Thinking of Getting a Motorbike/Scooter in Bali: Read this before you do

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Bali certainly doesn't have the heightened chaos of Ha Noi, but it can still fairly intimidating if you've never been on a scooter before. Even if you have, it's best you acquaint yourself with a couple of do's and don'ts before you saddle up. 

Scooters are a great way to get around the island and in particular, short journeys around each location you're visiting, like Canggu. You can of course use Taxi's and they have GoJek app for rides, similar to Uber. Which is cheap. Although I've heard it can take a long time to get one booked.

You'll find most cafes, bars, gyms and restaurants all have decent WiFi so you shouldn't have any trouble getting online. 

Prices for scooter rental in Bali will range from 40,000-70,000 IDR per day. (2- 5 GBP). If you're looking to rent a single scooter for a longer period you can often negotiate a better rate. 

SAFETY TIP

Always wear a helmet and never accept a poor conditioned one. It has to be immaculately presented and well fitted. If they do not have one, do not hire the bike. Move on to find a better place.

DO's 

  • When over taking you must use your horn. Otherwise you run the risk of over riders veering into you. 

  • Keep a look out for wildlife. You'll share the road with more dogs, cows and wildfowl than you thought possible. 

  • Take your driver’s licence with you. You can get a temporary Balinese driving license (tourist driver's license) from the police station in Denpasar within a day (although this is not technically required to hire a scooter). Check with your hotel or ask any of the locals, they will know how you can get there. The cost is usually 22-23 GBP. Bring I.D and your sober face. 

If you have had no experience with riding, you can take a 2 hour training course. (Drop me a comment in the box below if you need any help). Alternatively you can always get your friend or someone from your group to assist you.

GOING FAST

Going fast (although don't) is easy. It's the going slow that is hard and that’s when most accidents happen. So train doing tight corners slowly in a car park until you feel ready to hit the road. 

The main traffic flow is rarely faster than 40km/h. However, 40km/h on a scooter is a different beast to doing 40km/h in the safety of your Ford Fiesta. The main roads are fun and you can (and should) get up to speeds around 60-70km/h. 

You'll find there is a cacophony of horns on the streets. Don't mistake this for London traffic sounds. These horns are to let people know of your presence. If you get beeped it's not out of aggression. 

LASTLY

If you're thinking of upping your fitness levels you can always hire a push bike. The heat is quite something out here so this might not be for you. It's always an option and many people cycle around in Bali due to lack of training/confidence on a motorbike. 

 

The Best London-Centric Content Creators on Instagram

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Instagram is still a wonderful place to hang out. Despite the negativity and influencer backlash that was doing the round earlier this year. I've really tried to turn my account into a place for positivity. It also gives me a chance to keep abreast of people’s lives that I would otherwise struggle to keep in touch with.

I'm going to be in Bali for a couple more days then it's back to blighty. Which I have missed. London has everything. It's home and I can't wait to see Charlie and the folks again. I've made a list of some London centric Instagram accounts that act as cosy reminders. Almost like love notes in my lunch box.

Here are some of the Best London-Centric Content Creators on Instagram.

ALEX COCKWILL

(Images above) Alex is an occasional engineer and has international imagery from New York, Sweden and soon Hong Kong and Sydney. You can check out his Instagram grid here.

There is something very gritty and urban about Alex's work. You can almost taste London through the photos. 

London Tip #1

You should definitely head over to the ArcelorMittal Orbit in East London. The area near Stratford has been rejuvenated since the London Olympics in 2012. A great place to shop, eat and abseil. 

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LONDON 

Simply @London. Wow there is a guy that got in there quick with the Instagram handles. With over 2.2 million followers it's going to be top of most searches. It's an Editorial Platform & Creative Agency and for your chance to be featured you can tag #ThisIsLondon.

London Tip #2

If you're coming to London and you so happen to be a James Bond fan. There are numerous James Bond locations in and around London. I've posted a blog about those here.

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UK SHOOTERS 

They shoot a lot around the UK, not exclusive to London but their London content is sublime. And through the prism of UK Shooters its highly distinguishable. With regular meet ups it's a great community spirit. Tag #uk_shooters and shop the merchandise here.

London Tip #3

If you're in town for a few days, maybe your hotel doesn't have a gym but you want to keep your fitness levels up, then check out KOBOX gym. I am an ambassador for the club, very proud of that. You can find them on Baker Street, The City and Kings Road, Chelsea. I've included them in my blog why I love London which you can check out here.

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BEN VISUALS

The shame of it is Ben hasn't posted for a while. Come back Ben!! However, there are 156 posts on his feed and they're all a mini slice of escapism. Shot through obscure frames, with art nouveau eye, disruptive picture plains. I like this guy, shot on a Canon, only 16 apparently.

London Tip #4

You might be looking to get some nice scenic shots along the canals. The Thames isn't the most picturesque of city rivers. This isn't Lucerne you know. But I've mapped out a few nice canal walks where I've taken Charlie before. You can check out that blog here.

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SHOTS DR

The infamous yet elusive Damien Rivoire. Specialises in London's streets and towers. With a penchant for the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. All taken with a Nikon D3200. 

London Tip #5

Coming to London and need a trim? I recommend Ruffians who have 3 barber stores in London. 

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HOLBROOK SHOTS

Luke Holbrook takes some of the most amazing photos of London. He uses a Sony A7iii and when he's on the move, a Galaxy S9+. I love the slow capture shots. Gives London a late night Bladerunner vibe.  

London Tip #6

Coming to London and want to know which hashtags to use? I always use #VisitLondon in my stories. Also tagging me will help as I will give you thumbs and buy you coffee! 

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TMNIKONIAN

You can buy his prints, contact details in his bio. Maybe I should start selling my prints. Leave a comment below if you think there is a market for me selling life sized cardboard cuts out of me without a shirt on. How about the Carl Thompson calendar, will surely fetch 50p on eBay right? 

London Tip #7

For an awesome place to shop and eat, where people might not find you, try out St Christopher's Place

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BASTAKE PICS

Basim (hope that's his name) is a London based Photographer (naturally) and a VFX artist. He has an eye for colour and architecture. But from unconventional vanguards. I love his innovations and the crispness of his delivery. 

London Tip #8

What about a Rooftop bar? London has some of the best in the world and I recommend the Santa Monica at Skylounge. I've made some notes over on the blog

 

Top Places for Brunch in Canggu, Bali

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Back in Bali people. That will be for sure, the name of my next coffee table book. It's my predictive text response for where people ask where I am currently. Admittedly it's been quite the tour. Hopefully my travel tips and Vlogs have been of use for anyone looking to travel to Sydney, Bali, Philippines, Singapore etc. 

Today I'm going to extend my travel advice in Bali, and give you all the best top places for brunch in Canggu. 

CRATE 

It's true what they say about Crate in Canggu, they really do have the fastest internet in town. An amenity not to be underestimated for a travelling blogger looking to upload his vlogs and insta stories. 

