How to dress when the temperature is soaring…!

Hi to all my paradises.com regulars and guests.

Planning your outfit every morning is hard enough on a normal day, however when the temperature is soaring and you are expecting to turn into a frizzed, bloated, sweaty mess in the midst of the day, the job becomes 100% harder.

The idea is to gain the maximum amount of “breeziness” in your outfit, starting with your shoes. Opt for a comfortable and chic open toed sandal but make sure they are broken-in and don’t pinch, blisters are not conducive to an effortless look.

The most important rule for that blistering heat and one that is often dismissed is, bigger is better. Try a loose kaftan or shirt as pictured (our Lisa Maree Symbol of Simplicity cotton Kaftan in black), this will allow the air to circulate, a tight crop or shorts tend to add to the sweat factor.

Sweat stains, the elephant in the room. Avoid sweat stains by wearing a mesh cotton or a style with low scoop arms, like our “Escape the Truth” crochet one piece swimsuit under a pair of pants or shorts. The knit won’t show any sweat and the open back will give you an overall coolness from the top down. Always opt for darker colours, to hide the shvitz!

Layering. It may seem like a winter option, however layering in summer is actually key. We’ve done so in the below image in all white using our ‘Escape the Truth’ crochet one piece. Layering allows movement, in summer your’ll find one piece will stick and tug and you’ll be constantly counter-tugging and adjusting your outfit. Layering allows movement and also the option of removing layers if need be.

Natural Fibres! Anything synthetic will start the sweat. Stick to cotton and natural fibres that are on the loose side to allow your body to breathe and add movement.

Swim tops are made to keep you cool! When the thermometer is rising use a swim top as a bustier or crop paired back with a high waist skirt or pants. It’s not work appropriate but on a casual date night or a weekend hang, this can be an incredibly smart option!

Lisa Maree
xxxx

CEO & Founder
LISA MAREE GROUP
escape

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BALI FOR FIRSTIME VISITORS

BALI FOR FIRSTIME VISITORS

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Gandi F

Five Attractions for Bali First-Timers

The myriad of tourist attractions in Bali can easily overwhelm first-time visitors. But, here are five things on the island that any newcomers shouldn’t miss Words:

Close up of a traditional Balinese God statue in Bali temple

Kecak dance

Kecak Dance is the most dramatic and unique Balinese dance, and a trip to Bali will be less than ideal without experiencing this grand and mystical performance first-hand. In a nutshell, Kecak Dance is typically performed by no less than 150 people. It is a combination of drama and dance, adopting the epic Ramayana. The dance is always performed just before sunset for a good reason—the ruby-red splendor of the setting sun to visually serenade the dance. And as the story unfolds, the lights from torches add magic to the chants and the delicate limbs of the dancers. Garuda Wisnu Kencana in South Kuta is one of the best places to enjoy Kecak dance. There are Aston Ungasan Hotel & Convention Center, The Beverly Hills Bali and Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran for some of the accommodations near the location.

See Also

What To Do & Where to Stay in Sanur, Bali

The Ultimate Splash
For a fun splash-filled day and adrenaline-pumping slides, you can do no wrong for opting for Waterbom Park. Located in Jalan Tuban in Kuta, Waterbom Bali offers nine extraordinary rides. They are truly challenging and are sure to be unforgettable. Waterbom Bali is home to Constrictor, the longest tube-shaped slide in the world. There are also extreme slides, like Boomerang and Climax. No wonder Waterbom Bali is dubbed The Best Waterpark in Asia. Garden Beach Resort and Adhi Jaya Hotel are two of the hotels located near the waterpark.

Asia Bali Indonesia Ubud elephantsafaripark 002

On the Back of a Gentle Giant

Soaking in the soothing greenery while sitting atop a friendly elephant should be in your agenda before and after frolicking at the beach. At Elephant
Safari Park in Ubud, managed Bali Adventure Parks, the smart and gentle elephants are unlike any other—they can even paint! The park also has lodges where you can crash in and be greeted by a giant funny face of an elephant appearing at your window in the morning.


Under the Sea Moment

Bali offers some of the best locations for snorkeling and diving, either for a family or for more experienced divers. Sanur Beach is one of the best places for snorkeling due to its gentle waves and clear water. It is an ideal starting point for going to Nusa Penida Island or Lembongan Island. You can easily find snorkeling instructors in Bali with varied rates. Sanur Beach Hotel is an affordable hotel to stay in, as well as Puri Sading and Puri Santrian. Another location to visit is Tulamben in the northeast of the island. The place is the best place for snorkeling in Bali with its black-sand seabed and hundreds of schools of beautiful fish, including lion fish, scorpion and blue-spotted stingray. Matahari Resort and Blue Hill Resort are some nearby accommodations.



Asia Indonesia Bali Uluwatu semarauluwatu 011

Surfs Up!

Bali and surfing are a match made in heaven. For first time visitors to the island, you can take on a surfing lesson at Balangan Wave Surf School in Uluwatu and revel in a captivating day riding the waves. You can spend the nights at either Balangan Paradise or Aman Gati Hotel during the holiday.
Alternatively, Dreamland Beach is a 100-meter stretch of white sandy beach leaning on a white stone cliff. You can take on a surfing lesson from Padang Padang Surf Camp, and stay at one of the many hotels in the area, like Rimba Jimbaran or Le Grande Bali.

 

HOW TO BOOK:

Bali – IndonesiaWhat To Do & Where to Stay in Sanur, Bali

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN UBUD, BALI

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN UBUD, BALI

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Ubud, the cultural sanctuary located surrounding heavenly temples and picturesque paddy fields, is where local and international artists called it home.

Tourists coming to Bali aregreeted with the island’s local charm and pampered with anendless variety of attractions –all guaranteed to make the most of your stay here on the Island of Gods, from beach strolling fun and great shopping bargain to cultural excitement. And Ubud is where you should visit to get the island’s spiritual vibe. Contrary to the always busy Kuta and Denpasar, it boasts unspoiled country side with the hoopla as created by the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love. Don’t miss cultural performances and attractions, usually held in beautiful temples, art centers and local theaters. Aside from the presence of art galleries, you will also find an interesting array of restaurants, bars and cafes and streets of shops selling goods from local artisans. All in all, Ubud is where it preserves local culture while opening its doors to foreign visitors.

