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Celebrate the Year of the Rooster Phuket-style

in Recreation by

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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Literary Meets Luxury

in Destinations by

Ten years on since its initial start date, the 2017 Fairway Galle Literary Festival (FGLF) is back – bigger and better. The Literary Festival looks to showcase participants who inspire and are inspired. Taking place from January 11 – 15 2017, the 2017 FGLF features 110 events including their extremely popular MAS Children’s Programme. 

A variety of discussions, debates, literary awards, panels, tea and poetry readings, cookery demonstrations, gourmet events, performances and live music events for festival goers to enjoy. FGLF introduces for the first time, a complimentary Sinhala programming to highlight the diversity of the Sinhala Literary Arts through discussions, poetry readings, short films and writings in translations amongst others. For the little ones, an Outreach Children’s Programme in Jaffna on the 17th & 18th January 2017 with the aim to develop the literary arts in English in the North and bring the world to the children of Jaffna through some wonderful international children’s authors.

For those looking to be a part of the 2017 FGLF and other events in Galle Fort, there are two villas which should be on your radar. Choice accommodation.

Located right within the atmospheric Galle Fort (where the Literary Festival takes place), Ambassador’s House offers more than just a place to sleep and rest. The spacious historic house has five ensuite bedrooms and is fabulous for families and groups. Rich with illustrious past, Ambassador’s House is gloriously decadent and nostalgic – the luxury villa is bursting with Dutch colonial style, soaring ceilings, arched doorways, double-collonaded verandahs.

No.39 Galle Fort is also located within the walls of Galle Fort. The three-bedroom villa is stately yet cosy, nostalgic yet current. Once you step inside the villa, you will notice that the charm of the past blends beautifully with 21st-century comforts. Lavishly dressed beds and cushioned daybeds, mezzanine TV lounge and iPod dock delightfully complement this heritage home’s wide archway in the living room, a mix of antique and custom-made furniture and the soaring vaulted ceilings.

Staying so close to the heart of the action gives you the advantage to escape the hottest part of the day to relax in your breezy garden, take a quick cooling shower in between literary programmes and invite your new friends home for a cup of freshly-brewed Sri Lankan tea – prepared by your private butler.

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5 Reasons You Need to Sign Up to Tough Mudder Bali 2016

in News by

On the 1st of October 2016, the Island of the Gods will host Tough Mudder, a world-renowned endurance event that is the ultimate test of strength, stamina, teamwork and mental grit. Whilst huge in the UK, USA, Australia and other countries, Tough Mudder Bali is the event’s debut in Southeast Asia and perhaps not many know of what this challenge entails… 

Tough Mudder was founded in 2010 and is a fitness event series of up to 20km of military-style obstacle courses. It was styled around British Special Forces training and seriously tests the limits of people’s minds and bodies. Sure, it sounds daunting but NOW! Bali has come up with 5 reasons you have to join Tough Mudder Bali in October 2016.

1. This isn’t a race!

Here’s what makes Tough Mudder totally different, this is a challenge against yourself. It’s an opportunity to push yourself to new capabilities, a chance to train and get fit and see what you are capable of. You’ll be running, jumping, climbing, lifting, crawling, swinging and of course getting super muddy throughout the whole thing – but it’s all for you!

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2. Tough Mudder is about camaraderie and teamwork.

Everyone there is there to help you through your struggles and difficulties, and this is embedded deep down into the culture of the whole series around the world.  It is a hub for human positivity, something we are needing more and more in today’s world. So many runners from past events have commented on the new friends they made and the really positive atmosphere they felt throughout the challenge.

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3. The Obstacles.

This is something that comes out of pure creativity. The Tough Mudder series is known for their huge obstacles, made to test the abilities of the human body. You’ll likely be amazed at what Bali has in store (yet to be revealed), but from NOW! Bali’s conversations with the Tough Mudder organisers, they said they have spared no expense in creating something epic for everyone to look forward to.

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4. It’s Tough Mudder… in Bali !

Set on the rolling hills of Jimbaran, through sparse bushland, beach views and the waves of the Indian Ocean crashing at the feet of the bukit. It’s said to be the most idyllic, picturesque place that Tough Mudder has ever taken place.

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Phuket King’s Cup Regatta 2016

in Recreation by

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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Christmas in Bali: festive feasts for brunch and dinner

in Dining by

Wining and dining in Bali has never been more exciting, and if you’re lucky enough to be spending Christmas on this Island of the Gods, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to brunch and dinner celebrations: from traditional turkey roast with all the trimmings, to seafood spectaculars, sushi platters, barbecue buffets and foie gras to die for, there’s treats for every taste bud. The only likely problem is narrowing down the options. So, to help you, here are our top tips for fabulous festive feasts on the 25th December.

W RETREAT & SPA BALI – SEMINYAK  
Super Christmas Brunch at FIRE

FIRE brings together the best dishes from east and west. Asian delights complemented with salads, soups, chilled seafood, prime meat and mouth-watering desserts. Brunch is served from 12.00 to 15.30pm. IDR 900,000++ per person, food only. Beverage packages available.

Christmas Brunch at STARFISH BLOO

It’s not just the views that will keep you here. There are endless options of sushi & oysters; dim sum, BBQ lobster, salmon and carvings of ham or turkey with all the accompaniments and then some. Brunch is served from 12.00 to 15.30. IDR 1,000,000++ per person, food only. Beverage packages available.

Website

Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak

Tel +62 361 3000106

MÉTIS – SEMINYAK

MÉTIS is offering a divine Christmas selection to complement their a la carte menu. Highlights include Sturia caviar, rabbit, hazelnut terrine, foie gras, cannelloni, roast turkey from the US, roast duck roulade, honey ginger glazed pork knuckle and sweets such as chestnut crème brulé. Have we got you drooling yet? Book now to avoid the disappointment. Check the website for the latest pricing.

Website

Jalan Petitenget no. 6, Seminyak

Tel +62 361 4737888

MOZAIC – UBUD 

Staying in Ubud? Treat yourself and book a table at the famous Mozaic Restaurant. Priced at IDR 1,350,000++ the dinner menu highlights include Canadian lobster tail with Balinese lemon-basil and Jerusalem artichokes, Atlantic cod with winter black truffle, duo of chilled and seared foie gras with pomelo and kaffir lime and much more. You can also add a wine pairing option at IDR 880,000++.

Website

Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud

Tel +62 361 975768

KU DE TA – SEMINYAK 

Carols by the Sea,

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