You'll look to pay 200k for 2 meals and 2 smoothies. (Just over 10 GBP which is more than digestible, pun intended).  

Great for INSTA photos, everything is presented like it was designed for a fitness magazine supplement. Extra bonus points for free refills (not sure if that was just for me) and for brewing your own brand of coffee. 

MOTION

The most amazing smoothie you'll find in all of Bali can be sourced at Motion cafe. Go for the Banana Gluten free smoothie and pancake and thank me later.

The food is fresh, full of flavour, healthy and always filling! Places for parking the scooter are available. Might sound obvious but not all cafes in Bali offer this. 

ORGANIC CAFE

The air conditioning inside is a God send. Especially for those just coming from a training session. (You may have seen me in boot camp a couple of times on my INSTA stories. I feel like I'm training to take on Drago out here). 

The prices are very reasonable and the location is just a stone's throw away from Batu Belig Beach.

NUDE

Seriously recommend the smashed avocado on toast and ricotta corn fritters. It's great for people watching as you can sit outside and watch the world and his dog go by. 

Healthy and delicious and I found NUDE had the best service of all the cafes in Canggu. Remember to smile people, it doesn't take much. 

OKA'S BAKERY 

I found Oka's Bakery to be the best place for value for money. Generally eating in Canggu is relatively cheap. But if you're traveling on a real budget then this place is the best. Great espresso machine coffee, big portions of food and very delicious sweets like the snow balls. 

Recommend the breakfast wrap. 

LOFT

Some of the best Vegan options in Canngu. Not exclusively Vegan however. I recommend the beetroot hummus, the best I had in Bali. 

It's a very popular spot and good for socialising if you're looking to share stories with fellow surfers, travellers etc. 

 

 

48 Hours in Sydney: Best places to visit

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Sydney was amazing. I wish I had more time (and money) to stay longer. However, I ticked somethings off the list, not everything I got to try but got some great tips and advice from the locals and people on Instagram. 

Here for you is a list of amazing things to do in Sydney.

The Rocks

The Russell Boutique Hotel is nice and a good base for your stay, slightly off the beaten track (albeit in a tourist destination) - it will be relatively quiet during the week but very noisy/boozy area on Friday& Saturday nights.

If you need to grab a quick French breakfast/brunch close to your hotel there’s the local la Renaissance.

If you’re after a kangaroo, crocodile or Emu pizza try the Australian Heritage Hotel

Close by you is the Museum of Contemporary Art (entrance on George St, and backs on to harbour/Circular Quay). MCA has exhibitions which honour and reflect the Aboriginal indigenous people of Australia which gives a different historical perspective to the European settlement. Cafe on rooftop has nice outlook, and another on ground floor to people watch on Circular Quay. Good gift shop.

Also handy is the Sydney Harbour Bridge so how about doing the bridge climb, guys?!

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Circular Quay Area

A stroll from The Rocks is the bustling hub of Circular Quay:

Opera House. Legendary Opera House and a signature landmark. If you are there after May 24 you’ll be able to see it spectacularly lit up during Sydney Vivid Festival.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are lovely to stroll through, just next to Opera House. Once upon a time there used to be tribes of Flying Foxes/bat like creatures living in the trees - quite creepy little things but at dusk each night they’d fly en masse past the window of my hotel (beside Hyde Park/Darlinghurst). Authorities tried to get rid of them because they were destroying the trees, so not sure if you'll still find them in the Gardens.

Top restaurants with dress circle views of Circular Quay are Quay, Aria and Bennelong - expensive but world class.

For more casual, buzzy evening dining by the water but without the big views perhaps go to Cowper Wharf, Woolloomooloo - There are a line-up of eateries, some of the better ones are China Girl, Otto.

There are lots of awesome cheaper, cheerful restaurants in inner city suburbs of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Chippendale so worth researching yourself to find your favourite kind of cuisine and vibe.

Definitely explore Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Redfern if you're into your street photography. Old worker cottages, classic pubs etc. 

Circular Quay is home to the city's Ferry transport hub and you must go somewhere on a ferry as it gives a unique perspective and a good look at the beautiful harbourside properties.

Some of the trips you could do by ferry are:

Taronga Zoo Ferry - they have some native animals there at the zoo and it's a quick trip by water with nice views back to the city from the northern side of the city.

Rose Bay Ferry - go for lunch at Catalina, Rose Bay. (Ask for seat with view) You’ll go past some of Sydney's most expensive real estate on the way there in the Eastern suburbs of Double Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Darling Point, Point Piper. [This is the ferry Favourite Hooman took to go to his school, Cranbrook in Bellevue Hill]. 

Rose Bay wharf is where the seaplanes land and take-off, so if you really want to cover some ground and maybe fly up to Palm Beach where the rich and famous have their weekend houses, then maybe consider a sea-plane tour! (There seem to be two companies that do tours to the same restaurants/destinations that accommodate the seaplane)

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Bondi Area

Bondi Beach - Yes, it's a cliche destination, and yes, you might be underwhelmed in terms of the beach but don’t not go as it epitomises the Aussie beach lifestyle. 

If you have an Opal prepaid public transport card you can get a 333 bus from city to the beach cheaply and reasonably quickly. 

Bondi Beach is very busy at weekends. Visit iconic restaurant Icebergs which I really like…the views are highly instagramable but book seat with view.

Another good place to eat is Seans Panorama.

While you’re at Bondi Beach and feel like some fresh sea air/exercise then the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is spectacular. 

Or have a swim in the saltwater pool below Icebergs!

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Paddington suburb

If you want to get out of the city and have a wander in a pleasant local suburb then there’s a strip of Paddington you could look at:

Start at the little pocket of fashion shops around Glenmore Rd, then you can walk up Oxford Street taking in the quirky little William St shopping area which runs the length of the street, ending with coffee in Alimentari. An awesome design store you should check out is Dinosaur Designs where you should buy a little vase or platter to take home as a souvenir.

Beautifully merchandised tiny showroom. Paddo Inn is an upmarket pub for local upwardly mobile, Parlour X a fashion store, international labels in interesting historic building. If you need an emergency blow-wave my old hairdresser is Valonz. Smart modern bistro for dinner in the area is Centennial Hotel.

So that is but a few recommendations around the city for a first or second time visitor!

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The Whitsundays & How to Get There | One Off the Bucket List

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I hope you all enjoyed my latest YouTube video about Whitsundays. This article will just be a quick debrief on how to get there, where to stay and also a chance for me to share some more photos I took on my trip. Which was awesome by the way, thanks for asking. 

The easiest way I found to get to Whitsundays was flying in from Sydney or Brisbane to Hamilton Island. Virgin Australia do a flight out there and it will take you about an hour from Brisbane (longer from Sydney).

From there, Cruise Whitsundays operate a transfer to Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach. This takes about an hour and will set you back 60 USD. 

