience.

Reservation at Metis

Reservation at Metis

So Metis is a rather intimate restaurant; lights are dim and atmosphere is romantic. Pretty good place to bring a date to 😛 While Bali is a place for the sun and sea, I would encourage you to dress less casually, to add on to the romantic atmosphere if nothing else. Personally, I feel that the restaurant and ambience doesn’t deserve people strutting in in their all-too-casual T-shirt and shorts. Besides, it’s always nice to dress up right? Metis serves foie gras hot and cold. So depending on your taste, you could choose from about 7-8 choices. The husband loves the foie gras at Metis. I have to say, the price of a foie gras here is really quite affordable. I am no fan of foie gras; it gets too greasy after a while and let’s not even go into how it’s made. But I did have more than a couple of bites and it was good!

Foie gras

Foie gras

The first dish that I fell in love at Metis is the trio of tartare – a dish of raw fish. Maybe it was having it overtime we went to Metis, somehow this time round, the dish didn’t give the same ‘WOW’ feeling. And after so many trips to this restaurant, the menu does feel a bit stale as the offerings remain the same through the years. Perhaps we should try the daily specials in future.

Trio of tartare

Trio of tartare

That's only starters!

That’s only starters!

Lobster bisque

Lobster bisque

For mains, the husband had the slow-cooked roast pork. The skin was crackingly good and meat was tender. I think I had ordered it as my main on one of our previous visits.

Roast pork

Roast pork

And my main is a fish. On a day of what seems to be ‘down the memory lane’, it turns out I had tried this before. And again, it wasn’t a dish that I particularly liked. On hindsight, I should have gotten a steak or something else.

Fish

Fish

I had thought we needed some vegetables in the meal and ordered some. It turned out that it wasn’t necessary since 1) the mains have sufficient greens 2) I don’t like capsicum at all!

Veggies

Veggies

We definitely over ordered and couldn’t finish our mains. And no room at all for dessert….:( So we decided we should walk back to our villa after the very heavy dinner. I think Bali has been adding pavements along the roads, so it is now easier to walk along the roads compared to a couple of years back. Just be prepared for endless taxis honking to check if you need a ride. Along the way, we came across a pastry shop, which have some creative offerings. We thought we could come back some time to try the pastries but deep down, I know there’s no chance of that as all our meals have been arranged…. IMG_3923Just as we were reaching our villa, we saw a new nice spa place – RE day spa. So we arranged to have a body massage in 10 mins time (at about 9pm), just in time for the last massage slot. The massage was not outstanding but it is good Balinese standard. I suppose going for a massage when the body doesn’t need it makes one less conscious of the massage quality. The one really good thing about RE day spa is that it is just next to our villa! So it’s location made sure we would be return customers.

And I thought our villa looks very romantic at night.

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The next day, we had breakfast, which was ordered the night before.

Eggs benedict

Eggs benedict

Breakfast spread

Breakfast spread

That was a lot of food for breakfast and it was such a yummy breakfast!

Lunch was booked at Potato Head Beach Club. I have heard of so many things about Potato Head so I thought we could just go during lunch, in hope that the club would not be too crowded.

There are two restaurants at Potato Head and my reservation was at Lilin. Surprisingly, there was no queue at the club! And we were shown to our table in the empty Lilin restaurant. Lilin serves Indonesian food and after we looked through the menu, we thought junk food like fries would suit us better. So we asked to be transferred to the other restaurant which serves western food.

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Nice view

IMG_3925I finally understand the big deal about Potato Head Beach Club. I can see why this place is popular with sun worshippers. The view of the ocean, with nice lounge beds – pretty nice setup to get a sunburn, or a tan. I just hope they have good sunblock on – skin cancer is no joke.

Sangria

Sangria

I have a weakness for sangria! I did say we were in the mood for junk food….

We had pizza, which was saved by the lovely tomatoes.

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So I thought some spring rolls would be nice and the name Summer spring rolls made the spring rolls sound like a yummy food. Turns out it was something like a Vietnamese roll, a type of spring roll that I don’t particularly like. However, when eaten with the dipping sauce, it was indeed refreshing in the hot weather.