Where is Ubud?
Ubud’s central location is quite convenient for tourists to go visit the mountainsand other places of interest on the island, such as beaches and shopping and entertainment centers. Dubbed the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud is home to local galleries, art museums and luxury accommodations.

How to get there?
Ubud is a 60-minutedrive from NgurahRai International Airport, located on the slopes of Bali’s central mountainous region.

What to find in Ubud?
Ubud is a highly recommended destination for art enthusiasts. Endless galleries are stretching from east to west, running from Peliatan cross roads all the way to Sayan. This is where you can expect to find unusual facades as well as Balinese fabrics, carvings, jewellery and paintings.

Art museums are also among most popular destinations here. Museum PuriLukisan, Antonio Blanco Museum, Neka Art Museum are just to name a few of art museums you can explore in Ubud – exhibiting rich varieties of artworks, from paintings to sculptures and other worth seeing masterpieces.
Saraswati temple is one must-visit site. This artistically magnificenttemple is dedicated to honor the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning, literature and art. Entering inside the temple, your eyes will be feasted on the beautiful water garden with lotus pond at the center.

Other tourist attractions are Monkey Forest Sanctuary and PuraDalemAgung(Great Temple of the Death). The former is the home to dozens of macaque monkeys. Some are mischievous, but they are actually funny and entertaining. Just explore the forest and befriend them. There are several sacred sites in the forest related to the Balinese Hindu belief. Pura Dalem Agung is one of them. Literally meaning Great Temple of the Death, the temple is dedicated to the goddess of death, Durga.

As Ubud is also known for its peaceful mood, therefore holiday in Bali should also include staying in one of the available luxury hotels which offer spa treatments and healthy retreats with stunning view. Indeed, Ubud is known for its plethora of spas offering varieties of modern and traditional spa treatments. Karma Spa, Lembah Spa, Reflexology Bali are some of the popular spa venues. Try any of the traditional treatments on the menu from any of these venues. They are really good and complement your holiday on the island.

Where to Stay?
Royal Pita Maha Hotel was built using the traditional Balinese design methods, meaning the resort is fully integrated to its surrounding. Overlooking the Ayung River, the accommodation was built and is managed by Ubud’s royal family. If art is the reason of you staying in Ubud, this hotel regularly invites local artists and dancers to perform on its open-air stage and at in-house art gallery. FuramaXclusive Villas and Spa Ubud is another nice alternative. A 30-minute-drive from Denpasar, FuramaXclusive Villas and Spa is located in BanjarBindu. This place is fit for those seeking to stay within the tranquil area, but requiring an instant access to the city.
But if you’re in the town for yoga, spa and romantic dining, you may want to consider Viceroy Bali.The place offers such facilities, and is also conveniently situated within minutes from the town center.

When to Visit?
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is one annual event held in Ubud, usually taking place in October. The event gathers writers around the world with such activities as book launches, cultural programs and others related to the festival. Ubud can be crowded when international festivals are held or during holiday seasons. Regardless of the month you visit, Ubud never lost touch with the spirit of a close and pleasant rural community. If you miss the beach, Nusa Dua or Sanur can be easily reached within an hour or so.

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Bali – Indonesia

SOMEWHERE IN SEMINYAK

SOMEWHERE IN SEMINYAK

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Seminyak is Bali’s most sophisticated playground where hip restaurants and clubs stay next door to fancy shopping boutiques and modern beach resorts.

Having lived in Bali for two years has given me a great opportunity to know and see the island through and through. Having lived in Seminyak, to be precise, for most of my time on the island has been remarkably enjoyable. For one, it’s presumably the island’s downtown, the place to see and be seen. And secondly, it remains right at the heart of everything—a beautiful beach for sunsets, fabulous retail counters, fine eateries, eclectic clubs and fantastic accommodations.

Where is Seminyak?
Seminyak is ten minutes away from Kuta, where the international Ngurah Rai airport is also located. It stretches along the Seminyak Beach, which actually remains part of the long strip of the west coast of Bali. Seminyak can also be a great spot for you to take a break before continuing your journey to Canggu or Ubud or even Menjangan at the west end of Bali.

How to get there?
Bali can be a little bit trying when it comes to transportation. From the airport, you can get a taxi to drive you there, although an island’s insider would advise you against getting on any taxis other than BlueBird taxis. The typical scene is that as you arrive at the airport, a pack of taxi drivers will approach and even come to the point of hustling you. Simply ignore them and walk straight through to the taxi stand. There’s a booth there showing the flat rates according to the destination you’re going. The BlueBird taxis I mentioned earlier may sometimes pass by the taxi stops, but if not, you can fetch one outside the airport, that is five to ten minutes walk. They all use taxi meters and normally the cost is comparably cheaper. Mind you, there are other taxies copying the BlueBird logo and color, though. So make sure you pick the right one. You can, otherwise, have the hotel’s driver pick you up at the airport. If you’re in for an adventure, go out to the motor parking area to find “ojek,” motor taxis, that will take you to Seminyak for a bargain.

Taxi ride from Bali airport to Seminyak is a short drive, the airport taxi fare is Rp60,000 or USD$6. If you don’t have a lot of luggage and you don’t mind trying to catch a blue bird taxi outside of the airport it will cost half price.

For more information, check out: Bali Airport Guide (Transportation)

What to find in Seminyak?
On Jalan Seminyak Raya, you’ll see a lot of clothing retails as well as inviting restaurants. A great pit stop would be the Bintang Supermarket, smack bang between Legian and Seminyak. Here you can either stock up on local Bintang beer or purchase exotic items the island has to offer—frangipani massage oil is a must-buy! From there, you can saunter at ease and head north to discover so much more.

