Between Bali and Lombok, The Famous Wallace Line

in Culture/Destinations/News by

Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist who lived from 1823 to 1913. He is recognized for independently forming the theory of evolution through natural selection. In 1858, before Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, Wallace’s paper on the subject was published jointly along with some of Darwin’s writing. Throughout his lifetime of exploration and study, Wallace became the world’s foremost expert on the geographical distribution of animal species.

Wallace was fascinated by the biodiversity in Malaysia and Indonesia, where in 1859 he charted to an exact physical boundary the separation between fauna which is native to Asia and that which is found in Australia. ‘The Wallace Line’ runs between Bali and Lombok and between Borneo and Sulawesi.

It is estimated that as recently as 15,000 years ago, sea levels were more than 110 metres lower than they are today. Most of the islands that comprise present day Indonesia and Malaysia were one landmass, now referred to as Sundaland. Nearby Australia, and Tasmania also comprised a single landmass which is sometimes called SahuI.

That Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali were once connected is commonly accepted among Indonesians without the need for scientific evidence. Ask an Indonesian how Bali came to be its own island; you may hear a tale about how a giant magic dragon isolated a dishonest gambler.

Lombok was not connected to Bali, neither by ancient lands nor legend. Although the distance between Bali and Lombok is only 35 kilometres, the Lombok Strait is so deep that it has been filled by water for millions of years.

Lombok is east of Wallace’s Line, in the region known as Wallacea, consisting of islands which were not connected to either ice age continent. This area shows a history of inhabiting animals which were capable of island-hopping. Present day islands including Lombok and the Lesser Sunda Islands have much of the same Australasian fauna as SahuI, but not the same animals as Sundaland and mainland Asia.

Wallace identified the 250m depth of the Lombok Strait as the single most compelling explanation for the differences between Asian and Australian animals. It caused various species to remain isolated from each other on opposite sides of the Lombok Strait through centuries of migrations and evolution.

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Elite Talk with Executive Director Riyaz Moorani

in People by

Elite Havens’ Executive Director, Riyaz Moorani, has travelled the world but one of his most intriguing journeys has been his career path. A chance encounter with a fellow expat nearly twenty years ago set him on a course for success in the luxury tourism sector. We caught up with Riyaz to find out how meeting Jon Stonham led to the foundation of Elite Havens, and how he helped grow Asia’s leading villa company.

Elite Havens: What can you tell us about your role at Elite Havens?

Riyaz Moorani: As one of the Executive Directors of the company, I do a little bit of everything. I am responsible for the technological aspect of the company, so I work with all the other departments to see how we can use technology to help them become more efficient.  I am based in the Manila office, and there are about 10 people in the IT team, 20 in Reservations, 7 in Content, 16 in Accounting and Finance and HR. We have about 60 people in Manila.

EH: Have you been doing this for the company since it began?

RM: Yes. Since our Asia Hotels days, Jon has taken care of the ‘outside’—dealing with our customers and the marketing aspect of things, and I’ve always taken care of the ‘inside’ of the business—the technology and operations side of things. This partnership and division of labour has worked well for many years.

EH: So I take it your background is in IT?

RM: I’ve always worked in IT but along the way, it became more of a mix of IT and business: looking at a business and studying how to apply technology to it, rather than just pure IT.

I was working at my first job in Canada and our company sent me to Malaysia for a one-year project. I liked it so much there that I ended up staying for five years instead of just one. I was in charge of designing and running a very large operating system for a phone company. Then a phone company in Hong Kong asked me to come and build a similar system for them. So, I moved to Hong Kong and lived there for almost 11 years and that’s where I met Jon. We became good friends and we decided to start Asia Hotels.

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For the Gentleman: Sartorial Pleasures in Bali

in Destinations/Shops by

Who said shopping in Bali was just for the ladies? Gentlemen, drop everything and discover sartorial pleasures on the island. It may not be Milan, but trust us—there’s a lot of style on the island.

Here’s our concierge-curated list featuring the best of the best when it comes to shopping for men.


Mr. Ripley

Influenced by the Italian Riviera where its namesake film was set, Mr. Ripley launched this year with a 30-piece collection and a wide colour palette including white, navy, bottle green, melon, jade green and denim. The cut aims to transition from Bali to Rome via NYC, without missing a beat.

From Clothing Store

Find a neat collection of quality cotton T-shirts by the label Atlas. The limited colour range works with everything from shorts or jeans, and even chinos. Think black and white, stone grey, steel blue and a few different types of stripes.

By The Sea 

The famed Balinese fashion house By the Sea has a strong nautical theme for its resort-wear range created by owner/designer Renato Vianna. These are timeless classics that include loose white linen shirts, sublime with navy shorts. They also have a women’s and kids’ collection.

