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Mind Your Manners: DOs and DONTs in Bali

in Culture/Destinations/Tips by

Bali is a treasure trove with plenty to discover, unique local culture and is inhabited by the warmest of people. The Balinese are so polite that most wouldn’t even dream of pointing out even the most horrendous cultural transgression delivered unknowingly by a visitor. To save you the embarrassment, here is a list of some cultural nuances which will serve you well when you visit the Island of the Gods.

DOs

1. Learn a few thoughtful Indonesian phrases such as ‘thank you’ – terimah kasih or ‘good morning’ – selamat pagi. To surprise the Balinese, say a few words of their indigenous language. ‘Hello’ is swastiasu; ‘thank you’ suksma and ‘you’re welcome’ suksma mwali. The locals will appreciate the fact that you made the effort.

2. Dress appropriately when visiting temples. The island is full of extraordinary open-air temples and everyone who visits must wear a sarong and waist sash. Frequently visited temples may have these garments available for visitors, but for smaller temples, take your own. Don’t show too much skin up, out of respect. T-shirt style coverage is perfect.

3. Take off your shoes when entering a temple, a home and often shops. Take your lead by checking the entrance for evidence of others’ shoes and follow suit.

4. Observe one of the many ceremonies that you are likely to chance upon. It is not considered rude, so feel free to watch the locals but do sit behind the priest who is easy to spot given the accoutrements of the role.

5. Ensure you buy travel insurance. Accidents happen, in the most unexpected of places. Did you know that gravity’s pull on a falling coconut harms more world travelers every year than sharks do?

6. Be sensitive when money is clearly counted out to the last rupiah in front of you. Indonesians are highly transparent with money. It leaves no space for accidental short-changing.

7. Haggle at the markets as it is expected and a bit of fun, but do so with a smile and in a polite, fun manner. Enjoy the rolling of the eyes and all the associated drama but don’t suggest unreasonably low prices. A dollar means more to a local than it perhaps does to you.

8.

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Selong Selo’s Best-Kept Secrets, From Surf Breaks to Fishing Spots

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Imagine what you could do in a land of lulling seas, tropical breezes and endless fields. From high-adrenaline activities to pure relaxation escapes, Lombok has it all.  There’s a wealth of activities to be enjoyed and savoured. At Selong Selo, water activities to explore the unadulterated beauty of the ocean can be tailor-made to suit your desires. Where do you begin?

SURFING

Beginners will enjoy Selong Belanak Beach. It’s a sandy-bottom shore break and thus has a perfect set-up for foam boards. It offers a beach break across the 1.7 km stretch of the beach, with most surfing in the Eastern corner.

Location: Selong Belanak Beach

Surfing Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Length: ½ day trip

Gerpuk is best for beginner to advanced surfers. Five different surf breaks makes it South Lombok’s most popular surfing bay. Only 50 minutes away from Selong Selo, it is protected from the winds via surrounding hills.

Location: Gerpuk

Level: Beginner to Advanced

Length: ½ day trip

Mawi is best for intermediate and advanced surfers. This reef break offers a charming peak with short hollow rights and lefts. At 6 ft. plus, Mawi transforms into a heaving left barrel, with elevator drops and heavy hold-downs. At 8-10 ft., it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s best on mid-tides and a south-east trade wind from May to September, but holds swell all year round.

Location: Mawi

Surfing Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Length: ½ day trip

Located West of Selong Belanak beach, Serangan Beach is a popular “secret” beach. This break is best for intermediate to advanced surfers. It is only 15 minutes from Selong Selo and mornings are perfect for a solo surf. 

Location: Serangan

Surfing Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Length: ½ day trip

STAND UP PADDLEBOARD (SUP)

For a gentle first experience in Stand-Up Paddleboard, Selong Belanak and Kuta beaches are great locations. There are several expansive and protected bays to explore. A sunset paddleboard is recommended because it’s an apt time of day to experience cooling down. An added bonus? You’ll see some of the most beautiful sunsets in Asia.

Locations: Selong Belanak,

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Influencer of the Day: Jessica Iskandar

in Culture/Destinations/People by

As an actress, model, presenter, singer, comedian and businesswoman, Indonesian Jessica Iskandar is multi-talented and multifaceted. Her businesses include Jedar Cosmetics, Baby El Bakery, Jessica Iskandar Fashion,  and even her own villa, Villa Jedar.

She began her film career in 2005 and has an Instagram following of 18.8 million. In 2012, Jessica was named the Indonesia Earth Hour ambassador and in 2018 she became a guest judge in Asia’s Next Top Model Season 6 in Thailand. She has a young son named El Barack Alexander and is set to wed Australian actor and model Richard Kyle in Bali in April.

We sat down with Jessica for a brief catch-up at an elite haven, Villa Adasa, where she stayed for a few days.

Elite Havens: Hi, Jessica! Congratulations on your engagement party. How was it? 