The Bar Street :
At the crossroad of Jalan Camplung Tanduk (also known as Jalan Dhyana Pura), you’ll see Warung Ocha that’s usually packed with surfers and flip-flopped ladies sampling Balinese and international meals. Jalan Camplung Tanduk is infamously known by the islanders as the bar street, where round-the-clock diners and a bevy of bars crowd together on one long lane leading to a stunning beach. Before the coastline though, there is a string of four gay bars that will give French cabarets a run for their money with drag shows and sometimes a pole dance. Some nearby accommodations vary from reliable three-starred lodgings such as FaveHotel Seminyak, to upscale hotels like Courtyard Seminyak by Marriot Hotel, The Breezes Bali and Anantara Seminyak.

The Eat Street :
Further down north, you’ll hit an intersection where the Shampoo Lounge—a hair salon attached to a bar—resides on the right-hand side. Take the left road and you’re bound to meet another intersection where Will Meyrick’s super-delicious MamaSan Restaurant is snugly nestled on the right turn. But take the left turn instead and get ready for a culinary adventure through Jalan Laksmana or Oberoi (the frequent changes of the roads end up in road-name confusion). It’s not much of Balinese cuisine, but Italian, Greek and Japanese fares are running this traffic-laden lane. Strolling on your feet is much more advised, as there’s tons of awesome shopping outlets you don’t want to miss. By the way, the Eat Street is also packed with wonderful hotels: The Ize Hotel, U Pasha Hotel, The Legian, The Seminyak and The Sentosa Seminyak. All these are within walking distance from the must-visit Ku De Ta beach restaurant and bar.

The Petitenget Street :
It’s not Seminyak yet if you haven’t been on one of the island’s best kept secrets: The Petitenget Street. Literally meaning “Sacred Chest,” Petitenget is marked with a stunning, incredible landmark that is Petitenget Temple. It is glorious in stone carving and located a stone’s throw away from the beach. You can dine at Petitenget Bistro next it to while admiring the temple’s magnificent presence. But Petitenget’s claims to fame are these three must-visit venues: Hu’u Bar, Potato Head Beach Club and W Resort Bali-Seminyak. But as you trot along the winding road of Petitenget, you’ll discover many hole-in-the-wall eateries and boutique accommodations, such as Alila Seminyak, Hu’u Villas, The Samaya and The L Hotel.

Where to Eat?
Although Seminyak is practically restaurants galore, my three favorites would start with Revolver Coffeehouse that’s located hidden behind a fancy boutique called This Is A Love Song. Revolver is run by an Australian surfer girl who embodies a modern hippie lifestyle. She has a Melbourne-esque coffee recipe that definitely is at par, if not better, with that of Starbucks and the like. And, oh, the sandwiches are to die for; order Holster or Double Barrel that will make one breakfast to remember.

Mexican foods are not scarce in Petitenget. While you can find the uber-artistic Motel Mexicola on Jalan Kayu Jati—an architectural landmark on its own—my choice of Mexican eatery is Taco Casa, five minutes passing W Resort Bali-Seminyak to Canggu. It serves a spicy enchiladas and hefty tacos although it tends to get pretty busy in the evening. But for a South American-styled bar, go back to Jalan Laksmana and ask around for La Favela bar. It’s tucked away across the Coco Mart next to the Champagne Lounge, and it’s actually a spacious bar bedecked with creepy-and-quirky ornaments, drawing inspiration from Brazilian shantytowns. The place’s normally packed at midnight.

For a little bit of splurging, both W Resort Bali-Seminyak and Potato Head Beach Club have troves of culinary treasures to uncover. FIRE at W Resort Bali-Seminyak rolls out mouth-watering steaks and has wicked cocktails to sample—ask for the secret cocktail topped with cotton candy, which has won a number of bartending recognitions. Meanwhile, Tapping Shoes at the second floor of Potato Head Beach Club is totally unique. It brought in Osaka-born chef Take who presents a mind-blowing fusion of classic French and innovative Japanese culinary offerings. Slurp in some avant-garde foie gras while soaking up the breathtaking views of Petitenget Beach; life simply cannot get any better than this. Potato Head Beach Club will have a hotel on its own soon, called La Katamama.

Where to Stay?
Although Seminyak is never short of great accommodations, those who want to make the most of their first time visit to the island could perhaps use some of the recommended places here.

For starters, single or couple travelers who want to soak up the real vibe of Seminyak should definitely check out W Retreat Bali-Seminyak. The Spectacular Ocean-Facing Retreat rooms couldn’t get more spectacular. Perched on the top floor—in Bali, buildings may only be six floors high maximum—the rooms offer a sprawling view of the beach, which at night send gentle white noise to your sleep. The bathtub is even more spectacular with an optional “open” rooftop that looks at the beautiful Bali moon at night.

If you’re traveling with the family, The Legian is hard to beat. Not only was the hotel previously booked by international celebrities including Tyra Banks and British singer M.I.A., The Legian has rooms, suites, villas, gardens, swimming pools and, best of all, direct access to the beach. And for some unknown reason, I personally think that the sunset here is among the best out of the Seminyak stretch (you can walk down from here to Ku De Ta and complete the experience with a glass of cool mojito!). The neighboring resort, The Seminyak, is also recommended and comprises relatively similar facilities.

For a selfishly satisfying stay, hotels standing right on the Jalan Laksmana or Oberoi Road are excellent picks. The Ize and the U Pasha are surrounded by great restaurants and bars and shops. You can simply laze around for a few days, whiling the days with venturing into nice clothing boutiques, such as Somewhere, Uluwatu Lace, Bamboo Blonde and Body & Soul, and letting the nights go by peacefully as you down Bali’s signature Bintang Beer. You can alternatively walk through a small alley beside the Ultimo Restaurant and find beautiful Bali-styled villas. There’s B Villas, K Villas and the sophisticated I/II (called One Eleven).

When to Visit?
There’s no actual timing as when to visit Bali or Seminyak best, since it’s summer all year round there. But spending a year-end in Bali is simply unforgettable. You can catch a fantastic firework show at Potato Head Beach Club during the countdown to the New Year or enjoy a string of DJs pumping the W Retreat Bali-Seminyak’s floor. Seminyak also throws a great deal of parties during mid-year, such as Ku De Ta’s white party and Potato Head Beach Club’s summer party—where global entertainers including Ellie Goulding, Fat Boy Slim, Snoop Dog and more have performed here. However, like most beautiful places in the world, the sooner to visit is always the better.

