Discover Bali’s unique culinary culture
Balinese cuisine's unique blend of aromatic local ingredients, traditional cooking styles and western influences make it a must-visit culinary destination for food lovers. A vibrant bounty In the cool dawn at Ubud morning market in Bali, farmers sit encircled by baskets brimming with glossy, indigo-hued eggplants, brilliant-green beans, and sunny yellow bananas. Calls ring out spruiking exotic produce of hairy rambutans, bubbly-skinned gourds and bunches of longans.   This daily buffet of ingredients catches the eye of passing locals, tourists and chefs as they meander through the vibrant market. Much of this bounty will end up at Bali’s restaurants and warungs (eateries) that have become part of the island’s happening food scene – a scene that beautifully fuses both local and western ingredients and cooking styles.   From the beach to the rice fields, you’ll find fine dining restaurants dishing up internationally inspired plates beside traditional Balinese fare and hip, health-conscious eateries. It’s a flavour-packed balance that makes Bali an enviable culinary destination. [caption id="attachment_48921" align="alignnone" width="600"] The dish of nasi campur gives you rice and a taster of delicious local specialties.[/caption] The real taste of Bali An excursion to Ubud’s market is a good place to start, but it’s just a small amuse-bouche of what’s on offer. While you’re in the rice paddy-fringed town, sample some truly local fare, such as the Balinese specialty of spit-roasted pig, or babi guling. This robust meal, served with crunchy crackling and a tangy side salad, is cooked over an open fire-pit then dished out at warungs. It’s a food-lover’s paradise.   For a real taste of Bali’s food scene, you can also take a cooking class. In the island’s north-east you’ll find Bali Asli: surrounded by serene rice fields with uninterrupted views of Mount Agung, you can learn how to cook over fire, plant rice and enjoy typical Balinese cuisine. Alternatively, head north to Les Village to visit Chef Yudi, at Dapur Bali Mula, a part-time chef and Hindu priest, who’ll teach you the art of Balinese barbecue with a side order of Hindu prayer.   Of course, Bali isn’t all rice fields. The beachside towns of Seminyak and Canggu draw travellers for their lively energy and world-class restaurants. Make a shortlist of the best on offer and tick them off during your stay. You might start with one of Seminyak’s many sleek, design-led eateries such as Sarong and Bambu Bali, experience Balinese cuisine culture on a plate at Canggu’s Tugu Bali restaurant with 14th-century Indonesian heritage cuisine, or head to Bingin Beach for a toes-in-sand fish barbecue at Lucky Fish.   However you choose to eat your way around Indonesia’s culinary island, you certainly won’t leave hungry. [caption id="attachment_48922" align="alignnone" width="600"] The burst of colour and flavour added by local favourite dragonfruit and a curl of fresh cinnamon bark.[/caption] Our top 10 restaurants Sarong, Seminyak Bambu Bali, Seminyak The Plantation Grill, Seminyak Bali Asli, Karangasem Candi Beach Resort and Spa, Candi Dasa Chef Yudi, Les Village The Octagon Beachclub by Plataran, West Bali National Park Pachamama, Gili Air Bebek Bengil, Ubud Laut Biru Bar and Restaurant, Lombok   To find out more or to plan your adventure in Bali, visit indonesia.travel
Fiji Restaurants
The Flavours of Fiji at Marriott Resort Momi Bay
Keen to sample the flavours of Fiji? Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay features a wide variety of restaurants to suit every palate. With five premium dining options to choose from, you are guaranteed to find a dish to suit your mood, at any time of day. Serving both local and international cuisines with a side of Marriott’s signature customer service, the resort offers everything from a light bite to fine dining. Fish Bar Overlooking panoramas of the Pacific Ocean, Fish Bar, one of three renowned restaurants at the resort, is the perfect dining destination to unwind at and indulge in Fiji’s striking sunsets. [caption id="attachment_48805" align="alignnone" width="800"] Enjoy seafood and sunsets while overlooking the ocean at Fish Bar.[/caption] Perched on the tip of a peninsula, Fish Bar offers casual seafood dining by day, and elegant dining by night, specialising in all your grilled favourites from the land and sea. The menu showcases an abundance of local seafood mixed with your favourite grilled meats, and with breathtaking views of the ocean, it's the ideal choice for a romantic dinner.   Spoil your loved one by indulging in a private waterfront cabana dinner for two, featuring a finely crafted five-course menu with Champagne. Lagoon House Restaurant & Bar Dine in the unique atmosphere of Lagoon House Restaurant & Bar. Simple, yet delicious fare includes pizzas, salads, light bites and more, all prepared from high quality produce and served with lagoon views and an impressive offering of classic drinks.   