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Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey

in Destinations/Tips by

See Bali Island in the 1970s’

Travel back in time and catch a glimpse of daily life on the island of Bali in the 1970s. Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey is a must-see material for anyone who loves Bali and Indonesia. I for one got hooked from the very first minute I started watching this series of five documentaries. It was back in 1972 when the English brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair set off from Great Britain to the Indonesian Archipelago to explore mystical lands and indigenous tribes, not knowing if they would ever return. Their journey led them from the deep jungle of Kalimantan to pirate territory in Sulawesi, to primitive tribes in New Guinea and Sumba, to giant lizards on Komodo Island and finally to the sacred island of Bali with all of its temples, shrines, Gods, demons and mysticism. I found it inspiring and intriguing to watch these two brothers going off-the-grid like true explorers without any modern-day luxuries such as Google Maps, Google Translate or whatsoever. They went on a crazy insane adventure and they were lucky to survive…

How it all began

Following in the footsteps of naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, Lorne and Lawrence Blair initially traveled to the Spice Islands of Indonesia to capture footage of the legendary Greater Bird of Paradise. The things they discovered on the way were more compelling than they ever could’ve imagined. Before they knew it, a decade had passed, exploring places, islands and indigenous tribes off the map.
When they started out, Lorne was an ethnographic filmmaker who had been working for BBC and Lawrence had just earned his Ph.D. writing a doctoral thesis on psycho-anthropology. The brothers left their familiar civilization behind on a Phinisi boat with Bugis Pirates on the island of Sulawesi and they jumped into a world unknown to them.

A decade of exploring lands unknown

The brothers Blair made nine expeditions between 1972 and 1985. In total, Lorne shot over 80 hours of video footage on a 16mm film. The footage is authentic, raw, intimate, wild, utterly cool and interesting. You get a real glimpse into the cultures, traditions and rituals of indigenous Indonesian tribes. Lorne and Lawrence may have been the last true ‘explorers’ like we had them in the old days, long before the digital age kicked in.

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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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Baby turtles hatching on Lombok

in News by
Baby hawksbill turtle

More than 50 tiny Hawksbill sea turtles recently hatched at Elite Havens’ Villa Sepoi Sepoi on Sira Beach.

the most incredible experience

Many beaches throughout Indonesia are known nesting sites for the endangered sea turtle, which goes by the local name Penyu Sisik (and in Latin Eretmochelys imbricata). There were two clutches of over 100 eggs buried on the villa’s private beachfront grounds on the north shore of Lombok near the Gili Islands, and the patient team of villa staff did an outstanding job of welcoming these unexpected guests.

MEET THEM NOW:

The world’s population of Hawksbills is critically low because these special sea turtles were hunted for hundreds of years. They are considered a delicacy to eat and their shells are the best natural tortoiseshell material. Now, harvesting this species of turtle is outlawed in most countries, but they need our help to avoid extinction.

Hatchlings usually emerge from the sand during the night and instinctively crawl to the safety of shallow waters, guided by the reflection of the moon. Sadly, many hatchlings do not survive the journey from their birthplace into the water without help from humans, especially if they are born during daylight, because they fail to crawl in the right direction toward the sea or get eaten by seabirds and crabs.

The staff at Villa Sepoi Sepoi helped many of the baby sea turtles by pointing them toward the ocean and keeping another 52 from the two hatchings safe and secure on the private villa grounds. Once their shells become hard, the turtles are introduced to safe shallow pockets of the sea around the villa, and after approximately one year they are released into the wild.

There are some local organizations dedicated to the protection of Hawksbill sea turtles, and the local government also encourages individual conservation efforts. As a bonus, many of the villa guests enjoy joining in the excitement.

HERE ARE SOME OF THEIR REVIEWS:

“It was an unforgettable moment with you at the Sepoi Sepoi Villa! Marceau and Rosalie will always remember the little turtle, Sixtine and Victoire will keep the last of Made’s amazing pancakes and Laurent and Caroline have these awesome massage before the sunset. Thanks to all the staff for your smiles, friendships, we felt like we are at home.”

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The Sri Lanka beach you have to see to believe

in Wellness by
sitting on a palm tree

If we told you there’s a secret beach where palm trees reach out for the sea breeze, where you can rest on their trunks like a sloth, high above the glistening beachfront, where the only footprints in the sand are your own, would you believe such a place still exists?

climbing palm trees

Indeed it does, and we have new photographs and videos from Scandinavian travel bloggers Joey Palmroos and Dora Leskinen to prove it.

holding hands

They enjoyed an exclusive getaway at Villa Ocean’s Edge in this unbelievable destination outside of Tangalle on the southern shores of Sri Lanka.

This video of their idyllic island escape will leave you longing for your own tropical getaway.

deserted beach

Dora was caressed by waves on the deserted beach.

caressed by waves

Seconds before the gentle wave swept over her, Joey captured this remarkable photograph.

Watch their travel story and their arrival to this Sri Lanka beach paradise.

Learn first-hand how to scale a leaning palm tree for a higher vantage point.

tranquil escapeOr enjoy the view from a more stylish perch.

Instagram pictures @joeypalmroos and @ddoooris

 

The luxurious heritage beach house on this timeless beach is only a click away.

Villa Ocean’s Edge – an elite haven.
4-bedrooms, fully-staffed

 

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Top Five Phuket Day Trips

in Recreation by
Phuket Thailand Elephants

Phuket’s golden sands, warm seas and sensational sunsets have long lured visitors from around the world, but there’s a lot more to this tropical island paradise than the beautiful beaches that fringe it’s shores, glittering temples, majestic wildlife, breathtaking seascapes, underwater wonders and a fascinating cultural heritage are yours to discover.

Here are the five essential Phuket day trips.

#1 Phang Nga Bay

James Bond Island Phuket

JAMES BOND ISLAND – IMAGE CREDIT: TINGGLY.COM

Beckoning just off Phuket’s east coast, this sheltered bay is perfect for a luxury yacht charter or a sea kayaking trip. Glide past towering limestone karsts, visit the Panyee floating village, or paddle through caves to find hidden lagoons of ethereal beauty. In the middle of Phang Nga Bay is James Bond Island, whose steep rocky pinnacle jutting out of the emerald water has become the iconic image of Phuket and the Andaman region. A busy spot at times but a breathtaking sight nonetheless. 

#2 Big Buddha

Phuket Big Buddha

Travel to Phuket’s southeastern interior to find two of the island’s most sacred sites. Wat Chalong is a 200-year-old Buddhist temple of golden-spired marble pagodas with red-tiled roofs. At the heart of the temple is the 61-metre Phramahathat Chedi, a glimmering three-storey stupa that houses a sacred bone fragment believed to trace back to the Lord Buddha. Climb to the top level to enjoy views of the surrounding hills and the Big Buddha, an imposing 45-metre statue in pure white marble. The views extend across much of the island’s south and to the sea beyond. Entry is free for both Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha but donations are welcome. And make sure to dress modestly when visiting these religious sites.

 

#3 Elephant Sanctuary

Elephants in Thailand

IMAGE CREDIT: PHUKET ELEPHANT SANCTUARY

Elephants are highly revered in Thai culture but sadly their diminishing habitats across Southeast Asia and popular use as tourist attractions have led to their abuse and exploitation. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, opened in late 2016, offers an alternative to visitors who want to see these majestic giants without contributing to their mistreatment. Adjacent to Khao Phra Theao National Park, the sanctuary is open for half-day visits to observe the elephants in their natural environment (3,000 baht for adult entry,

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