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10 Bali Villas for Corporate Groups and Wellness Retreats

in Tips by
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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Songkran Festival in Phuket

in News by
songkran waterfight

Songkran is Thailand’s most famous Festival and possibly the largest water fight in the world.

WHEN IS SONGKRAN?

Songkran Festival starts 13 April 2018. In some areas of Thailand it only lasts for three days, the 13th, 14th and 15th, and in other areas it lasts for seven days.

Songkran is not only Thailand’s most famous festival but it’s also one of the most important events on the Buddhist calendar. The event marks the beginning of the traditional Thai new year.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF SONGRKRAN?

The festival originated centuries ago as a purification rite, in both a physical and spiritual sense.  Temples, Buddha images, and houses where tidied and cleaned as a way to clear away negative influences. Traditional celebrations involved a gentle sprinkling of scented water.

HOW IS SONGKRAN CELEBRATED?

Over the years, Songkran like many other centuries-old festivals has become commercial. Water guns and bright-coloured Hawaiian shirts (more on these later) are on sale in shops weeks before the event and every marketing department scrambles to get their Songkran message heard through a downpour of advertising.

songran festival crowds

Songkran has become arguably the biggest water fight in the world. The throwing of water (er, mass water fights) have become a huge part of the celebration over the past two decades everywhere in Thailand, so don’t be surprised if you get splashed with icy cold water, well when we say splashed, we mean drenched in water, shot at you from every angle form a variety of colored water pistols, buckets and anything else that can hold water. You will also become covered in powder, which is… Well, even to this day after being in Thailand for eleven years, I have no idea what it is.

WHAT IS SONGKRAN LIKE IN PHUKET?

The whole of Phuket island stops on the 13th of April when families, friends and communities set up make-shift water splash stations on the side of every road. Think of a fun road stop checkpoint, with blaring music coming out of a 1980 speaker which has been blown out ten years ago, and everybody drenched in water and covered powder, dancing around in these bright Hawaiian shirts.

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Phuket Rendezvous 2018

in Recreation by
Thailand Yacht Show 2

Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.  – Coco Chanel 

The Phuket Rendezvous, the definitive yachting and lifestyle event

The inaugural Phuket Rendezvous is set to berth at Royal Phuket Marina from the 4th to 7th January 2018 and will bring the best of the best of luxury lifestyle and is set to boost Phuket as the leading position as Asia’s premier luxury yachting and lifestyle destination.

After successfully hosting the inaugural Singapore RendezVous, the experienced and passionate team at Asia Rendez Vous Pte. Ltd. is ready to bring their own touch of luxury to Thailand’s most desirable and upmarket destination, Phuket.

Phuket rendezvous 2018The four-day event will not only showcase high-end luxury experiences and attractions both on land and sea but will transform Royal Phuket Marina to a bustling hub for all things luxury, from gourmet cuisine to properties, watches to supercars, fashion, and art, the Phuket Rendevous will attract some of the biggest brands from all over the globe.

There will be an on water display, which will host the regions leading brokers and dealers and visitors will have access to over 40 yachts. Visitors can also meet with high-end property developers, luxury travel organizers (including private jet and helicopter operators) as well as auctions, art and investment specialists and classic cars.

VIP guests will enjoy exclusive access to selected attractions and superyachts, while members of the public are free to explore the exciting exhibits at the Phuket Rendezvous in the full air-con exhibition hall.

Luxury aficionados from Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.), Europe (Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, etc.), as well as Bangkok and Phuket, are expected to attend the show and take part in this unique experience which is set to be one of Phuket’s biggest events of the year.

Thailand Yacht Show 3

An exciting programme of live entertainment and fashion shows, art exhibitions, panel discussions and sailing workshops and wine and food tastings will enhance the visitor experience and, with more emphasis on superyachts, a Mariners’ market and the prestigious Christofle Yacht Style Awards, the Phuket Rendezvous will have something for everyone!

The venue Royal Phuket Marina has hosted the Phuket International Boat Show, commonly known as PIMEX, for the past 12 years and is an ideal venue for the first ever Phuket Rendezvous which has now replaced PIMEX.

