#celebrity sightings

Phuket’s first ethical elephant sanctuary

in Recreation by
Sophie Monk at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

“Bow your head. Show them respect. The elephants created this jungle. Where they made furrows with their tusks the rivers ran. Where they blew their trunks the leaves fell. They made all that belongs: the mountains, the trees, the birds in the trees. But they did not make you.” – Disney’s The Jungle Book movie

Sri Nuan elephant at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Growing up in Essex in the UK, my only experience with the majestic beast that is the elephant was on TV. Although I had travelled half the world by my early thirties it wasn’t until I landed on the tropical shores of Phuket, Thailand that I came face to trunk with these huge, intelligent animals.

In the UK I had been used to cats, dogs, and guinea pigs, and there weren’t any elephants in Antigua, Turkey or Greece, so when I first came up close and personal with the largest land mammal in the world it was rather overwhelming. I will admit that I was a little scared, not sure I had pachydermophobia, (the fear of elephants, adding to my word count with that one), but I was definitely nervous.

I have, of course, done what every tourist has done when coming to Phuket – book an elephant ride. So far in the ten years I have been in Phuket I have gone out twice. Both times has been a good experience, although not amazing, it wasn’t until I visited the new pioneering Phuket Elephant Sanctuary that I finally fell in love with Thailand’s national animal.

PHUKET ELEPHANT SANCTUARY

Located in the lush tropical jungles of Phuket’s east coast, bordering the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary offers the most idyllic retirement for sick, injured and old elephants, all of whom have had exhausting lives, either in the logging trade or working in the many elephant trekking companies around Thailand.

Founded in a partnership with Mr. Montri Todtane, ex-owner of an elephant camp in Phuket, world-renowned elephant rescuer and conservationist Lek Chailert, founder of Save Elephant Foundation, and Louise Rogerson, founder of EARS Asia, the Phuket Elephant sanctuary is a tranquil home for these majestic beasts and a place where they can be elephants again.

Elephant tourism

ELEPHANTS IN TOURISM

After the logging industry declined,

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Which is hotter: Bali’s climate or these Dutch models?

in Wellness by
Dutch models at The Layar

Given the choice to suffer cold weather in Europe or bask in the tropics, famous Dutch footballer Thyson Thijs Bouma and model/photographer Ruben Visser ‘t Hooft opted for an escape to a climate almost as hot as them.

// Wat is meer heet? Het klimaat op Bali of deze Nederlandse modellen?
Gezien de keuze was om in het kouden Europa te blijven of de zon op te zoeken, kozen de beroemde Nederlandse voetballer Thyson Thijs Bouma en model/fotograaf Ruben Visser ‘t Hooft voor een ontsnapping naar een klimaat dat zo heet is als de heren zelf.

Thijs Bouma at The Layar Bali

Thijs is known for his Club Football career with FC Twente, VFL Osnabrück, Almere City and De Graafschap, but after breaking his leg in 2015, he decided to see what else the world has to offer. Hello, modelling.

Fast-forward to November 2017 and this hottie still looks like an avid athlete. We caught up with him at The Layar Designer Villas & Spa in Seminyak, Bali.

// Thijs staat bekend om zijn clubvoetbalcarrière bij FC Twente, VFL Osnabrück, Almere City en De Graafschap, maar nadat hij in 2015 zijn been gebroken had, besloot hij om te kijken wat de rest van de wereld te bieden heeft. Hallo, modelleren.

Snel vooruit naar november 2017 en deze hottie ziet er nog steeds uit als een fervent sporter. We hebben hem bij The Layar Designer Villas & Spa in Seminyak, Bali opgehaald.

Thyson B Dutch footballer at The Layar

If you think one Jacuzzi is enough, it isn’t. We have another one.

// Als je denkt dat een jacuzzi voldoende is, is dat niet het geval. We hebben er nog een.

Thijs Bouma in Bali at The Layar

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BALI?

I really liked the food and smoothies (fresh and a lot of herbs), the amazing spots for photography and video content, that everybody is very kind and really wants to help you, the spas and a lovely mix between busy places and relaxed beautiful nature!

Rain shower Bali

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE LAYAR?

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Tai Hara on Bali and Beaches

in News by
Tai Hara in Bali at Dea Villas in Canggu

How Bali unexpectedly became a very special place for the former Home and Away Heartthrob

Growing up on Australia’s Gold Coast with a love of surfing, it would have been natural for Tai Hara to join the schools of Aussies who habitually take breaks on Bali’s shores, but he had no strong ties to Indonesia (his heritage is Australian-Japanese) and he didn’t want to follow the trend of his fellow surfers.

Tai Hara poses at Seminyak Villa Sayang d'Amour

It wasn’t until 2015, when a friend’s 30th birthday party lured the actor to Bali, that he finally got hooked. It turned out the island was more exotic, welcoming and multi-faceted than he’d ever imagined. One look at his Instagram account and you’ll see the self-proclaimed “frangipani fella” posting plenty of pictures to suggest that he pops over to Bali at the drop of a hat.

‘We’re fortunate it’s so close to home.’ He likens the convenience and respite of short breaks in Bali to his experience whilst filming for Home and Away in Palm Beach, New South Wales, of which he said, ‘It’s so magic. It feels like you’re far away. It’s quite wild to be only an hour away [from Sydney].’

