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

in Culture/Destinations/Dining/Families/Recreation by

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

in Culture/Destinations/Dining/Families/Recreation by

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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Chef du jour: Villa Jia at Jivana Villas

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Villa Jia, part of the exclusive Jivana Beach Villas estate, is a luxurious fully staffed beachfront villa located on the pristine white sands of Natai Beach in rural Phang Nga, just 25 minutes from Phuket International Airport. With six ensuite bedrooms strewn across vast lawns, coupled with sweeping views of the Andaman Sea, Villa Jia is the perfect escape for those who appreciate aesthetic design paired with stunning natural beauty.

In Villa Jia’s impressive kitchen at Jivana Beach Villas, Chef Koong cooks up a simple but super tasty Thai-style wonton or เกี๊ยวทอด, Kiao Tod in Thai.

Elite Havens: What is your cooking background?

Chef Koong: My cooking knowledge comes from on-the-job experience and I have learnt an array of new techniques from other chefs that I have worked with. I didn’t go to cooking school but I’ve learnt from my work experience and through trainings at the workplace.

EH: What do you think makes a good chef/cook?

CK: Fresh ingredients, hygiene and the most important factor would be the taste of food. A good chef must be fascinated with the art of cooking, always seeking to improve, using new techniques.

EH: Why did you choose to make this dish for us today?

CK: Villa guests always remark that they are the best wontons they’ve ever had.

EH: Can you tell us how your cooking adds to the villa?

CK: Guests who are impressed with our food, will spread the word to their friends and family. My goal is for guests to feel compelled to come back and stay with us at the villa, allured by the flavours of my food.

EH: What should guests expect from you when you cook for them?

CK: Taste, great presentation, and food served on time.

Chef Koong’s Fried Wontons with Chicken

Only takes 20 mins to make, including wrapping. Super crispy and yummy.

Makes 8 – 10

Ingredients

  • 500g ground chicken
  • ½ tsp Sesame oil
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Wonton wrappers
  • 3 Pandan leaves cut into thin strips
  • Water for sealing
  • Oil for frying
  • Thai Sweet chili sauce

Directions

Step 1: In a bowl,

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Through The Keyhole: Villa Pangi Gita’s Villa Manager

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A beautiful traditional Balinese resort in the middle of Canggu, Villa Pangi Gita is a feast for the eyes. A large garden winds through each spacious ironw00d-shingled hut which are reminiscent of traditional Balinese huts. One feels enveloped in local culture with traditional Indonesian decor and a private, jungle-like refuge by the pool. Best of all are the wonderful staff and delightful food, all adding to 24-hours of pure professional service and absolute getaway bliss.

We interviewed the villa manager, Wayan Gede Adinata, to find out what else makes Villa Pangi Gita so special.

Elite Havens: Wonderful day, Gede! What do you think makes Villa Pangi Gita unique?

Gede Adinata: The style, architecture and the atmosphere. We even have a client, a retreat group, that comes back twice a year, such is the pull of the villa. 

EH: Can you tell us about the spirit tree and its significance? 

GA: The huge banyan tree in front of Villa Pangi Gita is the owners’ favourite tree. They call it ‘The King Tree’. Balinese Hindu believe that the banyan tree is most sacred tree of all. We believe that the tree is the place where God manifests. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, “Of all the trees, I am the Banyan Tree.” The tree is also the reflection of the spiritual world. You will find one dressed in chequered cloth, in most temples in Bali. At Villa Pangi Gita, we trim it once a year to keep it looking tidy – the owners call the treatment ‘an annual hair cut’.

EH: What should guests expect when they stay here – outside the norm of other villa experiences?

GA: A quiet and comfortable place, very close to the heartline of Canggu and Batu Bolong. The best food on the island is right here at Villa Pangi Gita.

EH: What can you tell me about your team here?  What makes them special?

GA: We are a family, they work together and enjoy each other’s company.

EH: Gede, what’s your philosophy in life? 

GA: As a Balinese, my philosophy in life is Tri Hita Karana– this means three causes of prosperity, which is Pawongan (relationship among people), Palemahan (relationship of person with nature or environment) and Parahayangan (relationship of person with God).

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Surf, Sand and Serenity in Undiscovered Lombok

in Destinations/Families/Recreation by

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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