As many of you will have heard Lombok was hit by an earthquake in early August. The north of the… Keep Reading
Your weekly up-close view of those wow factor extras that make our villas outstanding. After all, attention to detail always makes a difference.
Host to thousands of famed authentic Thai restaurants and plenty of newer culinary hotshots too, each with several exotic dishes to sample, choosing where to dine out in Phuket can be overwhelming. One piece at a time is the best way to take it all in, and this feature serves up recommendations about how and where to enjoy one very specialty entree.
… THE DUCK, PLEASE.
From a plethora of duck or เป็ด entrees popular in Phuket, we found four dishes most likely to wow visitors and leave a lasting impression.
1- Duck Tamarind
The Duck Tamarind is a choice ambassador of the Blue Elephant’s Bohemian/Buddhist charm. Roasted duck breast is elegantly stacked atop a bed of fried, shredded kale and topped with crispy fried onions. The rice server glides from table to table, offering never-ending servings of steamy white Jasmine or organic black rice. The tart and sweet tamarind sauce provides an adhesive element for this interesting, impressionable cuisine. The crispy, savory, and tart flavors of the dish left me eagerly anticipating the next bite before I was done with my first.
The Blue Elephant
Governor’s Mansion, Phuket Town, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000
The Blue Elephant is located inside the historic governor’s mansion in Phuket Town. The trail up to the mansion is lit by tiki torches and blue string lights dangling from lanterns hanging from massive tree branches. The mansion’s green and white checkerboard floor blends well the limestone colonnades and dark-wood ceiling. The lighting from the antique chandeliers and the brass, orchid-themed sconces create an ambiance that is sleek, historical, and hip all at once. Also, there’s an abundance of blue elephant sculptures scattered about, along with traditional Thai art and pictures of King Rama IX.
Afterward, I was given a brief tour of the Blue Elephant Cooking Class room, the famous Blue Bar, the main kitchen, and the upstairs seating for larger parties. The wooden floors, contemporary shark paintings, vintage Buddhist artwork, and blend of freshly cut flowers create an ambiance that the Blue Elephant has become famous for.
The Duck Tamarind is a dish that is justifiably representative of this established restaurant’s history. The Blue Elephant has locations in Bangkok, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Malta, Dubai, Jakarta, and Phuket.
2- Stewed Duck and Egg Noodle Soup
Kitti Duck Noodle
367/30-31 Yaowarat Road,
Great places to stay in Seminyak with more than two kids? Sure. Somewhere for all ages to enjoy? Yep. Bringing your friends? Nice. Oh they have kids too? Okay. It’s gotta be gorgeous and memorable? Photogenic, got it. Safe, convenient, comfortable? Of course. Classy and affordable for four adults? Sure thing. Near the beach? Naturally.
We have plenty of that. Rent your own tropical oasis, a fully-staffed luxury home away from home with plenty of space for everyone to spread out. Elite Havens’ Bali luxury villas come with a private chef equally adept at preparing gourmet feasts for the adults and fun children’s meals to tempt even the fussiest eaters. Some villas are better set up for toddlers than others, but any extra amenities you may need, such as pool fence or car booster seat can easily be arranged for a small hire charge. One of the great advantages of staying in a villa is the highly personalised service, and if need a little adult-only time, friendly staff will happily help keep an eye on the kids, or organise a baby sitter so you can hit the island’s latest hotspots.
Our 4 Best 4 Bedrooms 4 Kids… in vibrant seaside Seminyak, Bali?
Here they are. With sensible sleeping arrangements for holidays with kids (some with adjacent rooms for parents and children, others with a designated bunk room for a bunch of kids) they’re all just minutes from the palm-fringed beaches, fabulous restaurants, cool bars and stylish boutiques that Seminyak is famous for.
1 Casa Brio
Featured in the hero at the top of the page.
Brio is Italian for liveliness and the whole family will love sunny Casa Brio, a vibrant, recently refurbished villa with a stunning roof top terrace and fabulous location in the Golden Triangle district close to Petitenget Beach.
The 21-metre pool fringed in lush tropical gardens is a definite high point and features a shallow section perfect for toddlers.
The open-sided living pavilion overlooks the pool making it easy for parents to keep an eye on the little ones.
Older kids will happily kick back in the over-sized pool beanbags, and the media room with home theatre and selection of DVDs.
Well configured for families,
For travel in Thailand, money basics are a need to know. The Thai Baht (pronounced /bɑːt/ and abbreviated to THB, or ฿) is the official currency of Thailand. Thai Bhat is a common misspelling! In Thai, it is written: บาท and subdivided into 100 satang. Coins come in denominations of: 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht, as well as 25 and 50 satang. Banknotes come in denominations of: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht.
A Fresh New Look
What you may not know is that in April 2018 the Bank of Thailand (BOT) began circulating a brand new family of banknotes, ‘Series 17’, the first ever to feature a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, whose revered father, the late King Bhumipol Adulyadej passed away in 2016, ending a world record-breaking seven-decade reign. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX, has appeared on baht banknotes for the past 70 years.