Airlie Beach harbour is buzzing. A vibrant beach, very much the hub for people either heading off to Whitsunday Island, The Great Barrier Reef or Fraser Island. I stayed there for 4 days and didn't see the same face twice. 

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I booked ahead for the tour through Red Cat Adventures (not affiliated) although if you have time it might be an idea for you to rock up on Airlie Beach and ask around the various travel agents. Ask for the best price, also if you're staying on a boat or hotel. I've heard the boats are more community focused if you're wanting a more social experience. 

There's many tours. You can book in advance, but you can also rock up on the day and choose a tour that’s right for you. I opted for the Ride to Paradise tour. Which is now the new name I give to my little gentleman. Replacing his previous alias, Big Wednesday

As you'll see in my video I got to enjoy many splendours. Including relaxing in a hammock with a gorgeous cup of tea overlooking the stretched greens and unspoilt beaches. The dorms were plush; fit for a James Bond film. The food was inclusive and included BBQ grilled fish put on by the crew. 

Included in the package is snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Sure the weather wasn't the best. Rained at times and the clouds looked murderous on some days. Still, made for some great photos that I'll include here.

Overall one off the bucket list and a very well put together tour. If you have any questions about Whitsundays then drop me a comment and I'll help out where I can. 

 

 

Alpas Hostel in Siargao: Hostel Review

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Another day another hostel. Today I'm going to review the Alpas Hostel in Siargao. The quaint retreat is located in General Luna, within 1.4 miles of Guyam Island and 1.4 miles of Cloud 9 Surfing Area.

I am starting to feel like Ed Norton in Fight Club. Letting go of all material possessions. I'm not missing TV. Not missing the meetings, the photoshoots, the constant chase for payments from brands. 

I am missing my family, a certain someone and of course, twinkle toes himself, Charlie the Frenchie. When we are reunited I imagine it will look like the end credits of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Timely reference. 

The Alpas Siargao offers a garden, a shared lounge a bar and most importantly a hammock. The property is 4.3 miles from Daku Island and 7.5 miles from Naked Island. (Not as kinky as it sounds). 

So let’s start with the bad and work our way to the good. 

TRUE - there are mosquito nets to use although I survived the night just fine with anti-pest repellent spray. 

TRUE - in some reviews I've read there is apparently an, 'unwater-like' smell to the supply. It was something I came across but wasn’t bad at all.

TRUE - There is WiFi, although quite slow. But there are many local bars and cafes where you'll be able to post those precious photos. 

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The best things about Alpas Hostel 

The ambience is really is what you'd expect. Relaxed, serene, picturesque. The staff are helpful and the owner was very good to me. Helping me hire a motorbike and giving me an itinerary of things to see and do around the islands. 

It can't be underestimated finding non-objective local advice. So many places are dependent on sending you to certain bars, shops and restaurants to earn commission. You only have to visit Hoi An to figure that out. 

The property is a hut style accommodation and whilst it doesn't come with a beach view, it is walking distance to the beach. Also you'll find a laundry shop, very important finding these conveniences when on the road.

It's a relatively new place so I'm hoping next time I'm back they'll make some modifications. But I'll definitely come back here. It's very chilled. It's very quiet. It's a bit of me. 

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Carl‘s Island Inn in Bantayan Island: Hotel Review

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I need to tell you about Carl's place. I know, you're probably going to expect me to make some pithy remark about nominative determinism. Still you have to admit it's a little uncanny right? 

Carl‘s Island Inn in Bantayan Island became my sanctuary for a few days. It has the basic amenities, fridge, shower, toiletries. The WiFi is super quick and I got satellite TV in my bedroom. 

What really distinguishes Carl‘s Island Inn like no other place is the service offered. I'd like to think it's because my name is Carl that I got a few special handshakes from the help. Who knows. But everyone came armed with a smile on their face. 

The Hotel is ran by a German-Filipino Couple. The Owner Karsten treated me like royalty and gave me a decent itinerary. He helped me organise some scooters and pointed me in the right direction as to where I could hire a boat to see some Whale Shark Site Seeing! If you want shuttle to the docks they will drive you with their private tricycle. Tony the concierge come-super hero transporter always had a smile on his face and made every trip seem like a pleasure. 

Carl‘s Island Inn is a short five minute walk from the beach and circa 15 minute walk from the city centre. Your best bet is to rent a scooter from the hotel and explore the island. The breakfast was healthy and had a good range. Continental mostly and included in the bill so no hidden costs on checkout. 

Personal note. You'll do well to eat healthy in the Philippines. Outside of The Farm in San Benito I've found the country crucially devoid of any healthy restaurants. It's not like the Bali vibe where you have smoothie stalls at every turn. It's very westernised, very fried chicken and not finger lickin' good. 

It's a very eco-conscious hotel that allows you to refill your bottle for free. They lend you a reusable stainless steel water bottle and canvas tote during your stay so you don't add to the single use plastic waste. Thumbs up for that one! 

Carl‘s Island Inn has only been open a short spell. Not even had a review on Trip Advisor yet at the time of me writing this. I'd say it's got a great future ahead of it. 

 

The Farm at San Benito: The Ultimate Wellness Break

Today I want to talk about the stay I had down at the wellness resort, The Farm at San Benito. You may have caught some of my Instagram stories of me unwinding by the waterfall pretending to read War and Peace.

The Farm at San Benito is a two drive from Metro Manilla and can be found tucked away within the Philippines’ Batangas hinterland. It will take you circa 2 hours to get there by taxi from Manilla for approximately £40. The traffic in Manilla is horrendous, best advised to travel at night. 

The Farm at San Benito is a wellness retreat that provides Holistic treatments conducted by licensed and competent doctors, nutritionists, therapists, living food chefs, yoga teachers and fitness coaches.

There are also peacocks parading the grounds. I need to mention this because we don't get to see peacocks every day in Clapham and there is something quite divorcing from all things rational when you see a peacock fan its take in full florescence.

Every suite has a beautiful ornate door and the interiors are all varnished-wood, a cute space for two. You get the sense that you're camping in style. Water is on hand, some complimentary drink are offered at reception.

The food, or living cuisine as the staff will refer to, is one of the most distinct feature about the resort. The restaurant is aptly named ALIVE and serves solely vegetarian and vegan dishes. The vegetables and fruit are all procured on site by the surrounding forests.

The food was delicious, I gorged on organic corn soup, salad spring roll in rice paper and vegan spaghetti for 5 days straight. 

It serves as a reminder of how rare we get to eat fresh food. Food direct, provided by the forest.

The healthy cuisine is designed to cleanse your digestive system of toxins whilst the plant based diet will naturally boost your immune system.

The amenities on hand are a fully functional gym, swimming pool and golf course.

One of the main reasons why people descend upon the The Farm at San Benito is for the treatments. They have their own full time medical centre that houses 4 doctors and 8 nurses.

