Destinations - page 26

Everything we love about our exclusive luxury holiday rentals

Lombok’s Pink Sand Beach

in Destinations/Families/Recreation by
pink sand beach lombok island

The dreamy beaches on the Indonesian island of Lombok are on every visitor’s ‘Things to Do’ list. One of them presents a rare natural phenomenon you need to see for yourself.

Tangsi Beach, better known as Pink Beach is on the island’s far south-eastern shore, and it’s one of only 10 pink sand beaches in the world. Indonesia boasts two beautiful pink beaches – the other is on Lombok’s neighbour island, Flores.

Woman walking on Pink Sand Beach Lombok

WHAT MAKES THE SAND PINK?

The waves bring millions of dead red coral fragments to the beach, blending them with the white sand and giving it its glorious pink tint.

A hidden gem untouched by mass tourism due to its secluded location, Tangsi Beach is a perfect destination as part of a memorable day out exploring the unique natural beauty of Lombok. And the calm waters of Pink Beach are perfect for swimming.

Lombok Pink Beach

THINGS TO DO AT PINK BEACH

Enjoy the view and the sea breeze in the sun or shade while sipping a coconut. Right on the beachfront are simple sunbeds and loungers with shade umbrellas for day use at a small fee.

Vendors selling bottled water and cold drinks are common, but visitors should always carry drinking water and sun protection for a day trip to the beach.

Cool off in the ocean. Play in the gentle waves. The water here is safe for swimming with friends (no lifeguards on duty).

For a breathtaking vista from above the beach, take an easy 30-minute hike up the hillside to the shaded berugak (a simple hut with roof and pillars, a traditional chill-out spot).

HOW TO GET TO PINK BEACH

Pink Beach is a 2-hour drive from Mataram city (3 hours from Tanjung). The best way to get there is by private car hire with a driver-guide. Alternatively you can get there by hiring a fishing boat from Tanjung Luar Port. The journey by sea takes around 3 hours, but you will see the wonderful scenery of southern Lombok en route.

Lombok public beach with plumeria flowers

OTHER PUBLIC BEACHES IN LOMBOK

Many of Lombok’s beaches have pristine powder-soft white sand or light golden-coloured sand lapped by gentle waves from the dreamy turquoise sea.

The best beaches for day trips are along the southern coastline of Lombok (near Pink Beach,

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Chef du jour: Villa Wang Nam Jai

in Destinations/Dining by
Chef Meaw

One of the highlights of staying at a private villa on your vacation is that you get to sample superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained at internationally renowned restaurants. Elite Havens’ villa menus showcase an extensive range of Asian delights to cater to every guest’s tastes, but of course each chef has his or her own particular specialties that shouldn’t be missed. With much coaxing and cajoling, we’ve persuaded some of our chefs to spill the beans and share their favourite recipes with us here.

Penang Curry Recipe

In Villa Wang Nam Jai’s sleek modern kitchen, Chef Meaw cooks up the largest prawns we’ve ever seen to make her delicious Penang curry.

Chef Meaw

Penang Curry recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1 large fresh prawn (or 4-5 smaller fresh prawns)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. Panang curry paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1 large red chili sliced
  • 4 – 5 Kaffir lime leaves thinly sliced
  • A small handful of pea eggplants
  • Oil

Chef Meaw’s Panang Curry ingredients

Directions:

Step 1.  Heat up a griddle pan and a frying pan.

Step 2. Wash the prawn and cut in half (leave the shell and head on).  

Step 3. Oil the prawn and when the griddle pan is hot place the two halves of prawn flesh side down.

Step 4. Add ½ cup coconut milk to the frying pan and let it come to the boil at a medium heat, making sure to stir.  

Step 5. Add the Panang paste to the frying pan and stir in for 2 minutes and then add the remaining coconut milk and continue to stir for 1 minute.

Step 6. Turn the prawn.  

Step 7. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce to the frying pan and stir and then add the pea eggplants.

Step 8. Once the prawn is pink, add to the frying pan and cook on a low heat for a 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 9. Add some of the sliced chili and sliced Kaffir lime leaves, leaving some for garnish.

Step 10. Place on a plate and garnish with the remaining red chili slices and kaffir lime leaves.

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Heaven in a Muntigunung Hammock, Handmade in Bali

in Destinations/Shops by
Handmade Hammock

Nothing says tropical holiday quite like a hand-woven hammock which evokes thoughts of bleached white beaches, dream-filled siestas, sea-breeze cocktails and star-gazing nights.  

There’s something magical about being suspended in mid-air; the hammock’s gentle swaying calms your thoughts, settles your heartbeat, and lulls you into reverie or slumber. That’s true whether you’re beachside in Koh Samui or nested in a goose down comforter someplace cold, daydreaming about a good hammock swing.

And yet, unlike Central and South America, Asia has no hammock-making tradition. That is set to change now, thanks to the persistence of Daniel Elber, whose non-profit Future for Children has been changing the lives of the poorest communities in the drought-prone mountain slopes of eastern Bali. 

BALI HAMMOCKS  

Daniel was looking for new ways to provide a sustainable livelihood for the women of Muntigunung, whose sole source of income was begging in Bali’s more prosperous tourist areas. Could their basket-weaving skills be re-imagined for making hammocks, he wondered?

