Date Archives

November 2016

Total solitude in the midst of beauty

Contrary to popular belief, Bali is not just about its beaches. Its water bodies are also equally spectacular. Its rivers have produced a number of beautiful and worth visiting waterfalls. Speaking about waterfall, the first place pops up in most of people’s agenda would be the usual touristy Gitgit Waterfall. But there are so many scenic waterfalls around this island, and Aling Aling Waterfall is one of them.

Located in northern Bali, Aling-Aling Waterfall is 11 kilometres from Singaraja with less than 20 minutes’ drive, while getting from Denpasar will take up to 3 hours. The official location of the waterfall is in Sambangan Village, Buleleng regency. Arriving from Denpasar requires the use of the main highway towards Singaraja. At the junction towards the entrance of Singaraja, turn left to head to Sukasada terminal. Continue along the path to reach Sambangan Village. Signposts (with waterfall banners) will guide you for the remaining approximately 3 kilometres drive to the parking area of Aling Aling Waterfall. As the waterfall is seldom frequented by tourists, it is advisable to seek the help of locals or hire an experienced driver who knows how to get there.

Aling-Aling Waterfall can be visited by all, but young children and the elderly are advised against participating in the water activities and cliff jumping for their own safety. Those intending to participate in the water activities should bring a change of attire and/or swimsuit. Also, you may need to prepare yourself for a tiring walk down hundreds of stone steps about 400 metres to reach the waterfall.

While the descent down the many steps was tiring, but it was definitely well worth the effort. I was greeted with a magnificent view of the waterfall, 35 metres high falling from a steep cliff and surrounded by lush greenery as well as rice fields. The water emanating from the falls was crystal clear, while at the same time the air was cool and refreshing, with a hint of the scent of the surrounding mountain fog.

However, what probably stands out most about Aling Aling Waterfall is that visitors will notice how the falls are separated into two adjacent cascading falls at the top, with the right falls having a much larger discharge and speed than the one on the left. As a result of the greater velocity and volume of water, the thunderous sound of the right falls crashing into the basin fills your ears, creating an impressive juxtaposition with the surrounding serenity of nature that is amplified by the lack of visitors. Interestingly, for budding photographers or those with good photography skills, the waterfall is also a good photo opportunity precisely because its separation into two separate falls with varying speeds can produce stunning photographs using the correct camera settings.

The fun does not stop with the spectacular view of the fall and its surroundings. Adventure junkies will enjoy the water activities, including jumping off of a cliff at a height of 5, 10 or 15 metres. The adrenaline rush that you will attain from the jump is nothing short of what you had expected. However, for those who are afraid of heights can also opt to slide down a natural water slide created by the natural process of erosion. It promises much fun, and yet is not as unnerving as jumping off a cliff. Other water activities include swimming and bathing in the waterfall basin at the base of the 4-metre-deep waterfall. Don’t feel like immersing your entire body in water? Just put your hands in the water and have fun playing and splashing with the fresh and cool water. However, be wary of the slippery rocks surrounding you to prevent any injuries.

If you are not exhausted from the walk and the activities, continue to explore the whole area. Aling Aling Waterfall is only one of the seven waterfalls in the area, with it being the highest. The other waterfalls all within walking distance from Aling Aling are Pucuk, Kembar, Kroya, Canging, Dedari and Cemara Waterfalls. I highly recommend incorporating the visit to Aling Aling with an organised trek as I did, because you get to explore the surrounding area which gives you an insight into quintessential Bali villagers’ life. A long trek would take you to all the waterfalls.

During the hike, I was afforded sweeping views of the surrounding landscape of rice fields and cocoa, coffee and clove plantations. Besides, I had the chance to interact with friendly local people and farmers, allowing me to get a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle that they lead. In fact, so beautiful is the place that many call it “the secret garden of Sambangan”.

All in all, Aling Aling Waterfall is an oasis of unspoiled nature, one that will take your breath away. Moreover, you will be pleased to note that you are supporting the locals who work hard to maintain the pristine beauty of Sambangan Village with your eco-tourism efforts. A waterfall is, to many people, a spectacular product of the fury of nature. Therefore, schedule your next holiday destination to visit a place that will bring peace to your soul.

Aling Aling Waterfall
Sambangan Village, Buleleng Regency

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

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Zen Aura at ibis Hong Kong Central and Sheung Wan Hotel

Enter into a spot that belongs to a city full of life and impacting tourist industry. As you step inside the ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan Hotel, situated at the very soul of Hong Kong, your eyes fall immediately on the nicely-done color combinations and the first warm welcome smile of the receptionist. The whole place looks to have accepted decorative interventions. You seem to be tired of the journey, but you feel relaxed at the Zen aura that the whole room inspires. Colors of beige, red and orange mixed in all its furniture in complete harmony. 550 rooms, each with a smell and taste of relaxation, are lusting to provide each guest with an unforgettable experience.

