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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.

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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

My Winter Accessory Must-Haves

To all my paradises.com regulars and guests. Here’s some very savvy travelling tips to get you to your favourite resort looking extremely ’tres chic’.

My Winter Accessory Must-Haves :

  • Fedora
    Although a hat might not be at the forefront of your mind when thinking of winter must have’s, a fedora is a great way to keep warm without sacrificing on style with the added plus of allowing you to get an extra day out of your blow-dry, and to top that off, your outfit will look completely put together.
  • Boots!
    Whether it be over the knee boots, or ankle boots; boots are the perfectly chic shoe for winter. Dressed up or down, they are so versatile, your toes will be warm and cosy and you can pair them with jeans and a jumper, or a dress them up with a mini skirt or knitted jumper dress.
  • Scarves.
    Scarves can be styled a countless amount of ways and add that finishing touch to any outfit. Wrap them multiple times around your neck or throw them over your shoulder for effortlessly chic look.
  • Chic Rainboots
    It is the season to now get away with wearing rain boots as a fashion statement, I mean the Hunters and Ralph Laurens, not Grandpas Gumboots. Rainboots are now available in different shaft heights, colours and patterns. And when the weather gets wild, you won’t have to worry about ruining your best shoes!
  • Leather Gloves.
    Stylish and warm, leather gloves are a must have for winter. Go for a soft leather in a tan or camel, I tend to steer away from the bulky black leather gloves which look more like a functional motorbiking accessory than a fashionable add-on. Try to look for a glove that fits snugly for both warmth while keeping your look on point.

Here is our Lisa Maree Resort 2017 Campaign, a perfect time to start thinking of Spring and the new swimsuits that you need to get your hands on!

THE SANCTUARY RAROTONGA-ON THE BEACH

THE SANCTUARY RAROTONGA-ON THE BEACH

THE COOK ISLANDS

Words and photos Daniel Resnik

A six-hour flight from Sydney and you’re landing in Rarotonga the largest of fifteen islands in the Cook Islands and it’s only 32 kilometres in circumference.

rarotonga-blog

World famous cobalt coloured lagoon

Rimmed with coconut palmed fringed white sandy beaches and reefs full of azure coloured water.

Locals tell you when you arrive all watches should be discarded and instantly get reset onto Cook Island time.

Getting around the island is quite simple there is one road and a bus leaves five minutes past the hour in a clockwise direction and fifteen minutes past the hour another bus goes in an anti-clockwise direction.

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Local fruit sellers

Like the buses the locals are very unrushed and move as most Pacific Islanders do at island pace. And in this case Cook Island pace takes Island time to another level.

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Kayaking Aroa Beach

Scooters though are the most popular form of transport and in the Cook Islands at this time of my visit helmets are not compulsory but my advice would be don’t ride without one.

There is much to do in Rarotonga from Island tours, which give you an insight to Cook Island life, water activities, which includes see through bottom boats, snorkelling/scuba diving, kite surfing, kayaking and fishing trips. For the more adventurous there’re physical tours that take in the tropical hilly centre where hikes take you to lookouts with extraordinary views. Or do what I did and plant myself on each of the beaches we stayed at and baked, (slip, slopped and slapped of course), swam, slept, ate and drank and did it all again.

This month featured resort:

The Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach is perfectly located on Aroa Beach. What makes this hotel such a standout when so many hotels are available is this gorgeous resort is a ‘adults only’ haven.

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Sunset cocktails

No happy, crying, screaming kids going nuts around the pool while you’re trying to read, rest and relax and sip late afternoon cocktails.

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Hammock heaven

Now don’t get me wrong I love children and right next door is the Rarotongan Resort, which is a family friendly resort.

The Sanctuary has its own private beach and from our beachfront luxury room the post card perfection and exquisite colour of the world famous lagoon ensures that most of your time here is spent involved in water activities.

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Rooms with spectacular views

Aroa lagoon has been named the Lagoon of Love and is also one of Rarotonga’s best snorkelling spot, the Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve.

Indulge yourself in this adults-only, absolute beachfront 4.5 star boutique resort.

THINGS TO DO:
Stand up paddling

Kite surfing

Fishing

Snorkelling/Scuba Diving

Cross-island hikes

Full island tours

Glass bottom boat tours

4 Wheel drive tours

The Te punanga Saturday markets

Night markets Muri Beach

Island bar hopping bus

HOW TO BOOK ACCOMMODATION:

www.paradises.com

HOW TO GET THERE:

Vicki Gilden at Rose Bay Travel (02) 9371 8166

This Bali Resort Takes Luxury To A Whole New Level

One of the coolest things you’ll see all season is this hotel in Bali. The part, is that it’s not that pricey, depending on when you stay there. The value for money and sheer “WOW” factor are incredible.

Perched 70 metres above sea level on the cliffs of Bali’s southernmost peninsula with unrivalled panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Banyan Tree Ungasan has one of the most amazing spots in the world. From this view, it looks like you’re sitting on top of a tropical paradise.

This is how we like to holiday!

Sunset are special here because of these two amazing things

  • The location of the pool is perfectly aligned with the sunsetting in from a 90 degree angle, so you get the most sunlight from the resort.

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  • From inside the resort you can see an extended sunset for 1 hour after ‘dark’

 

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These two features make the sunset’s seem to last for hours and because of the tropical climate, the temperature is perfect for a relaxing event by the pool or a meal where the sunset lasts the entire time. We haven’t found any other place like this in the world. If you’re really into sunsets or ambiance, being strategic about what rooms you book is beneficial here.

From a large majority of their rooms, the sunset is visible, but there are a few rooms where the combination of the deck and pool make it look infinity, and for a three hour sunset, that makes it worth while. Here’s our favorite facing room during the best lighting of the day.

