Archive for the ‘china’ Tag

thePULL: Promotions Deals and Bonuses   Leave a comment

(Shuhe and the Lijiang Valley Plains, off a horse-beaten hiking trail)

Every week will be an update on the offers at Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa, and other deals around.

China Summer Promotion 2011

Book to stay until 14 August 2011 (few days left!)
Stay by August 31 2011 to have the offer.
10% off room rates.
Complimentary up to two breakfasts per bedroom
A|Club Advantage Plus member: additional 10% discount on room rate (19% off total)
Conditions: prepay 7 days before arrival, no refund, no modifications, no cancellations

30% off Room Rates

Book to stay until 18 August 2011 (few days left!)
Stay by September 04 2011 to have the offer.
30% off room rates.
A|Club Advantage Plus member: additional 10% discount on room rate (37% off total)
Conditions: prepay 14 days before arrival, no refund, no modifications, no cancellations

thePULL ‘Get Closer’ BONUS

1 / Book your stay.
2 / Subscribe to ‘thePULL’ on WordPress (on the left sidebar) or on Facebook. Stay up to date on some this destination’s adventures, events and possibilities!
3 / Email mentioning “thePULL” and receive a bonus RMB200 Mandara Spa spa treatment per person per stay (Treatments starting from RMB238). Other bonuses and updated promotions may be included in your stay!

Pullman, Sofitel and mGallery Official Brand Offers

Click here for Pullman Hotels
Click here for Sofitel Luxury Hotels
Click here for mGallery Hotels
Click here if interested in being a member of A|Club Advantage Plus


Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa

Success! – Yak Poutine!   Leave a comment

Success! I have done it. Yak Poutine.

With the first trial of the yak poutine, it was definitely something along the normal frites, gravy and cheesecurds of Montreal.

To introduce, la poutine originates in a small county town somewhere in Quebec Canada (specific location argued), and is a staple in many restaurants in eastern Canada.

The basic components of the poutine are french fries, cheese curds and a gravy or salty sauce. Available in many chains, the likes of KFC

and McDonald’s will never compare to St. Hubert’s or other small Quebec shops. It’s true that the platter is loaded with oils and fats, but if you have the right ingredients and the right chef, it’s an amazing mixture that ignores being scientific and enjoys the life of eating. I prefer my fries crunchy, not soft, with the cheese soft but supple, warm and aromatic, and the gravy spiced and salty and hot, not warm.  Some prefer an entire soft mass, like mashed potatoes with toppings. But that’s not poutine then.


Scroll to China.

It is by far a long stretch away to get anything remotely related to poutine, especially good cheese.

So I improvise.

In a quaint little hidden secret alley of  Lijiang is a grungy but homey Tibetan restaurant. I first came to have a great meal of Tibetan cuisine, and a large variety of dishes were all exceptional. I was served a dish with sweet, fried yak cheese, put some in my mouth and finished it, licking the plate clean and all.

A ‘Reminder Revelation’ occurs. Cravings, deep cravings for poutine emerge. Eyes open wide .O_O.  A soft, low, heavenly voice, whisper-to-the-ear chill came: …~ Poutine ~…  it chimed so sweet, tastebuds rejoicing in the memories of Montreal …~ Poutine ~
And I was determined to have some the next time I was here. I hope I am credited with bringing the style of poutine the mountain regions of China ..!

From the image at top, it was trial 1. Clearly something awkward and confusing to the chefs, waitresses and customers of the restaurant, but I persisted. A small crowd formed. I continued the request …

Details of the yak poutine:

1 / Fresh local potatoes sliced and deep-fried to a crisp, with a bit of chili for taste. No salt added.
Individual result: Absolutely amazing on it’s own, requiring no salt to taste. It had a natural potato aroma, sort of yam-like, and not the empty starch taste you get in your local fast food chain. Crunchy. The ‘nacho’ chips were one thing, but fries will be next.

2 / Fresh yak cheese fried cut to small chunks and sweetened.
Individual result: Again, another amazing thing to have. A light cheese aroma, a bit oily, but sweeten quite a bit. Great with bread, dry roast baba (a type of local cake), rice and crackers. Soft and delectable. Perhaps less sugar for the next platter. Great with the chips.

3 / The sauce. Made of a previous Tibetan beef stew and boiled with added corn starch to thicken.
Individual result: Was not warm enough, was watered-down (from the less content) and had too much starch. But individually, it had a slight hint of the stew and the peppers and light spices that made it a great stew. Again, the starch was a bit much, as it quickly cooled into a gelatin. Next time add more salts and chili powder, less starch, no added water.

