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Must-see places and can’t miss things to do from Malé to Bali

Fabulous Fun on Father’s Day

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He’s the one who took you to the doctor when you fell off your bike; and the one who taught you how to ride it in the first place. He hugged you tight whether or not you got As, and didn’t mind the mess in your room. He picked you up from your first dance party and opined that nobody was good enough for you. Through it all, you counted on him for the best advise and unwavering support. He will always be special, and gifts or words in praise will never be enough.

But there’s something you can do to bring a smile to his face. Surprise him with an unforgettable trip, a holiday of a lifetime. A vacation for the family, away from daily life, where you all can sit around in the evening, chatting up a storm or where he can relax and relive his youth playing with grown-up toys.

We have curated a handpicked list of vacation homes ideal for a Father’s Day getaway, or even just a trip to treat him to the one thing he values the most – quality time with family.

Bali

Pool fun is on the cards at Villa Malaathina, where a large swimming pool sits in the centre of the spacious grounds. Flat-roofed designs accentuate the villa’s special features: a bale by the pool which contains a dining area, a teppanyaki pavilion and a sunset terrace on which three large chairs shaped like giant chocolate Kisses rest. Dad will love the barbecue area and the ready-to-go Bose and Sonos sound systems. Villa Malaathina is in the Umalas region – a blissful rural area in Bali. But Seminyak is only 15 minutes away, where you will find fabulous restaurants, bars and spas.

Nearby, also in the Umalas region, Villa Umah Daun sits overlooking some rice terraces. Indonesian for ‘leaf house’, Villa Umah Daun has five large bedroom suites, a series of pavilions and gorgeous bowed roofs. The living pavilions, containing the dining area and living room, curve around the swimming pool in a charming fashion. Dad will love the relaxed vibe, the villa’s modern design and family appeal. There’s also a tree house, games room, kids’ wading pool and jacuzzi for unlimited fun. Best of all is the climate-controlled wine room;

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Mammoth Fun in Exotic Phuket

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Phuket has long been known for its vibrant nightlife and unparalleled party-scene. But there is another side to the island that few take the time to discover. With lush rainforests climbing over mountains and spilling onto white-sand beaches, Phuket holds treasures just waiting to be discovered.

On your next trip here, why not leave aside the tickmarked must-do list and go beyond the obvious? Discover the Phuket that few know, a land that takes time to open up to strangers like a shy neighbour. But when it does, you will be enamoured by the experiences it holds.

“Phuket island offers so much more than stunning beaches, amazing sunrise and sunsets,” shares Femke Beekers, Elite Havens Country Head, Thailand. “Let us take you to a deserted island nearby to discover the mysterious underwater world, or allow us to showcase the different cultures on the island, visiting the amazing melt of our Buddhist, Chinese descent and Muslim tribes. Phuket has so much to offer, this merely scratches the surface.”

 

One of the most memorable things you can do on the island is plan a visit to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. The first and only ethical elephant sanctuary in Paklok, Phuket, it is a haven for elephants who have done their time in the logging trade or as part of the elephant trekking industry. Take a peek into the tough lives that these gentle beasts have led, often mistreated and denied basic rights and care. It is an eye-opener, to be exposed to their side of the story. Majestic animals that belong in the jungle, and not in towns, treated as a prop or an attraction.

At Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, these retired and rescued elephants can live in their natural habitat and are treated with the utmost respect. It was founded as a partnership between Mr. Montri Todtane, ex-owner of an elephant camp in Phuket; world-renowned elephant rescuer and conservationist Lek Chailert, founder of Save Elephant Foundation; and Louise Rogerson, founder of EARS Asia.

Choose between the morning program or the afternoon program, where you can observe these grand animals from a respectful distance. Sit in the strategically placed observation salas and witness the elephants go about their natural daily routine –

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The Great Uluwatu: Nature’s Best Friend

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Uluwatu is part of a large limestone peninsula in southern Bali called ‘The Bukit’. Literally meaning ‘the hill’, The Bukit offers stunning clifftop ocean views, where you can visually feast on spectacular sunsets over the blue waters. “Glorious blue ocean, glistening white sandy beaches and dramatic clifftop vistas are inescapable in Uluwatu,” says Andy Grant, Head of Concierge at Elite Havens.

A Finely-Curated Tour of Uluwatu

Explore Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park

A special inclusion for guests staying at select villas in the region, our signature Uluwatu tour allows a relaxed start and begins with a stop at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. Look up and gaze in awe at a huge statue of Lord Vishnu riding his mount Garuda, standing at about 120 metres – taller than the Statue of Liberty. It is an unexpected surprise to find such a mammoth display hidden away on a tiny island in Indonesia.