You have never imagined that there are so many things a hotel can offer you, to enjoy your leisure time as if you have been visiting the most interesting cultural destination in the world. The aura mix of business and mere soul pleasure make its existence irresistible.

As you enter the elevator up to the room of the building, you immediately sense the serenity and comfort you will meet inside. Unlock the door and find yourself in a room with many pleasant surprises. Face a comfortable clean double or single bed will be expecting you with amenities. A flat screen LCD TV, coffee and tea making facilities, a mini fridge to store drinks and sandwiches, and accessible bathroom amenities will give an impression that this is not a hotel, but something so familiar just like home. Air conditioning brings you the exact sense of relief that you requested after a cold or hot day.

You lie down on the fluffy cushions of your comfortable bed only to find out that you are about to live the ultimate bed sleep experience. The sense of the foam mattress and the way the bed adapts to each and every of your body movement is a unique experience. It makes you think: “These people are really interested in providing me a happy and quiet sleep.”

By approaching the window, it is easily understood that you will wake up to one of the most gorgeous city scenery in the world. Your chance to view the Hong Kong harbor from above is something entirely new to everyone. The blue of the sea at a close distance gives the perfect opportunity to feel again what it is like to be calm and relaxed from a long trip. It is a real luck to be able to live such an experience. Get ready to lose sense of time and leave all your worries and troubles totally behind as you smoothly indulge into the scenery.

The hotel management also raises guests’ awareness about their greening practice inside the guestroom. These messages can be found anywhere, such as on refraining from changing towels unnecessarily, the bed linen changing card, the 3-in-1 hair and body wash, turning off lights and electrical appliances, keeping water consumption to a minimum, and even garbage bin sticker with green message.

They committed with their “15-minute satisfaction guarantee” policy. Anytime you feel uncomfortable with anything during your stay, simply talk to any of their 24/7 staff. They will give you solution regarding any of your issues in 15 minutes tops. You will be amazed on what they can do in such little time.

As you get down to the bar, you will meet the ultimate menu of beverages and drinks. Feel the temptation to taste an Ibis or Tiramisu cocktail, some of the exclusive cooling drinks that the hotel’s energetic appealing bar has to offer. Relaxed music and modern multicolor style of the chairs, the tables and the whole bar will make you feel incredible enjoying the ambient environment, and emitting positive energy to your beloved ones or associate ones that were lucky enough to share this hotel experience with you. Why not miss the ecstasy of escorting your cocktail drink with a fabulous Cheese Burger? Creativity and juicy platters are one of this hotel’s best distinctions.

So is the restaurant. Original and not imitation recipes of Hong Kong grandeur will accompany your breakfast. Everyone from the receptionist to the waiter and the bartender will treat you with a commitment and a responsibility to have a more than great staying in ibis.

As you are ready to begin the tour of the city, you notify the customer service that hosts you of your needs and your program. Detailed and specific instructions on all the amazing Hong Kong sites are given to you with prominent willingness. You have just about lived your first moments of how it is to be at the accommodation of total relaxation, great customer service, but above all: a member of an exceptional family; the family of ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan.

Staying with us is the moment when all the troubles back home burst out of inside you into one untraceable memory. Time passes like a blink, but this fraction blast of paradise will linger in your memory. Therefore, have no second thoughts. Your real journey in Hong Kong begins here; ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan Hotel.

Historical visit to the Northern Temple

Northern Bali is replete with its own attractions. In particular, it is characterised by a presence of coastal trading towns with a strong Dutch colonial touch, adding a unique atmosphere to any traveller’s itinerary. So, while Northern Bali may not have the allure of the sun, sand and sea, its other historical sites may warrant a visit.

If you happen to be in the north side of the island, you might want to make a quick stop at Pura Ponjok Batu, a rather small temple of significant historical value. The temple is easily accessible from Singaraja, about 24 kilometres or 45 minutes away. Located in Pacung Village, Tejakula district, Buleleng regency, this stone Hindu temple spans an area of about 35 acres. The area surrounding the temple is promontory comprising stones and Frangipani trees. The views of Java sea and the hills will also feast your eyes.

Pura Ponjok Batu was believed to be constructed between 1460 and 1550 during the reign of the Kingdom of Dalem Gelgel, Sri Waturenggong. At that time, the entire island of Bali was alleged to require protection from evil spirits. Mystical stories and archaeological findings seem to tell a story revolving around priest Dang Hyang Nirartha, whom the temple honours today.