HOW TO BOOK:

Bali – Indonesia

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN SANUR, BALI

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN SANUR, BALI

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Sanur is a quaint and serene retreat that gives off a neighborhood feel to a family holiday or an intimate honeymoon.

Long before Kuta’s rise to fame back in the 1970s, it was Sanur that first drew the attention of foreign visitors. The long stretch of Sanur beach with relatively low swells was enlivened with the humble locals selling traditional culinary along the coastline. That has much changed in terms of physicality now that expansive hotels are staking their claim along the coast, but Sanur has unpredictably managed to retain that je-ne-sais-quoi, sort of a genuine neighborhood feel, which is honestly charming and is what all other islands around the world try to replicate.

Where is Sanur and how to get there?
Sanur is not far from the airport, relatively 15 minutes by car. It is located in the north of Kuta and, thanks to the new shortcut road, Sanur is accessible through Jimbaran and Nusa Dua. While travelers on a shoestring budget can save much money by taking a Transarbagita shuttle bus from Kuta—where the airport is—to Sanur, a taxi ride could really save much time and the hassle of you carrying the luggage on your own. If you intend to go to Ubud, Sanur can also be a convenient pit stop for dining or shopping.

What to find in Sanur?
From restaurants to spas to retail centers, everything is at your fingertips in Sanur. The most famous Danau Tamblingan Street is packed with all those options, each place adorned in beautiful hues and quirky exteriors. A ten-minute walk from that street is Sanur Beach, which is relatively safe for children, although there are fishermen on certain sites casting their nets and simply making their daily grind. There’s an inspiring yoga hut at the back of Mercure Resort Sanur at Mertasari Street right before the beach that is run by an Australian retiree. Stretching your muscles and limbs while enjoying tropical ocean breezes, what could simply beat that?

Sanur Beach is also slightly different from Kuta and Seminyak Beach, in which Sanur Beach has a nice pathway along the coast. It’s not rare to see tourists ride their bikes and just follow wherever the path goes. This actually allows you to explore the unexplored gems, such as discovering some local foods that are not sold in restaurants or finding some breathtaking spots for sunset viewing. You can rent and ride a bike from Sindhu Beach at the northern part of Sanur to the Mercure Resort Sanur.

Sanur is also great if you’re on the lookout for Balinese paintings or interiors. There’s a high-end Italian interior store called Carlo close to Mercure Resort Sanur along with other affordable furniture pieces sold in the area. Meanwhile, Sudamala Suites & Spa located at Sudamala Street has a nice gallery displaying the works of artists from and outside Bali. The hotel is also beautiful in architecture, with a modern interpretation of Balinese homes.

Sanur is not far from Ubud, one of the most famous destinations mentioned in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” and Gianyar, where Bali Safari & Marine Park is. You can ride a taxi from Sanur to those two destinations at any time, since taxi in Bali is available round-the-clock and with no surcharge for different hours of the day.

Where to eat in Sanur?
There’s a few Balinese restaurants in Sanur that offer unique local tastes. But two of the most sought-after by the locals are Warung Mak Beng at Ngurah Rai Bypass Road and Warung Nasi Ayam Bu Weti at Segara Ayu Street. The first sells spicy seafood soups that give Thai cuisine a run for their money. The latter is a pretty spectacular food stall by the beach, actually. It’s open around 6AM and sells only spicy Balinese chicken rice, but often the queue is so long that the chicken rice is already sold out by 9AM.

For non-spicy options, Italian restaurant Massimo at Danau Tamblingan Road is a great value for money and taste. Booking is requisite here, as you might have to wait for half an hour when showing up unplanned. It’s got nice spaghettis, clams and even a decent selection of Indonesian meals. Don’t miss out on the Italian gelato as well.

Where to stay in Sanur?
Sanur has many of “institution” resorts. Bali Hyatt has been an institution for around three decades and has undergone a complete interior overhaul. The new Fairmont Bali is expansive and rather traditional in the interiors. For the tallest hotel in the area, there is Sanur Beach Hotel, elegantly located close to a golf course. The Santrian hotel chain, including Puri Santrian and Griya Santrian, is owned by the members of Sanur’s royal family. This ensures that you get the best of the real Sanur hospitality. There’s also Keora Suites and Prama Sanur Beach worth mentioning as some strategically located hotels in the area.

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Bali – Indonesia

bali beach resort

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN JIMBARAN AND ULUWATU, BALI

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN JIMBARAN AND ULUWATU, BALI

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Jimbaran and Uluwatu are the quiet yet entrancing southwest districts of Bali, popular with honeymooners and discerning travelers looking for exclusive hideaways.

For years and years, Jimbaran has long been known for the seafood barbecue by the beach. The fresh offerings from the ocean draw in both domestic and foreign tourists who want to end the night on a high note. Not far from Jimbaran is Uluwatu, a rather barren hill that has evolved into a splendid getaway location suitable for a peaceful holiday on the island. While to some these destinations play a second fiddle to Kuta and Seminyak, those who have basked in the serenity of the breathtaking natural landscape and pristine beaches there know how spellbinding Jimbaran and Uluwatu can be.

Where are and how to get to Jimbaran and Uluwatu?
Jimbaran is 15 minutes away from the airport. It’s on the southern part of the island, and you can go there by taxi or “ojek” (motor taxi) or the shuttle bus transarbagita. Walking is another option, although there is not a really convenient sidewalk from the airport to the Jimbaran area. Meanwhile, if you go further southwest from Jimbaran, you will climb uphill to Uluwatu Hill.

What to find in Jimbaran?
Jimbaran is a must-visit for seafood lovers. A lot of top-class chefs residing on the island would recommend you to go to the Kedonganan fish market—next to Jimbaran—to get the best catch of the day. The same market usually provides plenty of fine hotels in Bali with the freshest catch of the day. Take Koh at InterContinental Bali Resort, for instance. Being arguably the finest Japanese restaurant in Bali, Koh offers beautiful seafood dishes that some are also coming from the Jimbaran area and vicinity. For candlelight dinners by the beach, next to Le Meridien Jimbaran is an extended strip of beachside seafood restaurants worth visiting.

