I really love Chinese tea and, among other things, pu-erh – very, very fermented, the blackest of the blackest, tea with earthy notes, a tea that cleanses karma. Every six months I go for him to where he comes from. to the Chinese Yunnan Province. We will talk about how to buy good pu-erh some other time – this is a whole science (and all the same, Chinese merchants will deceive you, do not even try to oversell them). And now I want to write about two hotels in which I used to stay during these tea tours of mine.
These are hotels of the same famous chain. Banyan tree. Banyan Tree Lijiang and Banyan Tree. If there are no places in one, I book rooms in another. Which one do I prefer? That’s the question… Each of them has its own advantages. Let’s start with Lijiang.
The hotel is located on Yunnan plateauat an altitude of 2,400 meters above sea level, and its main advantage is, of course, the incredible beauty of Lijiang, full of exoticism and nobility. Lijiang is a small town in a beautiful mountain valley, the former capital of the kingdom Naxithat existed here 800 years ago. Then the city was called Dayan and was a transit point where tea merchants rested, moving to the sea. Now the medieval charm of the town has been preserved – authentic architecture is everywhere, which was the reason for listing Lijiang in the list UNESCO.
I usually rent a bike the very next day after my arrival and ride it through the surrounding hills, enjoying the scenery and the air. Or I wander among innumerable canals and Chinese bridges. And when it gets dark, I hang out for half the night in the gazebo, in the garden of my villa, to drink pu-erh, listening to the sounds of the Chinese night.
Each villa in the Lijiang Banyan has two rooms and a private pool. Everything is decorated in the Naxi style (a special national minority that has lived in these places since ancient times), which combines features characteristic of both the Middle Kingdom and Tibet. Everything is very comfortable and tasteful.
However, if you are very demanding on the level of service, then you may not like something here (for example, room service, in my opinion, here, and indeed in China, is completely unceremonious … although this may be due to the cultural traditions of the country ?). What to do, this is China. Traveling around China is not very comfortable for a European in general – very few people speak English here, and attempts by a white man to speak Chinese are perceived as some kind of muppet show. And even Banyan’s employees, which may seem strange, speak English very badly.
Anyway, three hours from here, in a hotel in Banyan Tree Ringha Resort service is a little better. Once here, I immediately began to compare my feelings with those experienced a year ago, during my wanderings in Tibet. So, in Ringha, at an altitude of 3,200 meters, everything is very similar to living conditions in a Tibetan village, but … multiplied by European comfort.
The hotel is indeed based on former Chinese village houses, rebuilt beam by beam, updated and improved and brought to the level of proper luxury. And I will also note the cuisine, it is actually wonderful here, Tibetan. Momo, choumin and other flour-vegetable affairs.
China, Yunnan province. Summary
Where to stay: Banyan Tree Lijiang – rating 4.
Banyan Tree Ringha – rating 4.
Where there is: Li Jiang Gucheng Jiulou (small but nice eatery-restaurant in Lijiang) – rating 5.