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Friday, 24 March 2017

Honeymoon @ The Maldives - Getting There

Finally, our turn to say, Honeymoon!

Our Honeymoon begins. Departing to Male, the capital of Maldives. With over 300km2 of tropical land, over three hundred fifty thousand in population. Home to sunni muslims. Having lovely climate with temperatures averaging 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Good thing, mostly speaks English here. Perhaps due to the high volume of tourist visiting.

Flights are not frequent and few airline does not include Maldives in their destination. Good thing in Malaysia, budget airline AirAsia have direct flights to Maldives, however, about two to three time a week. Maldives have great tourist visa policies, a free 30days visa on arrival. 

Arriving at Male International Airport, located on Hulhule Island next to capital Male. Quite a disappointment on our arrival, as usual you need to fill in the arrival/departure paper. The writing stands have no pen with "ink" left to use and we forget to bring pens! Immigration officers don't seems friendly, not approachable types. Fortunately we found few people gathering at one of the corners as that's the only place with a pen with ink. Remember, bring your own pen!

At exit, all tourist was stopped to have their luggage checked. Didn't know that we were not allowed to bring alcohol. Although we would only drink them at the hotel, in private. Our beloved wine bottle was taken by the custom, fortunately can be claimed back when leaving the country. Remember, just buy them at the resort/hotel.

Hello Maldives Sea!!

We arrived in the evening, so there is no transport to our "island resort". Boat and Seaplanes to Island Resorts are only during the daytime, especially long distance. So we booked a hotel closer to the Airport for the night. Hotel Lonuveli, about 15min away from airport. Beautiful budget hotel and providing excellent airport transfer services and coordination with your island resort (your Island Resort will also coordinate with your temporary Hotel, so make sure to inform them the details). Service was excellent. Rooms are comfortable and clean.

Hotel Lonuveli

Having astonishing view of the ocean and sun rise. Lovely morning. Having pleasant simple and comfort breakfast close to the coast. Feeling of the tropical ocean breeze. Honestly, i would have stayed here another night.

The Ocean

Knowing we are catching the earliest seaplane the next day. They ensure check outs and transfers are well prepared. Had our lovely breakfast and prepared to visit our beautiful island resort. The driver will drop us as Male International Airport were we will meet our island resort staff, where he will check us in and direct us for the Seaplane transfer. Everything was taken care of.

Seaplane Airport
The Seaplane
Our Seaplane Ticket!

Our island resort is located 151 kilometres away from Male International Airport. So the fastest way to get there will be a direct seaplane transfer, about 35mins. To take note that flight schedules are also subject to weather conditions. Price are also subject to season. We are here during the peak season so expecting seaplane to cost about USD485/person. Smiles*. Bringing kids? Bring them while they are below 2 years old or you will be charged USD289/kids. Ha-ha.

Next up. Seaplane and Arrival to Resort.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Finding Relaxation at Lovina Bali

Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax, unwind, refresh and revive. Lovina was meant to be a relaxing destination at Bali, Indonesia, where one can enjoy a laid back and relaxed life experience.

Unlike other popular destination in Bali, Lovina offers its own beauty. Lovina Bali is nestled on the beach between the Bedugul mountain range and the Bali sea. Stretches over five miles in length with lovely back sand beaches and consisting of a string of coastal villages of Kalibukbuk, Kaliasem, Tukad Mungga and Anturan; collectively known as Lovina. The heart of Lovina is the village of Kalibukbuk. Lovina Bali is one of Indonesia island hidden gem surrounded by beautiful ocean, coral reefs, mountain and various interesting and balinese attractions.

The Climate. Lovina enjoys quite average temperatures throughout the year. the Months June to September have much cooler temperatures. On average the warmest Month falls in January and coolest Month falls in July.

Getting here from the airport. From the capital city of Bali, Denpasar, you can get to Lovina through Bedugul over the mountainous central part of the island, which takes  about 2 hours. Alternatively, you can follow the Gilimanuk route of West Bali which will take about 4 hours’ drive. Sometimes your booked hotel may be able to send a driver to pick you up.

Getting around. Renting a bicycle will be another choice if you are not a walker. Visiting the surroundings of Lovina, easiest by renting a motorbike. Also having frequent island bus from several tour agents in town.

