TRAVEL BLOG

indonesia karma resorts

Hotels with the best pool in Bali

The cold season is slowly breezing in but there are still places that provides almost 365 days of pure summer heat.  Here are 3 of the best swimming pools we have seen in Bali that guarantees a splashing good time!

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With a pool that’s perched on a cliff top of an elevated limestone peninsula, you know the view would be exceptional. Karma Kandara is an award-winning luxury resort that comprises of 54 private pool villas. Not only do you get your own private pool, you also get access to their main pool (pictured above). Rates start from USD 1140 per night.

 

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Nestled within 14 hectares of tropical manicured garden, InterContinental Bali Resort offers premium accommodations in three unique levels of accommodation: Resort Classic, Singaraja and Club InterContinental. With its six swimming pools, you are never short of choices. Opt for a night in their Club Room and get access to the Club Intercontinental Pool where complimentary light refreshments are served all day.  Rates start from USD 320 per night.

 

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From its spectacular saline water turquoise Lagoon to its Main Pool with two Jacuzzis, St Regis Bali Resort offers multiple options for refreshing dips. Don’t miss out on getting a few treatments done at the Aqua-Vitale Pool at Remède Spa where sheer pleasure is delivered at its best. Rates start from USD 616 per night.

 

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French Kisses

Debuting a new direction for Spring 2014, ‘French Kisses’ is my first installment of super-sexy collection of ready to wear, statement pieces.

Presenting a modern and sexy take on the classic Alannah Hill styling. It is inspired by the essence of Parisian life and is a romantic introduction to spring and the thrill of race season. Key colours are navy, soft pink and black, worn back with florals, stripes and polka dots.  The range also includes luxurious laces, intricate beading and ladylike silhouettes of the 1950s and 60s.

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My latest looks from Alannah Hill Spring 2014 collection will be available in Alannah Hill boutiques, David Jones and online at alannahhill.com.au.

paradises

The Fiji Beach Resort & Spa

FIJI.
Story and photos by Kelly Tang

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The resort beach

Denarau Island is situated on the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji and is the largest integrated resort complex in the South West Pacific. The area consists of eight resorts and residential properties and is in close proximity to Nadi airport (less than 10kms) and Port Denarau Marina, which is the gateway to Nadi Bay and the magnificent Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.

Resorts operating on Denarau Island include the Sheraton Denarau Villas, Sheraton Fiji Resort, Westin, The Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, Sofital, Raddissson Blu, The Wyndham and The Terraces Resorts.

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Beautiful Fijian sunset

This month’s featured resort is:

The Fiji Beach Resort & Spa (managed by Hilton)

This resort is set on 1.5 km of beach and is actually a small village in itself! Perfectly located for holiday makers to have everything at their fingertips including: various restaurants, café, shops, kids club, spa, tennis courts, water sports activities such as parasailing, jet ski riding, banana boat rides and kayaking, snorkeling and also scuba diving (organized via the front desk).

The beach is expansive but not the ideal swimming beach for me. Blue water and white sand is what I prefer but I am a little spoilt.

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Adult only pool

To make up for the lack of a great swimming beach the resort has a lovely palm lined pool complex, which includes an adult only pool. Much of our time was spent lounging here. The swimming complex offers several separate pools so kids can go nuts in their own areas without sending the book readers and sunbathers bonkers.

You need not leave the confines of this sprawling property and instead choose to spend the major part of the day by the pool and later in the afternoon enjoy Fiji’s stunning sunsets while sipping cocktails on one of the resort’s comfortable outdoor settings.

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One of the many outdoor settings

The resort offers many food options to appease all palates from sit down a la carte restaurants to takeaway options. We kept going back for their famous pizza they made at the café and would take it away and enjoy on our private balcony overlooking the ocean.

All the Denarau Island’s resorts can be accessed along a walking path that follows the coast and is an ideal walking track for those that want to shake off those buffet calories.

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Wedding Chapel

The marina is only a short drive from the resort and offers a range of cool, hip restaurants and bars and is a great option for a night out. I can highly recommend the ribs and corncob salad from the Denarau Marina Hard Rock Café. But be warned, if a ‘Village People’ song comes on while you’re dining then be prepared to get up and jive!

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Romantic dinners and special occasion specialists

For families wanting to entertain the kids or need a break, a Kids Club is available and offers a large range of activities to keep them endlessly entertained.

On the other hand, you can indulge in a massage overlooking the sea or choose from an array of treatments at the award-winning Pevonia Concept Spa.

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Part of the 1.5 kms of beach

If you feel the urge to discover all Fiji has to offer then close by is the Denarau Marina, which is where you can board a vessel and in a short time you’ll be island hopping and day tripping to some of Fiji’s finest islands.