Legend has it that in the year 1489, priest Dang Hyang Nirartha arrived in Bali and settled in Gelgel. He decided to explore the northern coast of Bali after a while there. One day, he happened to see a boat washed ashore with its mast broken and screen torn. The crew on board (a total of 7 people) became unconscious. However, with his spiritual power, he magically healed the victims of the boat disaster, saving their lives and rendering them conscious again. The following day, they woke up all fresh and healthy.

Priest Nirartha then sailed to Lombok after some discussion with the boat crew. After his departure for Lombok, a number of miracles occurred in Tanjung, attracting the attention of the locals. The locals at that time decided to worship priest Nirartha and subsequently built this temple, surviving until this day having been restored a few times. The Balinese words of the temple “Ponjok Batu”, a rock promontory in English version. The temple was aptly named as such because this is the location at which it is situated in.

Pura Ponjok Batu is not as photogenic as most of temples in Bali, but its setting and architecture is unique and alluring. It is one of those rare temples to be along the sea shore, affording views of the beach and the sea, inducing a sense of peace in visitors. Besides, the whole building is distinctively made of natural (black) stones, symbolic of purity, which makes it an interesting archaeological monument for visiting. And despite the temple’s small size, there are close to 20 shrines in total in the whole temple complex, each worshipping a different person with the main figure of worship being is priest Dang Hyang Nirartha.

Yet to be discovered by most tourists, especially foreign ones, the temple is however still usually crowded with locals for practical reasons – for worship and prayers. It is believed that worshipping in the temple is for salvation or blessing purposes. To the Hindus, however, worshipping there takes on more meaning. They see it as a place of purification (Melukat). How they purify themselves is by washing water from the spring in the face and in the head, and then drinking it. Additionally, worship in the temple, according to Hindus, helps to invoke safety.

On certain days when there is a festival known as Piodalan, the crowd tends to be even larger. You will get to enjoy typical Balinese dances staged to support the course of religious ceremonies. Apart from observing or participating in the usual worship or the festival, if you happen to be present on the correct day, another key attraction would be the 500-year-old boat shrine by the sea. This shrine is supposedly placed where the first monk is said to have set foot on Bali.

My time spent at Pura Ponjok Batu was well worth it. Although special clothing must be worn by all visitors, which will be provided, the architecture and setting of the temple are unparalleled. If you need a quick bite, there are also food stalls nearby. The entrance fee is by donation of an amount of your choice. A guide is strongly recommended, although not mandatory. You would need to pay an additional amount for the guide. As with all temples in general, it is best to visit the temple in the morning or early afternoon when most of the activity is taking place, unless you are into viewing a sunset.

A quote says, “The contemplation of the unbroken continuity of life ‘from eternity to eternity’ is the very purpose and function of the temple.” Referring to that, a visit to Pura Ponjok Batu will surely leave you enriched with what our ancestors had passed down since ages ago, and imbue you with the importance of cultural heritage.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Romantic and Family Getaway to Phuket

The “Land of Smiles”, Thailand is a holiday destination where you can have it all. Enchanting turquoise beaches, gorgeous islands, diverse wildlife, glittering Buddhist temples, lip-smacking cuisine, Luxury accommodations and the very hospitable Thai people. Because of the diverse offerings that Thailand makes to its tourist, this island is one of the most popular vacation spots in South East Asia. Among all the different things to do and places to stay in Phuket for all type of visitors, in this article, our team has listed some of the most suitable luxury hotels for families and couples looking for a memorable and comfortable holidays at the best price.

Phuket is one of the popular destinations in Thailand. It has everything from party spots, sightseeing, nightlife, and loads of street shopping as well as street food. In the last few years, Phuket has been gaining high popularity among tourists. Formerly known as ‘Thalang’ which means cape, Phuket contains of two words; ‘phu’ meaning hill and ‘ket’ meaning jewel, and therefore it is now known as “The Pearl of Andaman”.

There are tons of tourist spots in Phuket, but you need to plan well and prioritize the spots, in case you are on a short trip of 3 to 5 days. A well-planned itinerary helps you to see the places of your interest and also keeps the budget in check. Our team has prepared you with suggestions and recommendations to make your holiday in Phuket with family or partner not just memorable, but also affordable.

What to do in Phuket
Tuk tuk Traveling with family or partner is really fun, and Phuket really delivers the true meaning of being fun with the things to do for families and couples. You can start by renting the famous Thailand ride “Tuk-Tuk” for the whole day to visit places in Phuket. Please bear in mind that most of the regular taxis prefer to operate from the airport to the hotel, and vice versa. For that reason, besides hotel taxis or motor-taxis, “Tuk-Tuk” is an optional transportation around the island.

phi phi island, phuketOne most famous destination to visit from Phuket is Phi Phi Island. The island consists of 6 islands, out of which the famous ones are normally covered in a tour. Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Leh with Maya Bay, which featured in the movie “The Beach”, and the “James Bond” Island are one of the most preferred islands to visit. Phi Phi Islands are famous for its limestone cliffs rising sheer out of the emerald green waters, white powdery beaches and its many coral reefs.