Jessica Iskandar: Thank you! It was one of the best moments of my life! Everyone attended the party, not even one person missed it! Richard was very sweet when he told me his words. We feel blessed that both families are very supportive of our relationship and our engagement.

EH: Will there be a series of events before your wedding day?

JI: We will have an event in Australia with a little party with the family. The bachelor party will be with Elite Havens in Phuket. I’ll gather family and my girls’ squad for a sunset dinner, spa, manicure and pedicure, girls day out and other activities!

EH: What do you like about staying with Elite Havens?

JI: Elite Havens is your best solution for your holiday. They are like magicians and just make things happen! Just say what you need and it will be in front of your eyes right away!

EH: What is your favourite part of Villa Adasa

JI: The best spot for us is the bale beside the pool. It’s so relaxing to stay there with my family. You can even sleep and gather with your family at the bale in full privacy. The villa is so peaceful and quiet.

I also love the master bedroom so much.

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The Ultimate Bali Summer Events Guide You’ll Need

in Culture/Destinations/Families/Recreation by

No matter what time of year, expect a holiday in Bali to be bustling with activity. But in the months of July and August, when the days are sunniest and the weather is driest, the island turns into a veritable party island. A wealth of activities are on-hand. Whether you’re travelling with friends, family, or your significant other, expect to be flooded with choice. Festivals, concerts, events and conventions are aplenty. These are the months Bali is most alive.

In September, as things die down, there is still a plethora of activities – what with less traffic and cheaper airfare. Everyday is a discovery, but with less people populating the streets.

Whichever month you choose to come to Bali, an elite haven will always be waiting for you. Grab your suitcase and head to the Island of the Gods!

JULY
Surfing Contests

The sponsors and activities change every year but you’ll find top international surf contests being held throughout the summer. It’s not just peak tourist season but also peak wave season! Surf to your heart’s content!

When: July and August

Where: Padang Padang Beach, West Sumatra

Gypsy Land

Equivalent to Burning Man – but in Bali – Gyspy Land is an art-filled techno festival in Seminyak. Three hectares of land are flooded with revelers dressed in outrageous gear and costumes that will make your eyes pop. There are two themes to explore: Alice in Wonderland and Mad Max.

When: July 13-14

Where: Seminyak

Bali Blues Festival 

Does the smooth sounds of the Blues titillate you? Then this is where you need to be. The Bali Blues Festival is back for its fifth year, featuring musicians from around the globe.

When: July 13 – 14

Where: Peninsula Island, Nusa Dua

Makepung Race, Governor’s Cup

Makepung is a tradition from the agrarian livelihood of the island and the race of water buffalo is a wonderful spectacle. The racing course is about 2 kilometres and the farmers come to race for honour.

When: July 14

Where: Jembrana, West Bali

Tulamben Festival

This event highlights exhibitions and a fantastic art and culture parade.

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Visiting Galle? Do Not Miss These 5 Attraction Sites

in Culture/Destinations/Recreation by

Galle in Sri Lanka is a perfect example of the fusion of European and Asian styles. Its natural beauty, superb archaeological location and rich heritage have made it an outstanding coastal city of Sri Lanka.

It is hard to believe that a city that is buzzing with business activities has managed to successfully preserve ancient heritage in such an amazing manner. If you are travelling to Galle for the first time, include these 5 attraction sites into your list of must-visits.

The UNESCO-Listed Galle Fort

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The Galle Dutch Fort is a rare historical jewel protected by dark, thick stone walls – with the endless ocean on one side. It was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th-century from 1649 onwards. Even after more than 428 years, the roads inside the Galle Fort have hardly changed, like the squares on a chess board crisscrossing in regular patches. Straight and narrow lanes branch in and out inviting the visitor to a delightful walk into the 17th century. The fort is big enough to feel a tiny bit lost at times, but small enough to explore on foot.

No.39 Galle Fort is tucked along Lighthouse Street in Galle Fort. The historic heritage house is airy, spacious and charming. Ideal for families and a group of friends looking for an easy access to the many iconic attractions on this historic locale – Galle Fort’s iconic landmarks are only footsteps away.

1Galle Fort Lighthouse

Another fantastic landmark is the Galle Lighthouse, Sri Lanka’s oldest light station, dating back to 1848. The original 24.5-metre-high lighthouse (built by the British) was destroyed by fire in 1934. Standing tall at 26.5-metre-high, the current lighthouse was erected in 1939 to replace it.

Come here early morning and you might catch the fishermen on their stilts, or late afternoon to see the sunset. A relaxing walk on the fortification along the sea is highly recommended.

4Japanese Peace Pagoda

Built by Nipponzan Myohoji monks, the Japanese Peace Pagoda is one of the most tranquil attractions of the city and exudes a sense of calm. If you came to Galle seeking for spirituality and inner peace, this is the place to be.

The Pagoda is only a short walk to Jungle Beach.

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