A highlight for me was an afternoon at the renowned Denarau Golf course. The course is located just five minutes away and is a sensational 18-hole championship golf course and it’s here I lost a couple, a few, ok I lost six balls scored an amazing birdie a lucky par and other holes I will not mention.

The friendliness of the local Fijians and their warmth and calm nature has left a lasting impression on me. I’m certain there is not a friendlier race in the world! Smiles and ‘bulas’ are mandatory.

BULA VINAKA!!

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Tranquil Fiji
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ALANNAH HILL WINTER COLLECTION

“To all my paradisesonline.com regulars and guests. Here is my winter collection for all you women who are travelling to your favourite Asian or Pacific paradises holiday destination and would like to look and feel fabulous chic and cool”

Happy holidays…Alannah

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VICTORIA The Emporium Shopping Centre +613 9671 3987

 

Melbourne Central Shopping Centre +613 9639 6399

 

533 Chapel Street South Yarra +613 9826 2755

 

Chadstone Shopping Centre +613 9569 7566

 

Doncaster Westfield Shopping Centre +613 9855 9666

 

Highpoint Shopping Centre +613 9317 3398

 

David Jones-Chadstone +613 8531 4392

 

David Jones-Doncaster +613 9848 1542

 

David Jones-Bourke St +613 9650 1052

 

David Jones-The Glen +613 9518 2921

 

David Jones-Highpoint +613 9317 8437

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 269-271 Rundle Street +618 8215 0477

 

David Jones- Rundle Mall +618 8227 0459

 

BOUTIQUES & STOCKISTS

 

NEW SOUTH WALES 118-120 Oxford Street Paddington +612 9380 9147

 

Bondi Junction Westfield Shopping Centre +612 9389 3066

 

Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre +612 9413 2755

 

The Strand Arcade +612 9221 1251

 

David Jones-Elizabeth Street +612 9283 6424

 

David Jones-Bondi Junction +612 9387 2939

 

David Jones-Chatswood Chase +612 9844 4047

 

David Jones-Burwood +612 8746 1600

 

David Jones-Castle Hill +612 9842 5233

 

David Jones-Kotara +612 4923 2440

 

David Jones-Hornsby Westfield +612 9472 3700

 

David Jones-Parramatta +612 9841 3555

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Wesley Quarter +618 9481 7766

 

Claremont Quarter +618 9284 5679

 

David Jones-Perth +618 9325 7236

 

David Jones-Garden City +618 9364 3728

 

David Jones-Karrinyup +618 9445 3743

 

QUEENSLAND Queens Plaza +617 3012 9908

 

David Jones-Queens Plaza +617 3243 9161

 

David Jones-Robina +617 5585 2982

 

David Jones-Garden City +617 3243 9533

 

David Jones-Chermside +617 3624 1483

 

David Jones-Toowong +617 3243 9894

 

NEW ZEALAND Nuffield Street Auckland +649 9522 1171

 

ONLINE shop.alannahhill.com.au +613 8420 0388

 

www.alannahhill.com.au

 

 

 

 

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Ametis Villa – Simply precious, simply wonderful

Located in the quiet town of Canngu, Ametis Villa houses just 13 villas. Each villa consists of the bedroom with a separate living area, a swimming pool and a well-equipped kitchen.

Colours adorning the property are of a neutral colour. Much reminding me of the times I’ve spent in South Africa. Shades of green and brown are seen throughout the property with wooden fixtures that emphasis on the Balinese culture.

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Each villa is assigned with your own personal butler. They are there to cater to every of your whim and fancy. From restaurant reservations to assisting of special arrangement and even chauffeuring you to and fro to Seminyak. Having a butler to spoil us was definitely a well-deserved treat!

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A selection of nuts and cookies are replenished every day and there’s even an afternoon tea you can enjoy either at the comfort of your villa or at the foyer of the hotel. Afternoon tea is a simple selection of coffee or tea and bite size snacks.

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Serving authentic, home-style Indonesia dishes is Eternal Restaurant. I must say that it serves one of the better Indonesian food that I’ve tasted. Chef gets his ingredients every day at the local market so you can expect nothing but freshness.

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You can also choose to organize a private cooking class in the midst of your own villa.

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Charm your partner with a private candlelight dinner by the beach. Food is prepared and cooked a la minute.  The management will go all out to ensure that you have the perfect experience dining by the beach. I was actually the first guest for their new set-up.

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We had such a wonderful time. We came home feeling much relaxed, rejuvenated, spoiled and penning down the next trip back to Ametis on our calendar!