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Top 5: Bali Chinese food restaurants for Lunar New Year

in Dining by
chinese food restaurants in bali 2018

Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, is about starting fresh for a prosperous new year. It’s a time to clean your home, don new clothes, gather with family, give lucky gifts and eat lucky food.

Lucky Chinese foods for Lunar New Year

Eating fresh citrus signifies fullness and wealth. Dumplings, spring rolls and nian gao (sweet glutinous rice cakes) bring prosperity. Catfish, Crucian carp and other fish are symbolic of surplus, traditionally served on both Chinese New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Don’t skip the noodles – they represent longevity and happiness.

chinese fortune cookie art by jiha moon

Chinese restaurants in Jimbaran, Seminyak and Canggu, Bali

There are hundreds of Chinese restaurants in Bali, Indonesia. These top five are award-winning establishments robust enough to host your Chinese New Year gathering and tasty enough to surpass expectations of the most discerning foodies from around the world.

best chinese restaurant in bali is ah yatIMAGE BY AH YAT

Ah Yat Abalone & Seafood Restaurant

Named Best Chinese Restaurant in Bali by NOW! Bali Magazine in 2017 with 720 votes is Ah Yat (there are several restaurants by the same name in this chain, including renowned locations in Jakarta, Indonesia and Singapore). Executive Chef Cheung Kin Kau boasts over 20 years’ experience in fine dining. The menu is both adventurous and traditional – expect Japanese food, Hokkien food and Chinese food that demonstrates the chef’s Cantonese heritage.

The beautiful restaurant hosts massive saltwater tanks of live seafood, so fresh fish dishes and shellfish are centre stage. This large restaurant is the only place in Bali with a selection of Japanese special grade dried abalone and Greenlip abalone. A dim sum lover’s delight, there are 30 types of Hong Kong style steamed dumplings on the menu too.

HOURS 11AM-3PM, 530PM-10PM
PRICE $$$

Ah Yat Seafood Restaurant
Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera,
Jimbaran, Bali
(+62) 0361 846 8468
ahyatrestaurant.com.sg

Kwee Zeen

Taking the top award for Best Pan Asian Restaurant in 2017, Kwee Zeen caught our attention. The dining concept here is upscale Asian street market “kwee zeen” – get it? Cui-sine.

Executive Chef Daine Gilbert has a buffet of delights from China,

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Thinking of going to the Phuket Vegetarian Festival?

in Tips by
phuket vegetarian festival

During the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival (or jia chai in local Hokkien Chinese dialect) is held. The colourful event celebrates the Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat, sex and alcohol and merit making at the many Chinese shrines and temples throughout the seven to ten-day festival, will cleanse the body, mind, and spirit.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival can be, hold on, IS a rather gruesome, crazy and loud experience, but saying all that, it is one of the most interesting, colourful, amazing and yes gruesome and loudest festivals I have ever seen.

not recommended for the faint-hearted

If the festival is on your bucket list, the finale in Phuket town is the part you cannot miss, but make sure you take earplugs and a mask, oh yes and perhaps a few drinks.

A little history lesson

It is believed that in 1825 when Phuket was the tin mining capital of Asia, a wandering Chinese opera group, who were performing on the island to entertaining the tin miners of whom a large percentage where Chinese, fell ill with malaria. The opera group decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and also pray to the Nine Emperor Gods, which they believed would purify their mind and body.

As with many stories, this one has a happy ending, and the opera group made a complete recovery, which lead to everyone celebrating the fact they had survived what was and still is a fatal illness, and a festival was held to honor the gods.

My first experience, and it was an experience

Phuket Vegetarian Festival, October 2007. I had never encountered anything like this before and, although I had done some research and knew a little bit of what to expect, I was so wrong. On the first day, the whole island seemed to be waiting for the sun to go down so that the ceremonies could start, the anticipation was like a haze over Phuket. Everyone dressed in white, the official colour for everyone to wear. I knew that each night there would be these ceremonies at all the Chinese temples around Phuket, and the ceremonies included fire walking and climbing sword ladders. I also knew that some people would become mediums for the gods, and these men and women would pierce their cheeks with metal spikes,

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