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Recreation

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

Splendid Samui for the Whole Family

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elite havens official launching party - 18-03-2018 (229)

It is astonishing how much the charming tropical Thai island of Koh Samui has changed just over the last 10 years.  Expansion of the airport and direct flights from cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore have transformed the island from a backpackers’ haven to a sophisticated and vibrant resort island with leading international 5-star resorts, fabulous restaurants, and a wide choice of private holiday villas all over the island.

Holidaymakers looking to rent a villa in Samui are spoiled for choice by the Elite Havens collection which offers a superb range of luxury beachfront residences on some of the islands most beautiful beaches, spectacular hillside retreats with jaw-dropping views and palatial pleasure palaces with every  imaginable luxury, available for rent.      

There’s nothing quite like a villa stay for those who want to relax and be themselves among friends and family, where you have the flexibility and total freedom you never quite get in a hotel. 

In Samui, whichever villa you decide on, the relatively small island – you can drive around it in just over an hour –  means you are never very far from anywhere.

It’s an easy island to explore and fall in love with.    

Villa Neung is a chic designer villa with beachfront access to the idyllic Laem Noi Beach – an unspoiled white sandy stretch on the north-west coast, fringed by coconut palms and washed by a shallow blue sea. 

Designed for luxury tropical living, the villa has its own 15-metre beachfront pool, three ensuite double bedrooms and an airy, open-plan living and dining pavilion with stylish Thai-inspired interiors, making it an appealing beach holiday escape for families or small groups of friends.

Villa Nueng - Stylish villa facadeVilla Neung

The villa’s own staff will take care of absolutely everything, preparing delicious Thai and western meals to order, booking spa therapists, organizing tours and activities, perhaps setting up a picnic or candlelit dinner on the beach, and even watching over the young ones while you take a break.

For a change of scenery, a number of rustic beachside restaurants and bars are just a stroll along the beach and it’s only 20-30  minutes’ drive to the chic boutiques, trendy restaurants and nightlife of Maenam, Fisherman’s Village in Bophut and Chaweng.

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Trendiest 3-Bedroom Villas in Hip Canggu

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Villa Pangi Gita - Kidney shaped swimming pool

When holidaying with family, everyone needs their own space.  Set within our tropical gardens, these large and versatile, three-bedroom villas are perfect for both multi-generational family vacations and special gatherings with friends. With multiple indoor-outdoor lounging corners, a private pool and oversized living and dining areas, there’s plenty of space for everyone in your party to find the quiet – and fun – they seek.

Canggu provides for those craving a holiday destination that offers a blend of privacy, ease of access, seclusion and serenity while being a short walk from restaurants, shops and the beach. It’s the understated, slightly more relaxed version of neighbouring Seminyak. Imagine it as a sophisticated older cousin, nonchalant and confident while being hip enough to hang with the cool kids.   

In the 1970’s, adventurers arrived to surf the waves and take in the landscape. Cut to the 2010’s and the coastal village has turned into a see-and-be-seen area, managing to keep its local vibe and laid-back ambiance. The number of expats living here is significant, and new bars and restaurants open everyday. While neighbouring Seminyak can be crowded, Canggu still has areas that are sparsely populated. Rice fields dot the landscape and there are many shortcuts you can take through them. Uluwatu is close by, with wild waves that excite pro-surfers.

Canggu’s Echo Beach is hailed as the most popular surfing area in this surf-crazy town and the main area to discover cafés and restaurants.  The beach has a 180-degree seascape and advanced reef breaks with  cafés up and down the shore. If you don’t surf, simply relax and chill with a drink in hand. Wander around and discover street art which the village is known for.

Other beaches in the area are Batu Bolong Beach, Berawa Beach, Perenan Beach and Nelayan Beach. All are known for their spectacular sunsets so keep them in mind for end-of-the-day selfies.

If you want some fun for the whole family, head out to Finns Recreation Club, where a water park and an indoor trampoline area will keep your children entertained. Adults can check out La Laguna Gypsy Market, which has over 150 stalls selling organic products or the Love Anchor Canggu market in an open-air shopping centre next to Monsieur Spoon, an artisan French bakery. The Samadi Bali market is flocked by Canggu locals and the nearby neighbourhoods of Seminyak,

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Must-See 3-Bedroom Villas in Art-Filled Seminyak

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The Layar

Decadent restaurants, classy drinks and shopping galore. Welcome to Seminyak, where bars and cafes that line the roads outdo each other in trendiness and sophistication. Besides shopping for the latest in designer wear and international brands, Seminyak is also big on art and local finds. Its major landmark, Petitenget Temple is hundreds of years old and also the namesake of the street that runs parallel to the beach. Gorgeous sunsets can be witnessed at Petitenget, which sits beside Masceti Ulun Tanjung Temple, where local villagers pray.

If you’re looking for activities for children, head down to Dream Museum Zone (DMZ) for a fun and interactive experience. The kids will love it, it has three large levels to discover. For an intimate art experience, Nyaman Gallery has a range of pieces by local Balinese and Indonesian artists. International talents’ works are also on display. Top off your day of art-sightseeing at the Biasa Art Space, where you’ll find conceptual and avant-garde pieces. Biasa focuses on emerging, progressive art to ensure adequate exposure to young Javanese artists. Make Theatre Art Gallery your last stop. Beautiful Indonesian puppets called wayang will delight you here.

You might be tired after a day of culture—but you’ve come to the right town. Seminyak is famous for its abundance of spas. Bodyworks is known for soothing massages and various treatments. If yoga is more your thing, Seminyak Yoga Shala is popular. You can also opt to stay in your villa, get an expert massage, and have a yoga teacher come to you.

Here, we list five 3-bedroom villas in the heart of Seminyak where you and your family can enjoy the Easter holidays.

The Layar

The Layar, as it’s famously known, was once Paris Hilton’s temporary lair. The star stayed here several years ago—which is not a surprise. The Layar is upscale and chic, yet has all the comforts of home. Most of all, it is design-savvy, with angled walls and large living and dining rooms that open onto an inviting swimming pool. Various floor levels create an interesting play for the eye. Under overlapping roofs, each of the eleven 3-bedroom suites has an outdoor space —whether a deck, a terrace, or a bathroom garden.

You’ll feel a sense of privacy in The Layar, down to the dining and lounging space in the garden beside the pool.

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Healthy Holiday: Detox in Lombok

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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 is even better! Crack open a coconut and drink to a healthy holiday paradise found.

Take a look at these tips for choosing the right accommodations, nutrition programs, 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

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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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