Ametis Villa

Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu – Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Phone. +62 361 844 5567 | +62 828 9719 1888

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ametisvillabali
Website: http://www.ametisvilla.com/

paradises

InterContinental Fiji Resort Golf & Spa

INTERCONTINENTAL FIJI GOLF RESORT & SPA HOTEL
Words & photos by Kelly Tang

With winter settling in, what better time is there to visit the sparkling jewel of the South Pacific, Fiji…

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Glorious Fijian sunsets

BULA BULA BULA!

Nowhere on planet earth will you receive a more genuine greeting than in the Fiji Islands. The renowned Fijian greeting “Bula” means, hello, welcome, have a good day and have a good everything. The Fijians say it with such enthusiasm, as if they’re welcoming a long absent friend.

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Stunning resort

This month’s featured resort is the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. Built on just over 14 hectares of tropical gardens the InterContinental is the sole luxury resort on Natadola Bay located on the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu.

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Breakfast restaurant

As soon as you enter this 5 star Resort & Spa and receive your first heartfelt Bula you’re enveloped with an overwhelming feeling of serenity. Beautifully appointed with artifacts and strategically placed furniture, the walk to reception is dreamlike and you know you’ve entered a very special place.

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Peaceful adult only beachside infinity pool

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Situated on the beautiful and picturesque Natadola Beach, the resort is just 5 years old and was built on some of Fiji’s most exclusive real estate. It has the longest and best natural palm fringed white sand beach on the island, which is ideal for snorkeling and surfing.

What is even more inviting is if you’re flying from Sydney or Melbourne the flight is under 4 hours and from the airport you’re only a short 45 to 60 minute drive to paradise.

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Decadent poolside seating

The InterContinental has four restaurants (ranging from fine dining to poolside snacks) a luxurious spa, an 18-hole championship golf course, four swimming pools, outdoor bars, gym, kids club and much more. No expense has been spared to ensure the Intercontinental is truly a world-class resort.

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Afternoon serenity

The resort is a haven and a perfect place to relax and unwind. To ensure a peaceful time, an adult only infinity pool overlooking the ocean awaits.

I can personally guarantee that if you arrive with any stress, then make your way to this pool as soon as you unpack and stress no more.

ACCOMMODATION

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Beautifully designed rooms

There is a wide variety of accommodation available with all rooms superbly appointed and featuring Cleopatra baths and daybeds on either a generous private terrace or balcony that takes advantage of the classic Fijian vistas and sunsets.

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Cleopatra baths feature in every room

‘InterContinental offers seasoned travellers the exclusivity of a resort within a resort.

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Club InterContinental

 

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Private plunge pool

Club InterContinental’s 1 bedroom hilltop suites are available and are 115sqm and feature luxurious spa baths and in many, private plunge pools.’

We stayed in a Beachfront view room, which were only metres from the beach.

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Beachside rooms

Outside our luxury room on a grass verge overlooking the ocean are massive day beds and once ensconced are very hard to leave.

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Romantic beachside cabanas

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At times though we had to leave to battle our way to the poolside restaurant (Toba Bar & Grill) for snacks and cocktails. Tough life!

You will fall in love with the Fijian people and their beautiful spirit and will not want to leave.

A highlight every afternoon is the daily authentic traditional cultural displays and ritual torch lighting ceremonies. This must be viewed (suggestion only) while sipping sundowner cocktails as the last of the setting sun melts into the Pacific Ocean.

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Daily authentic cultural displayDSCN6625

‘The InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa is one of the most magnificent retreats in the South Pacific and once visited you will undoubtedly become a repeat visitor”.

How to Book

www.paradisesonline.com

 

 

paradises

Hi there!

I’m currently in Europe, working on the launch of my Flagship Lisa Maree retail boutique over here, and as the weather warms up it fills my soul with pure sunshine. I’m most at home by the water, in a swimsuit and kaftan (Lisa Maree of course) and I think it’s time to depart a little swimsuit advice to you to help you achieve your best swimsuit look possible.

I love to pair my swimsuit with a flowing kaftan. For anyone who is a little self-conscious in a skimpy swimsuit, an open robe/kaftan is the way to go. It adds sophistication and a little mystery, which is always much more sexy that wearing next-to-nothing and you have the added bonus of covering those not so flattering areas.

Choose a swimsuit that suits your shape. I design most of my one pieces with the hour glass shape in mind, this shape gives the illusion of a slim but shapely figure by the cuts in the crochet and the silhouette of the styles. Our one pieces are also great for mums who don’t feel comfortable in a bikini. They are still extremely sexy but also give a sophisticated look while covering the tummy area.