The park includes an amphitheater, an exhibition hall, and a large area called the Lotus Pond, where many famous rock bands have performed in the past.  Your personal tour guide will be happy to capture this moment for you, should you want a photograph at the spot.

Enjoy Pandawa Beach

He can also give you the lowdown on the history of the park and of Pandawa Beach, a glistening spot a short drive away. “From start to finish, you are escorted by our experienced driver, who is also your guide for the day, sharing local knowledge and insights into each area,” says Andy.

Dine at Roosterfish Beach Club

Pandawa Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Bali; the fact that it’s also less crowded than Seminyak and Kuta adds to its draw. After some beach-time, you have the option of having lunch at Roosterfish Beach Club, where the smell of wood-fired oven pizzas and grilled local seafood wafts in the air. The beach club is right on the sand, so get ready to have some fun!

Watch a Kecak Fire Dance

The build-up is appropriate to set the tone for the most important stop of the day – the majestic Uluwatu Temple.

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Bali’s Cultural, Spiritual and Creative Centre: Ubud

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Ubud is in many ways Bali’s cultural, spiritual and creative centre. Just an hour’s drive north of the airport, it is home to one of Bali’s royal families who actively support the arts, leading to a thriving art scene. Along Ubud’s main street are galleries and stores selling antiques, woodcarvings, bright textiles and beautiful paintings.

An Expertly-Curated Tour of Ubud

As a special gesture to our guests staying in select villas in the region, Elite Havens is offering a luxurious signature cultural immersion tour, carefully curated by our Elite Concierge team. Embark on a journey into the heart of Ubud and get an insight into what makes it so delightfully unique. “We’ve chosen what we feel are the highlights of each location, so our guests can get a glimpse of the province over the course of a day, and it’s all wrapped it up in true Elite Havens style,” assures Andy Grant, Head of Concierge for Elite Havens.

Discover Batuan Village

Batuan, a village in Ubud noted for its artwork, is our first stop in the signature Elite Havens Ubud tour. It contains many cooperative art societies and galleries, which have all played a key role in promoting the local art of Batuan. Batuan is also a style of painting that originated in the village in the 1930s, and your Elite Havens guide will reveal further insights during the exclusive tour. “Expect to see true tropical jungles with vast ravines, and an abundance of local artisans working at their crafts, which have been passed down through generations,” Andy shares.

See Batuan Temple

You will be warmly welcomed into the home of a Balinese family, an unmissable opportunity where you can get a glimpse into the daily life of locals. Proceed from here to the stunning Batuan Temple, which is characterised by towering dark stones. Adorned with Balinese ornaments and elegant black roofs, the temple is known for housing ancient relics from prehistoric times. You will learn from your guide about the influence of Hindu culture in the region, and the origin of the statues on display.

Marvel at Art

We then take you to one of Ubud’s most prominent art galleries. Pause a while and take a look,

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Verdant Landscapes, Rolling Hills and Rice Terraces in Bali’s Tabanan Region

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Verdant landscapes, rolling hills and endless rice terraces characterise Bali’s Tabanan region. This off-the-beaten-track area is nature-rich and rife with discoveries to be made. Ancient temples, towering mountains and even a UNESCO World Heritage Site are all part of this lush territory. Deserted beaches abound, offering fabulous surf, minus the jostling crowds.

The Tantalizing Tabanan Tour

Our Elite Concierge has curated a spectacular tour of Tabanan, offered gratis to guests staying in select villas in the region. Take a trip down the path less trodden, where adventure and the pleasure of seeking out the new take centre stage. We give you a guided tour through astounding greenery that will take your breath away. Drive all the way up steep hills to the highest peaks, to experience the best views and  the most wondrous sights. “Holiday time is precious as well as limited, so we want to ensure guests embarking on our curated tours really get to experience the best the region has to offer,” says Andy Grant, Elite Havens’ Head of Concierge.

Marvel at Batukaru Temple

A private vehicle with your own personal guide will pick you up from your villa and take you to the Batukaru Temple. Situated at the foot of Mount Batukaru, the temple also has a freshwater spring in the main courtyard that serves as a water source for prayers and ceremonies. As a special gesture from Elite Havens, you may experience a spiritual water blessing at the temple.

Since the 11th century, Balinese Hindus have considered the mysterious site sacred. Often misty due to its elevation, it has an altitude of 2,270m above sea level, the second highest peak in Bali after Mount Agung. It is surrounded by natural forests and is equally perfect for breathing in spirituality and blessings, as it is for Instagram-worthy photo ops. “With the most stunning scenery, for me the regency of Tabanan gives a true sense of authentic, rural Bali,” adds Andy.

Explore Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are one of the tour’s highlights. The paddies fall in a rush, down steep hills, and are surrounded by troughs of water. The area is a draw for the athletically-inclined,

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