Handmade Hammocks

That’s how one master hammock-maker Walter Cruz from El Salvador —the ‘Land of the Hammocks’ (and considered to produce the best in the world) spent three months in the remote village of Kulkul, teaching his ancestral craft to 35 mountain women. And while they had no common language — he spoke Spanish and they a Balinese dialect — what they now share is an uncommon ability to craft absolutely stunning hammocks.

BALI HAMMOCKS

Lighter and less expensive is the chongos-tassle-decorated Muntigunung, which is as stylish but, without the spreaders, will even go into your hand luggage. If you prefer a more upright seating position to lying supine, the chair hammock will appeal — it looks as good in a living room as by the pool.

BALI HAMMOCKS

There are also custom hammocks and chair hammocks, and anyone with a tiny tot in the family will find the baby hammock irresistible. These incredibly comfortable artisan hammocks are so much more than an alternative seating choice or lifestyle accessory. Each is an individual work of art, and each requires not hours but weeks to make… patiently and painstakingly by hand, with pride. If that is not enough incentive to acquire one, then think of this:  with every purchase, you are providing an income for the women of Muntigunung and a means for them to raise their self-esteem,

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All About Flights to Phuket

in Destinations/Tips by
Phuket Airport

When it comes time to book flights to Phuket, Thailand,  this holiday hotspot offers a myriad of options.  The newly revamped Phuket International Airport is the international gateway to the island of Phuket and all of its touristic charms.

What’s there to know about

Phuket International Airport – or ท่าอากาศยานภูเก็ต in Thai – is the second busiest airport in the Kingdom of Thailand. 
Phuket International Airport (HKT)
Mai Khao, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand, Phuket Province 83110

“Phuket International” is quite compact and easy to navigate. However, if you have never been to Phuket before it is important to note that the airport is home to two terminals, Domestic and International. While the terminals are within walking distance of each other, it indeed makes travel easier if you are heading in the right direction from the start.

The airport hosts domestic, regional and international passenger and cargo services for over twenty-five airlines. It’s a primary flight connection hub for Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways International.

Are there fights from… to Phuket?

There are 49 cities which offer non-stop flights to Phuket, which makes Phuket International Airport a very busy place. A high volume of passengers arrive early in the morning or late at night on daily flights from China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

As Phuket is a popular destination for holidaymakers from around the globe, flights from countries such as Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and recently India make up a lot of the airport’s traffic. It is estimated that at least 16 million people pass through the gates of Phuket International Airport yearly.

Can I bring my… to Phuket, Thailand?

On arrival to Phuket International Airport, international travellers are expected to clear immigration. After a long-haul flight this can seem like quite a tedious task, however, it is necessary before entering the Kingdom.

Make sure that you have filled out your international arrival cards that would have been presented on the flight over, and be prepared to queue. While the immigration lines do often appear overwhelming, rest assured that they do move along at a rather quick pace. After clearing immigration, it is time to retrieve your luggage, head out the door and enjoy your holiday!

When is the best time to fly to Phuket?

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The Muntigunung Trek: A Walk on the Wild Side of Bali

in Destinations/Recreation by

If you’ve visited Bali before, you might have taken a day trip to Kintamani to take in the stunning views across Lake Batur towards the mountains. And the experience will have stopped there. But beyond the lake and the steep mountains is a side of Bali so far off the tourism trail that few have had the chance to visit — unless they have joined the exclusive and award-winning Muntigunung Trek. Seduced by the promise of breath-taking vistas and heart-warming encounters in the once-forgotten villages of Muntigunung, we eagerly signed up and set our alarm clock for the pre-dawn start.

Muntigunung Bali charity hike with Elite Havens – Sunrise on Muntigunung

After driving northwards for two hours in the company of Pica, our principle guide, we stopped on the crest of the caldera to marvel at the sun rising behind the mountains beyond the lake — an early Instagram-worthy moment. “That’s where you will be trekking”, he pointed. The drive itself was part of the experience; we drove past amazing rice terraces and rural vistas, then dropped down into the caldera weaving across lava fields from Gunung Batur’s 1968 eruption and along the lake to Songan.

Ready for jaw-dropping vistas?

Time to lace up your boots, lavish on the sunscreen, have selfie-stick at the ready, select a sturdy bamboo walking stick, and  then take to the trail with Pica and the local guides as they lead their way up the steep mountainside. The views are spectacular — at one stage the trail follows the top of a ridge and the expanse of ocean shimmers towards the horizon on one side while, down a vertiginous drop far below, Lake Batur sparkles towards Kintamani perched on the far rim of the caldera.

Muntigunung Bali charity hike with Elite Havens – Views of Lake Batur

It is unimaginable to think that this mountain trail was once the only route the women and children of the Munti villages could take to secure water for their families – a perilous five-hour round trip every day. It was also the start of their journey to go begging with their children in Ubud and on Bali’s main beach resort streets — then their only source of income.

EH Muntigunung logo

Making a difference, step by step

But that’s one of the joys of completing the trek; with every step, you’re making a positive contribution to the livelihood and wellbeing of the island’s poorest, most neglected communities.

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