Here are the main body shapes and swimsuits that will suit best, a need-to-know when searching for your perfect suit:

Athletic: Focus on feminine cuts and details. Soften your chest area with cups or padding. Pass on boy-cuts, tanks and bandeaus. Focus on showing off your lower toned half with a tie or embellishment at the hip.

Straight: Avoid bandeau tops and boy-cuts. Wear a one piece, similar to our “Down the Garden Path” crochet suit to add the illusion of curves. Enhance your bust with ruffles or padding, or go skimpy if you dare!

Pear: Wear full coverage bottoms or hipsters. Draw the eye up with cleavage and/or halter straps. Stay away from bright prints on your lower half.

Curvy: Opt for a solid colour or small print. Support your bust with a halter or moulded cup. Stay away from from a small string top and bottom.

And those are my tips for your perfect swimsuit search.

Now here I am in some of my favourite swimwear looks for the season.

 

Lisa Maree

xx

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paradises

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam
By Kelly Tang

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OLD QUARTER, HANOI, VIETNAM
Weaving through the crowded streets on my cyclo through the Old Quarter of Hanoi, I’m surprised to see such an eclectic variety of quaint older style buildings in this French influenced area. The streets are buzzing with activity and hundreds of colourful little shops selling everything you can imagine gives this place a very special energy.

I’ve never seen so much traffic before, with so many scooters dominating and filling the narrow cobblestone streets, its organized chaos. There seems to be no rhyme or reason in this madness but it just seems to work and keeps on flowing regardless.

On the footpaths local women wearing traditional conical hats and balancing food on their shoulders using a carrying pole tactfully avoid other locals who have set up their stalls for the day. The streets are filled with women young and old, some cooking meals outside their homes, others selling fresh raw meat and seafood, baguettes, fresh tropical fruits, flowers and even stalls selling cigarettes.
Everything is for sale here in the ‘old quarter’ and a bargain can always be found.
It doesn’t take long and within an hour I’m in love with this city.

CYCLOS

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Cyclo tour of the Old Quarter

As much as I want to discover the Old Quarter by foot, I recommend hiring a cyclo as you can feel the buzz and energy of the place and also get to cover a lot more ground on 3 wheels! Sitting on the back of this cyclo that is peddled by an old leathery man with the heart of an Olympic cyclist I discover a street that only sells shoes. We turn a corner and the next street only sells toys, then another street full of watches, turn a corner again and it becomes a children’s wonderland full of toys. Besides the streets selling nuts and berries, my favourite was the street selling lanterns and colourful decorations that gave the whole area a vibrant and happy feel.

SHOPPING & FOOD

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Street vendors Old Quarter

After the cyclo tour I’m ready to do some walking. There is so much to see and do. At every corner there are cafes and restaurants and every new street reveals another exciting shopping adventure. I discover a city full of galleries, arts and craft and jewelry stores, clothing stores and quaint music shops selling all types of instruments including quality guitars for under $50AUS.

DONG XUAN MARKET

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Colourful Hanoi

The Dong Xuan day markets have everything for sale, from Vietnams famous souvenir products, sweets, clothes, accessories and every type of food to a variety of live animals including seafood, chickens and frogs. This section is not for everybody due to the fact some animals are prepared live in front of you. Not for the squeamish. Don’t be surprised though to see a family of dad, mum, children and grandma come riding through the markets on a scooter. And I do mean the same scooter. Yep, only in Vietnam.

HOAN KIEM LAKE

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Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi’s most famous lake is Hoan Kiem Lake. It’s beautiful and peaceful, and as I discover is the epicenter for locals in the mornings for walking, exercise, dance, rest and play. The lake is an historical and spiritual site and is also one of the most popular areas for newlywed couples to have their wedding photos taken.

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Wedding photos at Hoan Kiem Lake

MAUSOLEUM
Next stop is Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. To see this great and famous man in state is quite emotional as the love and respect the Vietnamese have for their former legendry leader is still incredibly strong. The line up to see him goes for hundreds of meters. Unfortunately, once a year Ho Chi Minh’s body is taken back to Russia for maintenance, so check before you go to visit ‘Uncle Ho’ as he is affectionately known to ensure he is not away from his resting place.

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Traditional crusty baguettes for sale on the street of the Old Quarter

WAR MUSEUM
A visit to the war museum perhaps puts into perspective how much suffering the Vietnamese have endured. As sad as it is to see some of the most horrific and appalling images from the Vietnam war, it’s inspirational to think what a courageous country Vietnam is and that throughout its history it has fought off many invading countries and has conquered them all. As you walk the streets, the old man you see may have contributed to Vietnam’s famous fighting spirit.