Promthep Cape, phuketNext up, there is The Promthep Cape, which offers an irresistible view for those who are keen for a good old-fashioned sunset photo. Another such spot is the Karon or Kata viewpoint, which means “Hill of the three beaches”. You can view Kata Noi Beach, Karon Beach and Koo Poo or The Crab Island form this spot. The best way to enjoy this view would be going on an elephant trek through the hills and forest of Phuket, and then view the beaches atop the hill while sitting on the elephant.

big buddha, phuketAnother must-see tourist spot in Phuket is the “Big Buddha”. It is a 45-meter-tall white marble statue and is visible from anywhere in the Southern part of Phuket. The huge Buddha statue gives you a greater than life feeling. Follow this up with a visit to “Wat Chalong”, which is the largest Buddhist temple in Phuket. Offer your prayers with candles and lotus, before view the walls and ceilings which are decorated with beautiful paintings that illustrate the life of Buddha.

Siam niramit showWhat good is a visit to Phuket if you have not witnessed the world class spectacular performance of Siam Niramit? Spending an evening to watch this dazzling show is a must. The Siam Niramit show boasts an 11-meter proscenium which is certified by Guinness World of Records as the world’s highest stage. The show comprises of royal processions, sword dances, bamboo dance, boxing matches, realistic rainfall, thunder and lightning. Huge ship, elephants with state-of-the-art special effects will make you wonder whether it is actually a stage show.

Another interesting place to visit would be Phuket’s “Trickeye Museum”. It is an interactive 3D painting exhibition offering amazing photo opportunities, perfect place to go if you are traveling with children. Needless to say, Phuket has so many shopping destinations, like Ranong Road, Phuket Weekend market, Patong market, and many more.

Where to stay in Phuket
Our team has featured for you some of the high-end accommodation in the island, specifically for families and couples. This information will help you choose the best place to stay according to your needs, while at the same time narrowing down the selection among the large number of luxury hotels that Phuket has.

Starting from the west coast, The Centara Blue Marine Resort & Spa is located in Patong Beach. It is designed in Thai contemporary Style and offers four distinct room categories. Rooms and Suites offer both Thai and Western amenities. The beautiful Patong beach is famous for its aquamarine water, and the ultimate party destination “the Bangla road” is just around the corner. The Phuket Fantasea, a nighttime cultural park, is also within a convenient reach from the resort, making The Centara Blue Marine Resort & Spa a perfect place for families.

If you are around Nang Thong Beach, you could stay at Centara Seaview Resort. While it is perfectly framed in the emerald blue waters of the Andaman Sea and a lush mountainous background, the resort offers a wide range of accommodation options ranging from comfortable garden view rooms to relaxing pool villas, along with a stunning beach. This tranquil spot is, however, only minutes away from the center of Patong, with its endless leisure attractions, shopping opportunities, and amazing nightlife. For travelers interested in restaurants, diving or sunsets, Nang Thong Beach is just a few walks away. The tranquil location, the facilities and easy access make this resort an ideal place to stay for families.

If you are looking for a place closer to the beach, Twinpalms Resort is only 100-meter distance from Surin Beach, which is perfect for couples who are looking for soothing tranquility of a secluded getaway. The area is famous for its beautiful stretches of golden tropical sand, making it a romantic spot to spend valuable time with your lover. The resort is surrounded by palms and features a private terrace facing the lagoon pool with garden view. For sure, by now you can imagine how lovely your holiday is going to be staying at Twinpalms Resort.

If you are keen for a mix of lavish gardens, clear sapphire-blue water and a sparkling white sandy beach, then The Haven Khalo Lak is a place to be. Situated on the famous Khuk Khak Beach, the resort offers a private beach, very suitable for a long romantic walk at sunset. For honeymooners, the Oceanfront Jacuzzi villa is highly recommended to embrace the perfect ambience.

Phuket holds a special place in everyone for its amazing hospitality, natural splendor and unique culture. It is a perfect destination if you are traveling with family or your loved one. At the end of the day, the most important thing in travel is not simply just about where you want to go, but it is also about how to spend most of your valuable time with the special people next to you. Now, how about sharing your holiday in Phuket with us? Let us know about other things to do that are not mentioned in this article, or luxury hotels that you think would be perfect for families and couples. However, if you haven’t been to Phuket, our team is also available to give the best recommendation to make your holiday in Phuket memorable.