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I got to utilise the spa which is otherwise known as the healing sanctuary. The nurses were already up-to speed on my health and vital signs as every guest is asked to complete a questionnaire and undergo an assessment.

The medical staff do treatments in concert with whatever medical conditions you might have and coordinate the healing benefits to fully immerse guests in a holistic experience.

Overall I can't recommend this place enough. I even managed to abstain from caffeine for five days. (Although back on the caffeine train now I must confess). But I could have stayed here for a month. I'd seriously recommend a long stay here at The Farm if you have any long-lasting health issues. Maybe you're convalescing from a recent surgery etc. 

I'm going to leave a list of their treatments below. If you have any questions don't hesitate to comment in the comments section and I'll get back to you. 

They also have a European Wellness centre that will offer further information. 

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Description of Treatments:

Bio Med Scan

This is a Biologic diagnostic device that analyses the functional state of the patient in terms of heart rate variability; It also evaluates the autonomic nervous system, hormonal regulation and energy resources, psycho- emotional status, adaptation level and biological age. 

Bio Medi Pulse Body Check

A diagnostic device designed to read the human pulse with specific pressure testing methods to reveal the bioenergetics state of the body. Employing the principles of acupuncture, these pressure points correspond to specific organs in the body. This diagnostic tool is a reliable alternative for identifying root causes of organ disturbances, prevention of diseases and monitoring of certain treatment modalities.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

The HBOT is medicine’s most efficient method of transporting oxygen to cells throughout the body. When you breathe oxygen at normal atmospheric pressure, it is transported on the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. Under pressure, however, oxygen dissolves in the plasma, cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and spinal cord, lymph, and other body fluids. It is therefore easily delivered to all tissues including those with poor blood supply thus providing them tremendous healing benefits of oxygen.

Rasha Morphogenetic Harmonizer System

The RASHA Treatment is an energetic medicine device that is based on the work of Dr. Royal Rife, who scientifically proved that everything has a resonant frequency signature of its own. For example, the carcinoma cancer cell has a resonant frequency of 2128 Hz. When a cell is resonated at its own resonant frequency, the cell is destroyed. Cancer, parasites, viruses, bacteria and other organisms all have their own resonant frequencies. The frequencies that destroy these organisms are known as "Rife Frequencies". The difference between Rife frequencies and our RASHA Morphogenetic frequencies is our technology utilizes scalar plasma energy (energy encoded with information) while Rife frequencies (energy) do not

HILOT TAPAL (Warm Massage)

Ancient time’s treatments use the purest ingredients naturally grown in the forest. Fresh herbs and medicinal plants were used intuitively in addressing particular concerns. It will be proper place on the body energy points. If you experiencing trapped cold and energetically imbalanced heat it will be unblocked and ones’ vitality will be revived.

These authentic and traditional treatment practice in many provinces; local Barrios that uses fresh medicinal herbs, lana oil, and heated glass to glide on the affected part of the body.

Acqua Lymphatic Therapy

Beneficial in reduction in swelling, detoxification of the body, regeneration of tissue, reduction in the symptoms of chronic pain and fibromyalgia, improvement of venous conditions, relief of chronic fatigue, sinusitis, acne and allergies. Includes:

·       20 Mins. of Dry Brushing

·       5 Mins. of Infrared Sauna

·       5 Mins. Steam Bath

·       2 Mins. of Cold Bucket Shower

·       10 Mins. Pressure Pool

·       3 Mins. Thermal Foot Massager

·       15 Mins. Thermal Bed with head and Foot Massage

 

Bali Destination Guide: Seminyak - Gili Islands - Canngu - Ubud - Uluwatu

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Today I'm going to give you a brief destination guide and things to do in Bali. On my trip so far I've managed to cover Seminyak, Gili Islands, Canngu, Ubud and Uluwatu.

My thoughts on SEMINYAK

This is the most touristy part of Bali. I flew into the Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar Airport, which is roughly 10k outside of Seminyak.

If you're wondering where to stay in Bali, I spent a couple of nights in the Legian which you can read about on my blog here.

There are plenty of options, mainly a lot of swanky beach clubs on the beach front and they have been done up nice. Clearly there's been a lot of money invested here in Seminyak over the past decade.

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My only reservations about Seminyak is that it feels very disjointed. It's too hot to walk anywhere and the place is very dispersed with bars and beaches sprawled out. Taxi's to and from is the only way to fly in this place. Like most touristy places I find it lacks a certain character, or soul. 

That said, if you like your creature comforts then find the right spot and drop anchor. Albeit in a hotel or bar along the beach. The beaches are long, white and the waves look like something you'd see from the final act of Point Break.

Next stop I ventured 20 minutes up the coast to Canngu. 

What's it like in Canngu?

The vibe is better in Canngu. My kind of place really. You know when you're feeling right at home when you start searching for prices of local real estate. 

I had the privilege of staying in one of the most amazing hostels. It was owned by a Turkish gentleman, a very kind and gentle soul. There were beers in the fridge and you paid it like an honesty box. 

Even on check in I asked does he want me to pay now? He insisted I pay when I was ready and already a bond was formed. I had a private room which cost me no more than £10-£15 a night. 

The hostel was populated by an assortment of wildlife. Cats, dogs, goats and what not. All seemingly sunning themselves on barker loungers like they owned the place. 

As a bonus I found a great barber nearby a decent cross-fit gym and a tattoo parlour. 

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By means of getting around you'll need a moped. Remember to go slow around corners. Ideally you need to be getting used to a moped before you head out here. It's actually easier to go fast than it is to go slow. Going fast on the straights no problem. Slowly negotiating bends in the rain takes more due diligence

Canngu is filled with creative people, artisans. They have the right kind of crowds in this place. And there's more to Canngu than just the beach bars. The food is great, it's very wellness-focused. You'll find plant food restaurants, smoothie bars etc. Also the bars sell all kind of milk for those that are lactose intolerant. 

From there I ventured down to Uluwatu

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I had a press discount stay at the Six Senses in Uluwatu. An incredibly picturesque and romantic cliff face resort. I have written all about my stay in the resort here

Uluwatu is really a surfers paradise. It's quiet not much to do. It's littered with taxis. Like Seminyak its equally dispersed, but less intense. Lets move on to Ubud. 

The jungle with 1000 temples

You heard me. Ubud can only be described as the jungle with 1000 temples. It is one of the most beautiful, serene and quaint places you'll ever visit.

You'll have an orgy of wellness hotels to choose from. You may have heard of this place through the yoga retreats that are rife here. 

Ubud really is one of the best places to visit in Bali. 

The Gili Islands 

Lastly I just want to touch on the Gili Islands. Made up of three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. If you want to know where the best place to stay on Gili T is then check out my review of Gilifit hostel on the blog

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In Gili Trawangan the nightlife isn't the best for my money. Still there is plenty of fun to be had, fellow travellers converge and it's a chilled atmosphere. One of the most enjoyable must do things in Gili is the snorkeling. You can scuba dive, hang around and do some work if you have to in the sunset bars. Once you're in the sea you're never more than 10 metres away from a turtle. one even photobombed my photo. 