PHO SOUP

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Pho Soup street restaurant

After many miles of walking, my nose leads me to a street food cart with the delicious smell of the local favorite ‘Pho soup’ wafting through the air. I am determined to sample this popular dish containing rice noodles, chicken or beef, vegetables and aromatic herbs and spices. The place we choose is packed with people eating and seated on little plastic chairs and tables on the footpath. A rule of thumb for me when I eat from a street vendor anywhere in is that it has to be very busy so that fresh food is constantly being turned over.

COOKING SCHOOL
After experiencing the local food, I am inspired to book in for a cooking class at the Hoa Sua Cooking School. This school is famous in Vietnam as each year it recruits 500 young people aged between 16 and 25, who live under difficult circumstances. Orphans, street children, children of war invalids, children of poor families, ethnic minorities and hearing impaired children are all given the chance to enhance their lives by learning the art of cooking, in the hope they can forge a career in hospitality and turn their lives around.
There are only 8 people in our class and the chef has a menu and food products ready for us to prepare our meals. The menu consists of green papaya with dried beef salad, rice noodles with grilled pork and lastly but most importantly we have the dessert, which is black sticky rice with syrup. It is a wonderful culinary experience that I highly recommend.

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Hanoi Opera House

TRADITIONAL BATH HOUSE
After a day of eating and walking I go to my first traditional Vietnamese bath house called the ‘Huong Sen Massage’ that is highly rated by locals in Hanoi. Cost of the massage /spa/ steam combination that includes: herbal tea, herbal bath, spa and massage and finished off with rice porridge with fish is only $200,000 VND which is the equivalent of just over $10AUD. We were there for nearly two hours!
The 90-minute massage incorporates the use of hot pads and thick hot towels to warm and relax the body and involves the use of herbs (combination of mugwort and the corriandon sativum flower). Combined with the hot pads and heated towels, it is a truly remarkable massage.
The centre has segregated areas for men and women.
What an inspirational country Vietnam is. The people are so genuine, warm and friendly and hopefully soon I will be back to continue my adventure here once again.

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Spiritual Hoan Kiem Lake

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN HANOI:
The Water Puppet Theater
Temple of Literature & Ancient National University
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
The Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi night market
Hoa Lo Prison
Ho Chi Minh’s Residence (near the mausoleum)
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi
One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi
The Perfume Pagoda

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TIPS
* Ensure you negotiate your fee before going on a cyclo ride. Your guide, hotel concierge or tour desk will advise you on approx cost. If you don’t you will get ripped off.
* If you intend hiring a bike/scooter or motor vehicle ensure you have a current international drivers license or travel medical insurance as you will not be covered if an accident occurs.
* Watch, observe and ask how locals cross these extremely busy roads. It’s unlike anywhere else on the planet and can be dangerous.

GETTING THERE:
Vietnam Airlines flies from Sydney and Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City and then on to Hanoi ten times a week.
www.vietnamairlines.com.vn

STAYING THERE:
Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake
Go to… www.paradisesonline.com

COOKING SCHOOL:
The Hoa Sua School, 28A Ha Hoi, Hoan Kiem Hanoi, Vietnam
(04) 3942 4448
www.hoasuaschool.com

Words and photos by Kelly Tang

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Travel Light this Season

Part of traveling is packing. I’m always packing and unpacking and being in the fashion industry I like to pack outfits, not just pieces, which means that I have serious luggage!

While packing for a recent overseas trip I was dreaming up a dress that would be so versatile that I could replace skirts, tops, dresses and scarfs with this one piece. Imagine how light my suitcase would be, maybe I could fly with carry-on only and skip that wait at the luggage belt.

Armed with scissors, some fabric and my imagination, I cut and made the very first Jetset Dress. This dress became my perfect solution, one piece of clothing, that, with a few accessories, can be worn in a multitude of ways. It has revolutionised the way I pack, and now there is no need to drag heavy suitcases along with me.

After bringing the prototype to my team, we re-engineered the dress to create the very first samples of the Jetset dress with control fabric to slim and shape your body while wearing this product. These days I just don’t go anywhere without my Jetset Dress, it’s small enough to fit in your handbag and it has basically become my travel fashion emergency kit, just slip it on for a quick change.

You can view my Jetset Campaign video and product images here –  http://www.jetsetdress.com.

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paradises

A Dream Come True

To all my regular readers and guests of www.paradisesonline.com here is my latest  gorgeous Autumn 2014 Collection.

Inspired from ‘Le Jardin Japonais’.  The collection includes a monochrome black & white palette, & highlights of berry red & cobalt blue. Fitted shift dresses, classic feminine  shapes in oriental-inspired prints.

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