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Travel ingenuity from our island hopping holiday experts

10 Bali Villas for Corporate Groups and Wellness Retreats

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Sanur villas for groups

Mix business with pleasure at your next corporate meeting, training or wellness retreat and lap up the luxury of one of Bali’s fabulous villa estates.  Let’s face it, nowhere does villas like Bali does, and unlike large, impersonal resorts, a villa grants you absolute privacy and exclusivity, with your own state-of-the-art facilities. Best of all, service is highly personalized with a round-the-clock team of butlers, housekeepers and security at your beck and call– not to mention highly skilled chefs who can cook exactly what you want when you want it. Healthy meeting snacks? Canapés and cocktails at sunset? Seafood barbecue by the pool? Balinese themed dinner with live dance performance?  You name it and villa staff will provide it, all with the smiles and warmth of hospitality that Bali is famous for.

Expansive, fully-staffed villas in fabulous locations around the island are well set up for groups, with large capacity common areas for group activities and special events. Most offer all the mod cons, from Satellite TV to high speed WiFi and business centre facilities, alongside generous en suite bedrooms, stunning pools set in lush gardens, sensational spa services, and plenty of space for everyone to spread out.

Sound good? Here are our top ten villa picks for your next corporate event, training or wellness retreat.

Sanur Residence – Sanur

Sanur is the most southerly town on Bali’s ‘Sunrise Coast’ and retains its laid back charm with leafy streets, art galleries, cosy cafes and atmospheric seafront promenade. The three sleek, supremely spacious villas that make up Sanur Residence are wonderfully located on the quiet beach of Padang Galak, just minutes from town and accommodate up to 18 people. The epitome of contemporary elegance, each stylish villa has expansive en suite bedrooms, kitchen and open plan living areas, with one villa housing an ocean-facing, semi open-air banquet/meeting/dining room with the capacity of a 20m² meeting table or up to 40 people in 8 round tables, ideal for presentations or panel discussions. A 23-metre infinity pool, delightful manicured gardens, expansive roof terraces and huge lawn create ample space for socialising and soaking up the endless ocean views.

Villa Pushpapuri – near Sanur

If you like the idea of being slightly more remote, a Pabean Beach villa near Sanur is an inspired choice.

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Thai King’s New Baht Banknote

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New Baht Thailand Currency

For travel in Thailand, money basics are a need to know. The Thai Baht (pronounced /bɑːt/ and abbreviated to THB, or ฿) is the official currency of Thailand. Thai Bhat is a common misspelling! In Thai, it is written: บาท and subdivided into 100 satang. Coins come in denominations of: 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht, as well as 25 and 50 satang. Banknotes come in denominations of: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht.

A Fresh New Look

What you may not know is that in April 2018 the Bank of Thailand (BOT) began circulating a brand new family of banknotes, ‘Series 17’, the first ever to feature a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, whose revered father, the late King Bhumipol Adulyadej passed away in 2016, ending a world record-breaking seven-decade reign. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX, has appeared on baht banknotes for the past 70 years.

The main colours and sizes of the notes haven’t changed, with the back designs featuring images of the Kings of Thailand from past to present. The 20, 50 and 100 baht banknotes were released on Chakri Memorial Day, April 6, 2018. The final two denominations of 500 and 1,000 baht will be issued on the new king’s birthday on July 28, 2018.

Current (left) V. New (right)
Banknotes (Photos via Bank of Thailand)

The Bank of Thailand will issue a new ‘Series 17’ set of banknotes on July 28 featuring a portrait of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun in the Royal Thai Air Force uniform, to mark the 66th birthday of the King. Current ‘Series 16’ banknotes of the late king will remain in circulation. 

Creative Design & Functionality

Unlike some countries in South East Asia the banking sector in Thailand has, over the years, proven to be a major stabilising force for the Thai economy. Lessons learnt from the industry collapse over 20 years ago have seen Thai banks showing fresh resilience today, due in no small part to the regulation of financial institutions.

Once approved by the Minister of Finance, the BOT is responsible for the design, print, issuing, and management of banknotes. Although no longer hand drawn, banknote designers must be able to combine visual artistry and technical expertise with cultural identity and counterfeit deterrence features.

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Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey

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See Bali Island in the 1970s’

Travel back in time and catch a glimpse of daily life on the island of Bali in the 1970s. Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey is a must-see material for anyone who loves Bali and Indonesia. I for one got hooked from the very first minute I started watching this series of five documentaries. It was back in 1972 when the English brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair set off from Great Britain to the Indonesian Archipelago to explore mystical lands and indigenous tribes, not knowing if they would ever return. Their journey led them from the deep jungle of Kalimantan to pirate territory in Sulawesi, to primitive tribes in New Guinea and Sumba, to giant lizards on Komodo Island and finally to the sacred island of Bali with all of its temples, shrines, Gods, demons and mysticism. I found it inspiring and intriguing to watch these two brothers going off-the-grid like true explorers without any modern-day luxuries such as Google Maps, Google Translate or whatsoever. They went on a crazy insane adventure and they were lucky to survive…

How it all began

Following in the footsteps of naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, Lorne and Lawrence Blair initially traveled to the Spice Islands of Indonesia to capture footage of the legendary Greater Bird of Paradise. The things they discovered on the way were more compelling than they ever could’ve imagined. Before they knew it, a decade had passed, exploring places, islands and indigenous tribes off the map.
When they started out, Lorne was an ethnographic filmmaker who had been working for BBC and Lawrence had just earned his Ph.D. writing a doctoral thesis on psycho-anthropology. The brothers left their familiar civilization behind on a Phinisi boat with Bugis Pirates on the island of Sulawesi and they jumped into a world unknown to them.