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These fries were done to perfection!! Our fries craving satisfied!

Awesome fries

Awesome fries

Then we decided to end lunch with apple crumble! I liked the apple crumble a lot!

Apple of my eye

Apple of my eye

Then we headed back to our villa and soon started the body massage which was included in our room rate. It was a thoroughly awful experience, mainly my fault. The masseuse I had, despite being small and skinny, had a lot of strength. Her strength became too much when she did the head massage. I had thought the head massage would be over shortly, hence I did not feedback that she was using too much strength. Anyway, it went on for too long and I just didn’t voice my discomfort. So I was really glad when the session was over. And so much oil was used that we had to shower immediately to get rid of the unpleasant greasy feel.

Soon it was dinner time! Our villa rate included a in-villa BBQ dinner. Lucky lunch was not overly filling 😛

So I ordered a seafood set and the husband got an Indonesian set.

Soup was first served, followed by rice.

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Rice

Rice

Beans

Beans

Pineapple

Pineapple

The husband said pineapple is a critical dish for this meal. He said that in anticipation of the amount of meat that would be served. He was right! When there is too much meat, pineapple helped to clear the palate.

Seems like a full meal to me already but this was just the start

Seems like a full meal to me already but this was just the start

Fish sate

Fish sate

I like the fish sate a lot! And it was refreshing to served them on lemongrass sticks.

Prawns

Prawns

I was too eager to eat the prawns and only took the photo when 2 prawns were left.

Otah and grilled squid

Otah and grilled squid

Seafood skewer

Seafood skewer

Chicken sate

Chicken sate

More meat

More meat

Finally dessert was served.

Indonesian dessert

Indonesian dessert

Too much food and we couldn’t finish all of it. But it was good to stay in the villa and have dinner at there. Feels homely 🙂

What after dinner? Foot reflexology at the RE spa, of course!

This post has way too much food, so I decided I will continue our food indulgence on a new post.

Vietnam 2015 – a really quick one

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This is going to be quick and concise.

Went to Vietnam for work. Flew into Hanoi. Besides stepping out of hotel for work,  I was mainly in the hotel. First impression of Hanoi wasn’t good. It is too noisy for me. The constant honking of vehicles on the road was unbearable. As such, I didn’t even felt like venturing out. So I was really glad the Melia Hotel is a nice one.

Melia Hotel Hanoi

Melia Hotel Hanoi

Melia Hotel Hanoi

Melia Hotel Hanoi

Reminds me of home! I was already homesick on my first day!

Reminds me of home! I was already homesick on my first day!

I was famished and decided to look for food in the hotel. And I got myself the famous pho from Vietnam.

Beef pho

Beef pho

While it was nice, somehow I thought the one I had in Singapore was nicer. Odd. Probably what was in Singapore was suited to local taste.

So I chose the Melia because it has a pool which was great given that I had already decided to hole myself up in the hotel.

Dinner was at the hotel, but of course! I chose a different restaurant and got myself some phad thai. Then I decided I needed vegetables and ordered some.

Dinner

Dinner

IMG_3473And the servings were too big! When the phad thai arrived, I instantly regretted ordering the  vegetables.

Due to the horrible traffic in Vietnam, I had to wake up supremely early for work and that meant breakfast was too early an affair for me. So I skipped breakfast and could only wait for lunch. Lunch was at a noodle place near work and was rather forgettable.

For dinner, I went to the same Chinese/Thai restaurant in the hotel and ordered a claypot dish. With rice, it was filling.

Dinner Day 2

Dinner Day 2

After work the next day, I had to take a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. I had a terrible encounter in the taxi. At the risk of boasting, the driver kept saying I’m pretty and he kept trying to make a conversation with me. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, I couldn’t really understand him. Then he started taking his phone out and tried to take videos of me! I was then really thankful for my long hair which hopefully blocked his view as I made sure to face the window.

Along the way, I spotted some interesting local works.