But if you want a five-star quality table that summons world-class chefs, fret not; Jimbaran has Sundara by Four Season Resort Jimbaran. This luxe culinary destination boasts a gorgeous beachfront setting and a plethora of mouth-watering meals and knock-out cocktails. Alternatively, Karma Jimbaran has a rather intimate pool-side dining venue with an acoustic singing performance every week. Or else, head down to boutique restaurant Balique that sits across the InterContinental Bali Resort. Owned and styled by international interior designer Zohra Boukhari, Balique is an oasis of artistic interior design as well as a great place for honeymooners to dine off their hotels.

Art is another factor that makes Jimbaran unforgettable. Jenggala Ceramics at Jalan Uluwatu II (still at the foothill of Uluwatu) is simply one of a kind. It creates phenomenal ceramics, which are at par with renowned designs in Europe. The handbag-shaped tea pot is so unique, and the leaf-fold-patterned plates are inspired by the local culture. It is five minutes away from Kupu-Kupu Jimbaran Resort & Spa—which has a must-visit spa run by French beauty brand L’Occitane (try the bamboo massage here!).

What to find in Uluwatu?
A must-do for every newcomer to Bali is to watch Kecak Dance (aka Fire Dance) at Uluwatu Temple. Located at the south-end of the island, the temple offers a stunning cliff-top view. The Kecak Dance is typically performed when the sunset is high. You can stay at the nearby Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa and enjoy more than just an amazing sunset but also sunrises. Another spot famed for the sky and ocean view is Bulgari Resort Bali—the only resort by Bulgari in the world at the moment.
Some distance away from that temple lies the Blue Point Beach, which is basically a cliff edge that’s carved into a surfing village. It’s got the well-known Blue Fin surf’s bar and there’s more than a bunch of surfing equipment shops and massage counters along the descending path from the cliff top to the beach below.
Another equally mesmerizing cliff top is the Karma Kandara cliff. Marked by the Karma Kandara Resort, the cliff here also features another topflight accommodation called Semara Luxury Villas Uluwatu. Both places have a gondola that will take visitors to Nammos beach—inspired after a beach in Greece. On some occasions, Karma Kandara throws a beach party that lasts until dawn, despite the cool sea breeze.

One more hideaway to reveal in Uluwatu is El Kabron, a cliff top restaurant tucked in the off-the-beaten path. The combination of Mexican cuisine and modern hippie lifestyle seems to be the right recipe that lures surfers from different parts of the world to gather, kick back, and relax. For most, learning to be idle for a day is one of the best things they could ever get from a trip to Uluwatu. And this is what makes Uluwatu Uluwatu—a peaceful hill at the south of Bali.

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Bali – Indonesia

ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE

ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE

Written by Chris Andre

What to Do and Where to Stay in Orchard Road, Singapore
Orchard Road is a shopper’s haven in Singapore with countless retail counters touting the latest bags, shoes, watches and more than you can ever think of Sovereign city-state Singapore is a nation with many titles. It is recognized as one of four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan; all of which boast exponential economic growths annually. Singapore is also recorded as the most “liveable” city in Southeast Asia. And if you want to see the tip of the iceberg of that, nowhere else is any better than the Orchard Road.

Where is Orchard Road and how to get there?
Orchard Road is right at the heart of the city and is actually a long thoroughfare lined with high-rise buildings and shopping malls. From the airport, you can go straight to Orchard Road using the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit system or subway) that would cost you for about S$2. Taxis are aplenty in Singapore but not so nice sometimes, partially due to the “Singlish” (Singapore English) dialect of most drivers. A taxi ride, though, could cost you way much more expensive, but no need to walk to your specific destination. The taxis in Singapore are not allowed to pull over randomly to pick up passengers; each road has a designated area for the taxis to stop and the passengers to queue to get into the taxies. Public buses in Singapore are amazing, thanks to the very detailed routes, which actually cover all areas of the city. However, they are often jam-packed with passengers during rush hours. By the way, renting a car is mind-bogglingly expensive in Singapore—which is also one of the most expensive cities to own a vehicle in the world.

What to find in Orchard Road?
Orchard Road is known for three things: shopping, shopping, shopping. It’s worth repeating since you can literally shop the whole day and would not have covered even half of the retail centers on that road alone. At one corner is ION Orchard, a sleek commercial center carrying high-end brands and fine-dining restaurants, sitting opposite to Lucky Plaza and Wheelock Place. All these big shopping malls are wonderfully connected through a maze of tunnels that are safe and clean—unlike the tunnels you’d find in some European capitals.

Another thing most people do when going down to Orchard Road is a hospital visit. There is Mount Elizabeth Hospital that’s usually where Indonesians, Singaporeans and Malaysians go to when consulting on internal-organ problems. Gleneagles clinics and hospital are spread throughout the Orchard Road and vicinity, and they handle health problems related to eyes, dentals, etc. Mind you, these hospitals and clinics in Singapore are not cheap, and they are often busy with incoming patients from Singapore and beyond.

Last but not least is good food. Almost 70 percent of Singapore’s population is Chinese, and good food is therefore always a relevant topic to talk about whenever, wherever. On top of the ION Orchard is Australian celebrity chef Luka Mangan’s Salt Grill, a wonderful fine-dining restaurant that offers succulent steaks and beefy meals. For premium high teas, the first and the second floors of the ION Orchard have the TWG cafes—a fine tea brand from Singapore that now has excellent cafes selling heavy and light meals. For something lighter but of premium qualities, you can enjoy nibbles of French macaron Ladurée or Chicago Garrett Popcorn in The Nge Ann City, just next door to the ION Orchard.

The Orchard Road is also not short of cheap Chinese eateries and street foods. The Lucky Plaza is one great option to discover old Chinese favorites, especially Singaporean delicacies including Nasi Hainam (Rice with Chicken Soup). But for kebab lovers, don’t miss a kebab stall in front of the Nge Ann City that is open in the evenings. The long queue is worth it!

