Oh my, where do i start?!
I’ve been staring at the screen for a half a day and i am still lost as to where i should start because there is just too much to pen down. The sheer number of wonderful friends i’ve made, the amount places we visited, the knowledge gained, the unique experiences, and of course there is climbing the highest mountain in England and Wales, Mount Snowdon…
I am going to pen a 3-part series for My DMT Study Tour (ST) Experience. Part 1 and 2 will be a journal like entry about the overall trip, experiences and places we visited. My final entry in this series aims to share all the entrepreneurial, leadership and life learnings we gained from travelling together. I hope that these 3 blog entries can provide you with enough information so that you too can plan your own self drive trip through England and Wales. I encourage everyone to go on a self drive tour, you get to see and experience so much more of the local culture as well as some interesting sights.
Here’s how it all began. I’ve been following Dato Michael Tio aka The DMT for awhile and sometime back in May 2016, i was invited to join my friend and his company on the DMT EXPERIENCE Tour. From there it led to The DMT’s invitation to join his 6th and last Study Tour, the #dmtst6 . Hundreds applied to join his tours and i am truly honoured to have received his personal invitation. What is The Dato Michael Tio Study Tour?
Well, the DMT Study Tours are made up of a group of entrepreneurs, hand picked by the DMT himself to go on an approx 10-day immersive learning experience. Entrepreneurs whom he believes can and are willing to make a difference in the world through building beautiful people centric organisations that place an emphasis on community enrichment. The final instalment the #dmtst6 is a self-drive tour led by Dato Michael himself that took participants from London to Manchester using the scenic routes through Black Mountain Pass and The Abergwesyn Pass. To foster camaraderie, throughout the trip participants have different room mates in every hotel and everyday people are rotated amongst the 4-MPV’s. This tour included a 3-day executive programme at The University Of Gloucestershire, and a hike up Mount Snowdon of course.
Here we go!
A send off cocktail hosted by Her Excellency the British Commissioner to Malaysia, Mrs Victoria Treadell, CMG, MVO. Where we met most of our other tour participants and previous tour members.
KLIA – Heathrow
Red eye flight. A small team of PKTians had already gathered at KLIA at 6.00pm to ensure everything was in order for our departure. Everyone gathered at Old Town White Coffee for our final fix of Malaysian food and packed the goodies into our customised National Geographic bags before heading to check-in. The group split into two and lounged at both the Plaza Premium Lounge and MAS Golden Lounge to get more aquatinted with each other. We then boarded our 13-hour flight to Heathrow.
I got a seat next to the charming Mr. Christopher Wong, Director of Operations for the Malaysian Book Of Records. Had a brief chat with him before we started watching movies and dozing off. Theoretically, my room mate for the first night…
Heathrow – Stonehenge – Bath
Touchdown Heathrow! Everyone cleared immigration and we headed over to the car park to collect our small fleet of 4 Mercedes Benz VITO MPVs. Keyed in the post code for our next destination and off we went towards Stonehenge! We had a quick pit stop midway at an R&R for a bite and coffee. Walkie-talkies in each car kept the convoy together.
Arrived at Stonehenge amidst England’s famous rain, but a short few minutes later and the skies opened up to reveal gorgeous blue skies and sunshine! Must have been Dato Tony Looi’s prayers! Snapped lots of pictures and we were on the road again making our way towards Bath. The 6 of us in Car 2 had some lovely conversations along the way, our topic of discussion was ‘starting from zero’. We each took turns to talk about ourselves from year zero both in personal and professional lives. Lovely way to get to know each other.
We arrived in Bath just in time to catch the Bath Farmer’s market, where we got some pizza and beers before heading to Hilton Bath City. Bath is a picturesque city and i will let the pictures do the talking. First night spent with my new buddies Mr.James Lai from PKT and a fitness junkie who deals in medical equipment Mr.Andy Yee. Have a feeling Andy didn’t get good sleep thanks to my snoring.
Bath – Bribury – Lacock Abbey – Malmesbury – Gloucestershire/Cheltenham
Up bright and early for breakfast and a quick dash to The Roman Baths to get tickets as we had tried to visit yesterday but the queue was too long. Lovely well preserved historic site with a (sacred?) hot spring feeding the bath. Its like Rome in England.
