When it comes to toughing it out, English adventurer Rob Lilwall knows a thing or two.
From an exquisite Elite Havens villa; Pandawa Cliff Estate, overlooking Pandawa beach, Rob is a million miles away from gun-wielding Russian bandits in the sub-zero Siberian temperatures, honking Vietnamese truck drivers and jungle dwelling tribesman of Papua New Guinea.
In fact, Rob has just come from surfing the gentle waves of Kuta beach during some downtime in Bali.
As a prized Hong Kong-based motivational speaker, Rob draws on his wild on-road experiences from any number of his cycling adventures.
To be sure, this man has done some outlandish touring including cycling with from Siberia to England, which racked up 30,000 miles, yes, miles. He has walked home to the busy islands of Hong Kong from Mongolia and cycled across the USA .
He hitched rides on a yachts and cargo ships to cross the pirate infested water. Though given his raw honesty, genuine humility and laid back charm, he probably could have walked on it.
“I’m not tough or brave. I just approach my goals with a mindset that makes it work. It is all calculated risks that are applied to extreme situations. The start of my first trip was full of fears both real and imagined, which wasn’t helped by the natural disposition of Russians who warned us that we would be eaten by bears or murdered by bandits,” says Rob.
Even that other bear of an adventurer Bear Grylls doffs his cap to Rob’s expeditions and courage.
It did not take long before National Geographic spotted his talent and secured the series Cycling Home From Siberia where Rob takes a three-year journey without a support crew through Australia’s notorious Nullarbor Plain to the dizzying altitudes and icy passes of Tibet and Nepal – where he viewed Mt Everest – and the lonely roads of Afghanistan.
“That trip was physically hard. My bike was fully packed with camera gear and everything that I needed. It was exhausting and difficult. I even had to film myself, which made is also slow going getting off the bike to set up the camera, get back on and ride past,
Arnalaya Beach House is a sophisticated yet supremely relaxed family friendly villa on the beachfront in Bali’s beautiful Canggu district, with a large team of staff on hand to ensure that every whim is gracefully met. An ocean-front bale offers alfresco seating, overlooking the Indian Ocean and a crystal clear 20-metre swimming pool.
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Call or email Karina +62 81 1380 7676
New restaurants are constantly popping up on Bali, and January has been no different. Introducing the new kids on the block, MoVida and Akademi, brought to you by the brains behind the uber popular and successful Potato Head family.
With five Australian venues already earning respect, this is MoVida’s first overseas venture, but success must surely be on the cards for this combination of Spanish vibe and Bali beach club! Located at the base of the Katamama Hotel (due to open in March) in Seminyak’s popular Jalan Petitenget, MoVida is designed for holiday fun. Tasty food to share and an extensive cocktail menu, give a nod to MoVida Bali’s new island location, but the venue’s Spanish roots shine through.
Benefitting from local skills and materials, MoVida boasts the same architectural flair as Potato Head, with furnishings fittings and fabrics created by Balinese artisans and an impressive 15-metre polished green-stone bar. Complementing the delicious Spanish imports, local produce also features strongly on the menu, which has been carefully crafted by head chef Jimmy Parker.
Sit back and indulge in tapas with a twist. Try the Cangrejo (Lombok soft shell crab, with seaweed aioli and squid ink bun) or a dish from the Josper oven such as Pescado (whole baked halibut with a burnt butter sauce, hazelnuts and capers). And lets not forget the impressive bar, which showcases a great list of cocktails based on celebrated classics, at least four different types of sangria available by the glass, and a wide range of fine Spanish wines.
Whilst we are on the subject of beverages… another new venue within Katamama is the chic Akademi Bar, created by award-winning bartender and author Dre Masso. Here you can sample a selection of unique drinks, all made in celebration of Indonesia and the tropical offerings of Bali. As well as having one of the biggest collections of premium spirits on the island, the bar houses a vast range of infused locally produced arak (a distilled alcoholic drink) made from coconut, rice and cane. Many ingredients are grown on the hotel grounds, so you’ll be pushed to find fresher.
Akademi oozes style. Standing centre stage is the bar, illuminated by a vintage ’70s pendant light designed by Gaetano Sciolari. Guests drink from bespoke ceramic, wood and copper cocktail cups made by local artisans and listen to music (vinyl of course) played on a Klipsch hi-fidelity system.
Having settled into your exquisite villa on this island paradise, it’s time to head out and explore Bali’s hippest ‘hood – Batu Bolong.
While Canggu is a cool collection of gorgeous green tropical tracts of rice paddy with smatterings of sacred cows, Batu Bolong is blooming into the hottest locale for chic bohemian lifestyle.
Think organic market and chichi yoga meets beach-bum couture accessorised by celebrity-anointed designers. The food is fab too.
Secure that chauffeur-driven car and kick the day off with a tres authentic French breakfast at the holy shrine of Monsieur Spoon, or graze on the most amazing Nagu Bomb breakfast bowl of sweet local fruit, coconut milk and granola at Betelnut Café. Cool cafés are a growth industry on this strip, so check out the super buzzing Crate, the uber healthy Avocado and the recently opened Bro – an intriguing mash up of ‘awesome Chinese and authentic French’ – while you’re here.
Machine-porn at Malamadre is where custom-created motorcycles are produced from a tiny workshop, while over at the epic Deus ex Machina they are customised alongside surfboard shapers, a barber, live music and food.
Artist types longing to embrace Bali’s creative realm will adore silver smithing at the House of Alia where professionals share their painting and jewellery-making skills at workshops for small groups, including kids from age seven.
If the main game is retail therapy, the starting point is near the ‘Deus’ intersection.
Twentyone/Degrees stocks swimwear, jewellery and clothing ranges, while Flow & Yonder is a smokin’ hot surf-wear institution up some super-steep steps.
Puravida has non-resort-style women’s casuals while Asmara offers fashion with a Balinese spin. Nearby Horn has concept street-wear while a hop across the road to Bottle Avenue will secure some grape-based libations and vinyl music is sold next door.
Kiki’s Kloset has gorgeous beach-bum wear and smashing dresses. Blak is for the little ones and The Berawa Art House is worth inspecting, while opposite is Moon Rocks and 69 Slam – famous for teens.
Batu Bolong blooms restaurants like so many flowers, with a clutch being the chilled siblings of swank Seminyak outfits.
Kitchen Rustica offers classic Italian take-out made with love while inside the pod of shops at Love Anchor is the Roman restaurant Pinsology, dedicated to dishing pinsa – a type of pizza from Rome – plus tiramisu.