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If you’re going on a special holiday, you’ll want to stay in their Honeymoon suite. Here’s why…

 

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As an additional resource, the resort has a ton of things for you to do while visiting.

Check out these luxury couple activities…

  • Eat on the side of a cliff
  • Spa like nowhere else on earth
  • BBQ inside your villa with a private chef
  • Exclusive resort-only photo stops for special occasions
  • Bath set up with oils, champagne and more
  • Balinese yoga at sunset
  • Cliff diving and swimming in the Indian Ocean
  • Have fun at a Moroccan bar
  • East seafood you caught from the Indian ocean

 

Our favorite is probably the fine dining on the cliff face, or in room BBQ. You can actually have someone come and bring all the supplies and cook for you in your villa, at a reasonable price.

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The resort also offers cooking classes, private tours and basically any kind of luxury service you can imagine. If you want to see more, check out their virtual tour. This resort is one of a kind and re-claiming luxury as a personalized experience specifically built for each guest that visits. The villas are tucked away and arranged so it feels like a private retreat.

If you’re wanting to head to Bali, we’ve seen some really great prices from New York, Perth, Sydney and Los Angeles.

Here’s What You Should See In Bali (That You Can Reach From Almost Any Resort)

Bali is one of the most exotic places on earth. If it’s on your bucket list, in addition to staying at one of these amazing resorts, you’ll want to check out these incredible items on your agenda while there.

The island has emerged as a cultural hotspot for Buddhism and a tourist haven for people around the world. Temples, local food and adventure are all things people enjoy when visiting, but what’s best, are the sites.

Here are some places you don’t want to miss traveling to Bali.

 

Watch A Balinese Sunset

 

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Have A Balinese Massage

 

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Stay At The Banyan Tree Ungasan

 

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Visit the exclusive public Nammos Beach

 

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Take some Silat Classes

 

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Eat At Rock Rock Bar Near The Water

 

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 Go To The Movies At Karma Kandra Beach Club

 

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The truth is, there’s an endless amount of amazing sites, sounds and beaches in Bali, so explore. If you need a place to stay, we’ve got your covered with these beautiful Bali hotels from our partners.

 

Pacific Resort Rarotonga

THE PACIFIC RESORT RAROTONGA

COOK ISLANDS

Words and photos Daniel Resnik

The Cook Islands have a very familiar feel. Around a six-hour flight from Sydney and you’re landing in Rarotonga, which is an Island of only 32 kilometres in circumference.

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Beautiful Muri Beach

Upon entering the airport the obligatory guitar player accompanied by beautiful harmonies greet you along with the first of many ‘Kia orana’ greetings, which means…hello.

The familiar feel is New Zealand dollars are the currency. Cook Island Maori is spoken but everyone speaks English and the relaxed atmosphere makes most Australians feel very much like they’ve returned to a long lost home.

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Pacific Resort Rarotonga bliss

Flying into the Cook Islands offers you spectacular views and gives you a quick insight to what you’ll expect from Rarotonga. The island is rimmed with palm fringed white sandy beaches surrounded by a cobalt coloured lagoon that covers the entire island.

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Cobalt coloured lagoon, Muri Beach

Getting around the island is quite simple there is one main road and a bus leaves five minutes past the hour in a clockwise direction and fifteen minutes past the hour another bus goes in an anti clockwise direction.

Scooters are easily hired and the most popular form of transport on the Cook Islands. Personally I would never throw a leg over any two-wheeled mechanical contraption unless I have the scooter/motor bike box ticked off on my travel insurance. If this isn’t the case and you have an accident, well you’re in deep shit!

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Kite surfing Muri Beach

Like the buses the locals are very much unrushed and move like most Pacific Islanders-at island pace. And in this case Cook Island pace takes Island time to another chilled level.

It suggested that when you arrive watches should be cast aside and your body clock reset to ‘Cook Island time.’

FEATURED RESORT:

Our first introduction to island life was a three night stay at the Pacific Resort, Rarotongathat has Muri Beach as its backyard and what a beginning. The beach is a stand up paddlers, kayakers, kite surfers, snorkelers and sun worshipping paradise.

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Water sports on colourful Muri Beach

Muri beach is striking with four uninhabited islands close by and surrounded by water with such an inviting temperature that once in you never want to exit. At low tide it’s also the perfect walking beach.

The contrasting colours on Muri beach are vividly layered. The green palm filled beaches, the white sand, the aquamarine waters of the lagoon that changes as the water gets slightly deeper till it reaches the reef with its crashing waves where the ocean morphs into a deep aqua blue.

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Coconut palms are everywhere

The Pacific resort has an array of accommodation that caters for most budgets and consists of an intimate collection of just 64 rooms, suites and villas.

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Pacific Resort, Rarotonga pool

All the accommodation is decorated in a contemporary Polynesian style and located amongst beautiful landscaped gardens and native trees offering a natural privacy to all rooms.

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Beautiful landscaped gardens

There are two restaurants Sandals and the Bare Foot Bar, which also offers a very inviting outside area, which proves extremely popular at ‘happy hour.’ Realistically every hour spent at the Pacific Resort Rarotonga and particularly Muri beach is happy

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The Pacific Resort Rarotonga, outside Bare Foot Bar

Facilities include an inviting pool and the resort offers professional spa and beauty services and there is also a Kids Club.

 THING TO DO:

 Stand up paddling

Kite surfing

Snorkeling/diving

Fishing

Cross-island hikes

Full island tours

Glass bottom boat tour

4 wheel drive tours

The Te Punanga Saturday markets

Night markets, Muri Beach

Island bar hopping bus

HOW TO BOOK:

 paradises.com

HOW TO GET THERE:

Vicki Gilden at Rose Bay Travel (02) 9371 8166

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