Lagoon House Restaurant & Bar brings the flavours of the Mediterranean to Viti Levu. Why not try a fresh Nicoise salad with yellow fin tuna or the Mediterranean-spiced chicken skewers from the  lunch menu? And for those who have worked up an appetite throughout the day, a selection of sandwiches and burgers are readily available. Mouthwatering Peach Melba with vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream, berry sauce and almonds is the perfect way to end on a sweet note. [caption id="attachment_48807" align="alignnone" width="800"] The flavours of Fiji are not only delicious, but colourful as well.[/caption] Come dinner, Lagoon House Restaurant & Bar offers a variety of international dishes, such as Moroccan spiced lamb salad and beef osso bucco. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a Momi Bay cheese cake or apple and mascarpone torta. The drinks menu includes local and international beers, premium wines and hand-poured cocktails.   Evening entertainment at the venue includes a variety of shows, including a Polynesian fire performance with renditions courtesy of the village choir or a Fijian Meke. Goji Kitchen & Bar From buffet breakfasts and delicious lunches to exquisite dinners, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay invites you to indulge at the all-day dining Goji Kitchen & Bar, where you’ll find a variety of Fijian, Asian and international dishes made with fresh local produce and all bursting with flavour.   Employing the freshest of ingredients, treat your tastebuds with the all day a la carte menu, amazing all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast or delicious buffet dinner featuring an abundance of hot and cold dishes, gourmet salads and decadent desserts. [caption id="attachment_48806" align="alignnone" width="800"] Goji offers a delightful fusion of Fijian and Asian cuisines.[/caption] Start the day with a selection of breakfast favourites: indulge in pancakes, waffles, French toast, island fruits, traditional Asian offerings, house-baked pastries, daily specialties and build-your-own omelettes. Complement your meal with a glass of freshly squeezed juice or a hot cup of fresh-brewed coffee.   At lunch, a range of quick and tasty bites are available, including soy and honey chicken skewers, assorted dumplings and vegetable samosas. You’ll also find a mix of Asian plates, including Vietnamese Pho Bo soup and Tom Yum Gai, and local favourites like the Fijian lamb and potato curry, paneer tikka masala and prawn curry.   Goji Kitchen & Bar really comes to life in the evening, serving up a diverse range of cuisines at themed buffet dinners. Here, you can satisfy your appetite with fresh, local foods and international flavours including Fijian, Indian, Asian and German throughout the week. Open-kitchen stations create a lively atmosphere in the restaurant, giving guests the opportunity to mingle with the resort chefs and watch the dishes being created from scratch. You and your loved ones will be treated to exquisite culinary fare, including a variety of chefs’ signature salads, main courses and delicious desserts.   If you’re celebrating a special occasion with family or friends, Goji Kitchen & Bar is the perfect place to enjoy great food and drinks in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.   To get more information and book now, visit fijimarriott.com
Mariott Fiji Resort
Pacific Island living: a Fiji Island Getaway
Sitting pretty on Momi Bay on the western coast of Viti Levu, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay offers everything you dream an island getaway should be. Drift off to a gentle ocean breeze and wake up to the sound of lapping waves in your adults-only (cue romance) overwater bure villa at Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay.   Spend your day relaxing on the white sand beach, indulge yourself just a little with a signature cocktail at the resort’s swim-up bar or watch the sun set from the infinity pool – it’s adults only, too. Your idea of relaxation Whatever relaxation means to you, Momi Bay has it covered. If you're in need of a little pampering, visit the Quan Spa or take advantage of the resort’s many water-based activities –from a leisurely paddle atop a stand-up paddleboard through calm lagoon waters to soaking up the Fijian sun aboard a kayak. [caption id="attachment_48727" align="alignnone" width="800"] Spend your time as active - or as relaxed - as you like.[/caption] Prefer a steadier watercraft? Sail away on a hobie cat for the afternoon, or charter a private fishing boat. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride onboard the open boat, waiting for the fish to bite while you navigate the island’s many beautiful reefs. Kick things up a notch If you like a little more action on the water, book a jetski safari for a thrilling adventure and memorable snorkelling experience. Here, you’ll dive into calm, clear waters and explore the colourful and abundant marine life of Fiji’s coral reefs. To get up closer and just a bit more personal, arrange a snorkelling or scuba-diving tour on the reef. [caption id="attachment_48729" align="alignnone" width="800"] Parasailing is just one of many activities available on-island.[/caption] Just a 15-minute boat ride from Cloudbreak – one of the world's best surf breaks, attracting professional surfers from all over the world – Fiji Marriott Resort is the closest 5-star resort to the break on the mainland, so surfing fans will rejoice. Explore more When you are ready to explore further, visit the resort’s tour desk for help finding and booking Fiji’s many attractions and activities. [caption id="attachment_48730" align="alignnone" width="800"] The ocean is literally at your doorstep with a stay here.[/caption] From day cruises to stunning Fijian islands, scenic helicopter scenic flights, zipline adventures, river safari tours and sightseeing tours, make the most of your island getaway and discover the very best Fiji has to offer.   For more information and to book now, visit fijimarriott.com
Raising the bar: Bali’s hottest bars
Impossibly beautiful scenery, laidback vibes and an Indonesian twist on the art of aperitivo are all the ingredients necessary to make the bars in Bali enviable the world over. With the rattle of a Boston shaker and the melodic clink of ice, here are the best bars in Bali from Ubud to Uluwatu and beyond. Ubud A spiritual heartland, Ubud is the cultural centre for all things Balinese, but it also knows how to unwind. Appreciate flavours of the island at The Night Rooster Cocktail Bar. Here, drinks are prepared by local ‘alchemist’, Raka, using local ingredients and his homemade bitters.   To take in Ubud’s lush scenery, head to the rooftop at Copper Kitchen and Bar where views of Batukaru and Mt Agung will impress as you sip ethically sourced tipples under festooned lights. [caption id="attachment_48938" align="alignnone" width="600"] The trendy interiors at Copper Kitchen and Bar are almost as nice as the views.[/caption] Uluwatu On Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, Uluwatu’s dramatic cliffs are bejewelled with luxury resorts and villas. But you needn’t be a glamorous guest to enjoy the bar scene here.   Begin at Sundays Beach Club, where you can intersperse complete relaxation with bursts of energy. Glide onto the water from the club in a kayak and work up an appetite for your next stop: Cire at Alila Villas. Truly feel you’re at the end of the earth here as you gaze out to the horizon between sips of your cocktail. [caption id="attachment_48940" align="alignnone" width="600"] Enjoy panoramic ocean views and a tantalising menu at Cire at Alilia Villas.[/caption] Lombok Island Bali's neighbouring island is a surfer’s nirvana, but come ashore and you’ll find this island knows how to mix a good tipple. Start with the attention-seeking view at Aura Lounge and Bar, but tear your eyes away from the glittering vista of Selong Belanak beach long enough to order from their sustainably driven menu. [caption id="attachment_48942" align="alignnone" width="600"] Aura Lounge and Bar is South Lombok's best kept secret.[/caption] If you still haven’t had enough sea-gazing, settle in at The Kliff at Katamaran in Senggigi for sunset drinks. Prolong your session here with something from the fresh seafood grill. Canggu Bali’s hipster surf haven, Canggu is always down for a good time. Try boho art bar Ji Terrace by the Sea. With panoramic ocean views, it's a favourite of the design set. Named after a local break, there’s nothing old-fashioned about Old Man's. This colourful club has a focus on healthy, fresh flavours. Come evening, the place to party is cool, grungy surf-and-skate bar, Pretty Poison, complete with its own skate bowl. Seminyak This beachside-style enclave is a hot spot for sleek bars. A good start is Mrs Sippy, where the mantra is ‘sip, swim, sunbake, repeat’. [caption id="attachment_48943" align="alignnone" width="600"] Bali's largest saltwater pool haven, there's a reason Mrs Sippy is Seminyak's holiday hotspot.[/caption] For something a little more laid-back, head to Akademi Bar at Katamama. One for serious cocktail enthusiasts, this is more than a bar; it's also a classroom, where you can take tutelage in mixology and local ingredients.   To find out more or to plan your own bar-hopping adventure in Bali and beyond, visit indonesia.travel.