What to do? Lovina is famous for its black sand beaches and calm seas. Lovina beach is also a playground of bottle-nosed dolphins. Normally appearing early in the morning, while the sun rises. You are able to see them from the beaches and having plentiful of boat rides to get you close. Watching these beautiful dolphins as they feed in the morning. Having incredible clear water and underwater life to plunge in for those who enjoy diving and snorkelingLovina Bali is home to beautiful preserved coral reefs in Bali. Trekking to waterfalls, hot springs and mountains. Watching local fishermen going about their daily life. As sunset reddens the sky, witness as the light of fishing boats appears as bright dots across the horizon.

Things to take note. Going to the correct beaches and villages is important. Few local beaches and villages could be dirty due to tourist, with trash on the sand and in the water. Always promote care for dolphins and do not leave trash behind.

How long should you stay? Depended on how much you want to unwind and relax. For me, having a slow and peaceful stay in Lovina Bali close to a week will be idle.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Welcome to Ubud, Bali

Experiencing the unforgettable wonders of Indonesia. Beautiful untouched tropical forest and wildlife sanctuaries. Witness the monstrous Komodo Dragons and their natural habitats. Natural and beautiful beaches, vivid blue seas and popular diving locations. Busy beaches filled with activities, surfings and nightlife. Its deep traditions and culture and fascinating lifestyle. Magnificent islands all around and comprises of over 17,000 islands waiting to be explored. The Indonesian archipelago spreads over 5200km between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the pacific and the Indian Ocean. 

Ubud bali. Ubud is culture, Bali's cultural hub. One of the seductive town set amid terraced rice paddies, steep ravines and dense forest. Known for its peaceful and quiet laid back cosmopolitan community in central Bali compared to many other tourist locations in Bali which are favourite for family holidays, bustling with crowds, activities and nightlife. Located quite a distance from the popular beach activities and parties of Kuta.

Having the best art museums and commercial galleries on the island and is also a recognised centre for spiritual tourism. Also known for its talented classical dancers, musicians and prolific painters and craftspeople. Making Ubud known as an arts and crafts hub. It is also home to good restaurants and organic cafes. Having dining restaurants providing delicious Indonesian cuisines and spas that will delight and relax your senses. 

The Climate. Ubud enjoys much cooler temperatures than other popular Bali coast locations. Due to its elevation at 200m above sea level. Having average climate of daily highs 31 degree celsius and nightly lows of 21 degree celsius. 

Getting here from the airport. There are public buses, taxis, shuttle bus services or rental cars. Going around is easy. Ubud Bali is a small laid back community. You could explore the towns on foot or hire a bicycle, motorbike or car. Also known to have Uber/Grab.

What to do? Visiting the Neka Art Museum, the creations of Suteja Neka, a private collector and dealer in Balinese art. The Ubud Monkey Forest, a sacred monkey forest sanctuary, temple complex with many monkeys. The Goa Gajah, cave famed for its ancient carvings. Blanco Renaissance Museum, a creation of Spanish artist Antonio Blanco. Agung Rai Museum of Art, founded by balinese artist Agung Rai as a museum, gallery and cultural centre. Bamboo Forest Cycling Tour, cycling through the bamboo forest, coffee plantations and visit traditional villages.

How long should you stay? Recommended at least a week to settle in the peaceful and quiet environment. Taking your time to explore the Ubud Bali.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Taste Kitchen @ Mercato Mall

Mercato Mall

Just before the new year we went to one of my favourite mall, the Mercato Mall. Looking for somethings to do. So we decided for the usual activities. Shopping. Movie. Dinner.

Taste Kitchen

We have seen this restaurant numerous times. Very interesting interior. Cosy environment. Not sure how's the food like. Wasn't really high rating on the web. Guess it's time now. Time to give Taste Kitchen a try. 

My Wife
The Husband

We had the Salmon Pasta and Wagyu Cheese Burger. Very tasty and balanced. Our drink the Mint and Cucumber, was well done. Very refreshing. Enjoyed the simple complementary appetiser with vege sticks and nice sauces. Well worth our money and time. Love this place.

Wagyu Cheese Burger (AED60)
Smoked Salmon Paste (AED58)

Booo to online reviews. This place deserve better. Portion may be slightly small but it was really well balanced actually.

Location : Taste Kitchen, Mercato Mall, Ground,
           Jumeirah 1, Dubai

Time     : 10am - 10pm (Weekend 12Midnight)
Cuisine  : European

Rating   : 4.0/5.0
Critics  : Plating was quite off. Pasta on a small bowl, looks like a dog bowl. Does not help anything. Burger on a small cutting board.  Looks good but created a whole mess around the table.

Will i be back? Already wanted.

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