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Bali’s West Side Story

in Destinations by

“Go West young man, and into the country”, instructs American author Horace Greeley in his oft-quoted phrase, and on The Island of the Gods, as in The Land of the Brave, once you leave the crowded streets (in this case, those of Kuta and Seminyak) behind and head west, a whole different world is revealed. A more traditional Bali, a picturesque rural scene of gently terraced rice fields, quiet villages, dramatic sea temples clinging to rocky islands and deserted ocean beaches.

Pererenan, to the west of Canggu, is an increasingly popular area for holidaymakers as it’s close enough to Seminyak (10km) for an evening out at one of many gourmet restaurants or for an afternoon shopping trip, but still possesses a serene laid-back village vibe. The beach here, with its rugged rocky outcrops and tidal pools, is undeveloped, except for a couple of local warungs and basic kiosks selling Bintang beer, soft drinks and coconuts. It can be a little stony for swimming – best to stay between the flags at neighbouring surf break, Echo Beach, which is just a couple of hundred metres further along the sand and has a great selection of cosy eateries offering music, beer and sunset seafood barbecues. Villas in and around Pererenan include the gorgeous beachside 4-7 bedroom Sungai Tinggi Beach Villa, ocean-view 6-bedroom Villa Luwih and grand 8-bedroom Villa Manis. Moving slightly further from the beach, among the rippling rice fields are 4-bedroom Villa Hansa, the 6-bedroom Chalina Estate and the 3-bedroom riverside hideaway, Villa Pangi Gita. For a real rural retreat (but still only 12km or so from Seminyak and 4-5km from the ocean) try the chic 5-bedroom Iman Villa or the charming Dutch-colonial-styled 3-bedroom Villa Mako.

Heading further westwards brings you to the peaceful fishing village of Seseh, where narrow country lanes leading to the coast call for leisurely bike rides and afternoon strolls. Farmers work in the rice paddies, children fly kites in the fields and cows take shelter from the midday sun under the shade of mango trees. Those looking for a dreamy, romantic getaway will be enchanted by the 2-bedroomed Villa Belong Dua set in a whimsical walled garden,

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The Big Phuket Beach Cleanup

in News by

With a string of white-sand beaches lining its west coast, Phuket is one of Asia’s top island destinations. Phuket also boasts some great dining, a historic ‘Old Town’ and a world-class yachting scene, but the beaches remain its main attraction.

But Thailand’s largest island has not been without its share of challenges, with unchecked development threatening to harm its natural beauty and environment. Following the Thai coup of May 2014, Phuket became subject to some surprising – yet mostly welcome – initiatives by the military government to clean up its beaches.

In late June 2014, several stretches of sand including Patong Beach, Kamala Beach, Bang Tao Beach and Surin Beach were cleared of rental sunbeds and umbrellas, and all structures built on the sands were removed.

The clear-out was launched to rid the sands of encroachment and illegal profiteering, and the effect was dramatic. The white sands of Patong Beach came back into view, having been covered by several rows of sunbeds across its entire length for many years. The popular beach clubs and dining spots of Surin were forced off the sands, but most remain in business just a few metres back from the beach. The sunset views here, now unobstructed, are better than ever.

Heeding the call of beach-loving visitors wanting a more comfortable day out on the beach, Phuket officials in early 2015 allowed a limited number of rental umbrellas and mats to return. These umbrellas are set up in designated zones and those bringing their own umbrellas are welcome to pitch them in the sands in the same areas. Beach masseuses, snack and drink stands and roving vendors are also given space to operate, ensuring that most beach-goers’ needs and comforts are still catered to without having to leave the sand.

Though it was knocked off the sands, the Phuket beach club scene still thrives, with Catch Beach and Bimi beach clubs serving up fresh cocktails and seafood with a splash of DJ tunes at Surin Beach. Patong and Bang Tao beaches also boast several good seaside dining spots, perfect for enjoying sundowners with those fabulous Andaman sea views.

Xana Beach Club and Bliss Beach Club on Bang Tao hold regular DJ party nights and dining events, and Bliss is also host to a surf and stand-up paddle shop where you can rent boards or sign up for lessons.

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Street Eats Go Gourmet In Indonesia

in Dining by
Deep fried bloated fish with baby spinach and tiny tomatoes side with fermented shrimp paste chilli terawsi

Dade Akbar is the creative mind behind ‘Warteg Gourmet’, a project that aims to show that just because street eats are cheap, it doesn’t mean it can’t be presented in an interesting way — and thus, appreciated more.

A warteg is a casual Indonesian food joint where you choose from an array of intensely flavored dishes kept in stainless steel containers in the shop (or cart) window. Traditionally, ingredients are scooped up and unceremoniously dumped on top of a pile of white rice served on a plastic plate. But with Dade’s creative touch, a meal from a warteg that costs 15,000 rupiah (USD $1.20) is presented with the panache you’d expect to find in a fine-dining restaurant.