From Bath we keyed in new co-ordinates and headed to Lacock Abbey, Harry Potter fans rejoice as this is one of the key filming locations for the movie.(i watched Harry Potter again on the flight back to place all the scenes and locations!) From Lacock Abbey we moved on to Malmesbury for lunch, home of England’s oldest hotel – The Old Bell.
After lunch, we continue driving to Bribury Trout farm to feed some Trout (i chucked most of my fish feed onto other people’s heads) and then we finished the day of driving at Queens Hotel M Gallery by Sofitel, our home for the next 3 days. We had a quick run to town to pick up some hiking gear and got dressed for dinner. Dinner was at Brasserie Blanc with some Malaysian students from the University of Gloucestershire. Back at the hotel, some of us join Dato Michael Tio and Dato Tony Looi for a night cap. My room mate for the next two nights was class monitor Mr.Benson Wong. He was tasked with filtering and uploading the thousands of pictures we took, so most of his time in bed was spent on the phone.
University Of Gloucestershire (UOG)
Back to school! First day of our executive programme at the university and we had a host of interesting topics including one by Prof. Bob Ryan on “Good to Great”. His research was used by Malcolm Gladwell in his famous book ‘Tipping Point’.
Tonight, its Batik night at The Daffodil where we were joined by the management staff from UOG. The Daffodil is a restaurant housed in what used to be an art deco era theatre, according it a unique setting with the kitchen as a feature point. We celebrate Benson Wong’s birthday, drink lots of wine, fill our stomachs and head back to the hotel. We end the night with a sharing session where Dato Michael Tio, Dato Tony Looi and the author of G-String Management spoke about culture and core values. Participants also took turns to talk about their ideal workplace.
University Of Gloucestershire
Interesting lectures today. One which was really good to listen to was a case study discussion on TESCO by Dr.Gwyn Jones, faculty dean from the business school.
We had lunch in the cafeteria amongst the many UOG students, made me feel like i was back in the good old uni days. After lunch, we get transferred over to the Francis Close Hall Campus for a tour and certificate presentation by Mr.Richard, the deputy vice chancellor of UOG.
Last night we dined in an art deco era theatre, tonight we have dinner in an old church! Zizzi Italian served up some amazing pizzas!
Tonight, i can proudly say i have slept with DMT… nuff’ said.
Sudeley Castle – Snowshill – Broadway tower – chipping Camden – Bourton On The Water
Today we explore North Cotswolds for most of the day. We start by visiting Sudeley Castle, a magnificent place with beautiful sprawling gardens. Interestingly, while most of it is open to public (needs alot of money to keep it in shape), the owners Lady Ashcombe and her family still live on the grounds! Steeped in royal history, do google Sudeley Castle and have a read about the place. From Sudeley we drive to a quaint little town called Snowshill and on Broadway Tower in Worcestershire. Broadway Tower afforded us some beautiful views of The Cotswolds and with lovely weather a wonderful outdoor lunch. After lunch we head to Chipping Camden. Chipping Camden is a quiet town dotted with beautifully landscaped home gardens and unique home architecture. We stop off at Bourton-On-The-Water, a lovely town that runs on both sides of a shallow river before heading back to town. In the late afternoon we head to The Growth Hub of UOG for a cocktail session with Gloucestershire business community. Met some interesting local business owners. We depart at 6.00pm on a 1 and a half hour drive to Cardiff. Some even more interesting stories were shared in the car as Benson Wong was playing moderator cum driver trying to get everyone to talk about their love lives. Arrive in Cardiff and we head straight to JAMIE ITALIAN for dinner. We had the pleasure of Ms.Shin Ying, Miss Malaysia Tourism 2016 join us for dinner. Ms.Shin Ying happens to be furthering her studies at Cardiff University and is also a friend of Mr.Benson. We spend the night in Holiday Inn Express Cardiff, which is overlooking the Bute East Dock. My room mate for the night is the youngest tour participant, architect Mr.Jack. Hunger pangs struck some of us in the middle of the night and James manages to get the hotel staff to help order some indian curry takeaway! Oh the joy of rice, naan and curry…
Stay tuned for Day 7, 8, 9 and 10 and of course our adventures up Mount Snowdon in Part 2 of my DMT Study Tour Experience.
If you read mandarin:
#DMTST6 featured in SIN CHEW
In The Star:
#DMTST6 send off
For all the pictures of the trip:
#DMTST6 Facebook Page