Samoa Resort
Five Samoan experiences only at Sinalei Reef Resort
Blessed with stunning iridescent seas, volcanic mountain peaks, emerald forests and a proud and friendly people, Samoa has something for everyone. To give you a taste of what makes this unique archipelago in the South Pacific so special, Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa – the gem of this rugged island paradise – has crafted five uniquely Samoan experiences for you to enjoy. Each adventure will open your eyes to Samoa’s inimitable culture and landscape, and the positive effects these experiences have on rural Samoan communities. 1. Fa'a Samoa Journey with us into one of Samoa’s oldest villages, Poutasi, and discover the Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way of Life). Be welcomed by village chiefs, try your hand at the ancient games of coconut-tossing and spear-throwing, and learn the art of fine mat-weaving, traditional dance and ukulele. Farewell the day with a taste of real island cooking and an exhilarating fire knife show. 2. Eco Trekking Venture off the beaten track and discover the hidden treasures of Samoa’s rainforest reserve. Look for medicinal plants along lava cliffs, go in search of thunderous blowholes and hidden caves, and plant your very own native tree at Samoa’s only carbon offsetting site. [caption id="attachment_48692" align="alignnone" width="600"] Samoa is a pure joy to explore on foot.[/caption] En route to the healing pools at Togitogiga Falls, look out for Samoa’s colourful native bird life. 3. Cooking with Culture In it for the food? Explore village plantations and markets to gather the fresh ingredients you'll need to prepare an authentic Samoan dish - guided by experienced local chefs. [caption id="attachment_48694" align="alignnone" width="500"] Seafood forms an integral part of Samoan cuisine.[/caption] Top the day off with a toast as you enjoy the fruits of your labour in a private overwater setting. 4. Island Art Affair Uncover the roots of Polynesian creativity on this artistic adventure. Visit the birthplace of Samoan artistry, call into the home of a traditional tattooist and journey into the hidden Tiapapata Art Gallery where you can mix and mingle with local and international artists. Next, escape to Poutasi Arts Centre, the home of world-renowned artist Fatu Feu’u, and let your creative juices flow in a private wood-sculpting workshop. 5. Hook and Cook Head out on a nautical adventure aboard a 26-foot catamaran and cast a line along the south coast of Upolu. [caption id="attachment_48695" align="alignnone" width="600"] A Samoan holiday wouldn't be the same without a unique fishing adventure.[/caption] Allow the local hosts to cook your catch over an open fire whilst you venture off on a snorkelling expedition to the secluded waters of Aganoa Bay.   Looking for more? Visit sinalei.com or email reservations@sinalei.com
Samoa Islands
A family holiday, the Samoan way
Put the ‘family’ back into your family holiday by embracing Fa’a Samoa. Looking to reconnect with the kids on your next family holiday? Say no to the standard resort ‘drop and flop’ and instead head to the stunning South Pacific islands of Samoa, where the beauty of its pristine lagoons and rainforest-covered mountains are eclipsed by something even more magical: Fa’a Samoa – or simply, ‘The Samoan Way’.   A 3,000-year-old tradition handed down through the generations, Fa’a Samoa is Polynesian culture at its purest, celebrating the importance of community, respecting your elders and the environment, and, above all, putting family at the heart of every thought and action.   Yes, there will be adventure (hello, natural waterslides and jungle trails) and sure, they’ll enjoy the odd game of Samoan cricket (kirikiti) with the local kids, but your littles ones could come back home with more than just great memories. They might just come home with a fresh, new outlook on life. Take It Easy The first rule of adapting to the Samoan way of life is to slow right down and to fai fai lemu (take it easy). This is easily done by booking the family into a traditional beachfront fale and giving yourselves over to gentler activities like lying under the canopy of stars and listening to the gentle lap of the water. [caption id="attachment_48615" align="alignnone" width="600"] Take things as easy as you like - the Samoan way.[/caption] Opt for a fale with a Fia Fia night experience where Samoan food is served in abundance and the countries culture and history is celebrated though song, graceful dance and dramatic fire twirling. Village Life Samoa is home to 362 villages and what better way to treat the family to all aspects of Samoan cultural and traditional life than by visiting Samoa Cultural Village (samoa.travel)? Here, guests young and old can enjoy workshops on everything from weaving, woodworking, traditional tatau (tattoo) and cooking demonstrations. [caption id="attachment_48614" align="alignnone" width="600"] The islands' blend of colours are truly breathtaking.