The main colours and sizes of the notes haven’t changed, with the back designs featuring images of the Kings of Thailand from past to present. The 20, 50 and 100 baht banknotes were released on Chakri Memorial Day, April 6, 2018. The final two denominations of 500 and 1,000 baht will be issued on the new king’s birthday on July 28, 2018.
Current (left) V. New (right)
Banknotes (Photos via Bank of Thailand)
The Bank of Thailand will issue a new ‘Series 17’ set of banknotes on July 28 featuring a portrait of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun in the Royal Thai Air Force uniform, to mark the 66th birthday of the King. Current ‘Series 16’ banknotes of the late king will remain in circulation.
Creative Design & Functionality
Unlike some countries in South East Asia the banking sector in Thailand has, over the years, proven to be a major stabilising force for the Thai economy. Lessons learnt from the industry collapse over 20 years ago have seen Thai banks showing fresh resilience today, due in no small part to the regulation of financial institutions.
Once approved by the Minister of Finance, the BOT is responsible for the design, print, issuing, and management of banknotes. Although no longer hand drawn, banknote designers must be able to combine visual artistry and technical expertise with cultural identity and counterfeit deterrence features.
See Bali Island in the 1970s’
Travel back in time and catch a glimpse of daily life on the island of Bali in the 1970s. Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey is a must-see material for anyone who loves Bali and Indonesia. I for one got hooked from the very first minute I started watching this series of five documentaries. It was back in 1972 when the English brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair set off from Great Britain to the Indonesian Archipelago to explore mystical lands and indigenous tribes, not knowing if they would ever return. Their journey led them from the deep jungle of Kalimantan to pirate territory in Sulawesi, to primitive tribes in New Guinea and Sumba, to giant lizards on Komodo Island and finally to the sacred island of Bali with all of its temples, shrines, Gods, demons and mysticism. I found it inspiring and intriguing to watch these two brothers going off-the-grid like true explorers without any modern-day luxuries such as Google Maps, Google Translate or whatsoever. They went on a crazy insane adventure and they were lucky to survive…
How it all began
Following in the footsteps of naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, Lorne and Lawrence Blair initially traveled to the Spice Islands of Indonesia to capture footage of the legendary Greater Bird of Paradise. The things they discovered on the way were more compelling than they ever could’ve imagined. Before they knew it, a decade had passed, exploring places, islands and indigenous tribes off the map.
When they started out, Lorne was an ethnographic filmmaker who had been working for BBC and Lawrence had just earned his Ph.D. writing a doctoral thesis on psycho-anthropology. The brothers left their familiar civilization behind on a Phinisi boat with Bugis Pirates on the island of Sulawesi and they jumped into a world unknown to them.
A decade of exploring lands unknown
The brothers Blair made nine expeditions between 1972 and 1985. In total, Lorne shot over 80 hours of video footage on a 16mm film. The footage is authentic, raw, intimate, wild, utterly cool and interesting. You get a real glimpse into the cultures, traditions and rituals of indigenous Indonesian tribes. Lorne and Lawrence may have been the last true ‘explorers’ like we had them in the old days, long before the digital age kicked in.
A colourful and quirky artists’ enclave hidden away in the southern neighbourhood of Rawai, the Phuket Art Village is a hippy chic collection of working art studios; home to some of the island’s most outstanding local artists. Both eclectic and charming, the Phuket Art Village oozes artistic flair.
Home to a group of unique studios that were built by their artists (and are in many instances lived in) the Phuket Art Village functions as a creative space for both the artists in residence and the local community… travellers included.
As well as selling their wares on-site, the artists host painting classes, sculpture workshops, environmental awareness seminars and jam sessions. A visit to the village makes a good outing for art-lovers and groups of all ages including families (contact the venue in advance to find out about scheduled art workshops and shadow puppet shows for your kids).
There are several studios and galleries to explore within the village. Most are open daily, although hours vary depending on the season. Here we introduce two of the artists you might meet:
Niran Art Gallery
A slight, kind and softly-spoken man originally from Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, artist Niran Chanhom relocated to Phuket several years ago because of his love for the sea. And it is the sea that has become his greatest inspiration.
Driftwood in all shapes and sizes collected from Phuket’s various beaches are the beating heart of many of his creations. His artistic flair is perhaps best captured in his life-size wooden sculptures of fish and other marine life. These driftwood sea creatures are not only beautiful, but also reflect Niran’s hopes of protecting the ocean.
While making art from driftwood will always be his favourite medium, in recent years Niran has evolved his craft and taken to large canvases – often depicting a lonely fisherman with his fishing pole or catch of the day – to let his creativity explode. His abstract paintings are both bright and colourful and introduce new characters to his artistic line-up. Niran’s latest works are a series of mismatched faces and a few smaller pieces that highlight the bond between mother and child.
A visit to Niran’s art gallery in Phuket is an opportunity to admire his work and get up close and personal with the artist himself.