For cafes check out the Banyan cafe, they do the best smoothies and breakfast bowls in Gili T. To get around you'll have to cycle as there are no cars on the island. 

 

The Six Senses Uluwatu Hotel Review – The Most romantic Hotel in Bali?

The Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali is the sort of cliff face resort that you'd expect to see in an Iron Man film. Tony Stark would probably have this as a holiday home.

This review of the Six Senses Uluwata will possibly be the easiest one yet. As many of you might already find on Trip Advisor, it's hard to find a fault with this luxury hotel.

It's located in Pecatu, in the southernmost tip of Bali. It's a popular hotel for wedding and honeymoon destinations as it's incredibly romantic and quiet.

My Brother and I checked in at the top of the hill. The rest of the resort is peppered throughout the cliff face, populated further with villas, private and communal swimming pools the further you venture down.

The room was designed with luxury and convenience in mind. UK plug sockets and USB sockets dotted everywhere. There was an outdoor shower and the pressure was sensational.

Inside you have a lot of advanced luxury technology. For example the toilet seat lifts up before you even get a chance to think on whether it's a number 1 or number 2.

But the main USP of the room is the infinity pool that's on the terrace. It overlooks the resort and ocean and the vistas of the ocean are staggering. The colours of the sky changes every other minute.

I did notice there was no milk in the room for coffee. But that's me being quite pedantic. Plus, Six Senses Uluwatu is heavily themed around wellness and planet protectionism.

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The breakfast bread had no gluten, they bottle their own water and we had the option of hand picking our vegetables from the resorts organic garden for our morning juice.

There are two restaurants in the property. We gorged on Japanese food one night, grilled prawn lobster and squid. The second night we had the BBQ. The prices are often something that gets flagged for luxury stays like this.

However, I thought for the money (£50 per BBQ) we got great value. We had some amazing food from the restaurant that was sourced locally and tasted phenomenal.

You're also paying for the views. You're paying for the exceptional service. You need to think of this as more than just food. It's a package deal that quite frankly, I won't find anywhere back home.

TIP for the Six Senses Uluwatu

Don't forget to experience their Kundalini massage at Six Senses spa. I had an hour massage and took full advantage of the gym whilst there. Again, some of the equipment and technology they have in this gym I've not even seen back home.

Treat yourself to an amazing experience, you'll not regret it. If you're planning an Asia trip that involves Singapore, be sure to check out my review on the Six Senses Maxwell on my blog.

The Legian Seminyak Bali Hotel Review – Paradise, I’m Home!

Today I'm going to rhapsodise about the incredible Legian Seminyak Bali Hotel. I read some rave reviews about this place before heading out there and I'm here to tell you, they're all true. 

The Legian Bali is a beachfront property facing the Indian Ocean, if you're booking ahead I can recommend asking for my room 132 for some of the most amazing views from the balcony. 

The luxurious accommodation set in landscaped tropical gardens can be found along Seminyak Beach. 

The hotel is heavily centred around wellness which is a growing trend in exotic resorts. My brother has joined me on this tour and we both enjoyed some morning Yoga sessions on the green outside, followed a spin in the cycling studio. 

Top TIP for The Legian Bali

I signed up for the Hommage Package which entitles you to a free facial. The facial was incredibly soothing and my skin was treated to a treatment that used a combination of plant extracts and essential oils. My face was cleansed, exfoliated and massaged leaving it looking bright and feeling rejuvenated. 

After a workout we enjoyed a relaxing couple of hours in the spa, sauna, steam room and the plunge pool which got us down to minus 20. That was followed by a quick swim in the  three-tiered outdoor pool. I know it sounds like I've stole some poor kids ticket from the Make a Wish Foundation. 

The dinner was michelin star-esq! Tuna tartar slices, scallops, marinated chicken finished with wasabi ice cream. 

Location 

As I mentioned you couldn't be any closer to the beach. The Legian Bali is under ten miles away from Ngurah Rai International Airport and airport transfer is available at an additional charge.

You're within walking distance to the local clubs Ku De Ta and Potatohead which keep their lights on until 2am. It's close to Seminyak village and lots of cafes and shopping.

The Seminyak Square Shopping Mall is 450 yards from the accommodation, while Petitenget Temple is 450 yards from the property.

The rooms 

I got my own desk to write this blog, currently listening to the sounds of waves crashing on the beach. I could listen to that all day. The rooms are spaces, the suites are beautifully decorated with natural fibre furniture and flooring against white walls minimally accented by original artwork. 

The open air lobby is gorgeously decorated in rich dark wood and an array of local art. Check-in was efficient and comfortable. You will never encounter a face that isn't smiling.

Conclusion 

I can't fault any part of this hotel. Every member of staff had a smile on their face. Every pillow was fluffed, every single facet in this hotel was a joy to experience. Many thanks to all the staff at The Legian Seminyak Bali Hotel for making this a stay to remember. 

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Two Nights in Singapore: What You Can Do

I've had an amazing time in Singapore. Weather was perfect and the city is just so clean. OK so it's expensive, there's no getting around that. However, if you've got the budget for it then I've put together a two day itinerary of things to do in Singapore. 

YOGA

As you may have seen in a previous post I stayed in the Maxwell Six Senses Hotel. There you can treat yourself to some one-on-one Yoga sessions in the morning in the shade under the trees. And talking of trees..

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GARDENS BY THE BAY

A beautiful and quite other-worldly place to visit. The Gardens by the Bay is 101 acres of reclaimed land. Comprised of distinctive waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. It's tranquil, serene and offers a 3km waterfront promenade boasting stunning views of the city.

SENTOSA ISLAND

This was transformed from a cultural heritage site to a key tourist destination in Singapore that now receives 20 million visitors a year. It's also entrenched in history, once a British military base and a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. 

Nowadays you can find Universal Studios here, casinos, golf courses and the infamous Tanjong Beach Club.

EAT CHILLI CRAB

If you don't eat Chilli Crab when in Singapore it's like going to Florida Keys and not trying Conch Fritters. The good news is that you won't have to go to far to look for it. Plenty of restaurants and bars will serve Chilli Crab.

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SINGAPORE SLING AT RAFFLES

Was temporarily closed for refurbishment. They had a pop-up Raffles Bar around the corner to ensure the Singapore dollar was not getting left on the table. This building is historic, but expect to pay up to $30 for the privilege. Even a Virgin Singapore Sling (non-alcoholic) will cost you the same. 

CLARKE & BOAT QUAYS

Clarke Quay is a historical riverside quay in Singapore situated upstream from the mouth of the Singapore River and Boat Quay. During the colonial era, Boat Quay was the commercial centre where barge lighters would transport goods upstream to warehouses at Clarke Quay.

