TRAVEL BLOG

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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Pho Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island is only 12kms from Cambodia and a 50-minute short flight from Ho Chi Minh City.

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Colourful Pho Quoc Island

In less than one hour Ho Chi Minh City locals and tourists can leave nine million residents and six million motorbikes behind and escape to an island paradise that comprises of pristine beaches and minimal crowds.

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Uncrowded beaches

The island can also be accessed by boat from the Mekong Delta via hydrofoil, ferry or cruiser.

Vietnam and Cambodia for many years have claimed sovereignty over this magical island in the pacific. It’s the largest Vietnamese island and these days Phu Quoc is proudly proclaimed as Vietnams own.

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Seafood heaven

Pho Quoc Island main industry is fishing and it has a thriving pearl industry and as large as the pearl industry is it’s nothing compared to its world famous export (no.1 in the world) their fish sauce and black pepper industry.

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Pho Quoc Harbour fishing fleet

The extremely rich fishing grounds off Phu Quoc supply the anchovies needed for the fish sauce industry.

Driving around the island anchovies can be seen drying in racks in the tropical Asian sun getting ready to be “sauced”. Now I know where that saying comes from “there’s something fishy happening here.”

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Local fishing boats waiting to be launched off the beach

Take a stroll through the markets and deciding what seafood to eat is going to provide you with the biggest headache. The choice is endless and the quality and moreish seafood on display is overwhelming.dscn8086

Seafood Markets

Continue down to the harbor and you discover an armada of fishing boats. A kaleidoscope of colour’s fills the harbour of which the blue hulls of the many fishing vessels are prominent. Most of the fishing boats have red and green flags strung across their terracotta coloured decks making a walk around the harbour an extremely vivid experience.

Close to the harbor entrance is a lookout from which a Temple takes top billing. From here you can gaze down the coast and for far as you can see is miles and miles of pristine uncrowded beach. (Perfectly named Long Beach)

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Beach views from the Temple

Strewn across the sand and promenade red plastic seats dot the horizon as locals sit and gather to take in the late afternoon ambience and as some residents told me, “catch up on all the local gossip”.

Tourism plays a massive part in the islands economy and now is definitely the best time to visit as Phu Quoc still exudes an innocent rustic charm

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Locals selling produce on the beach

Beaches are a massive bonus on the island and the sparseness of people is a highlight. To find a virgin spot on the sand to lay your towel is definitely not a problem.

If you’re active the Island is a great place to discover whether walking, hiking, biking or going 4 wheel off road jeep touring. Phu Quoc is still rather undiscovered and adventures abound.

The island reminded me of all the popular South East Asian island resorts without the massive crowds, traffic, multitudes of high-rise developments and hotels. Phu Quoc is still relatively unknown, beautiful and unflustered.

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Recliner beach beds

Infrastructure is changing albeit quite slowly. When we were there the one dirt main road was being built into a two-lane freeway.

The island still runs on generated power. Plans are in place and date has been set for an Italian company to run underwater electricity cables from the mainland and bring Phu Quoc Island into the 21st electrical century.

When we were there crowds were at a minimum. Talking to the owners of Rory’s bar on the beach they explained how low season (August to November) is tough and they count the days to when high tourist season arrives (July to February). The afternoon we were there six people were at the bar. The same bar on New Years Eve in high season had 500 people “rocking round the quoc”

Low season unfortunately brings inclement weather and our most exciting excursion we had planned, night squid fishing had to be cancelled.

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Tasty sea urchin

Before our squid fishing was abandoned we sampled cooked sea urchin on our boat, now that takes courage to have the first mouthful. But what a culinary delight, for something that looks so alien it turned out to be a delicious morsel that will definitely find its way onto my menu again.