[/caption] Who knows? You might even weave your own dinner plate before sampling lunch from the umu (hot-stone oven). Our word of advice: arrive with an empty belly. Tour of Beauty Need a little help embracing Fa’a Samoa? Tack on a day or half-day cultural tour like those offered by Samoa Scenic (samoascenic.com) and take in the sights (not to mention the history) of Upolu and Savaii Islands. [caption id="attachment_48613" align="alignnone" width="600"] Samoa offers the luxury of resort accommodation with untouched nature.[/caption] Popular options include sailing out to Manono Island, a piece of Samoan paradise four kilometres off the coast of Upolu, where a host family will treat you to a slice of local life, and the Savaii round-island tour which takes in everything from marketplaces, to villages and even waterfalls. Customised cultural tours can be arranged on request. For more information visit www.samoa.travel
Wendy Wu Machu Pichu
Five reasons South America needs to be on your 2019 hit list
A continent of captivating beauty, layered history and plenty of rhythm,  South America is a must-visit destination.  Wendy Wu Tours gives you five reasons to join the party this year in South America. Machu Picchu This 15th-century Peruvian marvel is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and is pretty much on everyone’s bucket list. Don’t let that deter you; there’s a reason so many flock to this UNESCO World Heritage site. Set in the Andes Mountains, its location would be spectacular on its own – however, the ruins of this Incan citadel will leave you awestruck. Cartagena Colombian, Caribbean and colonial, the 16th-century port city of Cartagena is a delightfully intoxicating mixture of heat, heritage and hedonism. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cartagena is a city to get lost in. Plans are futile, so give in to the rhythm of this charming port and discover why it has captivated so many travellers. [caption id="attachment_47212" align="alignnone" width="600"] The picturesque city of Cartagena.[/caption] Patagonia Glaciers don’t generally come to mind when you think of South America, but they should. Patagonia, a geographical area at the southernmost tip of the continent, spans both Argentina and Chile and is a seemingly limitless wilderness of ice and rock. On the Argentinian side is El Calafate, the ‘National Capital of the Glaciers’, home to the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier. [caption id="attachment_47213" align="alignnone" width="600"] Baby blues, the Perito Moreno Glacier.[/caption] Iguacu Falls The waterfalls of the Iguacu River, which lie on the border of Argentina and Brazil, are nothing short of spectacular. Dramatic and captivating, the 275 cascading falls span a three-kilometre stretch within the lush Iguacu National Park. Watch this thundering display of Mother Nature’s might and feel very, very small. [caption id="attachment_47214" align="alignnone" width="600"] The many faces of Northern Argentina[/caption] Rio De Janeiro It’s virtually impossible to travel to South America and not swing into Rio. This Brazilian metropolis is a high-definition riot of colour and carnivale, from the beaches to that lush mountainous backdrop and the frenetic energy coursing through the streets. Samba is the beat this city dances to and everyone’s invited to the party. [caption id="attachment_47215" align="alignnone" width="600"] Bathed in sunlight.[/caption] Let Wendy Wu Tours take you to South America. For more information on tours and destinations in South America visit wendywutours.com/south-america or call 1300 177 506
Beautiful Tahiti
Islands of Tahiti: what you don’t know will charm you