A decade of exploring lands unknown

The brothers Blair made nine expeditions between 1972 and 1985. In total, Lorne shot over 80 hours of video footage on a 16mm film. The footage is authentic, raw, intimate, wild, utterly cool and interesting. You get a real glimpse into the cultures, traditions and rituals of indigenous Indonesian tribes. Lorne and Lawrence may have been the last true ‘explorers’ like we had them in the old days, long before the digital age kicked in.

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Koh Samui’s magic rum

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Cocktails in Koh Samui

Idyllic destination, exciting new experiences, exotic food and summery cocktails all day, right? You bet. Our Koh Samui villas offer exactly that and a whole lot more. Although, when it comes to domestic Thai spirits worth drinking, the selection in Koh Samui is underwhelming. Unless you know this: there is magic rum on this island.

magic alambic rum samui

IMAGE FROM MAGIC ALAMBIC RUM

Of the few distilleries in Thailand, Magic Alambic Rum is the only one producing a Caribbean agricole-style spirit and they offer a true island experience right here in Koh Samui – local rum tasting.

Located on the southern tip of Koh Samui, this rum distillery was founded in 2003 by entrepreneurial couple Elisa and Michel Gabrel. Elisa, originally from Martinique, and Frenchman Michel experimented with brewing alcohol from the abundance of locally-grown tropical fruits available. Unsuccessful at first, they decided to make rum in the agricole style, a process that uses distillation from freshly-squeezed sugarcane, which is readily available in North Thailand. This facility is the first French distillery in Thailand. 

koh samui fruit market

SAMUI MARKET – IMAGE FROM VILLA WAIMARIE

AGRICOLE SUGARCANE RUM

While most industrial rums are made from molasses and additives like caramel, rum agricole is an exception because it originated in the West Indies where the French government strictly controlled its production.

Agricole-style rum is made from a single ingredient: 100% pure first-press sugarcane juice, which gives it a dynamic and delicate earthy taste and a high alcohol content. Here’s how: raw sugarcane stalks are pressed to extract fresh juice, which is naturally fermented for two to three days before being distilled and put to rest in stainless steel tanks or aged in wooden barrels.

IMAGE FROM MAGIC ALAMBIC RUM

RUM TASTING IN KOH SAMUI

Visit the Magic Alambic Rum distillery in South Koh Samui for a fun memorable experience. We recommend renting a car for a leisurely day trip to this remote area. Make sure not to drive under the influence after a tasting.

Visitors are greeted by Ludovic or Martial Leplutois (owners since January 2014) with an invitation to see the rum production facilities and sample the final products in the tasting area surrounded by beautiful palm trees.

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Vodka Lovers Paradise: Phuket

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drinking vodka in phuket

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”

— Ernest Hemingway

Vodka is traditionally distilled from fermented grains or potatoes and the word Vodka is derived from the Slavic word voda, meaning, water. It is believed that the word vodka was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Akta Grodzkie, Poland. At the time the word wódka referred to medicines and cosmetic products, which does make some sense as my Nan always used to have a little bit of vodka in the evening and told everyone it was her medicine.

Vodka has been the drink of choice for many of the Baltic countries, or what is known as the Vodka Belt. The general definition tends to include the following states as significant producers and consumers of vodka: Russia, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland.

phuket villa with full barVODKAS IN PHUKET

There are a variety of different vodkas available in Phuket, Thailand from your classic brands to new flavored bottles, from reasonable priced bottles to bottles that come with their own fireworks and entourage when you order them. Most of the Phuket beach clubs have a selection to choose from depending on your taste and budget.

Stolichnaya Vodka
The origins of the original premium vodka go way back to the beginning of the 20th century in Russia. Also known as Stoli, it’s a vodka made of wheat and rye grain.

Belvedere
Belvedere is a brand of Polish rye vodka. Production began in 1993 at the facility located at Polmos Żyrardów, Poland.

Beluga
Beluga made its first appearance in 2009, and has gained a reputation for exceptionally clean, pure vodka. Its distillery is located in the heart of Siberia.

Grey Goose
The French vodka that took the spirit to new heights of popularity. Made from the same winter wheat that goes into a croissant, this is the vodka everyone wants to be seen with.

Smirnoff
One of the best-known global drinks brands, Smirnoff dominates the vodka market. As well as the classic red (No. 21), blue and black bottles, the brand has added a range of flavored vodkas to its line-up in recent years.

Absolut
One of the best-known vodkas in the world, Absolut is produced near Åhus in southern Sweden.

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