Most days, after acting for the TV series, he would stay at Palm Beach to surf and swim, taking full advantage of the opportunity to escape from ordinary city living. The character of the real Palm Beach is nothing like its depiction as Summer Bay on Home and Away – ‘a lot of drama and action and crime and death. The opposite of what you want at the beach.’

But his most loved beaches are those in Northern New South Wales. ‘Byron Bay, Lennox Head… That whole pocket is home to me. There’s a beautiful light house and a whale migration. It’s where the bush meets the coast in Australia.’

The soft spot he feels for home is irreplaceable, but the avid surfer also seems to enjoy plenty of other beaches all over the world. He and his wife visited their first Atlantic beach in Delaware, USA, by taking romantic walks on the beach, wearing stars and stripes and waving sparklers on 4th of July, and eating beach fries on the boardwalk – an all-American holiday.

Tai Hara Surfing in Bali

Evidently what Tai Hara loves most about Bali are its beaches.

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Obama in Bali: All the Pictures

in News by
Obama Bali Holiday Labaran June 2017

How does the former First Family handle a holiday in Bali? By touring the island’s delights, that’s how. 

See all the photos of Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia, The Obamas during their recent visit to The Island of the Gods, where they caused quite a stir of excitement and brought about many “thumbs-up.”

 

Obama Jet Arrive Bali

(1) The 44th U.S. President and family arrived in Bali, Indonesia on 23rd June 2017 aboard a private jet and were warmly greeted by a well organised line of people and two large cars.

One of the ladies wore a comfortable-looking white-coloured pull-over as she disembarked the aircraft, which is excellent flight attire.

 

Obamas Jet at Bali Airport

(2) Mr. Obama received a welcome handshake from Bali Governor, Made Mangku Pastika.

It is not known what was in the lonesome bag or why it had such prominence in this blurry photo.

 

Barack Obama at Tirta Empul Bali Temple

(3) For a visit to the Tirta Empul Temple outside of Ubud, a relaxed and informal Mr. Obama had the “Dad abroad look” nailed as he gestured to something in the distance.

Meanwhile, the man in the light-blue shirt stood with a wonderfully authoritative pose. It’s nothing short of majestic.

 

Obama Handshake Bali Temple

(4) Dressed in his favourite dark blue jeans and conventional white polo,  Mr. O warmly greeted hosts with his double-handed handshake and famous golden smile.

 

Sasha Obama and Malia Obama sightseeing in Bali

(5) Wearing the traditional garment known as sarong or selendang, Sasha and Malia Obama made sure they didn’t miss a shot with both a phone and chunky DSLR on hand.

 

Michelle Obama in Bali

(6) Michelle Obama confidently led the way in her brand-new sneakers as the family explored the site.

 

Obama waving in Bali

(7) Barack Obama waved to the many onlookers vying for his attention.

Better than nothing.

 

Obama at Bali Temple 2017

(8) Apparently it was tricky to get a good photo.

 

Obama tall tourist visiting Bali

(9) The presence of a shorter man in the posse almost cleared the way for an unobstructed view of Mr. Obama playing tourist. 

 

Barack and Michelle in Bali

(10)  As it turned out, his edgy specs and over-shoulder straps would catch your eye in any photo.

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Elite Havens Celebrity Hideaways

in Destinations by

Even the A-listers need a break, sometimes.

In case you didn’t know already, Bali welcomed Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan last month, and Elite Havens had the honour of looking after them during their stays.

Paris and her friend spent two nights at The Layar and another two nights at Villa Adasa, while Lindsay luxuriated at Seseh Beach Villas. They sure know where to enjoy an utmost privacy and sumptuous spaces to unwind in Bali.

THE LAYAR

The Layar’s cool design, hot location and five-star service are definitely for those with strong aesthetic principles seeking original experiences. The Layar features distinguished pitched roofs that slope dramatically to the ground, like the triangular rigging of traditional fishing boats – hence the naturally inspired name (Layar is Indonesian for sails). Each individual villa is set within a private landscaped garden with large swimming pool, and from 1 to 4 spacious bedroom suites. A short stroll is all it takes to be in the heart of Seminyak.

Insider tip: Ask for Paris’ Villa when you book.

VILLA ADASA

Villa Adasa is a glamorous 3-bedroom villa in the middle of action in Seminyak. The influence of traditional Balinese architecture is obvious; take a look at the alang-alang roof, Palimanan stone walls, polished teakwood and open-sided vaulted living pavilion. The villa is perfect for a group of friends who want to be in the heart of action, yet families with children will love the freedom to walk down to the beach in minutes.

Insider tip: Ask the chef to prepare a seafood BBQ for dinner and get the butler to mix classic drinks at the poolside bar counter.

SESEH BEACH VILLAS

The contemporary-styled Seseh Beach Villas are a perfect base for guests to absorb the rural surroundings, either by cycling along country lanes or exploring the beach – imagine a perfect seaside escape and a holiday abode to experience rural Bali setting. A total of 11 bedrooms (which can sleep up to 20 adults and four children), two sizeable swimming pools, multiple living and dining areas and garden pavilions.

Insider tip: Seseh Beach Villa I enjoys undisturbed ocean views. The kids’ bunkroom is in Seseh Beach Villa II (perfect for families with young children).

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