This article is also published at Luxly Indonesia & Luxly Singapore

Dream Journey in Maldives

“I don’t want to be tied with someone. I want to be set free with someone…” This is an ideology fast setting in among couples all over the world. Most of them have bucket list of places they need to travel alone or with their beloved. One such have-to-go place is Maldives, a place where God has secured the best of everything. Famous for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs, Maldives has become very popular among the couples and is considered as one of the dream honeymoon destinations. This exquisite island sets your spirit free and gives you the amazing combination to enjoy nature as well as to spend the most romantic moments of your life.

Maldives is one of the most stunning nation surrounded by Indian Ocean. It is a tropical nation and comprises of 26 ring-shaped atolls made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. The small picturesque islands with dense tropical vegetation including shrubs, flowering plants and tall coconut palms and surrounded by dazzlingly white beaches, sparkling lagoons exhibiting all shades of blue and green has acclaimed Maldives to be “The Paradise on Earth”.

Being a tropical island, Maldives gives visitors a lot of option for water activities. Water sports such as diving, fishing, wakeboarding and windsurfing, snorkelling, scuba diving are the facilities which can be availed at most resorts. Morning fishing in Maldives is one of the most commonly experienced modes of sport. When the first rays of the tropical sunrise touch the sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean, the local Dhoni vessels set sail with fishing enthusiasts on board. Tourists enjoy the astounding marine vistas as they set off in the early hours of the morning. The Maldivian waters teem with fish and visitors can hope to catch unique specimens like barracuda, wahoo, rainbow fish, sailfish, swordfish, marlin and yellow fin tuna. The Bluetribe Moofushi diving centre is a famous one offering the best experience in terms of water sports activities, such as windsurfing, diving, snorkelling, kayaking, riding on catamarans/pedal boats, and many more activities. Moofushi is also known for the excursions where you can spot whale sharks, manta rays and a lot of fish from the shore.

When in Maldives, you should definitely opt for a one-day island tour to Fua Mulaku, Kudahuvadhoo, Mirihi Islands or Alimatha Island. Apart from soaking in the sapphire waters or sunbathing in the crystalline sands, you will find exotic tropical fruits and vegetables in the trips. You will come across unbelievably beautiful coral reefs of vivid colours found nowhere else. One such place is Banana Reef, which is the most sought out diving site in the Maldives. It is called Banana Reef because it has the shape of a banana that extends 300 meters from north to south. The major feature of the reef is its marine life, where you can find Napoleon Wrasse, Moray Eels and the rare Bannerfish. Manta Point is a diving area for the adventurous couples where you can enjoy seeing large numbers of manta rays being fed and cleaned by wrasses. You can swim with them and feed them plankton.

For the philosophical tourists, the Hukuru Miskiiy, also known as the Old Friday Mosque is a place to admire. It is the oldest mosque that can be found on the island. The interior of the mosque is superb, and its coral stone walls with carvings of different kinds of patterns and Arabic scripts is truly remarkable. It also houses tombs that have been erected for the memory of sultans, heroes and nobles. The calm and quiet place would be great for people to discover the Islamic culture the Maldivians follow. For the history admirers, the National Museum of Maldives gives a lot to explore. The building houses a lot of different kinds of historical artefacts that reflect the history of the country. The original museum was the old 3-story museum that is the only remaining part of the Maldivian Royal Palace. Another famous tourist attraction is the Male Fish Market where you can find almost any kind of fish. The market is very vibrant and colourful and is a great place to watch the life of Maldivian people up-close.

Maldivian nightlife tends to be on the calm side. Most of the resorts organise musical nights within the premises, near the ocean. It is an unforgettable experience listening to heavenly music and dancing away with your beloved beneath the stars, soaking in the beauty of ocean. Still, if you want to party the hard way, you can visit the chic Fifteen Below at W Retreat and Spa, the unique underwater Subsix nightclub at Per Aquum Niyama Resort or the Reethi Beach Resort, which enjoys a reputation of a socialites’ magnet.

What good is a honeymoon without sharing tasty meals with your partner. Explore the Maldivian cuisine including skipjack tuna, little tunney, yellowfin tuna, frigate tuna, bigeye scad, wahoo and mahi-mahi. Coconuts are a major part of many dishes in Maldives and can be served in grated form, as milk or as coconut oil which is used to deep fry foods. Visitors should also make sure to eat in the cafes, known locally as hotau.

Honeymoon is the most special time of our life, and we definitely want to make each moment memorable. So while planning a honeymoon getaway, booking the appropriate hotel/resort is the most important task. Maldives provides plenty of beautiful resorts to choose from. These high-end resorts are dedicated for those couples who do not mind going slightly over-budget and choose to indulge only in the best.

Palm Beach Resort & Spa is located in Lhaviyani Atoll, in the island of Madhiriguraidhoo reachable in 40-minute from Male International Airport via seaplane transfer. Surrounded by a 4 kilometres sandy beach, this resort brags of a pool bar, beach bar, coffee shop and a romantic, candle light dinner themed restaurants giving the guests no reason to step out of the resort. It has luxurious villas, suites with by the ocean with either sunset or sunrise view choice.