When it comes to French Polynesia, it’s often these little-known gems that captivate the seasoned traveller.  The Islands of Tahiti are pure perfection. Over-water bungalows might be synonymous with the Islands of Tahiti, but what do you say to renting your own private patch of pristine waterfront or pitching a tent in a lush camping ground? Dotted around some of the most spectacular parts of each island, campsites and Tahitian guesthouses (also referred to pensions or fares) gift visitors the opportunity to connect with locals and immerse themselves in traditional French Polynesia life. [caption id="attachment_46539" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Tahiti Islands has beach life down to a fine art.[/caption] Frolicking with whales is an everyday activity No visit to the Islands of Tahiti is complete with a mandatory cocktail-sipping-on-a-hammock session, or snorkelling vibrant coral reefs, but the adrenaline junkies among us need not miss out. Why not swim with pods of humpback whales in Moorea (in waters so rich with marine life you’ll feel like the bay leaf in ray and black-tip reef shark soup), hike the lava tubes of Tahiti and enjoy drift dives in Rangiroa’s Tiputa Pass and Fakarava’s Tumakohua Pass?  Fist pump the air and repeat. [caption id="attachment_46540" align="alignnone" width="600"] Crystal clear views from above.[/caption] You can holiday on a shoestring Those without Swiss bank accounts can (and should) apply; budget-friendly accommodation, meals and activities are available on each of the islands – yes, even the fabled celebrity playground of Bora Bora. Close your eyes and picture roadside food trucks serving up the most decadent of crepes and super-fresh poisson cru, scenic island adventures courtesy of next-to-nix bicycle hire and those aforementioned campsites perfectly located by endless azure lagoon. As for those coral-fringed motus and beaches teeming with rainbow pops of tropical fish? The best things in life really are free. [caption id="attachment_46541" align="alignnone" width="600"] Unlike anywhere else.[/caption] You have a choice of festivals Whether you’re into cycling, running, tattoos or fashion, you can rest assured that somewhere, on one of the Tahiti’s stunning islands, there’s a festival that’s just right for you. Will you ink up at Tatau I Tahiti Tattonesia, take part in one of the Moorea Marathon or take a front row seat at Tahiti Fashion Week? The choice is yours – just don’t miss Heiva I Tahiti, the biggest cultural event on the calendar which engulfs the islands over a month-long celebration every July. There are 118 islands While there’s no denying the difficulty that is getting past the beauty of Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti, continue to push on through the vibrant lagoons and white sand patchwork (hardly the most taxing journey you’ll ever make), and your curiosity will be rewarded with a series of remote islands loaded with largely unknown experiences. [caption id="attachment_46542" align="alignnone" width="600"] Like an aquarium, without the glass.[/caption] Swim with migrating humpback whales and hike majestic peaks in Rurutu, zigzag up the flanks of an extinct mountain to reach the archaeological sites of Ua Huka and opt out of society entirely by renting a private island escape on Tikehau. This really is a ‘choose your own adventure’ holiday – Tahitian-style. [caption id="attachment_46544" align="alignnone" width="600"] Sneak peak![/caption] For books and further information, visit Tahiti Tourisme.
Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Why Dubrovnik is the Ultimate Mediterranean City
Dreamy Dubrovnik, both a city and province, offers adventure, beauty, stark contrasts and much, much more. All the scene needs is a donkey, nonchalantly lumbering its way up the sun-baked stone track.   The cutely simple stone buildings are there, as are the olive groves, lemon trees and the peaceful ruins of an old church.   It’s a perfect Mediterranean time warp, plucked from the pages of a rose-tinted romance novel and somehow burned into our collective imagination.   From the top, forested valleys give way to the waters of the Adriatic Sea. They’re almost unnaturally blue, with glass-like clarity and freeze-frame stillness.   The island just so happens to be Lopud, but it could easily be Sipan. Or Kolocep. Or Lastovo. Such tranquil specks in the sea are not in short supply – Croatia has more than 1,000 islands along its coastline.   Many are a short boat ride away from Dubrovnik. Charter yachts and day cruises flit between them, ferries drop off independent adventurers and glorified tinnies bring picnic-clutching locals across to their favourite hideaways on the weekend.   The islands are places for unhurried exploration, a perfect counterpoint to the often crowded pavements of Dubrovnik herself. Those pavements are busy for a reason. Dubrovnik’s beauty has bowled over everyone from Lord Byron to Jay Z and Beyonce.   If human, other cities would want to put chewing gum in her hair out of spite.   It is partly down to the setting. Dubrovnik is squeezed onto a narrow strip of coastline by the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula.   They loom overhead, majestically stark and parched after a rainless summer. Roads quickly break into climbing zigzags from the coast. Seemingly endless steps creep between the walls of houses to connect streets that may as well be running on top of each other. It makes a mockery of two dimensional maps.   