Bali Boat Shed 

Located in the heart of Seminyak’s main street, Bali Boat Shed is an iconic shopping destination for locals and tourists in the know. Its men’s section features easy resort wear, bold and colourful prints and flattering shapes. Super Normal Collective, their our unisex label, provides a wardrobe of smart casual dressing.


BIASA was founded by Italian-born designer and art enthusiast Susanna Perini in 1994 as a boutique and label inspired by the Indonesian lifestyle and the Italian design ethos. More than twenty years on, BIASA has grown to become an award-winning and internationally recognized label, art space and lifestyle brand. The clothing line for men is particularly called ‘fab’ by those in the know.


Gingersnap was born twelve years ago from the fortuitous encounter of Jam and Jay, whose inspirations come from the street. Both are avid travellers and return from journeys with indigenous accessories and clothing. The Gingersnap man is a dandy adventurer, a laid-back traveller and a charmer.        

Momo Batik 

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Where to Shop in Bali, Fabulous Fashion Hub

in Destinations/Recreation/Shops by

Whether you dress bohemian or prefer the ultra-tailored look, Bali is a shoppers’ paradise. Fret not if you’re short on time, we’ve done the legwork for you. Here’s the very best of Bali – keep this curated list handy for when you crave some retail therapy, though you may find it challenging to leave the relaxing environs of your luxury elite haven, even for a shopping spree. If you do manage to tear yourself away, we’ve got you covered. Go ahead, shop ‘til you drop!

The Tailor & His Lover

If you adore the simplicity of a stylish white shirt, then this shop is a must-stop. Born out of one woman’s obsession with the wardrobe staple, The Tailor & His Lover produces atelier quality shirts with divine fabrics, French seams and double French cuffs. A few ‘guest’ garments like skirts and trousers support the star of this show.

Magali Pascal

Chic and easy clothing inspired by Parisian bourgeois boheme and bolstered by French craftsmanship is Magali Pascal’s trademark. Antique references appear on soft silks finished with delicate lace in earthy hues. Such Art Deco hints and urban flair has inspired a cult-like following, with regulars making it a first call to secure a piece or two for a wedding or wanderlust.


Frockk is light and stylish fashion line that is island-perfect and is wearable in the summer and spring. Find raw linens, cottons and fine silk in earthy colours on the rack. Hand-dyed tops, shorts, trousers, skirts and dresses are cleverly cut for comfort and flattery. 


Premier athleisure gear made with high performance fabric recycled from plastic defines Dare2Wear. The white hoodies, t-shirts and tops are all made of organic cotton. Each piece in the collection has been tried and tested by the owner/designer Trudi Christensen. The garments are fit for purpose, with hip prints and cool motifs.


Biasa is a world-acclaimed island label that offers graceful clothing for men and women. Natural fabrics and quirky lines fall with super fluidity, in trousers as well as skirts. Big bracelets, slim shoes or raffia accents lift these simple outfits to a space of enduring elegance. 

Miss Milne

Launched by its founder,

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Journey to East Bali

in Culture/Destinations/Recreation by

Comedy genius Charlie Chaplin may have experienced a mystical and mysterious epiphany whilst in Bali, something which this island has been known to trigger among those seeking change. After his 1932 escape to Bali,the filmmaker transitioned from career crisis to his greatest era of movie making.

In the 1930’s the Hollywood legend was mired in anxiety about the arrival of ‘talkies’ – films that gave voice to previously silent movies. As the reigning king of silent movie comedy and pantomime, his place in the new world of filmmaking was all but assured.

After a European tour promoting his 1931 romantic comedy City Lights, he abandoned Hollywood and boarded a ship with his brother Sydney to ‘escape to Bali.’ Rare black and white footage of this trip captures a happy time with Chaplin exploring the unique island and her exotic performance art. Clearly fixed on dance, the brothers produced an intriguing film study of two girls performing the Legong Kupu Kupu Tarum (butterfly Legong dance) at Pura Samuan Tiga in Bedulu near Ubud.

Other footage of his escape to Bali shows a gleeful Chaplin engaging with the Balinese; dancing and mimicking movements to the high amusement of his new friends. Upbeat moments of feeding a monkey, sharing a joke and eating from a warung are caught in time.

in 2017, French documentary maker Raphaël Millet launched his exploration of the brothers’ visit in Chaplin in Bali, in which he uses Chaplin’s footage to tell the story of the actor and director’s self discovery in the island paradise. The historic archive is used to great effect and reveals first-hand Chaplin’s fascination with the complex and exceptional culture, exquisite dance and the arts of the island.

Importantly Millet suggests that Balinese orchestral sound and music helped to lead the artist to embrace the new technology that gave voice to films.

Four years after his trip to Bali, Chaplin went on to make his two most celebrated films; Modern Times – in which he sings a satirical song and then the controversial movie The Great Dictator.

While the impact that Bali had on Chaplin is considered to be profound,

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