Tips

Travel ingenuity from our island hopping holiday experts

Concierge Recommends: Seminyak

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While you are cocooned in luxury, cared for by attentive staff and reveling in your own private pool, decadent restaurants, classy cocktail bars and shopping boutiques are right outside your doorstep. Welcome to chic Seminyak, where you will find the choicest of swinging cafés, designer shops and spas. Relax in your designer villa, and when the itch to go out wins, take a leisurely stroll towards Seminyak’s beaches, stopping on the way for a tropical cocktail at one of the many beach clubs in the area. If you like to be in the thick of action, it doesn’t get more central than this. 

We asked our Elite Concierge to pick the best of the best in Seminyak for each category. Here’s the exclusive hand-picked list, with insider tips and information, just for you.

Beach Club

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Iconic is an understatement. #KUDETA

A post shared by KU DE TA (@kudetabali) on Jun 1, 2019 at 1:20am PDT

Ku De Ta. This iconic establishment is known world over and it continues to serve sensational food and cocktails in an outstanding beachfront location, walking distance from many of our Seminyak villas. The music is always peppy, and it has an unmistakable vibe of people having a good time. Ku De Ta’s legendary events and parties never fail to disappoint and our guests can take advantage of Ku Cards – an exclusive privilege offered to Elite Havens.

Cocktail Bar

El Nacional.  Tucked away discreetly, this all-time favourite bar is accessed by walking through a ramen noodle restaurant. Up a flight of stairs and you’re transported to a Cuban-style rum bar serving sensational cocktails served by mixologists who are truly passionate about their craft. Catch groovy tunes mixed by great DJs and look out for Latin Nights coming up on the calendar very soon.

Coffee Shop or Café

Revolver. Indonesians take their coffee very seriously,

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A Day to Remember in Phuket

in Destinations/Tips/Weddings by

With its vivid blue sea, white sand beaches and fiery tropical sunsets, Phuket is amongst the world’s most favoured wedding destinations. Aside from its breathtaking natural beauty, this Thai island is home to a rich and friendly culture, incredible cuisine and some outstanding villa venues offering expert hospitality and exquisite locales for saying, “I do”.

You’ve found true love and you’re ready to commit to each other. What better way to celebrate the start of this grand adventure than with a Phuket wedding? For couples bound by love tinged with wanderlust, tying the knot in a tropical paradise offers an enticingly exotic way to launch into a journey of wedded bliss.

Malaiwana’s Villa Haleana

With its modern design and elegant furnishings, Villa Haleana is an ideal wedding villa for the stylish set. Enjoy magical sea views from its hillside setting, with Nai Thon Beach just below, perfect for taking in the sunset or going for a stroll. Located within the secure Malaiwana Estate, Villa Haleana is perfect for weddings and large celebrations, with the option of accommodating the entire wedding party in neighbouring and equally luxurious villas and residences. Found along the lesser-travelled northwest Phuket coast, between the airport and the touristy part of town, it is situated along a quiet stretch, yet walking distance from restaurants, local stores and bars. 

Absolute heaven awaits with an 18-metre pool, large pool terrace, lavish spa room, gym, and multiple areas to dine, relax and entertain. Effortlessly elegant, yet warmly welcoming, all six bedrooms offer stunning sea views. Villa Haleana can host up to 80 guests for an event.

First-hand account of a Villa Haleana bride:

On April 16, 2019, we hosted an amazing wedding in Phuket, with our beloved friends and families. It took eight months of preparation, with a lot of ups and downs leading up to the wedding day. Mother Nature added an element of fun, as it started raining during our outdoor wedding. But The Bridal Planner Team consistently supported and helped us throughout the planning process. What could have been a disaster, turned into one of the most memorable weddings ever! Our friends and family loved every moment of the indoor entertainment.