You can hire a boat that will take you around the Quay, very relaxing and educational. Just north from the collection point you'll find some nice places to grab a beer and overlook the river. 

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MARINA BAY SANDS 

You can miss these. 3 gigantic structures that overlook the harbour, visible from almost every hotel balcony. You have to pay around $20 to get to the top. The views are mind blowing and just seeing the fleet of ships and cruise liners that encircle the coastline is mind blowing. 

Inside you have casinos, shopping, cafes, bars etc. 

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FOOD STREET IN CHINA TOWN 

As part of the process to clean up Singapore and make it an exotic travel destination a certain number of things had to happen. All the street market vendors (hawkers) were brought inside. The street food markets can be quite eye opening. Generations of families have ran these stalls and some will be the last generation. 

You can also find the world’s only Michelin Starred street market food stall inside here. 

CLUB STREET

Pretty much does what it says on the tin. Plenty of clubs, some of them close to 100 years old. The street is lined with conserved shophouses that are occupied by restaurants, bars and several galleries. 

ART & SCIENCE MUSEUM

Housed in a building shaped like a Lotus Flower, warmly referred to as the "The Welcoming Hand of Singapore". It's one of the most distinguishable buildings you'll find in the Marina Bay Sands. 

The exhibitions include robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other new technological developments. You'll want to take a 1000 pictures inside this place. It demonstrates clearly how both artists and scientists are helping us see how technologies are transforming the world around us.  

ORCHARD ROAD

Spanning almost 2.2 km, Orchard Road is a swanky, tree-lined one-way boulevard flanked by distinctive shopping malls and hotels.

A lot of shopping, at prices that are not very special, not so cheap anymore for Europeans at least. But it's a great way to kill a couple of hours. You can stroll along and watch people, go inside a department store or galleria to cool off for a while. 

 

 

Six Senses Maxwell: Singapore's Latest Gem

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If you're thinking of traveling to Singapore this year I can certainly recommend the Six Senses Maxwell where I stayed. 

From Singapore Changi Airport, Six Senses Maxwell is a 20-minute taxi ride in the heart of the city and provides the perfect base from which to become acquainted with Singapore’s inspiring sites.

Each of the hotel’s 138 guestrooms and suites are carefully decorated with custom furnishings and original artwork. 

Together with Six Senses Duxton, (just around the corner) the two hotels become Six Senses Singapore and showcase the brand’s ongoing commitment to responsible restoration and conservation. 

The Duxton has more of an Oriental flavour, whilst the Maxwell is steeped in more colonial decor and tradition. 

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The Six Senses Maxwell is exactly the retreat I've been looking for. You can't escape it's underlying themes of wellness; the slim lap pool on the rooftop, the one on one yoga sessions. What better way to start the day?

They run the yoga sessions twice a week and after it left me feeling invigorated and centred for the rest of the day. The pool is also perfect just to jump in and cool down when it gets too hot, which is all the time out here. 

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I've been trying to keep on top of my fitness so having a gym here is paramount to me. So many times people use holiday's as an excuse not to work out. Then when they return from a week of sunning and drinking, they find it that much harder to get back into the routine. 

It's an eco-conscious hotel, they promote sustainability and do not use anything plastic in their hotel. Their turn down service has a very personable feel. Little vessels of Tiger Balm were left and messages of peace encouragement on my pillow. Very Zen, I like it. (I'm assuming they do that for all the guests). 

The Six Senses Maxwell only opened in December 2018 yet it feels like they've hit the ground running. Friendly staff, very well organised as you'd expect. The barman can also knock out a very tasty Sloe Gin Fizz and tonic. 

The bar area is quite resplendent, presented as a cosmopolitan library with thousands of books curated across every genre. I would have loved to have spent a couple of hours reading some, but I didn't. Singapore was on my doorstep, it was time to venture out. 

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Top London Architecture Accounts to Follow on Instagram

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I don't care what you say, this is the best City in the world. We have the bars, the cuisine, the architecture, the history, Savile Row, Carnaby, Soho, need I go on?

If you're not living in London you might follow these generic 'Top London Accounts' and get some beautiful airbrushed pictures that turn London into Disneyland.

Today we're going to zero in on the Top London Architecture accounts to follow on Instagram. It will be a very real authentic look at London, I recommend you follow these Instagram accounts from the people that truly love this city as much as I.

Hazem Aljarallah

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Top of the tree. (See photos above). Every picture looks like it could be its own movie. There's not much to go in Hazem's bio, but his pictures tell many stories. 

Adam Sheath

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Adam has a distilled beauty to his work. Taking little less known pictures that others would miss. (See above). Such as the puddle reflections in the Soho lights as opposed to the lights themselves.

Adam is a London based graphic designer & photographer. Hit me up Adam, be great to do a shoot with you someday.

Brutal Architecture

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Okay so not exclusive to London, but there are many London posts on this account. For those that have to take pictures of London landmarks like Centre Point and the Welbeck carpark, this is the account for you.

New London Architects

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No one paints a better picture of London than these guys. They're bio reads 'Bringing people together to shape a better city'. Which is bunch of empty calories to be honest, but you can't argue that the pictures show you many sides of beautiful London.

David Bleeker

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Oooh check out this fella. I once heard the art to taking a great picture is all in the framing. Well David certainly knows how to frame London in a stunning way. Geometrically my favourite of the bunch so far.

Derelict London

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I don't know about you but there is something dirty/beautiful about forgotten parts of London. It has a serene sadness to it. Many parts of London have suffered due to several boom-bust social economic vicissitudes over the years.

Paul Tallin, author of Derelict London & London's Lost Rivers also does walking tours.

Why I'm Traveling: Mental Postcards From Beside the Pool

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In case you hadn't been following my Instagram page of late, I thought I'd let you know I'm just popping off to Asia for the next 3 months. 

It's something of an open ticket. However, I've landed in Singapore, the place where chewing gum is illegal. That's right, wise up London. Apparently when they installed the new metro system out here, a member of state sat on some chewing gum and that was it. Not even a day old and some numpty had already left their taint. 

So that's that. No more chewing gum in Singapore. 

I'm doing some sunning by the pool here and wanted to get some thoughts down on why I've gone traveling. So strap yourselves in I'm going to spill my heart and guts a little. 

I've lost my MOJO

As Austin Powers would say. I've been enmeshed in something of a mental funk for a while now. Partly down to a break-up, unrequited love and all that. 

I've also become very dispassionate of late with my work. Compounded by this recent slew of negativity and backlash within the Instagram community. When I first started posting on Instagram promoting my own Hawkins & Shepherd shirts I used to walk down the street with my head held high. 

Now I'm looking down the street, looking over my shoulder, on edge man. Not secure. I want to get the shot and get the hell out of there before anyone sees me and sniggers, 'there goes the instagrammers'. 

