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

Bali’s Cultural, Spiritual and Creative Centre: Ubud

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Ubud is in many ways Bali’s cultural, spiritual and creative centre. Just an hour’s drive north of the airport, it is home to one of Bali’s royal families who actively support the arts, leading to a thriving art scene. Along Ubud’s main street are galleries and stores selling antiques, woodcarvings, bright textiles and beautiful paintings.

An Expertly-Curated Tour of Ubud

As a special gesture to our guests staying in select villas in the region, Elite Havens is offering a luxurious signature cultural immersion tour, carefully curated by our Elite Concierge team. Embark on a journey into the heart of Ubud and get an insight into what makes it so delightfully unique. “We’ve chosen what we feel are the highlights of each location, so our guests can get a glimpse of the province over the course of a day, and it’s all wrapped it up in true Elite Havens style,” assures Andy Grant, Head of Concierge for Elite Havens.

Discover Batuan Village

Batuan, a village in Ubud noted for its artwork, is our first stop in the signature Elite Havens Ubud tour. It contains many cooperative art societies and galleries, which have all played a key role in promoting the local art of Batuan. Batuan is also a style of painting that originated in the village in the 1930s, and your Elite Havens guide will reveal further insights during the exclusive tour. “Expect to see true tropical jungles with vast ravines, and an abundance of local artisans working at their crafts, which have been passed down through generations,” Andy shares.

See Batuan Temple

You will be warmly welcomed into the home of a Balinese family, an unmissable opportunity where you can get a glimpse into the daily life of locals. Proceed from here to the stunning Batuan Temple, which is characterised by towering dark stones. Adorned with Balinese ornaments and elegant black roofs, the temple is known for housing ancient relics from prehistoric times. You will learn from your guide about the influence of Hindu culture in the region, and the origin of the statues on display.

Marvel at Art

We then take you to one of Ubud’s most prominent art galleries. Pause a while and take a look,

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Verdant Landscapes, Rolling Hills and Rice Terraces in Bali’s Tabanan Region

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Verdant landscapes, rolling hills and endless rice terraces characterise Bali’s Tabanan region. This off-the-beaten-track area is nature-rich and rife with discoveries to be made. Ancient temples, towering mountains and even a UNESCO World Heritage Site are all part of this lush territory. Deserted beaches abound, offering fabulous surf, minus the jostling crowds.

The Tantalizing Tabanan Tour

Our Elite Concierge has curated a spectacular tour of Tabanan, offered gratis to guests staying in select villas in the region. Take a trip down the path less trodden, where adventure and the pleasure of seeking out the new take centre stage. We give you a guided tour through astounding greenery that will take your breath away. Drive all the way up steep hills to the highest peaks, to experience the best views and  the most wondrous sights. “Holiday time is precious as well as limited, so we want to ensure guests embarking on our curated tours really get to experience the best the region has to offer,” says Andy Grant, Elite Havens’ Head of Concierge.

Marvel at Batukaru Temple

A private vehicle with your own personal guide will pick you up from your villa and take you to the Batukaru Temple. Situated at the foot of Mount Batukaru, the temple also has a freshwater spring in the main courtyard that serves as a water source for prayers and ceremonies. As a special gesture from Elite Havens, you may experience a spiritual water blessing at the temple.

Since the 11th century, Balinese Hindus have considered the mysterious site sacred. Often misty due to its elevation, it has an altitude of 2,270m above sea level, the second highest peak in Bali after Mount Agung. It is surrounded by natural forests and is equally perfect for breathing in spirituality and blessings, as it is for Instagram-worthy photo ops. “With the most stunning scenery, for me the regency of Tabanan gives a true sense of authentic, rural Bali,” adds Andy.

Explore Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are one of the tour’s highlights. The paddies fall in a rush, down steep hills, and are surrounded by troughs of water. The area is a draw for the athletically-inclined,

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A Haven for Muslim Tourists: 8 Reasons Why Elite Havens Should Be Your Next Holiday Destination

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The world is a place filled with wonder for curious people. Despite the role played by the internet in exposing us to the diverse places and cultures of the world, there are gems that people still long to visit and experience for themselves; at least I know I do!

As a Muslim, it can sometimes be a struggle to find an ideal holiday destination, whether solo or with family. More often than not, there is search to be done and extra measures to be taken to ensure that everything goes well and within the traditions of Islam. It wouldn’t really spoil the holiday, but it sure can be tedious work a burden I’d like be relieved of, don’t you just agree? At Elite Havens, I found all my answers.

Serenity and Spirituality Define Elite Havens Villas

Reflecting on my stay at an Elite Haven, two main points come to mind: serenity and spirituality. Wherever you turn your head, you can find picturesque beaches, mountains and even rainforests. Imagine how divine and high-spirited it would be, to watch the sun rising from a clifftop or while strolling across the beach. I get goosebumps merely taking a stroll down those memories!

