Interview with Milton Goh by "Fly With Us Today" on his family vacation to Lijiang and Shangri-La in China!
Re-posted from Winnie Chong's Blog, "Fly With Us Today" -
"This week I managed to catch up with my friend, Milton over coffee, and I had a great time chatting with him on 2 trips he took last month. (Envy!)
I have been to Lijiang once and I miss this beautiful province! So I'm excited to hear his experience there!
1. You seemed to be very excited about your trip to Lijiang, China! What were you expecting to see?
Well, before the trip I never heard of Lijiang before! So what I did for trip preparation was to search for images of the place on Google. Turns out that there are many beautiful images available online! I was expecting to see beautiful scenery in ancient civilisation setting, and I saw exactly that in Lijiang.
2. Lijiang is known for their beautiful mountains and lakes. Did you experience a slice of their lifestyle living in the mountains?
Yes, their lifestyle is very agrarian. There are many farmers there. Other than that, many of them centre their work around the tourism industry, selling merchandise to tourists, and F&B business of course! One thing special about Lijiang is the air there is very fresh because there are no factories in Lijiang to pollute the environment. On top of that, it’s 3000-plus meters above sea level, so the air can be thinner than most tourists are usually comfortable with!
3. I saw your photo taken with the alpaca. There are so many cute cartoons about them and I always thought they look unreal! How are they like, and how is it like touching one?
The brown-coloured alpaca that I had the pleasure to take a photo with is extremely cute! It was smiling in the photo! Their wool is much thicker and feels softer than sheep’s wool – a more premium quality! It’s so fluffy!
4. This trip, you went to Shangri-La too. Was it a long journey from Lijiang?
It was a 3-hour drive from Lijiang. We hired a driver for our entire stay in Lijiang and Shangri-La so it was tough on him to drive for so long. On the way to Shangri-La, we stopped at “Tiger Leaping Gorge” to admire the natural scenery and majestic gorge.
5. How is Shangri-La different from Lijiang based on your experience?
Actually from what I experienced on this trip, Shangri-La’s natural scenery in Potatso National Park is much more beautiful than anything I saw in Lijiang. It reminded me of my dream retirement place: New Zealand! Shangri-La appears less developed than Lijiang. Lijiang has a shopping district that is pretty modern, and it’s pretty cool because it’s right next to the Lijiang Ancient Town which is a stark contrast to the modernity. That was pretty unique.
6. Who would miss out local cuisines in a China trip like this?! In my past trips I got so tired of eating restaurants arranged by tour groups. Not to mention that some meals were repetitive throughout the whole trip. Could you tell us about your food adventure during your trip?
Well, the food in Lijiang is pretty repetitive too, especially since we were there for 7 days... Generally they have a lot of eateries that serve Sichuan-style cuisine, which means lots of their dishes has dry chili added into them, and most eateries serve a nice type of mushroom called "song rong". In Shangri-La, there are hardly any cows, only yaks. So their commonly-served meat in eateries there is yak meat. It tastes like beef, but less-sweet, and it's surprisingly tender! I was totally missing my favourite foods in Singapore! My dad too, and it manifested as a dinner at one of the Hong Kong-style restaurants in the Lijiang shopping districts on 1 of the nights. Unfortunately, their HK dishes don't taste authentic, and it tastes slightly Sichuan-styled too - we just couldn't run away from the same taste! Haha...
7. How long was your trip, and was it too rushed to visit all the places?
We went from 18th August to 24th August. I would say that it didn’t feel rushed at all, since we went free and easy, we had plenty of time to stay longer at the destinations that we loved, and quickly leave if we did not really enjoy a particular tourist attraction. The pace of the trip was great, and it was definitely relaxing and a great recharge from daily life in Singapore.
8. Do you travel together with your family often? How have your travels changed since you started traveling with them?
We used to travel at least once a year, but after we moved houses, the frequency of our vacations lowered. I’m very thankful to my parents because it was my parents’ actions of bringing my brother and I along for vacations all around the world that developed my own love for travel, which led to my career as a full-time vacationer now! I’m truly blessed to have such great parents.
9. Would you visit China again, and where would be the next province you would want to visit?
Yes, definitely! I love the natural scenery in China, and I consider most sights to be uniquely found in China too. I would love to visit the Jiuzhaigou Valley in the north of Sichuan, China. I am awestruck by the scenery there that I see on Google Images, and can’t wait to experience it in person!
10. What are your top travel tips for someone who wants to explore China for the first time?
Firstly, be prepared for a culture shock, because people there are not as hygienic as people who grow up in first-world countries. Many of them spit on the roads and it can be quite shocking to people with a high standard of hygiene! Secondly, most of the people can’t speak English, and even if they do, it is extremely rare to find people who can speak it fluently. There might be a communication barrier if you can’t speak conversational Mandarin. Lastly, beware of swindlers, thieves and pickpockets! Always guard your belongings and never take for granted the safety of your possessions. Enjoy your trip to China in the future, and I hope that you’ll have an amazing time there!
Thanks Milton for sharing and I hope that we could visit China together in future!
Coming home now he is must be so exhausted from the vacation. So he needed a break, and he rested in Bali for 9 days!