A Travel Memoir: The Banyan Tree - Yangshuo, China

Travelling in China..... most would never think of it and yes I never imagined that in my lifetime I would make it. Today, I live here and I would like to enhance your perspective.

And for those already here; well this is a must destination to add to your bucket list - The Banyan Tree, Yangshuo. A 1.5 - 2 hour flight from Shanghai, followed by a 2 hour drive from Guilin. 


When my husband and I arrived at Yangshuo’s Banyan Tree, I thought he was proposing to me….. again.  

On entering the resort my eyes wandered over and beyond the ornate chinese villa roof tops, the feathered bamboo trees, the strong, sweet enveloping scent of fresh gardenias and the ever striking view of the limestone karsts….. there was no way I was leaving anytime soon and we hadn’t even made it to the suite.   

And that was the beginning of my new love affair with the Banyan Tree Hotel and Resorts.

Starting at Yangshuo has set a high bar, and yes, you do pay top dollar — but not all the best things in life are free.  It’s a space for everyone — the personal retreat, weekend getaway with the kids, your anniversary… a girl’s weekend away or bring along Mum and Dad - yes, a retreat for everyone.  

After a few hours at the resort (no kidding); my fuel tank was full. A night was all I needed to regain composure, refuel and kickstart life again in Shanghai.  

Personally, a stay at the Banyan Tree in Yangshuo ought to be placed last on the list — time spent away from here is wasted, certainly not enough time to be leaving it

The suites. Well, where do I start. The overly large egg shaped bath, a king size bed with its crisp white sheets, the black and white robe and slipper print through to the sweet Thai scented body lotion, salt scrub and bath foam… or my personal oil burner and incense holder…. who needs to visit the day spa?!  Not to forget that balcony view and yes everyone has one.

I spent a lot of time on that balcony, a meditation escape, overlooking the tiered, luscious gardens and lake with the peace and energy of the flowing water, rippling on by. The birds endlessly chatting away about their days events …… and yes that is it. That is all I can hear… all day long. Well I could also hear the husband watching the in-house movies - but don’t worry there are 2 doors to sound him out from the balcony.

We started by the infinity pool, overlooking the Li River, waving effortlessly to the river cruisers whilst I quenched my thirst with a mojito and its twist of orange.  Unlike Shanghai at times - nothing is too hard here.

Unfortunately we didn't get to experience the blue jade river due to a large storm, however the Karst mountains didn't disappoint.

Unfortunately we didn't get to experience the blue jade river due to a large storm, however the Karst mountains didn't disappoint.

The night weaves slowly on (thank goodness for that pace) and we share dinner on the deck amongst the bamboo trees, the mood lighting and surrounding landscape of the Banyan Tree, experiences still unfolding.

We select the 2nd cheapest bottle of red (we were watching our budget) to be utmost surprised at the aroma of the fruit blend, a South African number. By no means was there a need to have selected the mid-range here, satisfaction was found. BLISS. 

As we wander back to the suite, we sight our first star. I have to put that down to being incredibly relaxed to be aware to notice such things, either that or the universe and the Banyan Tree staff were amping my experience.

And it still continues - breakfast; the best Bircher Muesli I have ever had — and I am an Australian. We do breakfast well. If there wasn’t such an extensive buffet with such a glorious, fresh spread, I would have gone for round two. Homemade with a hint of cinnamon and maple syrup and not to forget to mention the homemade granola on top.  Washed down with freshly squeezed and bottled juice. MOST MEMORABLE BREAKFAST EVER, and it was included in the stay.

Oh sweet suite x Remember good book.

Oh sweet suite x Remember good book.

When you visit such a resort a spa experience is generally just expected. If the power of a paid working woman was behind me, there was no doubt that I would have spent my late check out in the day spa (I will be back for it) ……. carefully inspired with asian healing therapies and the ever so caring staff who are lining up to make sure I am well rested. But with the in-house retreat that the ambience of my suite created, I spent most of the morning in the bath. The day spa would have just been more icing on top of the cake. 

And on a final note — they have a large gift store, where you can buy all the beauty and retreat products from your suite — just so you can create your own Banyan Retreat at home.  

Incense is my chosen pick me up, along with it’s ceramic cone holder — in no other scent than the signature of the Banyan Tree. I’m trying to savour the use of the cones — to linger longer in the experience. Not to worry, I am already on to the husband about visiting the one in Vietnam.

Don’t waste another moment - Yangshuo, the Banyan Tree. One life — no regrets (except for the day spa experience I didn’t treat myself too).

For the courtesy of all travellers: there are regular shuttles to and from the main street of Yangshuo, english speaking staff and recreational activities for kids of all ages and 2 restaurants on site. And if you are like me and had gone with a coffee headache for 2 days — don’t worry their plunger coffee was just fine.

www.banyantree.com - 26 destinations to be explored!