Where to stay in Orchard Road?
Orchard Road is flocked with both opulent and budget hotels. On the top tier of hotels, both Four Seasons Singapore and Grand Hyatt Singapore (at Scotts Road) are not just exquisite hotels to stay in, but they also have a beautiful shopping arcade/mall on their own. If you love high-end brands such as Balmain and Comme des Garҫons, the one at the Four Seasons should not be missed. St. Regis Singapore is within walking distance from Orchard Road and has great Sunday brunches. Yet, since Singapore is a city that’s wonderfully connected, there would be no problem should you decide to stay a little bit far from the Orchard Road such as in the iconic Marina Bay Sands or even at the hotels in the Resorts World Sentosa. Or else, there’s a lot of apartments for rent or budget hotels along the Orchard Road.

HOW TO BOOK:

Singapore

KUTA, BALI

KUTA, BALI

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Known as surfers’ paradise, Kuta has now evolved into a one-stop destination for tourists of any age, day and night.

Kuta rose to fame back in the early 1970s when foreign surfers first crowded the site and lived their happy-go-lucky hippie lifestyle there. It didn’t take long, for about two decades, that hospitality giants took notice of this sliver of paradise and turned it into a must-visit destination. Today, Kuta is still constantly changing and remains charming in its own modern way with burgeoning entertainment centers that are set to please your holidays 24/7. It’s got arts and culture, beach and shopping malls, and more enchanting elements than you could ask for.

Where is Kuta – Bali ?
The best thing about Kuta is location. It’s where the international Ngurah Rai airport is. If you look at the map of Bali, it’s slightly north from the long bridge connecting the southern part of the island—Nusa Dua, Uluwatu and Tanjung Benoa—and the northern part of Bali—Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud and others.

How to get there?
From the airport, you can walk 15 minutes to reach Jalan Kartika Plaza, where a long strip of hotels barricading your view from Kuta Beach—Santika Premiere Hotel, Whiz Hotel Kuta and, the biggest of all, Discovery Kartika Plaza Bali (it’s one of the first hotels there, hence the eponymous street name). You can stay in any of these hotels to soak in Kuta’s true beachside life. If you’re not in the mood for strolling under the hot tropical sun after a long flight, go straight to the taxi booth that displays a flat rate for a taxi ride on the island—ignore taxi drivers touting their ride at the arrival hall. Single travelers who plan to stick to the wise adage “when in Rome, do what the Romans do” should try “ojek,” or motor taxis, instead. These ojek drivers normally group outside the motor parking area. Haggle the price first and enjoy an exhilarating ride just like what the locals do.

What to find in Kuta?
First and foremost, Kuta Beach is quite a long stretch—arguably way longer than Bondi Beach in Sydney. If you’re new to surfing, you got to try surfing at Kuta Beach at least once—it’s like eating pasta in Italy. The waves are relatively medium to small, and the locals are well known for their hospitality. Kuta also boasts great sunrises and sunsets. Wake up early at 6am and saunter along the beach and meet with Balinese women who sell local foods, normally Nasi Jinggo—steamed rice with a variety of veggies and chickens—for less than a dollar. Some others might offer you their services like massage or hair-braiding, all of which can be bargained to get the best price and are definitely must-do for first timers to Bali.

For a more modern facet of Kuta, there’s Beachwalk Shopping Mall. It’s a three-storied commercial center that is open from 10am to late at night—the shops are open to 10pm. Here you can find trendy clothing stores, air-conditioned bars and restaurants, and even cinema. Beachwalk is also connected to four-starred Sheraton Kuta Bali that has Feast, a fantastic beach-facing restaurant.

For teens and young adults, Kuta has the infamous Poppies Lanes and Legian, two not-so-glamorous sites that might fare well for a rite of passage. There you can find cheap foods and lodgings, and a lot of cheaper artworks. While Poppies Lanes are advisably better to discover with caution, there are places worth mentioning that would introduce one to a different culture of Bali. A place such as Twice Bar, a tattoo parlor on the first floor and a diner on the second, seems like a hybrid between “Miami Ink” and Bali’s own rockabilly, and it is owned by Superman Is Dead, Bali’s most successful rock band that does overseas gigs regularly. One tip: Poppies Lanes are known to be a seedy area that sells “magic mushrooms” and some other tricks you can imagine; better have someone watch your back while perusing the dark, narrow lanes.

Legian, on the other hand, is bustling with bars and clubs. Each watering hole has a certain theme that makes bar-hopping so much fun, provided you’re not against ear-deafening music. The five-storied SkyGarden is a must-visit party destination (again, with caution) and the Paddy’s Club usually rises to the occasion as an after-party spot or as a buzzing foam party house, which gets busy around midnight till the wee hours in the morning. It’s not rare that during those hours that traffic congestions occur on the long, one-way Legian Road. And don’t be surprised to see drunken tourists hobbling on the sidewalk. There’s no particular law forbidding drinking outside, hence a lot of tourists downing Bali’s bintang beer everywhere. If you’re in Bali for the nightlife and parties, you can stay at The 101 Legian, Love Hotel by FashionTV, Akmani and plenty more. But Legian also surprisingly has a few of tranquil hideaways, such as Villa de Daun with its award-winning DaLa Spa.

Where to Eat?
Being one of the early tourist destinations in Bali, Kuta’s culinary offerings are probably the most varied of all. Those seeking five-star pleasures should stick to the Kuta Beach strip where four-starred and high-end hotels such as Hard Rock Kuta, Mercure Kuta, The Stones by Marriott and Pullman Kuta Bali have internationally renowned chefs in their culinary arsenal. However, the real treat of Kuta is certainly the local delicacies.

Those who have seasoned palates to herbs and spices should check out the establishments surrounding the white Arjuna Statue landmark right outside the airport. There is Ayam Khas Gilimanuk (literally meaning Chicken a la Gilimanuk) that will put jalapeno chilies’ heat to shame. There’s also Bebek Tepi Sawah (Duck by the Rice Field), which fried ducks will contend with French duck confits. The spicy condiment called sambal matah is a must-try. It’s basically chopped shallots with chilies, so fragrant and a little burning on the palate. Indeed, there’s more on the list as you pass through Jalan Blambangan that’s chock-a-block with tempting yet cheap eateries.