All photos are from https://instagram.com/warteggourmet/

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6 of the Best South Coast Restaurants in Sri Lanka

in Dining by

Sri Lanka’s south coast is home to some of the island’s best restaurants outside of Colombo. Galle is Sri Lanka’s premier tourist town and it is no surprise that this increasingly cosmopolitan hub attracts the most diverse range of eateries. The streets of Galle Fort are lined with restaurants and hole-in-the-wall cafés, and the beautifully renovated Galle Dutch Hospital, a precinct of restaurants and boutiques, is the fort’s newest dining venue. From Galle to Tangalle, here are 6 of the best south coast restaurants in Sri Lanka:

The Tuna & The Crab

This outlet in the Galle Dutch Hospital follows in the footsteps of its popular sister-restaurants Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi in Colombo. This is the place to try succulent export quality Sri Lankan crab doused in beautiful sauces (we love the garlic and chilli), served with local kade paan (bread) and (optional) sticky garlic rice, or the delicately flavoured crab linguine. Also on the menu are steaks and a selection of fresh sushi and sashimi. Bring your own alcohol.

Address: Galle Dutch Hospital, Hospital Street, Galle Fort

Website: https://www.facebook.com/thetunathecrab

Fortaleza

A striking coral and lime wall, showcasing the centuries-old heritage of the beautifully restored building in which it stands, backs this open-fronted restaurant in Galle Fort. This is a popular place for a rest stop whilst touring Galle Fort, and the eclectic menu includes Singapore style burgers, table barbeques and sesame crusted tuna salad as well as coffee, beer and juices. Tables spill from the fan-cooled interior onto a convivial courtyard edged by banana plants.

Address: Church Cross Street, Galle Fort

Website: www.fortaleza.lk

Wijaya Beach Restaurant

This casual beach restaurant on Dalawella’s idyllic beach, 8km east of Galle, is a hot favourite amongst the region’s expats. Families and groups of friends converge here to dine on very reasonably priced seafood, pasta, salads, curries and excellent wood-fired pizzas, all served up in an open-sided pavillion with dashing views of the Indian Ocean. The sandy beach here is kid-friendly and the lagoon-like sea a reliable place for a swim. Sunsets from here are spectacular.

Address: Matara Road, Dalawella

Website: www.wijayabeach.com

Talpe Beach Club

Talpe Beach Club is another favourite with expat families thanks to its swimming pool, open-plan restaurant and varied menu of international dishes.

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5 Awesome Designer Shops in Bali

in Shops by

Bali is home to creative designers from all around the world. Strolling down the streets of Seminyak and Canggu you will notice cute shop fronts filled with unique pieces of art, clothing and homeware. So why not take a break from soaking in the pool at your luxury villa, to check out these 5 awesome designer shops in Bali?

Bali Boat Shed

Bali Boat Shed stocks everything from men’s and women’s resort wear to high-fashion apparel, cosmetics and jewellery, as well as handmade leather and canvas bags from Bali Boat Shed’s own label. It features brands like Love Collective, Franksland, Benson, Frangipani Shirts, The Critical Slide Society, Enki Eyewear, Le Specs, Mink Pink, and State of Georgia. This highly curated collection will get you hooked on island vibes.

Bali Boat Shed, Corner of Jalan Kayu Aya and Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak.

Mister Zimi

Ladies, these husband-and-wife-team creations are for you. Enter a bohemian fairytale featuring bold prints and exotic style shift dresses, maxi dresses and harem pants as well as jackets and boots in soft, subtle leather. You can easily while away your day here.

Mister Zimi Satu, Jalan Kayu Aya No. 22, Seminyak; Mister Zimi Dua, Jalan Kayu Jati No. 8X, Seminyak. Open daily, 9am-9pm.

Coco and Ginger

This family-run boutique sells too-cute-to-be-true baby clothes, especially for little princesses. Whether you are looking to style your little ones or to take lovely presents back home, you will find everything you need here.

Coco and Ginger, Jalan Batubelig No. 88, Kerobokan, Kuta. Open daily, 10am-6pm.

Bungalow Living

Eat, shop, relax, enjoy, socialise and be inspired all inside this one pretty Bungalow in Canggu. You’ll be greeted on the front veranda by BB King, the shop’s large chocolate brown poodle, so don’t forget to reward him with a pat. Spend the day sipping coffee, chatting and shopping for homewares, decorations, cushion covers, accessories, boho bags, tassel necklaces, pretty jewels and lots of lovely pieces for the little ones too, including handmade teddy bears, wooden toys, colourful batik owls, books, trinkets and more.

Bungalow Living Bali, 35 Jalan Pantai Berawa, Canggu. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30am-6pm.

Magali Pascal

This French-born, Bali-based designer has stunning collections that combine luxurious silks, laces and organic fabrics with refined embellishments,

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