MAIN ATTRACTIONS:

Beaches/swimming,

Diving/snorkeling

Fishing/squid fishing

Hiking

4 wheel off road driving,

History of Vietnam war prisoners/prison is still active

Visit the pearl farms and pearl stores

Tour the fish sauce and pepper-making factory

Great bars on the beach

Thriving markets specializing in seafood

WHERE TO STAY:

 La Verandah Resort & Spa

 HOW TO BOOK:

 http://www.paradises.com

HOW TO GET THERE:

 Vicki Gilden

Rose Bay Travel (02) 9371 8166

Words and photos Daniel Resnik

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TROPICAL TRAVEL TIPS

If packing for a trip is your worst nightmare, never fear. I have some tips and tricks for traveling in style. Grab your cute carry-on, put on a silk scarf, and get ready to take off!

  • The perfect little white dress is a must-have for any tropical destination. A textured fabric like lace or crochet is a great option because it doesn’t wrinkle as easily as cotton or silk.
  • I always roll my clothes instead of folding them because it decreases the amount of possible wrinkles as well as saves space in my suitcase.
  • A super secret of mine and something I ALWAYS do before a trip is to take an iPhone photo of each outfitI’m bringing, in order to easily chose my outfits each day and night, simply by flicking through the photos. This also helps avoid over-packing.
  • Be sure to pack shoes and accessories that can be worn with multiple outfits. Pack bold accessories like statement necklaces or scarves to update your look.
  • Always pack a cotton or cashmere scarf. On the plane, I use mine as a sleep mask or you can use this as a blanket for your children. It can even be used as a sarong in warm-weather destinations.

And of course, this goes without saying, but I will say it anyway…..Bikini’s, swimwear & resort wear. When you are traveling to a tropical destination, beach going is key and I tend to spend majority of my time in a swimsuit. I usually take a minimum of 5 swimsuits, some more practical for swimming and sunbaking and others with a fashionable edge for beach bars and poolside cocktail sipping. Always remember to take a versatile cover-up which can be worn over swimsuits and doubles as kaftan over a night outfit like our ‘One Before Eight’ maxi robe shown in the images below.

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Our newest Efflorescence collection was recently shot in London, and is dropping into stores for Spring 2016, we hope you enjoy a sneak peek into the collection.

Stay safe & always have fun!

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How To Travel In Thailand Like A Pro

We’ve been to a lot of exotic locations in the world, and one of our favorites in Thailand. In addition to some amazing accommodations around the country, Thailand is known for it’s off the beaten path journeys.

With this in mind, we’re giving a few pointers on “must know” things before coming, especially if you’re doing the road less traveled version of the holiday.

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Go Scuba Diving

One of the best places to do this is on the Similian Islands, where the water is perfectly clear and the fish are colorful and abundant. The best place to go is on the island of Ko Tao, where scuba diving tours are organized. you can get something reasonably priced that’s got lots of exotic sea life.

Go To A Water Fight

From April 13 – 15 Thailand celebrates it’s Thai New Year by holding the world’s biggest water fight. If you’re into seeing something incredible, this is the party for you. It’s attended by thousands of people every year, and is lots of fun.

Visit The Golden Triangle

This is the place where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River. Take a boat headed north and check out some of markets and Buddha statues.

Shop At The Floating Markets

One of the most famous activities to do in Thailand is an impressive one. All along the river they have floating markets where they lay out goods and food for you to buy. Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market in Bangkok is easily accessible and tourist friendly.

Khmer Temples Isaan Exploration

Some of the most beautiful temples in the world are located here. It’s a must see if you’re on holiday in Thailand. At the end of the ancient highway that runs through the middle of the country, you’ll find Phimai, where some of the most beautiful scenes in the East are found.

Take A Cooking Lesson

Thai food is some of the best in the world. In Bangkok there are a number of cooking classes available around the city.

Stay At A Great Resort

Some of the best resorts in the world are in Thailand and are relatively cheap. All over the country these resorts are available, and if booked at the right time, you’ll get some of the best views of your life.

We highly recommend doing non-touristy stuff while in Thailand, and if you need help deciding where to go, check out our Thailand page.

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10 Secret Beaches You’ve Never Heard Of In Bali

You’ve either been to Bali or want to go to Bali. It’s one of the most exotic and coveted holiday destinations on the world. Many people go there and realize that the tourist areas are crowded.