I've never been 100% comfortable doing the street style stuff if I'm honest. But I certainly had more hutzpah back in those early days. 

Line Drawn

So this is a line in the sand people. I'm hoping this trip will heal some wounds, give me time to reflect on the future rather than ruminate on the past.

Already I've done my first one-on-one yoga session, seen some beautiful architecture, I've had a dip in the pool and the good people here at the Six Senses Maxwell have pointed the toilet paper for me. 

Why you should go traveling also

As James Bond would say, 'you really should get out more, it lends perspective'. I'm hoping to meet new people out here, experience new things and shake up the mental etch a sketch. 

Whilst saying goodbye to my friends and family a strange thought came over me. Why am I saying goodbye to the people that I love. They'll still be there when I get back.

I should be saying goodbye to the trolls. Goodbye to the demons in my life. Goodbye to the heartbreak, the insecurities, all the things that have cloaked me in piss-pungent robes of dourness. 

You know it's true, you never know you're on top of a mountain until you're sliding down, and never know you're in a troth until you're climbing out. 

This will be the first of many of mental splurges. I want everyone to start thinking carefully about the ones they love. Make sure you be extra nice to at least one person a day. Have patience with those that grind your gears. Only love can conquer hate. 

Right, enough for now. Happy hour calls. 

 

 

Oman | The Places to Stay and Things to See

I spent ten days in Oman and I'll probably chalk this up as one of the bets experiences I've had in my life. I'm dating a classic heliotrope, meaning each year on Boxing Day we migrate somewhere where's sun, leave blighty and it's endearing yet terminally awful weather behind. 

We've had 2 fruitless excursions in the past couple of years. Last year was Cuba, modest sun and a beach rife with semi-dead man of war jelly fish. The year before that was Cyprus, equally mediocre.

This year there was no messing. We went to Oman where the temperatures never dropped below 22 degrees. We had a fully guided tour with Explore Muscat (not affiliated, just wanted to give them a shout) and in this article I want to share some tips and places worth visiting.

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GET A VISA

Yep, we didn't bother. They introduced Visa requirements early last year and now you have to pay a small sum of £30-ish to get in. Only because we only got these last minute we had to pay double to fast track them. Very annoying.

DECENT SUNGLASSES A MUST

The streets are so shiny and reflective out there, that your eyes get no respite from the sun. I brought my Lacoste glasses but they weren't designed for this level of intensity. Of course plenty of tanning lotion and aftercare lotion will be required.

FLIP FLOPS & HIKING SHOES

You'll need to take your flip flops when traversing through the Wadi's. But be sure to pack both because you'll be doing a lot of walking, hiking and trudging through desert dunes. 

MUST SEE's 

THE LOST FOOTBALL PITCH

The Football pitch in the mountains. Firstly the 4x4 ride through the mountains is white knuckle enough. Then out of nowhere a football pitch appears over the crest of a hill. It looks entirely misplaced and abandoned, but the design is quite deliberate. The villages come and play of a late afternoon/evening when the air is cooler and it's beautifully maintained. Again, no tourists! 

THE BIMAR SINKHOLE 

This is where it's good to have a tour guide. We saw a dozen or so drivers making wrong turns, U-Turns; you'd think they were looking for the Holy Grail. The Sat Nav is not exact science out here and it's sometimes best to rely on local knowledge. 

When the Bimah Sinkhole comes into view it's quite jaw dropping. Especially as it's so close from the coast. There will be a few people there but not too many to enjoy your swim should you choose. 

WAHIBA SANDS

You can sleep out in the desert. We stayed in a campsite called the Desert Wonders Camp for just under £90. It was very basic (I don't think we even had access to charge points) but it was perfect for our needs. 

Again the thrill of running down those dunes in that 4X4 was just something else. Imagine your best Alton Towers ride, this experience squashes that like broken biscuits. Be warned the temperature drops massively at night and you'll need a few layers to sleep in. I actually got no sleep that night due to the cold. 

SNAKE GORGE / WADI BANI 

For this you'll need to have some dexterity, some balls, and a guide that can traverse all the slopes and hazards. Our guide Muhammed I coined Wadiman. He even gave me his flip flops halfway through as I had abandoned my gripless Kurt Geigers. 

You can have accidents down in the gorge. In fact, if you Google Snake Gorge you'll come up with 'Snake Gorge Oman' followed by 'Snake Gorge Oman Deaths'. Luckily I only learnt about the horror stories after we had successfully negotiated this beautiful canyon. 

My advice is leave your belongings, get a Go-Pro or a waterproof case for your mobile. It's not Mission Impossible, but not for snowflakes neither. 

FAZAYAH BEACH

As part of our trip to Oman we caught a flight down to Salalah. This is where you'll find the better beaches. We were warned that there is not much else to do in Salalah.

However, I encourage you to make the trip. Either a 12 hour car ride or a short flight. It's the best way to decompress after what could be a vigorous few days in and around Oman. 

But there are many things to see in Salalah. The Frankincense trees are UNESCO protected and only grow in this part of the world. There is a waterfall and some beautiful coastal views. 

Lastly, you can drive down to the Fazayah Beach where you'll find the Raysut II wreck grounded during a cyclone in May 2018. 

I have posted a full guide on my own YouTube site for people wanting to know more. If you have any questions on your upcoming tour of Oman then please get in touch by leaving a comment in one of the videos. 

Blog Post Written by Peter Brooker from Human Research.

Is This the Most Instagrammable Hotel in Bali? The Udaya Resort & Spa

If ever there was a hotel designed purely for that perfect Instagram photo, the Udaya Resort and Spa in Ubud is it. This was my final destination on my trip through Indonesia. Without your realising you may have already seen photos of this hotel in your feed or in a distant utopian dream. 

Women will love this place because it looks like something from a Disney film. Guys you'll love it too because your woman will be telling all her mates about this place and it was all your idea! The only downside is she'll be asking you to take her picture every five seconds. Either in a bathtub full of rose petals or of her eating breakfast in the pool on a tray made from floating bamboo. 

Do I get my own pool? 

Only if you book your own private villa and that is naturally, more expensive. Outside of that you will get a perfectly awesome pool that is communal but relaxing enough. 

What's in the Cultural Package? 

Admittedly I booked this package by mistake. However, a lucky accident as it came with a double bed suite, an elongated balcony, more plug sockets than a Bond Villains lair, the shower pressure reminds me that London sucks in general, 2 x spa treatments, a free lunch and dinner and a full one day tour of Bali. Anywhere you want to go! 

How much did it cost? 

£225 all in. A day! But you do get breakfast included (banana pancakes!) and afternoon tea around 2-5pm. There is evening entertainment with dancers and BBQ's. I also splashed out on 2 x 60 minute Balinese massages, but you need to book ahead for those. 

