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Recreation - page 9

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

Galle’s Outdoor Activities

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Located on the south coast of Sri Lanka, Galle is a destination in its own right. Stay in a luxury villa in Galle, such as the superb No. 39 Galle Fort, Ambassador’s House or Villa Pooja Kanda, and you’ll be blessed by having a wealth of attractions and activities on your doorstep.

Galle’s golden beaches are washed by a warm sea where snorkelling, diving, deep sea fishing and surfing are all possible, as well as whale and dolphin watching from November to April. The coastal interior is characterised by paddy fields and palms, and this setting is ripe for explorations on foot, by bicycle, or by canoe, travelling upriver to seek out birds and wildlife.  

Snorkelling and diving

IMAGE CREDIT: MY TOUR IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s marine life and coral reefs don’t quite live up to other parts of Asia, however it’s still an enjoyable experience nonetheless and easy to organise from Galle. Experienced divers can explore a handful of wrecks lying in deeper water. Marine life in the region includes turtles, reef sharks and coral fish, though the coral around Sri Lanka is generally in a poor condition. Dive sites are better towards Hikkaduwa, where there’s a marine sanctuary. There are a few spots for snorkelling, such as at Unawatuna, Jungle Beach and Hikkaduwa.

Surfing

IMAGE CREDIT: THAMBAPANNI LEISURE

Surfing in Sri Lanka has really taken off in the last couple of years. Many beaches close to Galle, such as Devata, Ahangama and Midigama particularly, as well as Weligama, 45-minutes’ drive east, and Hikkaduwa, 45-minutes’ drive west, are well set up for surfers of all abilities. Devata is the closest beach to Galle, and has emerged recently as a place to learn to surf; its sliver of sand is sprinkled with surf outfits. Weligama has many more surf operators and its wide sandy arc of bay is a much more picturesque setting for beginners. Many of the other locations mentioned, such as Midigama and Ahangama, suit more experienced surfers.

Whale and dolphin watching

IMAGE CREDIT: SRI SHARAVI

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best places to see the planet’s biggest fish – the blue whale.

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Five of the Best

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We present you the best five (extraordinary) activities you can only experience in Bali.

Be a Rascal

Take a day trip on Rascal – a handcrafted 31-metre phinisi cruiser that launched at the end of 2016.  Hewn from ironwood and teak, Rascal is a luxuriously modern yacht with chic interiors that give a nod the beach house style of The Hampton’s.

Life is a lot more beautiful on Rascal. Image credit: Ultimate Indonesian Yachts

Rascal’s pared back style delivers hospitality of the highest order: among the crew of nine is a talented young chef working the kitchen, which was designed by Bali’s famous Watercress Café’s executive chef Josh Job, and the award-winning mixologist outfit Proof & Company inspired the cocktail list. Onboard, for your leisure and pleasure, is fishing gear, diving equipment and a personal dive manager, two tenders, kayaks, waterskis, a biscuit and a banana boat.

Visit the beguiling island and deserted beaches of Nusa Penida, the hot surf spots of Nusa Lembongan or sip cocktails during a private and romantic sunset cruise. 

More information here.

Flying High

Soaring high above the lush, jungle-carpeted mountains, sparkling crater lakes, dazzling Kuta coastline and active volcanoes that leak steaming sulphur into the atmosphere are just some of the highlights of a helicopter tour in Bali.

Life is better at the top. Image credit: Bali Adventure Sky Tours

This island of the gods is an awe-inspiring visual package, with verdant rice terraces that are so exquisite that UNESCO has marked the region for all-time preservation, set alongside ancient sea temples such a Tanah Lot – perched high on top of a rocky outcrop that’s inaccessible at high tide.

Image credit: Bali Adventure Sky Tours.

More information here.

Mesmerising Sunset Trance Dance of Fire

The Kecak dance is an extraordinary display by 100 or more bare-chested men clad in checkered cloth, sitting in concentric circles, swaying, standing up, lying prone as the story of the Hindu epic – the Ramayana unfolds around a raging fire.

Kecak dance at Uluwatu Temple. Image credit: ewigbalitour

Voices chant in a trance-like rapture while the gamelan beats. A woman is stolen by a demon from her princely husband and the story tells of the challenges the young prince and his brother must overcome to rescue her.

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Celebrate the Year of the Rooster Phuket-style

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Head to Phuket to welcome in the Lunar New Year and be refreshed and invigorated in a gorgeous tropical island setting.

Phuket has a long history of migrant arrivals to its shores hoping for a better life, and its large Chinese-Thai communities descended from those long-ago fortune seekers still honour the traditions of their ancestral home. Though Chinese New Year is not a public holiday in Thailand, it’s one of the country’s most vibrant and colourful festivals. This coming year marks the Year of the Rooster, with most events taking place on and around January 28. Together with Bangkok’s Chinatown, Phuket is one of the main centres for Lunar New Year celebrations, with about one-third of its local population of Chinese heritage.

Phuket Town is the heart of the island’s Chinese community, and the streets here come alive with processions, street markets and performances throughout the festival. The Old Town’s colourful Sino-Portuguese buildings are adorned with strings of red lanterns, and families gather to sweep the old year out of their homes, prepare feasts to honour their ancestors and encourage a more auspicious year ahead.