So today we thought we’d bring you the 10 best beaches (That are the Balinese best kept secret) around the area.

10 Secret Beaches You’ve Never Heard Of In Bali

Atuh Beach
Atuh Beach

Geger Beach
Geger Beach

Karma Beach
Karma Beach

Soka Beach
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Amed Beach
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Pasir Putih Beach
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Yeh Leh Beach
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Green Bowl Beach
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Blas Tugal Beach
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Gunung Payung Beach
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If you want to visit Bali and stay near some of the best secrets spots, check out of accomodations page on resorts in Bali.

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Here’s The Part Of Hawaii That Matches Your Personality

If you’ve ever thought about going to Hawaii or heard people tell stories of it, you know that there are very different types of experiences there. Finding the one that will give you the experience you need can be tricky, which is why we’ve put together this guide.

Based on what type of personality you have, you are probably going to enjoy specific parts of this tropical paradise. And while there are great locations all over the island state, we want you to have the most fun you can. So, check out these different personality types, and if you identify with them, these areas of Hawaii might just be for you.

So, if these are the four personality types…

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Big Island “Do It Now” Personality Type

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If you’re the type of personality that’s into shops, luxury restaurants, and expensive resorts. This works very well with personalities that enjoy luxury, crowds, togetherness and action.

For you go-getters out there, Big Island is probably where you’ll find everything you want from a vacation. It’s the most popular place in the State, and offers something for everyone. Especially people are want to get things done now.

Kauai “Have Fun Doing It” Personality Type

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Kauai is known for amazing scenery and it’s relaxed persona. Everything that you’ll find to do on this island is scenic and beautiful. For those of you that are all about the journey, and having fun, this is the place for you.

Your eyes will never have anything dull to look at. For all of you adventure seekers, this is the place you’ll get lost in nature’s beauty and some of the most remote beaches in the world.

Maui “Do it Right” Personality Type

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The Playground of the Wealthy is what this island is commonly known as. If you’re the type of personality that wants to do everything right, let’s call you a perfectionist, this is the place for you.

What’s even better is that there are some very affordable options here, and if you use some of the promotional items from our site, you can get accommodations for almost next to nothing. This is by far, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Oahu “Do It Together” Personality Type

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Oahu is known as “the gathering place” to locals and visitors and lives up to that name with lots of nature, surfers, tourists and everything in between. If you’re the type to love being around other people, Oahu is the place for you.

We give everyone the chance to visit some of the best places in th world, and we especially love the pacific islands. Hawaii is unforgettable, and it’s options are many. Check out more posts from us on the blog of some amazing areas in the world.

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Exclusive Look at 4 Stunning Places in Papua New Guinea

We’re love exploring new places on earth, and we’ve outdone ourselves this time. We’re bringing you one of the most interesting and exclusive places for adventure and exotic holiday seekers in the Pacific. Known for decades as a hotspot for adventures, Papua New Guinea remains true to form. Today we’re covering four places you should visit there. Check out the photos and learn more about how to get there here.

Mandang

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Photo Credit HarryGreenWell

Known for being one of the most beautiful towns in all of the South Pacific, Mandang is home to about 30,000 residences. It’s got a stunning coastline and is arguably the best scuba diving in the area. It’s a must see for anyone in the region.

Port Moresby

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Photo Credit Travvde.com

This is the capital city and is great for a quick getaway if you live in the area or Australia. Because of the terrain, it’s best to take a guide to this capital city. The locals, sights and accommodations are one of a kind.

The Highlands

Waterfall in Papua New Guinea Highlands
Photo Credit CorbisImages.com

An almost untouched civilization that links the new and old worlds. Ancient rituals like manhood initiation, markings and much more signify this part of society still today. Guides, tours and accommodations are all exciting and easily available.

The Islands

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More than 200 islands make up this region of the area, all risen from the ocean with volcanic rock. A sight that not many people get to see, that you must visit if you’re in the area. The adventurous, those of you with wanderlust, come here, and see what this corner of the world has. It’s sure to make an unforgettable holiday. Find out how you can do that with our complete guide to these destinations.

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