Bays cut curves into the coastline, some dainty, some voluptuous. And teetering on the side of the limestone cliffs are thousands of rooms with a view.   Many of Dubrovnik’s hotels are built into the rock face, stumbling precariously downwards towards a sun drenched bed-adorned platform. From there, a dive into the sea is a temptation too great to exist.   Then there is the Old Town. Hugged by city walls that date back to Dubrovnik’s past as an independent republic, it is a supremely picturesque warren of convents, baroque churches and seamlessly integrated palaces.   Vehicles have long been banished and Stradun, the main street, feels made for peacock-style strutting. Flanked by buildings of unfussily regal grandeur, the limestone paving stones gleam as if they’re polished marble.   At right angles, narrow alleyways dive off, restaurant terraces squeezing in between hat-makers’ shops and souvenir stores. [caption id="attachment_28699" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The spot for intimate cliff-side drinks, Dubrovnik, Croatia.[/caption] Old town discovery The Old Town is hardly undiscovered.   Every day, thousands pour in to mooch around, poke their head into the cathedral and consume their bodyweight in gelato. The soul can feel stripped out at times, but it can easily be rediscovered by clambering up the shabbier-looking steps and nosying around in unpromising alleyways.   It’s a maze of dead ends, but these often contain the most charming finds. Wooden doors lead to small gardens that double as artists’ studios or have handmade jewellery spread out on display.   An archway in the city walls brings you to a steep staircase carved into the cliff. It inches down toward Buza II, a bar that is little more than a smoothed platform with a cane roof. A more marvellous place to watch the sun go down you couldn’t possibly ask for.   The Old Town is not a museum piece however. People still live there, and the hidden life is best seen on a walk around the city walls. Save it for after 5pm, when most of the crowds have gone, and it’s far less hurried.   The circuit is just under two kilometres in length, but that doesn’t count the towers and forts that can be ducked into on the way.   The views out over the sea are predictably gasp-worthy but voyeuristic peeping across the rooftops provides the insights. Washing lines are ingeniously stretched across unlikely gaps and nuns can be spotted watering flowers in hidden courtyards.   The signs of life pop up repeatedly – basketball courts squeezed into rare flat space, glorified balconies adorned with sun lounges, rugs hanging from windows to get an airing.   Many of the rooftops have a patchwork of deep terracotta and brighter orange tiles. It’s one of the few hints of the shelling that ravaged the city during the Balkan Wars in 1991 and 1992.   The clean-up and the meticulous repairs using traditional stone-working methods are arguably one of the most impressive things about Dubrovnik.   Just to the north of the Old Town is the cable car station, from where a wobbling, mildly terrifying glass box soars up to the top of Mount Srd. It’s a trip that’s unquestionably worth taking.   The 19th century fort at the top has mesmerising views out over the city and islands. The Old Town looks like a jewel being daintily clutched between the fingers of a sinuous arm. [caption id="attachment_33445" align="alignnone" width="770"] Dubrovnik[/caption] Mountain folk give tip advice The real surprise comes from looking the other way, however. A valley, scarcely marked by human habitation, unfolds, backed by even higher mountains on the horizon.   Despite their love of seafood and island outings, the people of Dubrovnik are mountain folk at heart. Ask a local for a restaurant tip, and the answer will usually be: “Have you got a car?”   Everyone seems to have their favourite joint in the mountains, where lamb will be slow-cooked in an iron bell, covered in the ashes of a roaring fire. Konavoski Dvori is a prime example. Its big outdoor terrace is cooled by the icy stream running through it, past the wooden water wheel that now serves a decorative, rather than industrial, purpose.   While a car is a hindrance in Dubrovnik itself, it’s worth hiring one for a couple of days to explore the hinterland. And if it feels like a  different country, that’s because it probably is.   