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5 Offbeat Things to do in Niseko this Summer

in Culture/Destinations/Families/Recreation/Tips by

As the winter recedes, so do the crowds that throng Niseko for its dreamy powder snow. And in their wake, they leave behind a countryside that seems to slowly stretch out and rise from its winter slumber. The grinding sound of ski ploughs and the whir of ski lifts is replaced by melodious songs of summer breeze and chirping birds. The country blooms all around, unaware of its unpretentious innocent beauty yet not needing the crowds to confirm what it already knows. That Niseko is divine in the winters, but it is in summer that Niseko truly displays its mesmerising self.

It is a step towards the unknown, but curiosity is well rewarded. If you truly want to explore the heart of the countryside, why not take a walk away from the beaten path and indulge yourself with these quirky offbeat activities instead?

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Beat the Rush for Powder: 7 Things to Do in Niseko

in Culture/Destinations/Families/Recreation/Tips by

The perfect snow, with adequate depth and powdery white texture – welcome to Niseko, where you can chase your ultimate powder dream. It’s the ideal place to ski, snowboard or try a host of snow-filled activities. From snowshoeing to gliding on your snowmobile, and even water-rafting in spring-time rapids, Niseko gives frozen water a good name.

Its increasing popularity as a ski-destination is further fuelled by the availability of high-end chalets for individual families as well as groups. But don’t follow the crowds. Beat the rush for powder by coming to Niseko a few weeks early to discover what the season truly offers. Explore the winter dream minus the crowds. It isn’t just about skiing!

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Chef du Jour: Villa Baan Bon Khao

in Dining by
Spilling the beans Baan Bon Khao

One of the highlights of staying at a private villa on your vacation is that you get to sample superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained at internationally renowned restaurants. Elite Havens’ villa menus showcase an extensive range of Asian delights to cater to every guest’s tastes, but of course each chef has his or her own particular specialties that shouldn’t be missed.
 
With much coaxing and cajoling, we’ve persuaded some of our chefs to spill the beans and share their favourite recipes. In the Baan Bon Khao kitchen, Chef Poo cooks up a classic and much-loved Thai dish, Pad Thai with Prawns in an Egg Parcel.
 

Spilling the beans Baan Bon Khao 5

With spectacular sea and sunset views, Baan Bon Khao is an ideal getaway for families or groups.  Luxuriating on a hillside estate near Surin Beach, this four-bedroom villa features an infinity pool and stately living and dining pavilions.  Guests are well cared for by the villa manager, chef and personal driver.

Here’s an exclusive from the  Baan Bon Khao kitchen. 

Egg wrapped Pad Thai with Prawns Recipe
(Serves 2 – 4)

Spilling the beans Baan Bon Khao ingredients

Ingredients :

The sauce

  • 35 grams palm sugar, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp water

Pad Thai

  • 4 ounces dry rice noodles (choose one that is about 2mm wide)
  • 6 – 8 prawns, or as many as you’d like, peeled and deveined.
  • 1 small head shallot, thinly sliced, about 3 tbsp
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp, chopped
  • 1-piece of pressed tofu, cut into small pieces
  • ½ tsp of chili flakes, or to taste
  • 4 eggs – 2 for Pad Thai, 2 beaten for egg parcel
  • 5 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup garlic chives, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 lime

Directions :

The Sauce: Mix all together and set aside.

Step 1: Soak the rice noodles in room temperature water for 1 hour, until the noodles turn from translucent to completely white and are very pliable.

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Best alcohol buys in Bali

in Tips by
Alcohols

It’s probably fair to say that most people enjoy a drink when they’re on holiday. Whatever your favourite tipple – an iced beer on the beach; an exotic cocktail at sunset, or a glass of chilled wine by the pool, read on to gain some insider’s info on the best places in town to buy beer, wine and spirits. And even better – how to have it delivered.

First, we’d recommend that you skip the duty-free shop at Bali Airport.  While the store may be called ‘Duty Free’, it’s not. All alcohol that comes into Indonesia is slapped with a heavy import tax. The only ways around paying the tax are by purchasing a bottle of duty free at a foreign airport en route to Indonesia, or buying domestic products once you’re here.

FOLLOW THE STAR

In Bali, Bintang (meaning ‘star’) is synonymous with beer. This popular lager has 4.7% alcohol content and a mild flavour that’s well suited for beach holidays. Brewed in Indonesia, Bintang is a Heineken brand, and both beers display red stars prominently on their labels.

Bintang Beer

Second to Bintang, the most widely available beer in Bali is San Miguel (and San Miguel Light, served with lime). You’ll see Bali Hai, Anker and Stark, too. Foreign beers are harder to find, but they are out there if you know where to look. Beer & Co have outlets in Canggu and Legian, and propose a satisfying range of imported big name and craft beers. 

For good prices on local beers, head to the (rather confusingly named) Bintang supermarket in the centre of Seminyak, Bali. The store’s logo is, you guessed it, a red star. They also sell wine and spirits here and, conveniently, you can pick up a bottle opener or corkscrew while you are there.

Beer & co.
Jl. Pantai Batubolong No 35A
+62 8113 886 658

Bintang Supermarket
Jl. Raya Seminyak No.17, Kuta Bali
+62 361 730 552

TOP TIP :

Absolutely do not drink from the Absolut vodka bottles you’ll see displayed on racks at the roadside all over Bali. These  glass bottles are re-used to sell petrol (who said Indonesia doesn’t recycle?).

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Healthy Holiday: Detox in Lombok

in Recreation by
Sira Beach, Lombok

Dreaming of a tropical holiday to cleanse your mind and body from stress, chemicals and environmental toxins? Thanks to the runaway success of ‘Eat Pray Love’, everyone associates Bali with yoga retreats, soul-searching and D.I.Y. detox.

But what about its more secluded neighbor island Lombok? In many ways, this lush evergreen landscape with its pristine white-sand beaches is even better! Crack open a coconut and drink to a healthy holiday paradise found.

Take a look at these tips for choosing the right accommodations, nutrition programs, fitness activities and spa treatments to create your unique wellness vacation in Lombok.

The Anandita Lombok villa staff serving fresh juice

Located on picture-perfect Sira Beach on the north shore of Lombok, The Anandita has all the elements for a healthy holiday. This private sea-front villa has four luxurious bedroom suites, sprawling grounds, private swimming pool, a deserted white-sand beach and attentive staff at your service.

 Healthy Hydration

Hydration is key. Drink a half liter of water when you wake up and at least three liters throughout the day. The heat and humidity can easily dehydrate you –  especially when you’re active.

Try Jamu, a traditional Indonesian healing and detoxifying drink used to cure everything from weight gain to flu. All you need is a shot-glass-sized serving. The main ingredient is turmeric, whose powerful healing properties include helping your liver with the detoxifying process. Make a trip to the attractive Tanjung Traditional Market to buy some fresh or powdered turmeric to add to any drink.

Avocado-banana juice is an excellent power boost. The healthy fats in avocado help you to slim down while banana fights against bloating. Remember to order your fresh fruit juice without sugar, as it’s normally added.

Sip on a young coconut while watching the sunset. It goes without saying, fruity cocktails are a no-go during detox. Coconut water is a delicious refreshing drink packed with vitamins and minerals.

 Island Nutrition

Good news! You don’t have to restrict yourself to a juice-only fast during your healthy tropical getaway.

As any D.I.Y. detox-er already knows, short-term low-calorie cleanses are not successful programs for detoxification and long-term weight loss, as they can rob your body of vital nutrients and cause you to lose weight through fluid rather than fat loss.

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