Combination: High potential to be a great dish! A few modifications and it’ll be a huge culinary wave across China and the Himalayan countries! … at least with Canadians.

“Which restaurant is it? I want some!”  Said earlier, it’s a little hidden restaurant in Lijiang, off the main road of 七星街 (Literal translation: 7 Stars Road) and the following is their plaque… Care for a try? Drop me an email as you wish.

Zang Ba Bao Butter Tea Museum (Tibetan Restaurant) : 藏八宝酥油茶馆 (ZhanBaBaoSuYouChaGuan)


…~ Poutine ~
Darwin Ma
Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa team 

thePULL: Faerie Orchids of Yunnan   Leave a comment

It’s the cutest and most original flower I have ever seen …


After some brief arguments, they are  some wild orchids of Yunnan, but infinitely more beautiful and cuter than those found at your local grocer and flower shops!
Environment: Rocky, cliffside; dark dirt and moist environment. Seen July 2011 in Liming and Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Physiology: 1 stem. 1 leaf that lies at the base of the stem. Roots unknown distribution. Can spawn at least 13 flowers on the one stem. Highly Fragile. Scentless.

Please help to classify! If not, then might as well play some chinese style cards …

thePULL : Tiger Leaping Gorge and Skyvex   Leave a comment

[As a new highway is currently being constructed to make a more direct route from Lijiang to Zhongdian (Shangri-La), the classic routes to Tiger Leaping Gorge remains the same, at approximately 2 hours away from Lijiang.  The country is only as good as its infrastructure  (quote anonymous) … but I digress.]

Tiger Leaping Gorge   虎跳峡   (Lijiang, Yunnan  –  云南省,丽江区)

A beautiful gorge continually fed with the summer rush of the Jinsha River,  flowing through two high mountain ranges, that of Haba Snow Mountain at 5396m and 5596m of Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain, is a short trip away from Lijiang. Coveted by many travellers, backpackers and farmers, the Gorge is a beautiful escape foot of incredibly high cliffs.  TLG challenges to be the deepest valley and gorge in the world, depending on the definition used.

Look down!  at the boulders of where the tiger pounced across the river to get away from the hunter. You’re about 1800m above sea level.   Look up!  and its a difference of about 2800m of the nearest cliffs, with the mountains downstream of about 3600m! …  Summer’s rainy season brings reddish soil from the Tibetan plateau source, but by autumn the river flows a beautiful blue …

Some recent photos below (the others will be via Flickr) of the Gorge and ShiGu Town 石鼓镇, at the pinnacle of First Bend of the Yangtse …
What do you say : When will you come by?


my favourite picture of the trip ... a warp but the sky remains consistent. / Darwin Ma

The following is at ShiGuZhen (Old Stone Drum Town) at the pinnacle of The First Bend of the Yangtse River (you know, that river that extends all the way to Shanghai)

Skyvex : Our Concave World on the Convex Sky / Darwin Ma & Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa










thePULL: Torch Festival UPDATE   Leave a comment

Some updates on festivities:

The Torch Festival is coming up soon! See our earlier post here.
To Recap:
Sunday July 24th is the start of The Torch Festival in Ninglang 宁蒗, a little country village northeast of Lijiang, approximately 4 hours away and between Lugu Lake, where the Pumi Nationalities 普米族 celebrate earlier than the Naxi (see below). (Source: Pumi friend)

(Click for larger image)

While over in Lijiang, the Naxi people will be celebrating The Torch Festival 火把节 from July 25th to July 27th, in all the little towns, namely Dayan 大研古镇, Shuhe 束河古镇 and Baisha 白沙古镇 (though Baisha is not confirmed, it should be as it was an old capital of the Lijiang area).

The festival is largely for the Yi Minority, but that had carried over to other municipalities over history. The Yi minority are spread across northern Yunnan, but largely in southern Sichuan (the province northeast of Yunnan). Activities include bullfighting, pyroworks, nationality beauty contests, and other activities! The Yi people celebrate it on July 25th as well.

When the party is over, we’ll make sure to get some (hopefully!) nice photos to see what you may or not have missed!

Lucky you if you get to join us during this period!

PS Now I know it is not Lijiang, but Cirque du Soleil, Montreal-based, world-reknowned acrobatic cinematics for its creativity and charm, is visiting in select locations in China. Check them out (if you’re not in Lijiang)!


Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa

NOTES: July 25th 2011 Gregorian Calendar = 6th month, 24th day of the Lunar Calendar.

thePULL : TRAVEL Waiting for a Free-For-All Train   Leave a comment

The following chronicles one of the many events along the train from Dali to Lijiang Yunnan China, a time distance of approximately 100 minutes and a travel distance of 200 km, and an experience hopefully you get to avoid.