Some of the most famous Balinese delicacies are suckling pig (there’s a street food stall on the intersection of Jalan Raya Kuta, right opposite the big Kuta temple. It opens around 6pm till 2am), sate babi or pork satay (the famed street food stall selling this is situated on a park on the side of Jalan Patih Jelantik), and lawar or steamed rice with mixed veggies and pork and a splash of fresh pig’s blood (it’s delicious, actually, but mental preparation is necessary).

Honeymooners might enjoy a decadent stay at The Stones by Marriot that is full of surprises: think of sunsets at the pool serenaded by a saxophonist and enlivened with a pyrotechnic show. Santika Premiere Hotel at Jalan Kartika Plaza is traditional yet homey with expansive manicured gardens and great open space for sunset viewing.

Sociable young adults could definitely stay at The 101 Legian that occasionally hosts boisterous pool parties on the rooftop. For budget-conscious traveling friends, the FaveHotel and Best Western chains are worth checking out. Their hotels are mostly situated nearby the must-see island attractions and landmarks.

What about transportations and safety?
Once you arrive at Kuta, the number of motorbikes blazing on the road might take you by surprise. You can as well rent a bike to help you travel fast from one place to another. Otherwise, “ojek” or motor taxis in Bali might come in handy. Should you feel like escaping from Kuta and wondering about Nusa Dua or Sanur, Bali has Transarbagita shuttle busses that cost only a fraction. It’s air-conditioned and safe, although the stops are limited to several locations only. Taxis are aplenty though, but not all would use a fee meter and might charge more than what’s already been agreed on—a good piece of advice is to go with BlueBird taxis.

Kuta is generally safe. Yet like other tourist destinations in the world, there are scams and pickpockets. Most importantly, be very prudent when picking a money changer. Go to a proper establishment that has a proper office and security guards. A lot of street-side money changers scam tourists and can steal up to $20 to $50 per person. For nightlife exploration, wherever you’re bar-hopping, always mind where you put your wallet. Drinking is fun, but getting drunk can cost you more than just a hangover. Nightclubs usually have pickpockets eyeing on drunken preys. Also mind what you’re drinking. If it doesn’t look like drinkable, it might not be. Bintang beer may not be great, but it’s what everybody’s drinking, hence safe option. Last but not least, be very careful when crossing the roads. Motorcyclists in Bali aren’t afraid to zoom fast on a busy road, and they are unlikely putting pedestrians first.

When to visit?
Kuta’s traffic during Idul Fitri or Moslem’s public holiday in July or August (changing every year) is horrible. This is due to domestic tourists visiting the island on their own cars. Year-ends might probably be the same, unfortunately. Due to the close proximity of the island to Java Island, there is a strong current during early months, especially January and February, that will carry trash and rubbish from Java to Bali. That said, the beach wouldn’t be as nice to visit as in other months.

For a very unique cultural experience, stay in Kuta before and during Nyepi Day. The Nyepi Day is the island’s public holiday that is customarily celebrated with general silence and prayers at home with no lights visible to the public. Even the airport is closed for a day during the Nyepi Day. It normally falls at the end of March. What’s not to be missed is that the evening before the Nyepi Day holds an Ogoh-Ogoh parade—giant, monster-themed papier-mâché constructions paraded around the island. It’s both fascinating and eerie, and the parade serves as a perfect opportunity to practice your night photography as the parade begins after sunset till 10pm. The following day is the completely silent Nyepi Day, which will be a great day to do some self-introspection, be quiet, and immerse in the peacefulness, since going outside of the house or hotel on that day is also forbidden. In the end, the contrast of Kuta before and during the Nyepi Day will afford you a greater understanding as how this Hindu island can be exotic and multicultural at once. Every visit to Kuta is, thus, special and one of a kind.

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Bali – Indonesia

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN CANGGU, BALI

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN CANGGU, BALI

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Canggu is surfers’ haven that resembles Kuta 30 years past when the land was still green and small establishments founded by expats reserved their individual charms.

For globe-trotters, Bali is amazing not only because it’s got amazing beaches and beautiful people. It is the local culture that makes it unique and inimitable anywhere else in the world. While Kuta and Seminyak used to be very much exotic and traditional in cultural nuances, Canggu now is probably one that is close to getting washed away by modernization. But at the time being, Canggu has become the epitome of harmonious merge between Balinese and western culture. It’s quietly charming and idyllically inviting—not rare for visiting tourists thinking of moving here.

Where is Canggu?
Canggu is quite a large area in the north of Seminyak. It stretches from Berawa Beach to Batu Bolong Beach and Echo Beach. It’s generally comprised of local houses and villas and a number of small-scaled establishments. Canggu also lies in the middle of the route to Tanah Lot from Kerobokan.

How to get there?
Canggu is accessible from Seminyak, Kerobokan and Denpasar. You can stroll along the Seminyak Beach and end up at Berawa Beach. Taxi is also an option to go to Canggu, although the narrow lanes and bad rush-hour traffic might allow “ojek,” or motor taxis, to scuttle through the jam much faster.

What to find in Canggu?
Canggu is great for those who like to enjoy a real island life. The three beaches covered in Canggu, each offers a different scene and feel.