Adaaran Hudhuranfushi offers a holiday experience filled with sun and sea on Maldives’s Lhohifushi Island. The main attraction of this resort is the Water bungalows that allow unregulated access to the ocean waters and private sun decks. Wake up to the splashing of the morning tides and fall asleep listening to the gentle murmur of the waves all around you. Welcome to the contemporary tropical stay. Adaaran is about 19 kilometres from Male International Airport. From there, it is 30 minutes by speedboat to the island.

Anantara Dhigu offers stylish beachfront and over-water villas in the South Male Atoll where the beach goes around the entire island. Choose to stay in an over water pool villa, sunrise villa or a sunset villa. Savour your taste buds in the Maldivian, Thai and Japanese cuisine served in the finest restaurants here. Do not miss out on the Fresh seafood dishes served at Fuddan Fusion Grill. Anantara Dhigu is a 35-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport.

Baros Maldives Resort is a one-minute walk from the beach. Apart from the stunning villa to stay in, the guests are provided with unique destination dining options. Dine in style at the ‘Sandbank” surrounded by the turquoise water or enjoy a breakfast on the “Wooden Piano Deck” amidst the ocean. You could also sail away with your beloved on “Nooma” a traditional wooden sailing Dhoni to enjoy cocktails and dinner while watching the sunset. Baros Maldives is a 25-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport.

Adaaran Prestige Vadoo is another luxurious resort in Vadoo, which is famous for its bio-luminescent beaches. The glowing water in the dark is no less than a fairy-tale. This resort has villas enclosed in the Indian Ocean. Apart from the marvellous diving, snorkelling, spa and dining experiences, this resort provides the “Renewal of Vows”. Indulge in the best marriage ceremony exquisitely designed for you followed by a dreamy night with your partner and wake to champagne and lobsters. Adaaran Prestige Vadoo is 8 kilometres from Male International Airport, which is about 15 minutes by speedboat.

Anantara Veli Maldives Resort is a paradise enveloped in soft white sands and turquoise waters. Here, time is a luxury which is well spent in leisure and tranquillity. It houses only water bungalows leaving you with no other option than to spend each moment living in the ocean. Some amazing services provided by this resort are a memorable night at the movies where there are private cinema screenings amidst the coconut palms, and comfortable beanbags to sink into while keeping the sand between your toes, or taking a yoga class in the pavilion overlooking the Indian Ocean, guaranteed to uplift and inspire you and last. But the most romantic experience with your partner would be when you step into an aromatic floral bath filled with blends of lavender, lime and rosewood and enjoy the toast of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, decadent chocolate dipped fruits with gold leaves. Located within the South Male Atoll, Anantara Veli Maldives is a 35-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport.

Maldives is one place which guarantees an experience of a life time for honeymooners. The romantic ambience just sets you in the mood and you cannot help but be awestruck with all the beauty around. For people who are in search of a peaceful place where natural reserves are carefully preserved, staying options are advanced yet exotic, where people are welcomed with open hearts and their happiness and safety is never compromised, then Maldives is the place to be. As a quote says, “Sky above your head, sand beneath your feet… life is good.” You are bound to create the best memories of your life on this dream journey in Maldives.

Ubud’s Trekking Sites

Ubud is one such place in Bali offering umpteen beautiful places waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Not only the tourists, but also the local people of the island are still on this never-ending journey of discovering exquisite spots and soaking in its serenity. Though it is popularly known as the “Town of the Artists,” Ubud is also famous for its trekking trips through the rice fields and deep – dense forest. It is a highly recommended activity owing to the fact that there are amazing journeys to undertake and unbelievable destinations to reach.

ubud trekking siteThe famous trekking spot is the Campuhan Hill Ridge. To be on the safe side, start your morning or afternoon walk at the temple near Warwick Ibah Hotel. You will be entertained by tropical forests, charming houses and villas perched on the steep embankments of the river gorges. The trail surges along the open ridge line for about 2 kilometres before leading to a wide, broken road. The road then passes through a housing area and small art galleries, before finally emerges into few stunning terraced rice fields. The road continues on until meeting a main country road, and from there you can make a circle by turning left and following the main road back down into Ubud or else backtracking along Bukit Campuhan. Backtracking is the discreet, most charming route. You just need to stick to the path and you will be just fine.

Elephant treks are also arranged around Ubud. You can experience the feeling like a king atop an elephant trampling its way through the tropical, dense jungles. The jungle trails are steep in some places so you need to hold on to your seats tight. You can get off the elephants near the streams, lakes and take a quick dip. The same trek can also be experienced at night. This is a completely enchanted elephant experience through the dimly lit forest.