IMG_3493IMG_3495At the airport, again, due to early hours, I didn’t take breakfast and I was really hungry. I’m a hotpot lover and when I saw hotpot available on the menu, I went for it.

Beef hotpot

Beef hotpot

Can’t say it was the best hotpot I ever had but it wasn’t that bad.

When I reached HCMC, I decided it was much better than Hanoi. For a start, the traffic noise was not as bad as that in Hanoi. In Hanoi, the longest duration which I did not hear a honk was something like 3 seconds. But in HCMC, it was as long as 15 seconds!!! Which was a blissful 15 seconds! And HCMC seems more modern and cleaner than Hanoi, so I was actually tempted to walk around.

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So after checking in and settling down, I decided to head out for some french food. Everyone keeps telling me to eat French food in Vietnam esp HCMC. So I asked the concierge for recommendations nearby and he wasn’t exactly sure. But after typing in his computer, he wrote down an address for me. He said it was just across the road, less than 10 mins walk away. So off I went.

But, a very big but, I had to cross a road. And I missed my opportunity to cross with a large group of pedestrians. And for some reason, it took a long time for people to gather for me to dare to try to cross the road. So while waiting, the sky got darker and I thought, what if I couldn’t cross the road on my way back to hotel? In 10 mins, when I still hadn’t managed to cross the road, I decided it was probably safer to head back to hotel and eat at the hotel. COWARD ME!

So dinner was of course, a western meal.

Mushroom soup

Mushroom soup

Salmon

Salmon

After dinner, I decided to check out the pool. Which was a cool stylish looking pool. I thought I try it tomorrow night.

Illuminated pool

Illuminated pool

View from pool deck

View from pool deck

See all those bikes!

See all those bikes!

The next day, however, my Vietnamese colleagues wanted to bring me around. I was game to ride on their scooter and go wherever they wanted to bring me for dinner.

It was a new and a rather scary experience. I don’t like cars getting too close when I’m driving, and it’s the same when I’m on a scooter. But Vietnamese get really close to each other. When I thought it’s safe enough, I would whip out my phone to take some photos but the safe moment was usually in terms of seconds. So pictures are really badly taken.

I was like that guy, hanging on for dear life.

I was like that guy, hanging on for dear life.

Lightings for Vietnam's independence day

Lightings for Vietnam’s independence day

To be honest, dinner was not fabulous and my colleagues then brought me to eat street food – longan ice-cream.

Longan ice cream

Longan ice cream

I actually love street food. But Vietnam just doesn’t agree with my stomach.

This ice cream was just too rich with coconut cream for me. The longan was longan, nice and sweet but argh, I hate the coconut cream!

But I was glad to have a night out with my colleagues and it seems that Vietnam might be worth a revisit. Just not soon…..

Chilly Taipei 2015

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Work trip to Taipei in 2015. I always look forward to visiting Taiwan – the food is good, shopping is fantastic and people are nice. And the weather was nice and cooling initially and then became quite chilly. Just as well I was was prepared for the cold front. So upon landing at the airport, I was whisked off to work. Work finished at about 5 plus and i was brought to dinner. Taiwanese, being so hospital, asked me what I would like to have. And I, not one who hesitates in stating my food preference, said hot pot! So we went to a place near the office which has 3 different hot pot restaurants. The first one has a minimum waiting time of 45 mins. We then got a queue number for the 2nd restaurant and someone went to the 3rd restaurant. Waiting time for 3rd restaurant is over an hour. So the 2nd restaurant it was! We were seated after a 20 mins wait.

The second hot pot restaurant

The second hot pot restaurant

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this would be a good meal. I mean, I have never heard of Cash City and honestly, why did they call themselves Cash City?!?! So one chooses from the ala carte set menu which would consist of your chosen meat/seafood, vegetables, noodles/rice and a drink (free flow). So I chose a seafood/fish platter. And wow! the serving is huge! The vegetables served would have be more than sufficient.

Waiting for the main course to arrive

Waiting for the main course to arrive

Well, the hotpot was delicious. I didn’t take a photo of the main courses, aka the seafood platter.