  • Berawa Beach :
    Situated along the meandering road passing the Batu Belig Road where Naughty Nuri’s Seminyak is, Berawa Beach is not exactly a beautiful beach. The area, though, is so quaint, with Jalan Pantai Berawa dotted with hole-in-the-wall eateries. Those who love cakes and cookies should pay Butter a visit. This tiny pastry shop sells home-made cakes and provides free biscuits for visitors’ pets. In the motorbike parking area, there’s a tiny note that reads: “For every stolen bike, a fairy dies.” If you’re hankering for Vietnamese pho, Vietopia hardly disappoints. Also worth visiting is Canggu Plaza that rounds up a number of great cafes and restaurants. It’s within walking distance to Canggu Club, an amazing clubhouse with expats as the members mostly. Better yet, stay at Desa Seni here, a health-conscious accommodation that can arrange a few days of “detox” holiday.
  • Batu Bolong Beach :
    Locals believe that Canggu is such a spiritual location. This is due to the presence of the Batu Bolong Temple in the area. Going to Batu Bolong Beach is a visual reminder of what Kuta looked like 30 years ago. You’ll see cows grazing and stray dogs everywhere, but then you’ll arrive at the beach and see the locals gathering around meatball and pork satay hawkers. There’s the Old Man’s bar and restaurant by the beach—great for cool beer and laze around during sunsets—and the majestic Tugu Hotel, a notable landmark in the area. This Tugu Hotel displays numerous historical antiques that even contain portraits of past Balinese kings.
  • Echo Beach :
    At the entrance of Echo Beach is the Deux Ex Machina garage-slash-restaurant-slash-gallery. It’s a must-visit where you can see up close and personal the hybrid between Bali and Australia in motor modification, surfing, fashion and more. Every Sunday, the Echo Beach—which is 10 minutes walk from Batu Bolong Beach—hosts seafood barbecue by the beach that’s certainly not to be missed. Here you’ll find a chain of restaurants grilling the freshest catch of the day and a few retail outlets selling Havaianas sandals and bikinis and surfboards. Surprisingly, the seafood barbecue is held right next to the Batu Bolong Temple and close to the spectacular Sea Sentosa residential and rental apartments. Visitors to the Batu Bolong Temple must wear a sarong and appropriate clothing.

Where to Stay?
For sure, Tugu Hotel is one truly exotic accommodation that smart visitors shouldn’t miss out in Canggu. It’s got history, traditional architecture and an unbeatable location. If you intend to make Canggu a respite before heading straight to Tanah Lot, then Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali is where you want to spend for the night. It boasts not only a beach view but also a gorgeous view of the Tanah Lot. Plataran Hotel is also nice although slightly far from the beach. Alternatively, Canggu offers a lot of villas with varying facilities and prices.

When to Visit?
Every year, Canggu routinely holds surfing contests that will bring in top surfers from around the world. During these contests, Canggu will be slightly more packed but completely exciting to visit. Think of delicious grilled prawns while watching pro-surfers gliding through giant waves from afar. On a separate note, Canggu might serve as a sweet escape from the overcrowded Kuta and Seminyak during holiday seasons. It’s only 20 to 30 minutes by car from Kuta, anyway.

HOW TO BOOK:

Bali – Indonesia

10 BEST ATTRACTIONS IN SEMINYAK

10 BEST ATTRACTIONS IN SEMINYAK

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Ollie Sungkar

Surrounded by upscale beachfront hotels and resorts, Seminyak is a world of its own with a fun array of hangouts, delicious range of culinary options, as well as amazing art galleries and world-class shopping venues. Let’s quickly glance through the following places that can make the most of your stay in Seminyak.

  • Seminyak Beach
    An ideal venue for surfing, Seminyak Beach is the picture-perfect oceanfront featuring gorgeous sunsets. Stroll along the side streets and you’ll find rows of nice boutiques and dining venues. At night, popular gigs enliven scene at entertainment spots there.
  • Petitenget Temple
    Jl. Petitenget
    Known as “Pura Petitenget” by locals, this centuries old temple is one of the very few cultural sites in Seminyak. The temple’s red bricks and sandstones somehow give a feeling of antique. Going upstairs is the courtyard housing shrines and small pavilions draped in typical Balinese chequered cloths.
  • Potato Head Beach Club
    Jl. Petitenget, T:+62 361 4737979, www.ptthead.com
    It’s a very popular spot for a laidback fun by the pool, so you’d better come early to secure a cabana. After enjoying the sunset with cocktails and nibbles, you should head for a dinner at one of the three restaurants; Potato Head Bistro, Lilin (serving Asian style of tapas) and Tapping Shoes (French fare).
  • Ku De Ta
    Jl. Kayu Aya No. 9, T: +62 361 736969, www.kudeta.net
    It’s a great place to have a sip of your cocktail while watching the sunset. Displaying the local charm, this beachfront bar and resto serves palatable dishes, for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and a tempting list of cocktails and mocktails.
  • Biasa ArtSpace
    Jl. Raya Seminyak 34, T: +62 361 847 5766, www.biasagroup.com/art
    This art gallery is the home of artworks from Indonesian famous contemporary artists. Among the works exhibited are those of paintings, sculptures, figurines, and more. Since opening in 2005, the gallery has become an international platform for local artists.
  • Kendra Gallery
    Jl. Drupadi 88B, T: +62 361 736 628, www.kendragallery.com
    Since opening in 2008, the gallery has featured various works of contemporary Indonesian and international artists. Their works represent different cultures from many corners of the world – all exhibited in a dynamic art space.
  • Echo Beach
    Known by local as “Pantai Batu Mejan”, Echo Beach is fit for surfing and also popular for its advanced reef breaks. If you happen to be there, visit one of the seafood cafes in the area, which are set on a high vantage point.
  • Adventure Scuba Diving Bali
    Jl. Mertanadi Gang Paloma 10, T: +62 877 6010 2000,
    www.adventure-scuba-diving.com
    Exploring the beautiful reefs under the sea is really amazing. This PADI Dive Center accommodates visitors with exciting diving courses. Try their one-day trip program to explore diving sites in Padang Bai or Nusa Penida. It’s really fun.
  • AJ Hackett Bungy Tower
    Jalan Arjuna, T: +62 361 730 666,
    Situated at Double Six nightclub on Seminyak Beach, the 45-meter bungy tower is the adventure that really gets your adrenaline going. You can enjoy the great panorama from that height, and with the thumping dance beats that accompany your fun evening.
  • Trick Art Gallery 3D
    JL.Sunset Road No.789, T: +62 361 849 6626, www.balitrickart.com
    Try to squeeze your time for a couple hours here. The 3D paintings displayed in this gallery create visual illusion brought to life. With such amazing artworks, the artists are very talented. It’s a great place to go with children. Yet, adults can as well feel the fun.

HOW TO BOOK:

Bali – Indonesia