Taman Sari Temple is another trekking spot you may want to consider if you are up for rice fields view. Go for a short walk in the lush, green, terraced rice paddies to see villagers planting and harvesting rice as well as the traditional Balinese irrigation system. As you hear a numerous little birds chirping, you can absorb the greenery and freshness of the paddy fields. Continue your walk through the lush forested areas, plantations full of Balinese staples and cash crops like cloves, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, tapioca, taro, local vegetables and exotic tropical fruits. You will definitely come across some traditional craftsmen at work producing exquisite craft items tirelessly.

ubud trekking siteTegallalang Rice Terraces can also be your trekking spot. Internationally well-known for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies, involving the traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system called Subak, Tegallalang is one of the most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud region. The roadside location is cool and breezy, perfect combination for trekking. However, if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful surrounding, this is not the place to be as you will see tourists taking photos as well as numerous art kiosks and cafes near the ledge offering their ware.

The best time to trek in Ubud is the dry season. Rainy seasons make the mountains as well as the forests a dangerous place, and trekking is not recommended. Always aim to start a trek very early in the morning so that you can complete it by noon before the sun is up. Sunrise treks require you to be up all night, so a good sleep is recommended before it. You definitely need to carry sum woollen clothes since the mountains can get really windy and chilly. The sunset treks are also equally beautiful, but it is better that you come back in a car and not by walk for your safety in the dark. Ensure that you stay hydrated at all times to fight fatigue. Try the Balinese sweet coconut water to hydrate yourself.

Alternatively, you can always create your own trekking spot. Simply put on your walking shoes and start exploring the area. As a quote says, “Not all those who wander are lost”, the idea of walking around Ubud is to meet a lot of villagers, farmers, craftsmen who are very friendly and ready to interact with you. This way you can explore the Balinese lifestyle and culture very closely. At the end of the day, trekking is all about discovering places and yourself. So, be a traveller! Bring out the kid in you and plunge into trekking to see a new side of the island.

Memorable Stay at Sohotel Hongkong

You are invited with great pleasure to Sohotel; a fifteen-story hotel where the touch of West and the vibrancy of the modernism, very near to the heart of cosmopolitan Soho, will make you do not want to miss the pleasure of visiting it for at least once. Located very convenient for any types of traveler, this 2009 award winning for the best hotel design from Great China Design Award, is second to none.

As you enter its square-like main entrance, you will quickly get a sense and fragrance of what it means to be in a place of incomparable luxury and an endless color combination. It is your first vivid memory and the beginning of an unforgettable experience, as you will stay for a while at its entrance and try to imagine the sense of comfort waiting inside your own room. The white, light green and black color in the lobby blend together to create a great impression to the eye and will leave you a mark inside your head until the day you check out.

With the latest word of modern furniture and characteristic illustrations that hide the secrets of China’s deepest history and witness the inspiration of an artist with great aesthetics, the hotel’s flowered glassy lobby brings instantly an aura of hospitality, coziness and comfort.

No visitor will want to miss reserving one of the Sohotel’s marvelously decorated and equipped rooms. The standard room includes a very comfortable bed that offers the mere simplicity of needed and deserved relaxation. The visitor can either enjoy the tranquility of sleeping at its relaxing white blankets, or simply zapping through the incredible variety of channels that a flat screen 22-inches LCD television includes for his exclusive pleasure. Sitting in front of the room’s window in the room, while sipping a fresh Chinese Tea, will trigger the enjoyment of watching the luminous of Hong Kong night. You will start to make plans for visiting the rest of the many attraction sites that Hong Kong has to offer on the days ahead. Our super speed wifi will help you to browse those attraction places easily. We have two computers standby for your convenience at the lobby.

Why not enjoying these moments with a beloved person? Sink deeper into the stunning architecture of a junior suite room, and create memories of what it is to see, hear, taste and feel the love of pure hospitality. The room includes a private comfortable bathroom with many exclusive amenities where you can indulge into a relaxing, and refreshing bathtub that will take away all the strain and fatigue of your long day trip. The double bed will provide enough space for you and the special ones to lie down and describe so many pictures that the incredible town of Hong Kong has left you, the moment your airplane landed on the ground. Our 32-inches flat screen television will pamper you through the night.

A superior double and twin room is also waiting to satisfy every demand of color delicacy and welcoming Chinese authenticity. Blended red and grey combinations along with luminous white ceilings will create an impression that it could resemble a very neat royal room which crosses the threshold of the usual hotel staying for the night and goes beyond a sensation that you owe this very well selected premise.