4:00 pm.  My palm to my chin and a blank stare out at the flashbomb shine by the sun, forehead sweat wiggles a maze through the dirt on my face down to the length of my fingers, like worker ants digging out their underground labyrinthine.

4:10 pm.  The train departs at 4:45, as the ticket says.  Without moving any muscles below my nose, I hear my extraocular muscles shift to the left, the stress of pupils adjusting from the near focus to the distant like sheets of sandpaper rubbing together when zooming in, and absorb the restlessness of the circle of humans already pressed against the entrance gate.  No line up, no order, no patience.  At least the entrance gate was a strong, thick layer of tempered glass – I believe it will withstand the zombies.

4:20 pm.  The crowd has tripled in size, taking up the amount of floor space as three 24-seater travel buses.  The train from Kunming toots its horn and settles in.  The humans become anxious. I squint my lips then blow, cooling my hands, then shaking the heat away.  Time to go.

4:25 pm.  Eyebrows drooped, upright stance – Like a pawn in a chess match awaiting its next move.  I get enveloped in the seemingly endless aggregation of humans – tall and lanky, short and feeble, tiny and silent.  I can feel the asphyxiation coming soon.  Pant.  Pant.  Pant.  I spin around and scout the crowd.  Everyone was staring at the door, the only door, to the entrance where the train attendants stand guard on the opposite side.

4:30 pm.  The door parts slightly.  The crowd shoves and waddles like hunger to the scent of pie towards another boundary.  A trick?  No, the disabled and handicapped are led through first.  One, two, perhaps three altogether, stepping up to the overpass before heading down to the platform.  The healthy onlookers look on, reasonably saying to themselves that this is fair and good, but I know they all have a slight envy that they get first dibs on the filthy but coveted seats on the train.  A slight breeze enters, and a hush of comforting sighs is met with some smiles.

4:44 pm.  We have not moved.  My knapsack creates the beautiful sweat stain road down my spine.  My hands are numb and engraved from holding a cotton bag full of gifts.  So thirsty from the salty and sour meals before.  So fatigued from the lack of sleep of the nigh before.  So painful are the knees and ankles from hiking and wondering around the uneven paths of Dali .   But the crowd is sophisticated today.  No one is yelling nor inquiring.  There is a common sense of understanding, the time will come when the time is ready.  It surprises me that a crowd in complete disarray except for gazing forward can have the silence and patience to wait for this one central barrier.

4:50 pm.  I imagine the next events would happen like a Mario Kart race, but with thousands of contestants.  Everyone is revving their engines, spitting tires, spinning out, giving that push for that extra boost of speed, as the light sounds: BEEEP-BEEEP-BEEEP-BOOP! (3-2-1-GO!)  The earthquake shudders the platform, the humans are released to the trains.  The front line, scatter and swarm the platform in a mess of a hurry, like a disturbed bee hive, running out into the sweet crispness of the air and down to the loading platforms.  We at the rear glance and laugh together to the crowd ahead, gather our things, and walk happily through to the trains.

4:55 pm.  Now, here was the second issue:  The train was overbooked.  Looking left, looking right, some like I had the same situation ‘无座’, meaning no seats or no seating reserved.  This is the tricky part and luck would have it, I managed to squeeze myself into a nice spot with some sleek and savvy negotiations.  For others, they would be stuck sitting along the walkways of the train for 100 minutes.  Now, that’s not too bad of a wait between Dali and Lijiang, but I have heard that this can happen on longer trips, 8 hours or perhaps more!

5:00 pm.  Sweet Departure.


LEFT: My trip back to Lijiang.
RIGHT: No designated seats 无座 From Guangzhou to Xi’an – that’s over 25 hours and 2030km!

This was one of the longest hours I’ve ever had, along with some job interviews, a resisting lavatory sit-down and sitting through a hot summer’s traffic jam.

TIPS: Get a sleeper cabin for overnight trips.  Buy your ticket early especially during peak seasons (Major holidays, Spring Festival/University breaks, Summer Holidays), and make sure to get seats.  If you get stuck with ‘无座’, then… well… get yourself as comfy as possible, away from the washrooms, and… good luck!

DISCLAIMER:  I am not trying to discourage taking the trains in China, or anywhere.  They are one of the best ways and cheapest ways to get around landscapes, especially China.
COMMENT: from Louisa, our friend Jan had a 54 hour train ride in Australia. Doubt it was as crowded but nonetheless given a 无座 free-for-all!

Riding high,
Darwin Ma
(This is a repost from my other blog; reposting here when relevant!)

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