Why Elite Havens Has a Wide Selection of Destinations Catering to Muslim Travellers
Free of culture shock – Muslim staff members catering to your needs

Small details make a huge difference. We were particularly surprised and equally appreciative when the concierge demonstrated to us which way to face when praying. This tiny action may not seem significant, but it was actually very touching and made our day.

Nearby Mosques – Pray and explore the city

If you choose villas located in Indonesia or Thailand, you can pray in mosques, alongside the local people. Interacting with locals can be the highlight of your trip. They are the ones to best guide you on the wonders of the town.

Make yourself at home with complete privacy

You will find comfort in the privacy of your own personal villa. In any haven you choose to stay at, not only do you have a private pool, but also gorgeous views, be it the beach, a mountainous scene or even a rainforest. If you’re looking for some alone-time to reflect and breathe in the nature,

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Surf, Sand and Serenity in Undiscovered Lombok

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In a world cluttered with tourist spots and travellers zigzagging across the globe, ticking off dog-eared bucket lists, the inevitable crowds and chatter follow you wherever you go. Isn’t it wonderful, when unexpectedly you stumble upon a hidden paradise – a quiet haven overlooked by the zealous crowds.

Located right next to Bali, Lombok is nothing like its neighbour. Or should we say, it is nothing like what Bali is today. Lombok is the Bali of 40 years ago, a tale of pristine beaches, uncrowded waves and quaint rural villages.

Here’s a thought – for your next vacation, why not do something different? Leave behind the red hot tourist spots and head to undiscovered Lombok, a gorgeous island thankfully forgotten by the world at large. Find yourself in the lap of nature, with lush green hills, champagne sand beaches and surprisingly good food, a destination that doesn’t bother with pretences.

While searching for the perfect Elite Haven, you are spoilt for choice. Sira Beach House offers barefoot holiday bliss amongst coconut groves and white sands while The Anandita has tropical baths and a golf course next door. Perfect for large groups with children, Villa Sapi is contemporary and chic, with three swimming pools, a tennis court and a glass-roofed building (yes, you read that right). For a traditional touch, choose Villa Sepoi Sepoi with its thatched roofs and enticing spaces such as open-sided pavilions and a poolside cabana bar.

Whichever haven you pick for your island escape, our Elite Concierge is on-hand to offer advice and help make this a holiday to remember. “From setting up a sunset barbecue on the beach to a picnic by the gorgeous Sinang Gili Waterfall with gourmet hampers and sparkling wine, we go the extra mile to make each day during your holiday count,” promises Andy Grant, Head of Concierge. An early morning boat trip for snorkelling around the Gili Islands or a cooking class coupled with a market visit. No ask is too big for the Concierge team and it really is the culmination of these experiences that will make your Lombok escape a ‘dream holiday’.     

Book any of these luxurious villas for stay anytime from now until 25th December,

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7 Things To Do in the Bukit Peninsula

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The majestic clifftop Uluwatu Temple lies in the Bukit area of Bali, which is also home to the best beaches and surf spots on the island. The Bukit is actually a large limestone peninsula and would be a separate island if it weren’t for the small sliver of land south of the Bali airport. The ‘Bukit’, which means ‘hill’ in Indonesian, is – unlike the rest of the island – arid, stony and dry. The west coast is particularly popular, with accommodations perched above Balangan Beach offering stunning clifftop ocean views.

The best way to explore the Bukit Peninsula  and visit all of its gorgeous beaches is via motorized transport.  Many elite havens have a driver and vehicle available to guests.  Simply check with the Villa Manager on availability and special inside tips on local attractions.  Alternatively, you can hire transport via the dedicated EH Concierge service.

There are many exciting things to do in the area. Here are our top 7:

Visit the Famous Uluwatu Temple

Go to the famous Uluwatu Temple, one of Bali’s nine key temples and part of its spiritual legacy. ‘Ulu’ means the ‘top’ or the ‘tip’ and ‘watu’ means a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese. The astounding temple has been sitting on the same spot – 70 metres above the ocean – for thousands of years. Two sages are credited with creating and enlarging it: Empu Kuturan in the 11th century and Dang Hyang Nirartha, who they say achieved moshka or samsara (liberation) here. Temple anniversary celebrations are held every six months according to the Balinese 210-day Pawukon cycle.

The forest by the temple is full of monkeys who grab items such as sunglasses and cameras, so be careful. They can be bribed with bananas and peanuts to get your items back. 

Watch A Kecak Fire Dance

A popular dance, the Kecak fire dance, is performed at the Uluwatu Temple every day at 6pm, around sunset. It is a spectacular sight to behold. The dance is famous for its use of voices in lieu of instruments, which lends a powerful accompaniment to its drama. You can also watch it in the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park.

See the 120-metre statue of Lord Vishnu and Garuda

The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park has a humongous statue of Lord Vishnu riding his mount Garuda,

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