Asia

Meet your guide to Bali

Bali’s beauty is no secret. Millions of tourists descend on the Indonesian island every year to unwind on the white sand beaches and explore the tropical interior. But that’s not to say you can’t find your own slice of postcard paradise. To help you escape the crowds, we chatted with island native Nyoman Gede Mahayuna of Bali Private Tours, who’s been a tour guide for 10 years.

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What’s your favorite thing about being a tour guide in Bali?
I love meeting new people from all over the world and becoming friends with them. The landscape and the island’s friendly and warm people is what makes Bali so special. You’ll never be lonely while in Bali!

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What’s your favorite place in Bali that tourists don’t visit?
Mt Batur’s caldera is my favorite place where tourists rarely visit. From here you can see three volcanoes (Mt Agung, Mt Batur, and Mt Rinjani) as well as Lake Batur, the ocean and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. For the best sunrise in the whole of Bali, make sure to head to the top of the Batur volcano.

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Where are the best places to eat dinner in Bali?
You’ll find a lot of great restaurants in Seminyak. The area has a good mix of expensive and cheap dinner options. Some highly recommended restaurants include Breeze at The Samaya, Biku, Sardine, Metis, and Mamasan. My personal favorite is INGKA as they serve cheap yet very tasty dishes. You’ll also find great coffee at Mangsi Coffee.

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Where should visitors go for a real adventure?
Head to the Munduk area for a real adventure. Here you’ll find around 100 waterfalls with the most famous being Sekumpul, Git Git, and Manyumala.

Where’s your favorite beach in Bali?
Virgin Beach Karangasem (known locally as Pantai Pasir Putih) on the east coast is my favorite beach.

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What are the most Instagram-worthy places in Bali?
Kelingking Beach on Nusa Penida is beautiful although having this beach has seen tourists start flooding the island.

When’s the best time to visit Bali?
May is still considered low season and dry season is just beginning. A lot of cheap deals can be found at this time.

Where are the best places to see the sunset in Bali?
Uluwatu in the southern part of Bali has some cliff-side bars (Omnia, Rock Bar, and El Kabron) that are perfect for watching amazing sunsets.

48 hours in Bangkok

For many, Bangkok is just the starting point for an unforgettable Asian adventure, but before you head off for some well-deserved island hopping, make sure to head out of Suvarnabhumi Airport to explore all Thailand’s enchanting capital has to offer.

To ensure you don’t waste a second, here’s how to spend 48 hours in one of the world’s most spellbinding cities.

Day 1

Marble Temple of Bangkok
Start your day at the Grand Palace, conveniently located in the heart of the city. As the king’s official residence for over 200 years, the Grand Palace is home to a collection of grandiose palaces, pavilions, lawns, and courtyards that’ll have you gaping in awe. The grounds of the palace showcase numerous architectural styles, and are a true reflection of this eclectic yet harmonious city – as the locals like to say “same same but different.”

Link your visit to the Grand Palace with a riverboat ride on the Chao Phraya River. Get around the city in no time with river taxis or opt for a full-blown, 2-hour cruise on a rice barge, which will take you along the city’s canals and allow you to indulge in some chilled out sightseeing.

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If you haven’t had enough of unconventional transport for the day, hop on a tuk-tuk (you know you want to!) and head over to China Town. Here, you can really take your taste buds out of their comfort zone by trying local delicacies such as oyster omelets, raw mantis prawns, and red ant eggs.

What better way to enjoy Bangkok than from one of the many rooftop bars in Sukhumvit. Sit back and take snaps of the sweeping views of this pulsing metropolis at night. End your day at a cabaret show or dance until sunrise in the city’s party district

 

Day 2

massage

When in Bangkok, a Thai massage is a must. Start your day off with a pampering session – many massage parlors offer beauty treatments as well, so why not throw in a mani-pedi while you’re at it? Or head to one of the many beauty salons in downtown Bangkok to unwind from the city’s relentless hustle and bustle.

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For lunch, join a cooking lesson and prepare your own Thai dish. Learn how to make a classic red curry or any other local dish with cooking classes run by local chefs. A skill you can show off back at home!

No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a stroll (or full-blown shopping session) in one of its many malls. Hide away from the afternoon heat in any of the towering shopping centers in Siam, and delight in its mall culture by buying local or western luxury brands while sipping bubble tea.

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End your whistle-stop tour by hopping on the Skytrain or BTS and whizz over to Lumphini Park for epic sunset views over Bangkok.