Back the hotel, I couldn’t resist heading opposite to Shilin Night market. I was walking aimlessly and then I was stopped in my tracks upon the sight of these rabbits. They are my version of Edward Tulane.

These occupied my thoughts for the next couple of day

These occupied my thoughts for the next couple of day

IMG_3119So I got greedy and decided to try this beef..IMG_3120The taste was good but the meat was too chewy. My jaws got really sore after the first few pieces.

The next day, when I saw my Taiwanese colleagues, I asked if they have any recommendations for nice restaurants that I could head to for dinner. They didn’t really have any recommendations and when I asked about Mitsui, they said they’ve never been there. So I decided I will stick to my decision of Japanese dinner at Mitsui. It was only a matter of deciding which Mitsui to go. In the end, I chose the Mitsui closest to the hotel.

I.LOVE.MITSUI. That really sums up how I feel about Mitsui. This was my 3rd time to the restaurant and I was really excited. Mitsui is on the higher-end but prices are actually good value for money considering the quality of food served. Compared to Singapore, Mitsui’s prices are not that high.

So, I decided to go for the deluxe set menu. The interesting thing about the menu is that the items are not fixed. The waiter asked about my preference and what I don’t want and set about recommending what was good. So my server suggested that we go for quality rather than quantity for the meal and I heartily agreed.

I was seated at the bar counter and I loved looking at the uni in front of me.

UNI!!!!!!

UNI!!!!!!

First course - sashimi

First course – sashimi

The toro was awesome!!

Then my sister from HK facetimed me. There’s free wifi at Mitsui, so I happily answered the call. My sister can’t believe I went out for a luxurious meal all alone. Hey, I do enjoy my own company, very much some times. Of course, I had to show the uni in front to the sister.

Oyster

Oyster

Very fresh oyster..

MY UNI

MY UNI

And I really took my time enjoying the uni. This is a fair bit of uni and every single bit was oh, so delicious!!

Abalone salad

Abalone salad

I was surprised to see a whole abalone served. For a moment, I wondered how to eat the abalone as gracefully as I could, given that there was no knife provided. I then realised the abalone was nicely sliced.

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The corn was really sweet and the abalone was nicely done – at least I didn’t get a sore jaw from eating a whole abalone.

A complication

A complication

So I remembered the waiter saying that he would place an order for cheese lobster for me and I was excited about this dish. My chinese isn’t that bad that I couldn’t understand cheese and lobster in mandarin. So when this arrive, I immediately took a photo of it and just as I was about to tuck in, the server said this was served wrongly and promptly removed it from my sight. I thought perhaps it should go to someone else first and mine will come later.

And then they served this….

Lobster in soup

Lobster in soup

This was when I thought my standard of mandarin is real bad. I recalled the waiter saying he would order prawn in soup for me. So my cheese lobster became soup lobster. But you know how nice a customer I am when I just obediently ate this, especially when I thought ‘oh, maybe my cheese lobster would be served after this prawn soup dish’. I was wrong.

Local fish

Local fish

I have never tried this type of fish before. The skin is rough, kind of pebble-like. It was crispy and was actually nice to chew on (initially). After a while, my over-active imagination made me stopped eating the skin. The fish was lightly seasoned so that one could taste the freshness. It was fresh but I can’t say the flesh is extremely memorable. The skin was memorable though.

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Wagyu beef. Beef was nicely done and and a nice way to start the end of the meal.

IMG_3150So this is soup with prawn. When this was served, I was pretty sure this was part of my original order while the lobster in soup was the wrong one. Anyway, it was kind late to rectify the order.

Passionfruit and the rest

Passionfruit and the rest

Fruits were served for dessert and I had this memorable meal for my time in Taipei. When it came to paying the bill, I mentioned about my cheese lobster which was taken away from me. After some discussion amongst themselves, the waiter told me they had made a mistake. But not to worry, the price of the lobster soup is the same as the lobster cheese. Yeah sure, I wasn’t concerned about the price but rather my chance to have cheese lobster :S I suppose another trip to Mitsui is warranted for in my next trip.

Before I left, I made a trip to the toilet. And look at what’s used.