Summary

This is more of a lovers retreat than a backpackers destination. Sadly I was alone at this point of my travels, point so I had to indulge in a candlelight rooftop dinner for one. Naturally the service is something you'd expect from a luxury resort; impeccable. The complimentary yoga sessions were the perfect way to start your day.

 

GiliFit Hostel Review: where Rocky would stay on Gili Trawangan

I heard a lot of mixed reviews about GiliFit in the lead up to my stay. GiliFit is not your 5 star Shangri-La so anyone heading to the only gym on the island of Trawangan, should first manage their expectations. That said, if your expectations on an exotic island of idyllic retreat is to find a place with helpful staff, the basic amenities and a place of character then this is certainly a decent fit. 

Gili Trawangan is the biggest of the Gili islands which can be found nested quaintly off the off the north-western shore of Bali’s neighbour, Lombok. Tourists flock to the Gili islands mainly for the diving of which there are centres on all three islands Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. 

Gili Trawangan is modest, you can walk the 7km shoreline in a matter of hours. One side of the island is more rambunctious, club-heavy, the other more tranquil and less trodden. 

GiliFit is the only gym on the island, or so I thought. There is a new gym that's opened within the busy-quarter. However, as with most modern shiny new things, it lacks the character of its counterparts. 

This gym very much feels like where Rocky would chop some wood and grow a beard, the other is more Drago-driven. 

There’s a cardio studio then the weights studio and also some free-weights outside to use. Sure there may be a little rust on the bars, but it’s part of the charm. I recommend hiring a push bike and doing a lap around the island. 

For just under £20 a night you'll be given all the basic amenities; hot water, a pool, air-conditioning, a bed, and even a tele with English speaking channels. You'll also have access to a personal trainer. Myself and my travel buddy This is Timothy enjoyed a brutal MMA workout with personal trainer Ri. 

Ri was is of Ugandan/South African descent and contorted me into shapes like he was playing a cootie catcher. (That's a deep pull for you kids). On hand are all the necessary supplements to keep you on the healthy train; protein shakes, juices, nutrition bars etc. 

Summary

Yes you'll find plenty of excoriating reviews online of GiliFit, some comparing it to a builders site etc. Some of these are old reviews. I have not received sponsorship nor any special treatment in exchange for this editorial. I was just taken in by the staff, to quote Russell Brand 'the heat of their sweetness could melt ice cones'. 

My advice is embrace the true 'Castway' vibe of this island. Forget about your hair-curlers or having the butler on call to point your toilet paper.

GiliFit is only like 5 minute walk from the main strip on the Eastern side of the island and a 15 minute walk from all the bars and nightclubs. 

The Ultimate Way to Travel Light | Moment Lenses

Do you really need a Camera these days when travelling? 

What would be the best alternatives? 

I recently posted an article on my site listing most of the gear bloggers need for traveling. I've had some people message me on my instagram page about a new piece of technology that could help me streamline my gadgets. 

Now I'm implacable when it comes to getting product imagery with my Sony A7S2, but it can be a bit cumbersome when traveling. Whilst out in Bali recently it simply wasn't practical to take it everywhere. 

Moment is a lens company for smart phones started on Kickstarter. They make a couple of lenses, cases, for most of the smart phones that are out today. Currently available are Wide lens, Fish lens, Macro lens. 

They can all be stored in a neat case no bigger than your toilet bag and that can house all the lenses. 

The 170 degree fish eye lens is very wide. It does come out a little shaky without a Gimbal because of the depth of its periphery. But the images I've seen have a neat effect. I think it's more for landscape pictures and balcony panoramas than for day to day video. 

TIP 

Moment will tell you that if you're looking to use this with a Gimbal then you can DIY a counter-balance to the phone. Tape a roll of 20p's to the other end and that should fix it. 

Conclusion 

Moment do look like a very travel orientated brand. They even do travel gift accessories on their website so it's perfect if you want to give your wanderlust friend a unique gift. It's going to be hard for me to part with my Sony but maybe it could also do with a holiday, away from me. 

Other tips to Travel Light

It's not a competition to try and fill the suitcase. 

2 x pair of socks, 2 x pair of pants. Clean them in the sink, dry them on the balcony. Keep rotating them and go one day commando. Boom, you're good for the week. 

Don't take books. You don't read those books at home, you'll never read those books on holiday. I'm determined to read a bit more this year but I won't be doing that on my back by the pool. 

If you're traveling as a couple share the chargers and devices. You can probably half the load if you share.

One pair of smart trainers. I find that shoes take up the most space. In the past I would always take a pair of smart shoes for evening dinner. But I'm not Elton John, I have no entourage schlepping mass amounts of luggage behind me as I throw my keys to the concierge.

Check out the Cole Haan style edit I did, these trainers are incredibly versatile for all climates and events. 

 

 

The Marriott Courtyard Resort in Seminyak, Bali | Hotel Review

It's time for me to tell you all about Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Seminyak Resort. One of the most amazing places I stayed in whilst traveling around Bali. Normally when I go backpacking I like to source the best deals by spending an hour two door having a walk around the neighbourhood. 

However, on the first night there is nothing like having the added security of getting your head down after a long haul flight and feeling settled. 

Although my stay in the Marriott Courtyard was fleeting, it was nonetheless memorable. To paint the picture for those that have never experienced a trip to Bali, imagine 1000 temples in a middle of a jungle, mixed with boutique hotels, arts and craft stores and some of the best cuisine you're likely to taste. 

Seminyak is probably one of the more touristy areas in Bali, not as hip or upcoming as Canggu. Yet finding a retreat such as the Marriott Courtyard for only £90 a night was just the tonic. 

Where is it exactly?

It's very central. In fact in the very heart of Seminyak. You are an 8 minute walk to the beach and there are even regular shuttle runs if you're really lazy. 

Standard of the hotel? 

Very similar to my experience of Marriott hotels in London. The decor was modern and authentic. The service was all smiles and the breakfast was wild with a wide variety catering for all tastes. I treated myself to eggs benedict and felt like a king. 

Family friendly? 

I get asked this quite a bit by friends when I speak about hotels, and although I'm an empty nester it would be remiss of me not to mention how family friendly this hotel is. 

There's a special kids club and speaking to some of the guests at the time they all remarked at how trustworthy and attentive all the staff were around children. 



Amenities near the hotel

It's worth noting there is a 24hr shop nearby should you require a top-up; food, water, alcohol etc. Ask one of the staff and they'll direct you. You'll also find an ATM within in a short walk from the hotel. 

Fitness Classes

Possibly one of the best array of fitness and wellness classes I've ever experienced at a hotel. Within the resort you'll find regular Yoga sessions, aqua aerobics and I even managed some basic MMA lessons with one of the personal trainers. 

Conclusion

A faultless experience, with everything on a plate. The cleanliness and amenities were outstanding. The location is ideal and you'll never run out of things to do. Ask at the front desk about helicopter rides, elephant safari's, kayaking and mountain biking tours.