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Best alcohol buys in Bali

in Tips by
Alcohols

It’s probably fair to say that most people enjoy a drink when they’re on holiday. Whatever your favourite tipple – an iced beer on the beach; an exotic cocktail at sunset, or a glass of chilled wine by the pool, read on to gain some insider’s info on the best places in town to buy beer, wine and spirits. And even better – how to have it delivered.

First, we’d recommend that you skip the duty-free shop at Bali Airport.  While the store may be called ‘Duty Free’, it’s not. All alcohol that comes into Indonesia is slapped with a heavy import tax. The only ways around paying the tax are by purchasing a bottle of duty free at a foreign airport en route to Indonesia, or buying domestic products once you’re here.

FOLLOW THE STAR

In Bali, Bintang (meaning ‘star’) is synonymous with beer. This popular lager has 4.7% alcohol content and a mild flavour that’s well suited for beach holidays. Brewed in Indonesia, Bintang is a Heineken brand, and both beers display red stars prominently on their labels.

Bintang Beer

Second to Bintang, the most widely available beer in Bali is San Miguel (and San Miguel Light, served with lime). You’ll see Bali Hai, Anker and Stark, too. Foreign beers are harder to find, but they are out there if you know where to look. Beer & Co have outlets in Canggu and Legian, and propose a satisfying range of imported big name and craft beers. 

For good prices on local beers, head to the (rather confusingly named) Bintang supermarket in the centre of Seminyak, Bali. The store’s logo is, you guessed it, a red star. They also sell wine and spirits here and, conveniently, you can pick up a bottle opener or corkscrew while you are there.

Beer & co.
Jl. Pantai Batubolong No 35A
+62 8113 886 658

Bintang Supermarket
Jl. Raya Seminyak No.17, Kuta Bali
+62 361 730 552

TOP TIP :

Absolutely do not drink from the Absolut vodka bottles you’ll see displayed on racks at the roadside all over Bali. These  glass bottles are re-used to sell petrol (who said Indonesia doesn’t recycle?).

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The magic of Nyepi: Bali’s unique Day of Silence

in Culture by
Villa Zelie - Staff praying

While most cultures celebrate the new year with rowdy celebrations, revelry and fireworks, in Bali the dawning of a new year is ushered in with a unique day of silence, known as Nyepi.

This year Nyepi falls on 7 March and for 24 hours shops and restaurants will stay closed, the streets and markets will remain empty, the beaches will be deserted and the waves un-surfed. Even the airport is shut down as Bali falls under a magnificent cloak of silence.

Ocean Temple - Tanah Lot

In order to understand Nyepi, is it necessary to briefly dip into the dualistic world of Balinese Hinduism which is woven into the very fabric of life on the island. Imagine a cosmic dance in which the forces of good and evil are in constant play. Order is represented by the gods, known as dewa and dewi, while disorder is represented by the earth demons known as bhutas and kalas.

Balance must be maintained so that evil doesn’t get the upper hand. Through a myriad of religious offerings and rituals, the gods are thanked and asked for blessings, while the forces of darkness who seek to upset the equilibrium are appeased. Of all the ceremonial days on the island, Nyepi is one of the most important.

Des Indes I

Why the silence?

Theological explanations vary. Some say that by staying hidden the evil spirits will think the island has been abandoned and will pass by, thus bringing an auspicious start to the new year. But Hindu scholars say that the noise and revelry of the preceding evening, Nyepi Eve, wakes up the demons so that they will see the offerings, including blood sacrifice that have been laid out for them. In this view, the silence is a symbol of contentment and gratitude that the demons have been appeased for another year. Regardless of theological explanations, Nyepi is a day reserved for quiet contemplation and self-reflection and Balinese Hindus are prohibited from work, entertainment, travel and lighting fires. Priests and those with a higher spiritual calling will also fast, observe total silence and pass the day in prayer.

nyepi ogoh ogoh bali art

How does Nyepi effect visitors to the island?

Even tourists must respect Nyepi and stay within the grounds of their accommodation and keep noise and lights to a minimum.

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Niseko: The Way To Go

in Destinations/Tips by

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 Hokkadio, Japan, has more to offer than top notch skiing and snowboarding, with stunning alpine scenery making it a popular year round destination. Here’s our 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 and Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok as well as Hawaii. Those travelling from further afield can easily connect through Tokyo Narita International airport, with a two hour flight time to Sapporo.

Flight to Niseko

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

Self drive is another option, but while rental cars are fitted with snow tyres, it is not recommended unless you are experienced driving in wintery conditions.

How to get to NisekoParking in Niseko is also limited in the busy winter months, so  its perhaps better to save the hire car 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 direct 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.

Shinkansen - Bullet train

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. Travel time is around 4 hours to Hakodate where you can connect with a regional train to JR Kutchan (3.5 hours) .

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Healthy Holiday: Detox in Lombok

in Recreation by
Sira Beach, Lombok

Dreaming of a tropical holiday to cleanse your mind and body from stress, chemicals and environmental toxins? Thanks to the runaway success of ‘Eat Pray Love’, everyone associates Bali with yoga retreats, soul-searching and D.I.Y. detox.

But what about its more secluded neighbor island Lombok? In many ways, this lush evergreen landscape with its pristine white-sand beaches are even better! Crack open a coconut and drink to healthy holiday paradise found.

Take a look at these tips for choosing the right accommodation, nutrition program, fitness activities and spa treatments to create your unique wellness vacation in Lombok.

The Anandita Lombok villa staff serving fresh juice

Located on picture-perfect Sira Beach on the north shore of Lombok, The Anandita has all the elements for a healthy holiday. This private sea-front villa has four luxurious bedroom suites, sprawling grounds, private swimming pool, a deserted white-sand beach and attentive staff at your service.

 

Healthy Hydration

Hydration is key. Drink a half liter of water when you wake up and at least three liters throughout the day. The heat and humidity can easily dehydrate you –  especially when you’re active.

Try Jamu, a traditional Indonesian healing and detoxifying drink used to cure everything from weight gain to flu. All you need is a shot-glass-sized serving. The main ingredient is turmeric, whose powerful healing properties include helping your liver with the detoxifying process. Make a trip to the attractive Tanjung Traditional Market to buy some fresh or powdered turmeric to add to any drink.

Avocado-banana juice is an excellent power boost. The healthy fats in avocado help you to slim down while banana fights against bloating. Remember to order your fresh fruit juice without sugar, as it’s normally added.

Sip on a young coconut while watching the sunset. It goes without saying, fruity cocktails are a no-go during detox. Coconut water is a delicious refreshing drink packed with vitamins and minerals.

 

Island Nutrition

Good news! You don’t have to restrict yourself to a juice-only fast during your healthy tropical getaway.

As any D.I.Y. detox-er already knows, short-term low-calorie cleanses are not successful programs for detoxification and long-term weight loss, as they can rob your body of vital nutrients and cause you to lose weight through fluid rather than fat loss.

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Lombok’s Pink Sand Beach

in 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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