Recreation

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

Ubud Yoga Classes

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Yoga class

Ubud is known as the cultural and spiritual heart of Bali, a place to seek tranquility amidst lush green rice terraces, traditional villages and sacred Balinese Hindu temples. A hot spot on the tourist trail and one of the healthiest cities in Southeast Asia, charming Ubud is a sanctuary of well-being and an oasis for yogis and spiritual seekers.

There are many yoga studios in Ubud to choose from, several of them doubling as holistic healing centres, spas or cafés, and supporting environmentalism and charity projects.

The choice of yoga classes for visitors is vast. From Yin to Ashtanga and Bikram, there is a yoga style for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi. At many centres, you can book your class beforehand. You can also drop-in just before a class, but be sure to go at least 30 minutes early as they do fill up quickly. All the studios provide yoga mats and other equipment, so all you need to bring is comfortable clothing and positive mind.

5 yoga classes in Ubud, Bali

UBUD BEGINNNER YOGA CLASS
CALLING ALL NOVICE YOGIS

The Yoga Barn offers a beginners’ class daily at 2pm. Intro to Yoga is an ideal class for anyone new to yoga with discussion on how yoga can benefit our everyday lives, with simple breathing techniques and basic yoga poses.

Being the most popular yoga centre in Ubud, the class sizes are big – their studios cater up to 60 people. Intro to Yoga is great choice for beginners and those wanting to meet new people.

Yoga Barn’s gorgeous space offers over 15 yoga classes a day, plus dance class and guided meditation. They also have an on-site healing centre ‘Kush’ and Garden Kafe.

The Yoga Barn
Jl. Raya Pengosekan,
Ubud, Bali
(+62) 0361 971 236
http://www.theyogabarn.com/schedule.html

ACROYOGA CLASSES IN UBUD
TAKE YOUR STRETCHES TO NEW HEIGHTS

Looking for a fun and challenging yoga class in Bali? Elevate your routine with Acroyoga!

Acroyoga classIMAGE: ACROYOGA INTERNATIONAL.

This fun movement class incorporates yoga and partner acrobatics to build strength and balance, as well as some deep stretching poses influenced by traditional Thai massage techniques.

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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.

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Scuba Diving in the Maldives

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Scuba Dive Site in Maldives Baa Atoll

AN UNDERWATER DREAM COME TRUE

Don’t let the name deceive you. Diving in the ‘MalDIVES’ is anything but mal! Teeming with marine life, the 1,190 tiny islands of the Maldives lie scattered across 800 kilometres of Indian Ocean like jewels escaping from an overturned treasure chest. And they offer some of the best diving in the world.

As the Indian Monsoon Current sweeps across this equatorial island chain, it brings with it nutrients that feed the soft corals and sponges found clinging to rock walls. Caverns and overhangs dotted with mysterious, vibrantly coloured creatures line the ocean channels, while rock pinnacles extend to the water’s surface within crystalline lagoons.

These coralene islands are home to some 900 species of fish. While manta rays, whale sharks, turtles and eels co-exist below the waves, stunningly white beaches provide a dreamscape for visitors looking to get away from it all.

The blissful Baa Atoll is a prime pick for when it’s time to tick ‘Diving in the Maldives’ off your bucket list.

“The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish” – Jaques Cousteau

Diving Baa atoll is an experience like no other. Designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in June 2011, it is the jewel on the necklace that is the Maldives. The atoll is situated on the west of the archipelago and experiences far fewer visitors in comparison to its southerly neighbours. From above, the 61 islands – half of which measure less than 10 hectares – resemble extra-terrestrial orbs spread out over a deep blue canvas. Close up, they offer heavenly visions overflowing with stunning natural beauty.

Our top pick in Baa Atoll is the less-than-one-kilometre-long Amilla Fushi, which translates to ‘your island home’. This quintessential paradise island boasts some of the best dive sites in the Maldives and can be reached in under a half an hour by seaplane from Malé International Airport. From Amilla Fushi, visitors have the opportunity to dive any of the 30 sites of the Baa atoll, including the Blue Hole and world-renowned Hanifaru Bay.

To guide you in your underwater explorations is HUB (Home of the Underwater Biosphere) in partnership with luxury dive pioneers Dive Butler International. Their team includes an international group of highly qualified marine conservationists and dive professionals who can tailor excursions to meet your needs.

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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 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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Where in the World? The Biggest Asian Elephant Gathering

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The Gathering at Minneriya National Park

Elephants are amazing. There’s something about their grey leathery hides, their tiny soulful eyes, their wispy mop-like tails and their playful trunks. Oh, and I love it when they run!

Given my penchant for Pachyderms I couldn’t be living in a better place than Sri Lanka, land of the Asian Elephant. There are thought to be around 2,500-3,500 wild elephants on this 65,000-square-kilometre island, mostly living in protected national parks and reserves, which are connected via ‘elephant corridors’ – forested passageways.

 

Minneriya National Park elephant reserve

One of the world’s most significant elephant phenomena happens in Minneriya National Park – a protected 8,890-hectare reserve within Sri Lanka’s famed Cultural Triangle. Every year, from the beginning of the dry season – usually late August – groups of elephants start to congregate around the receding waters of the Minneriya Tank, a vast and ancient waterbody spanning some 4670 acres, which was built by the ‘tank-building’ King Mahasena in the 3rd century. This tank at the centre of the reserve never empties so when other drinking sources become scarce, elephants find their way here to drink, bathe and feast on the young shoots of grass that flourish on the edges of the tank as the water recedes.

This phenomenon, which usually lasts until the monsoon begins in October, is known as The Gathering. The term was coined less than a decade ago by renowned Sri Lankan naturalist Gehan de Silva Wijerathne, and since then crowds of visitors have come to observe these majestic creatures in their natural setting. As many as 300 elephants have been recorded at the tank at any one time; it’s thought to be the biggest gathering of Asian elephants in the world. Minneriya forms part of an elephant corridor that links Kaudulla and Wasgamuwa national parks, all located in Sri Lanka’s North Central region.

 

Minneriya National Park See Asian elephants at the gathering

Last September I was lucky enough to witness this natural spectacle for myself. The afternoon is the best time of day to observe the elephants, so I was at the park by 2.30pm to meet up with my driver and tracker. Jeep drivers double up as safari guides, though trackers (some are former poachers) are often more experienced at sighting wildlife. Luckily, mine spoke English.

We drove slowly, taking in the park’s scenery as our guide scanned the forest for any signs of movement.

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