-Debbie Lee

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How To Get To The Home of Powder Snow, Niseko

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Famed for prolific white powder snow, fabulous accommodation and apres-ski scene, Niseko lures winter sports enthusiasts from around the globe.  Yet this beautiful region in the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, has more to offer than topnotch skiing and snowboarding, with stunning alpine scenery making it a popular year-round destination. Here are some insider tips on how to get to Niseko.

By Plane

Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport is just 110 km from Niseko and is well serviced by domestic and international flights from many parts of Asia, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hawaii. Those travelling from further afield can easily connect through Tokyo Narita International airport, with a two-hour flight time to Sapporo. Book as early as possible to get the best rates.

Ski season runs from late November to early May and if you fly into New Chitose, the quickest way to hit the ski slopes is by taxi or private transfer. Catching a bus is also cheap and easy and takes approximately 2 – 2.5 hours.

For a private door to door service try Sky Express otherwise White Liner Ski Bus, Hokkaido Resort Liner  and NGS Big Runs all have various drop off points in Niseko.  

By Land

Driving yourself is another option, but while rental cars are fitted with snow tires, it is not recommended unless you are experienced driving in wintery conditions.

Parking in Niseko is also limited in the busy winter months, so  its  better to save the car-hiring option for the summer months when you can enjoy a leisurely cruise up to the mountains, stopping to enjoy the glorious scenery along the way.

Trains also depart directly from the airport to JR Kutchan Station (a 10 minute taxi ride from Niseko), but you will need to change at Otaru station for a total travel time of around 3 hours. Japan has one of the best developed rail networks in the world which is something to consider when travelling from other regions.

If coming from Tokyo, you can experience the famous Shinkansen bullet train, which travels up to 320 km an hour and hurtles through an undersea tunnel that connects the main island of Honshu with Hokkaido.

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How To Be Culturally Correct in Thailand

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Known as ‘The Land of Smiles’, Thailand is a treasure trove of cultural delights, inhabited by gracious and warm people. While Thais are known for being open, tolerant and hospitable, they may not always understand the nuances and eccentricities of other cultures. With this in mind, courtesy and respect in all your interactions with local people goes a long way.

Here are a few tips to help bridge cultural gaps and enhance your stay in Thailand:

THE DOs

Do try to wai.

This much-used Thai greeting involves a slight bow, with hands pressed together at upper chest level in a prayer-like way. Younger people will wai their elders first, and the greeting is then reciprocated. The Wai is also used to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’, and generally to show respect.

Do accompany your wai with a hello: “Sawasdee kha” (if you are a woman) and “Sawasdee khrap” (if you are a man).
Do get travel insurance.

Accidents happen and can be even more daunting when you are away from home. Gravity’s pull on a falling coconut harms more world travelers every year than sharks do!


Do visit some temples.

Thailand is full of beautiful temples (wats) and visiting them provides a fascinating window into many aspects of daily life. Visitors are welcomed, but proper dress is expected. Good temple etiquette requires that your legs, shoulders and upper arms are covered and shoes are removed. Temples regularly visited by tourists will usually have sarongs available for those who turn up inadequately dressed, but when visiting lesser-known temples, it’s useful to bring your own.

Do be adventurous with Thai cuisine.

Thai food is usually lightly cooked and fragrant, with an emphasis on fresh herbs and spices. Sweet, sour and spicy flavours are combined to create dishes that not only taste sublime, but are beautiful to look at too. The food can get quite fiery, so let them know if you can not handle too much chilli.

Do eat with a spoon.

Most Thai dishes are served in bite-size pieces and eaten with a spoon and fork, but the fork is just used to push food onto the spoon.

Do haggle when you are market shopping.

Haggling is expected and taken as a bit of fun.

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Mind Your Manners: DOs and DON’Ts in Bali

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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. 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 om swastiasu; ‘thank you’ suksma and ‘you’re welcome’ suksma mewali. 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. Please do not sit higher that the locals. Better to sit on the ground as they pray on the ground, too.

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.

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