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So after the big meal, I decided to head to Shilin again and made up my mind to get a pair of ‘Edward Tulanes’

With this purchase, I'm finally happy!

With this purchase, I’m finally happy!

Next day, for lunch, I was brought to Taipei Main station and we had a western lunch.

IMG_3174Lunch wasn’t bad but to be honest, I would prefer to eat chinese food given that we are in Taipei.

The rain continued for the whole day and it was a chilly day in Taipei. Luckily I went prepared 🙂

Rainy day

Rainy day

On a rainy day, there are lesser stalls at the night market and lesser patrons as well.

One of my fav street food

One of my fav street food

I love this chinese sausage wrapped in glutinous rice. One of the yummiest food on earth!

Craving satisfied

Craving satisfied

It was nice but it can’t beat the really delicious version I had in Hualien before. That was sold by an middle-aged lady in her food truck. I guess food trucks rock!

The next day, lunch was at a research institute and we popped into a restaurant for lunch. Yummy food as usual and the most interesting  dishwas bitter gourd with salted egg yolks, which I really enjoyed.

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At night, boring me headed to Shilin (yes again!) and I saw this. Was most amused as we had just finished watching the My Love from Another Star drama. Good marketing targeting those the Hallyu fans. IMG_3190

The thing about night market is that I feel I had to eat some street food. So takoyaki seems like a good choice on a chilly night.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki

Hmmm, this was a tad too dry for my liking. The ones in Singapore taste much better.

I also headed to my all-time favourite night market in Taipei – Shida night market!

The reason was because I cannot leave Taipei without eating from here!

IMG_3195So you pick whatever ingredients you want and hand them over to the stall assistant who would chop them up and pass them to the cook. So do keep an eye out for your basket of food in case it gets mixed up. You can then let the cook know if you want your food spicy or not.

This is how it's done

This is how it’s done

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

I love Shida because of the stall above and also because while it is a small market, I feel that the quality clothes sold there are really fashionable and of good quality.

I had a great time shopping. It has to be said, I met a fellow shopaholic in a shop where I was looking to purchase 5 dresses. But the shop accepts only cash and I had insufficient Taiwan dollars. Fellow shopaholic informed me there’s an ATM machine nearby and I could withdraw cash from there. Ah ha! But logical me kept the shopaholic under control. So I made do with 3 dresses instead 🙂

Breakfast

Breakfast

So the next morning, I headed to opposite to try to find some local breakfast. And I found the sandwich that I was looking for! Happiness! I always enjoyed this sandwich in Taiwan.

Rainy morning at Shilin market which is very different from night

Rainy morning at Shilin market which is very different from night

Prowling the market in search of pink guava

Prowling the market in search of pink guava

At the airport, I realised I had not had any beef noodles. So after checking in, I headed into a cafe which offered beef noodles. Great way to end my Taipei trip. Till next year….

Beef noodles

Beef noodles

Guilin – Jan 2015

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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.

Day of leisure – 30th March 2013

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To get over the horrors of the previous day, we decided to stay in the villa. Well, a part of the decision to stay in was also due to the husband’s workaholic nature. He had asked for 3 hours to do some work before he could spend time with me with a peace of mind.

Well, it was a bliss to have nothing to do but bounce around thinking of what to eat and where to go 😉

So when we had time, we had Spa at Anantara Spa. The ambience was very nice and massage was fine. I don’t remember the massage being exceedingly outstanding though.

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View at the waiting area

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Types of oil available

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Treatment room

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So at night, we took a taxi to the night market. I love night markets! I enjoy street food – of course, they must be of a certain hygiene standard.

The best part of night markets has to be the variety of street food. We love love love street food! Street food overseas is different from that in SG. Street food in SG is rather unoriginal and the variety is definitely not as vast as that in say, Thailand or Taiwan.

So we had duck noodles soup and pad thai at a stall. Then it was simply wondering around look for snacks and goodies. We ended up with chestnuts, mango sticky rice and rice dumplings.

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And when the hot weather got to us, we headed back to the comfort of our cool villa!