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Recreation

Must-see places and can’t miss things to do from Malé to Bali

Live It Up Celebrity-style In Phuket

in Recreation by
Villa Nautilus - Play golf with breathtaking view

 A world-class destination famous for its white-sand beaches, eclectic nightlife and outstanding shopping malls and boutiques, Phuket continues to go from strength to strength. If you’re looking to splurge and live it up celebrity-style while on holiday, the island delivers an abundance of luxurious and ultra-chic experiences: sample some of Thailand’s delectable cuisine at a five-star restaurant, enjoy an exotic cocktail garnished with a sea breeze and tropical sunset, or charter a yacht and explore the region by sea, your options are endless.

Experience Gourmet life

Looking for a luxury gourmet break? Holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge in delicious cuisine every day, and when you stay in an Elite Havens villa, that’s exactly what you can expect – without even having to get dressed! Just sit back, relax and enjoy as your private chef creates a range of beautiful dishes to tantalize your taste buds, including local Thai delights, western favourites and even special menus for the kids.

With all those tempting treats available in-villa you might well decide to stay put, but if you do fancy a night out you’re in the right place. Phuket is no stranger to good food and offers something for everyone, from the tastiest street food to the finest of fine-dining establishments.

Try the unique, Michelin-starred, PRU , which focuses on locally sourced organic and free-range foods and has earned quite a name for itself since it opened in 2016. In fact, several of Phuket’s sumptuous eateries were given a special mention in the 2019 Michelin Guide  for Bangkok, Phuket and Phang Nga, so if you are looking to splurge for a night on the town be sure to check out some of these outstanding places.

Enjoy Phuket’s VIPs Beach Clubs

Once your appetite has been sated, perhaps it’s time to drop in for a few drinks at one of Phuket’s ultra-popular beach clubs. In recent years, these stylish entertainment venues have taken over the island’s party scene, and while there are many clubs to choose from, the decadent Catch Beach Club  is among the most highly rated, and knows how to lay on the red carpet treatment. With a stunning location on Bangtao Beach, Catch Beach Club has a high-quality bar, restaurant and chic lounge, and offers day passes that include VIP Double Bed privileges as well as credits on food and beverage.

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The Muntigunung Trek – a walk on the wild side of Bali

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If you’ve visited Bali before, you might have taken a day trip to Kintamani to take in the stunning views across Lake Batur towards the mountains. And the experience will have stopped there. But beyond the lake and the steep mountains is a side of Bali so far off the tourism trail that few have had the chance to visit — unless they have joined the exclusive and award-winning Muntigunung Trek. Seduced by the promise of breath-taking vistas and heart-warming encounters in the once-forgotten villages of Muntigunung, we eagerly signed up and set our alarm clock for the pre-dawn start.

After driving northwards for two hours in the company of Pica, our principle guide, we stopped on the crest of the caldera to marvel at the sun rising behind the mountains beyond the lake — an early Instagram-worthy moment. “That’s where you will be trekking”, he pointed. The drive itself was part of the experience; we drove past amazing rice terraces and rural vistas, then dropped down into the caldera weaving across lava fields from Gunung Batur’s 1968 eruption and along the lake to Songan.

Ready for jaw-dropping vistas?

Time to lace up your boots, lavish on the sunscreen, have selfie-stick at the ready, select a sturdy bamboo walking stick, and  then take to the trail with Pica and the local guides as they lead their way up the steep mountainside. The views are spectacular — at one stage the trail follows the top of a ridge and the expanse of ocean shimmers towards the horizon on one side while, down a vertiginous drop far below, Lake Batur sparkles towards Kintamani perched on the far rim of the caldera.

It is unimaginable to think that this mountain trail was once the only route the women and children of the Munti villages could take to secure water for their families – a perilous five-hour round trip every day. It was also the start of their journey to go begging with their children in Ubud and on Bali’s main beach resort streets — then their only source of income.

EH Muntigunung logo

Making a difference, step by step

But that’s one of the joys of completing the trek; with every step, you’re making a positive contribution to the livelihood and wellbeing of the island’s poorest, most neglected communities. For the trek is just one of the extraordinary initiatives that have transformed their lives,

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Samui Elephant Sanctuary Review

in Destinations/Recreation by

“For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of that herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys, and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realize they are big in more ways than one.”

― J.H. Williams, Elephant Bill

Samui Elephant Sanctuary opened on 16 January 2018 by Founder Wittaya Sala-Ngam and is the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui. Currently, there are five elephants in their care; Cartoon, Kham San and Sri Nin (50 – 60 years old) who came to the sanctuary from the local riding camp on Koh Samui. The sanctuary also has two younger elephants; Nong Pech (7 years old) and Moloair (9 years old) who came to the elephant sanctuary from Surin province.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary offers tours that educate visitors about the importance of these extraordinary, majestic giants. You will be able to feed and walk and observe the elephants as they forage, socialize and play, and do what elephants do, and that’s be elephants.