Many Chinese Taoist shrines around Phuket Town including the beautifully restored Sang Tham shrine and the large Jui Tui shrine will be bustling with merry-makers and Thalang, Dibuk and Romannee roads will be closed to traffic in the evenings and transformed into walking street markets.

To learn more about Phuket’s bonds with China, be sure to visit the Thai Hua Museum on Krabi Road with its excellent displays and photos tracing the journey and traditions of its Chinese community from the island’s heady tin mining days of the 1800s to the present.

Chinese New Year festivities also provide a good opportunity to explore the town’s new street art, which covers the walls of several buildings. Throughout 2016, graffiti artists from Thailand and around the world, including the whimsical Alex Face of Bangkok, were invited to unleash their spray-painting talents at numerous locations around town, adding even more colour and eye-catching images to the pastel-toned historic streets.

wat-chalong-fairAnother highly anticipated event during Chinese New Year in Phuket is the annual Wat Chalong Fair, a pulsating ten-day festival with local food, open-air markets, music and games at the island’s largest Buddhist temple, about eight kilometres south of Phuket Town.

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Top 6 Bali Adventure Activities You Can’t Miss

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A holiday in Bali is only complete with these adventure-packed activities . From taking a boat trip to neighbouring islands to riding an elephant or rafting, Bali is the ideal place to bring your adventurous side out.

Bali Boat Trip

baliboattrip

Are you looking to snorkel at the pristine waters of Crystal Bay at Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, but not sure which boat trips are safe and reasonably priced? Bali Boat Trip is a smart and ideal choice. Bali Boat Trip is perfect for those who want their own island-hopping experience – luxury style.
Price: Starts at USD 695 for 5 pax
What’s included: Transfer to and from Serangan Harbour, snorkelling equipment, bottled water, BBQ lunch, fruits and snacks.
T: +62 361 210 5757
E: trip@baliboattrip.com
Exclusive Elite Experience Benefit: Receive 10% discount

Elephant Safari Park & Ride
balielephantsafari

Experience sitting on top of a Sumatran elephant through the lush Taro jungle in Ubud, hand-feed the elephants, bathe with them in a pool and learn amazing facts about them. Visitors to Bali are given the chance to get up close and personal with these friendly mammals at the Elephant Safari Park in Taro. Families with young kids will love this activity.
Price: Starts at USD 92 for 1 pax
What’s included: Hotel transfers, park admission, safari ride, hand-feed the elephants, lunch and insurance.
T: +62 361 721 480
E: info@baliadventuretours.com
Exclusive Elite Experience Benefit: Save IDR 300,000

Where to stay in Ubud
VWLIMO

VW Kombi Limo Bali at Canggu beach[1]

The fleet of colourful VW Kombi Limousines is ready to take you for a full-day cruise around Bali in style! All vehicles are soundproofed, equipped with in-car WiFi, amazing sound systems and a remote control mini bar. The guide will take you to historical sites in Bali too. A fun learning session to understand better about Bali’s history and culture is guaranteed.
Price: Starts from USD 245 for 2 pax
What’s included: Hotel transfers, an experienced guide, refreshments in car, lunch in rice field, blessing ceremony, entrance fee to all temples, insurance, donation to village and temples,

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Phuket King’s Cup Regatta 2016

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With its dreamy sailing waters including the karst island-studded Phang Nga Bay and the Similan islands, Phuket has long been a leisure-yachting haven. But for sailors seeking a more challenging day out, Thailand’s largest island offers plenty of racing action as well.

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, held every year in early December, is one of Asia’s best known and biggest sailing events. This prestigious race was first held in 1987 in honour of His Majesty the King of Thailand. Every year since the first celebration, it has attracted a mix of sailors with a competitive spirit, from royals to the Royal Thai Navy to expat yachtsmen who join races worldwide.

Now part of the Asian Yachting Circuit, the King’s Cup includes several competition classes and brings in hundreds of yacht owners and crew from around the world. But more than just a sailing race, the King’s Cup is also one of Phuket’s most-anticipated social events, with glittering parties held each evening and a chance for local and international sailors to mingle and explore the island beyond the regatta circuit. Those not joining the race are encouraged to at least make a sunset visit to Kata Beach during King’s Cup, where most of the regatta’s yachts are moored after a day of racing. It’s a picture-perfect sight!

Phuket Raceweek is a newer regatta, held every July in what are considered more challenging conditions than those of the calmer, fair-weather month of December. Sponsored by the Cape Panwa Hotel, races are held off Phuket’s picturesque east coast over four days, with gala events each night at the resort’s gorgeous beachfront location.

6-1200x700Local yacht design skills are on full display at Raceweek, with one of the most popular divisions being the single-design Firefly 850 Sports Class – a fleet of sleek racing catamarans designed and built in Phuket. Another one-design class making a comeback in 2016 is the Platu class, a monohull design that’s popular among the Pattaya and Phuket sailing crowd. Championship titles in the IRC 1, 2 and Cruising, Multihull and Bareboat Charter classes are all up for grabs, with yacht charters available for those without their own boats on Phuket looking to join in the action.

Chinese New Year brings another week of sail races, with the Phang Nga Bay Regatta taking place each year around the Lunar New Year month.

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