Do not even think for one moment that you will be alone during this incredible stay. Apart from the room’s hospitable aura, and the feeling that you have a lot to do and know as your journey in Hong Kong continues, there is a very hospitable and friendly hotel stuff waiting for you to be served, so as to understand what it is to prolong this magical staying. Having “Give a bit extra” philosophy as our solid foundation, you will be amazed the personal touch that we create in serving all guests. Not just we remember all guests’ name, but we also aware and prepare a special gift for those who are having a birthday during their stay.

Do not hesitate to ask our assistance, so that you will not miss even one of the hotels incomparable service, and the chance to get complete information on the breathtaking sites and places that Hong Kong has in store for every guest. To reserve your place at a wonderful expedition in the city’s historical spots, you can arrange a wonderful local tour with a guide that will show you all the sightseeing, which everyone should admire before returning back. For those who have a more eclectic and demanding taste to wonder about the avenues and sites of Hong Kong, our staff will help you to select the best tour packages that meet your needs and pocket, yet still give a tone of extra luxury to the journey.

And while your magnificent journey to the town that welcomes all civilizations reaches the end, we would like to say goodbye to you even during your last moments of your visit. Ask our staff to arrange your airport transfer service for your convenience, and promise us for the next stay at Sohotel in the future. We will definitely reserve you another warm welcome.

Either you are a parent, a group of friends, a solo traveler, a couple who wants to live romance, or a businessman who wants to add professional prestige to his business, this hotel is the perfect place for you. A place in our heart. Live the experience of a hotel that cares for the visitor as if a member of its own big family!

Embrace the life as we will always embrace you!

This article is also published at Sethlestath Travel

Living Life to the Fullest at Tegal Wangi Beach

Every once in a while you need a getaway vacation to relax, enjoy and see what else the world has to offer apart from your usual daily routine. The trick for the vacation is the choice of destination, be it the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean or even the remote beaches in enchanting Islands. It matters a lot where you choose to enjoy your holidays.

So there I was, riding my motorbike heading to the entrance gate of Ayana Resort and Spa Bali, about 30 minutes from the airport, and continued along the countryside road to the right. A five minute drive led me to this so called Hidden Beach with its killer view. It is originally named Tegal Wangi Beach as it is located in Tegal Wangi Street, but I guess the backpacker community who found the place changed it to whatever they wanted it to be; Hidden Beach. However, since the post signs telling the location of the beach are everywhere, I don’t think to put a label as “Hidden” would be appropriate anymore.

tegal wangi beachIt was almost 5pm when I got there, and I noticed a group of people (mostly Korean, Chinese or Japanese) lined up to take turn pre-wedding shoot in the sideline of the cliff. I parked my motorbike in this huge parking space next to Pura Segara Temple. From where I stood, I could feel the ocean breeze greeted my face, and it was a good feeling. As I waltzed closer to the cliff… magnificent view! Clear blue water with curling waves hitting the beach down there. Hiked down was the only option. Fairly terrifying for the first timer, but actually it is quite easy once you get a hold of one rock to another. Well at least for me, because after all, I was just following the path that people do to travel down.

It was a perfect day to go to the beach. Gratitude to the man up there for this lovely day. All the sudden, I was surrounded by cliffs and white clean sand. If there was no pre wedding session near me, I would be like Tom hanks being isolated in ‘Cast Away’. I mean there are spots to fish not far from the beach. There are cozy rocks to lie down. There are small caves to hide you from the rain or sun. So basically, this beach provides shelter, food, and bed. So I said to myself, “Man, I could live here.” God must have spent a little bit more time on this beach.

This semi hidden beach has two ‘ocean Jacuzzis’ facing directly to the ocean wide as if welcoming to the glorious waves. Unfortunately, these beach basins are only available during low tide. It is impossible to see them when the high tide is on. It is dangerous and I wouldn’t recommend to hangout near or even stay inside the cave as the big waves will always hit the cave and suck everything back to the ocean in seconds! I have to warn you, big waves come and go quite often. Keep alert and be prepared.

When the sun began to set behind the western of horizon, new faces were popping up at the beach. That was my cue to hike back up to the cliff. Looking back at the hidden jewel beneath me, I realized that only a small number of locals were down there at the beach. It was hard for me to comprehend the fact that this beautiful site was unknown to even the locals, such amazing facts I got to learn. I must say that this trip was definitely worth it, and it goes without saying that it is one of those places that I will never tire of. I will definitely return not for the fun part of it but for the serenity the beach offered me. I will remain myself to revisit this beach in the morning.

On my way back to the parking lot, I stumbled on an Italian couple. Quick chat led to another thing, and next thing I realized the guy quoted something that stick in my head until now. “You can be the most beautiful person in the world that everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but all of that doesn’t even matter if you don’t realize it.” Referring to what he said, I guess Tegal Wangi Beach realizes its beauty, allowing me and the visitors here something to be remembered for the rest of the day.