These five elephants that now live, at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, have come from an extremely hard life, working long hours in the entertainment or logging industries. These stunning animals have been beaten and made to do what their owners wanted by use of force and torture. Having a chair strapped to their back or painting a picture has never been part of their natural environment. The positive news for elephants is that times are changing and projects such as the Samui Elephant Sanctuary are becoming the new way for a tourist to experience elephants. 

The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is the perfect opportunity for families, couples, and friends to discover the life of elephants in a stunning natural setting and enjoy these beautiful creatures in a way that does not take advantage of the animal. The project works under the Save the Elephant Foundations “off Saddle” program.

On arrival, you will be welcomed by extremely friendly and highly dedicated team of staff, many of whom are volunteers, that are all committed to the well-being of the animals. The tours focus on observation of the elephant’s natural behaviors and as such, they do not allow guest to join the elephants in the mud pit or swimming pool and of course NO RIDING.

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‘A Chef’s Tour’ A Phuket Must

in Dining/Recreation by
Produce Market Phuket

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti

In 2017 Phuket was crowned a City of Gastronomy by UNESCO and anyone who has ever experienced real Thai food will agree that it’s arguably one of the best foods in the world. A balance between sweet, spicy, bitter, salty and sour is the main reason why Thai food is so special. But in internationally renowned Phuket, you find there’s actually much more than Thai cuisine to tantalize your taste buds.

chinese doors phuket

Having lived and worked in Phuket for the past 11 years I thought I had experienced most of southern Thai food, as well as some of the dishes from the North. In my culinary journey, (which does make me sound like a foodie millennial) have tried chicken feet and chicken heart, fried silk worms, raw prawns in fish sauce, chili and lime (this is one of my favourites to order) and a bitter-tasting green vegetable thing that to this day I have no idea what it was, although it was disgusting.

In May this year, it was announced that the legendary Michelin Guide will now include restaurants from Phuket and Phang Nga. With all the accolades that Thai food has received and now with the car tire manufacturer’s marshmallow man in the picture I thought it time to jump on the food cart wagon and see what is out there in terms of food tours and adventures.

Old Town Phuket

A CHEF’S TOUR

There are of course some fabulous cooking schools in Phuket that will teach you how to cook an authentic Pad Thai or a Green Curry, but isn’t it better to get out of the TV kitchen and hit the streets? I wanted to eat and drink with the locals. So, along with my friend we chose to go on A Chef’s Tour, which is a boutique tour that gives you a true flavor of food in Phuket and as you will find out, this tour gives you a whole lot more.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 4-hour guided walking tour of Phuket Old Town
  • Tastings at hidden “street eats” and local restaurants
  • History and culture lesson on southern Thai cuisine
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Drinking water and Thai refreshments
  • Private fully-licensed (foodie) guide

red Chinese lanterns Phuket

On the steps of one of Phuket Town’s largest indoor markets,

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Sri Lanka surfing gems

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Along Sri Lanka’s beautiful southern coastline, famed for its underwater marine life and wetland reserves, what surfers most admire at Sri Lanka’s family beaches are the world-class waves. No surfer can resist palm fringed shores and the opportunity to surf in calm blue waters with sea turtles. Read on for my insider tips about surfing in southern Sri Lanka, whether it’s for a dedicated surf trip or just a day trip from Galle.

In February 2018 I flew into Colombo, jumped straight into a taxi with my board and zero prior knowledge about the paradise that awaited me. I did what any surfer would: I headed south to the sea! Okay, I wasn’t quite that aimless. Luckily, a dear friend was there to meet me and show me the ropes. My expectations of this surfers’ paradise were blown out of the water, exceeded dramatically.

Sri Lanka map

take me to paradise  

Let’s start with the village of Midigama, where nights are spent dreaming of the next wave. This surfer Heaven is outside of Weligama Bay, just 40 minutes from Galle by car or taxi, or the more local options, a bus or tuk-tuk. If you’re planning on bringing your own surfboard to Sri Lanka the options are slightly more limited as they’re not allowed on the buses. But most tuk-tuk’s have a roof rack and proper straps and will usually be a cheaper (and more exciting) ride than a taxi.

You’ll pass by many small villages, each with their own hidden surf gems, but Midigama has the magic. In less than two kilometers you can find five breaks that cater to surfers from beginner to advanced. Whether you want to grab a longboard and surf a ‘mellow’ right over deep soft reef or are a bit more experienced and want to get barrelled at Ram’s – it’s all within walking distance.

midigama sri lanka

Midigama surfing spots

Lazy Right at Midigama Beach is exactly what it sounds like – probably the most mellow, soft, right hand wave in the South Coast area. This break can pick up some bigger swell that makes it fun for more advanced surfers, too. On average it’s the safest reef break you’ll find in South Sri Lanka, great for beginner and intermediate surfers to improve confidence and surfing skills.

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