Dubrovnik’s narrow patch of coast is sandwiched between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the Montenegrin side, the crumpled mountain landscape gives way to the fjord-like Bay of Kotor. In many ways, Kotor – with its city walls climbing up the steep incline behind the bay – is even more spectacular than Dubrovnik. Licking lips for Herzegovina Montenegro has been a tourist honeypot for a few years, but it tends to be Herzegovina that gets the Croatians licking their lips.   With the drought in full kick, the land takes on a post-apocalyptic beauty. Villages are scattered and ooze backwater rusticity. But every now and then, there’s something special. The town of Blagaj has a crisp blue-green river pouring out of the towering cave that hides its source. Next to it is a 16th century Muslim tekke (roughly translated as a monastery), made of creaking wood and Turkish-style carpets.   Pocitelj is another heart-stopper. The village looks like a film set, perfectly clasped by the hill it’s built onto. East and west are brought together in a bite-sized architectural masterclass of mosques and citadels. It’s equal parts Austrian and Ottoman empires.   The mountains look good, but the other treasured escape tastes good. The Peljesac peninsula just to the north of Dubrovnik is quietly developing a reputation for its food and wine. The salt pans in Ston are a nod to a lucrative history. The salt trade was so valuable to the Dubrovnik Republic that a 5.5 kilometre protective wall was built around Ston to keep intruders out. Only the Great Wall of China is bigger, the locals proudly – if marginally inaccurately – boast.   These days, the money comes from the water rather than the land. In the placid blue bays are strings of little black buoys. In spring, they’re oyster farms. In late summer and autumn, it’s mussels down there. [caption id="attachment_19320" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Take a stroll through Dubrovnik, Croatia[/caption] Charming cellar doors The main road crossing the peninsula runs along the ridge lines, flipping between northerly and southerly views of the Adriatic.   It’s a seriously sexy drive, and one frequently punctuated by ramshackle vineyards cut onto otherwise forested slopes. Cellar doors pop up frequently at the roadside, and there’s a bumbling authentic charm to the tasting sessions conducted within them.   Amateurish spirit is noticeable by its absence at Korta Katarina (Bana J. Jelacica 3, Orebic), however.   Set in a gleaming white clifftop villa complex near the end of the peninsula, the state-of-the-art technology used inside the winery has put more than a few noses out of joint amongst the traditional winemakers.   Tours of Korta Katarina go beyond the sampling, delving deep into rows of Bond lair-esque fermentation tanks and oak barrels.   The investment has come from the US, and the aim is to put the local Plavac Mali grape on the worldwide wine map. It’s an offshoot of the far more famous Zinfandel, but it doesn’t yet have the marketing machine behind it. If Korta Katarina’s take is anything to go by, it’s a feisty fella that makes for deliciously potent balcony drinking.   The final unsung hero of the region, largely ignored by day trippers yet adored by Dubrovnik’s more savvy residents, is Mljet. It’s a long, thin island with a peculiar microclimate that makes it much greener than the others.   Deciphering the ferry timetable brings rich rewards when you arrive at the staggeringly cute harbour village of Polace. Wooden café terraces overhanging the water, fishing boats bob, and enterprising locals rent out bikes and kayaks.   But it’s what’s in the middle of the island that’s special. An uphill but not terribly demanding hike, accompanied by the intense rattle of a cicada symphony, leads to two interlocking saltwater lakes.   They are quite heavenly, framed by rocky beaches and a lush bowl of ancient hillsides. On a tiny islet in the middle, a monastery stands calm and unflustered, waiting for a strong swimmer or a rowboat to bring news from the outside world.   Once there, as with so many of these special spots along the Croatian coast, time suddenly seems a complete irrelevance. [caption id="attachment_36798" align="alignnone" width="667"] Dubrovnik's alluringly crystal clear waters.[/caption] The Details How to get there A two-stop job via Singapore and Frankfurt is quickest. Lufthansa (1300 655 727), codesharing with Singapore Airlines and Croatian Airlines, offers returns from around $2,260. For advance bookings, there’s little difference between high and low season flight costs. When to go July to mid-September is peak season. Temperatures can be stifling, crowds infuriating and hotel prices extortionate. It’s much more pleasant on all three counts in May, June, late September or early October. Where to stay Affordable: The kitchenettes, antique furniture and relative lack of steps to tackle put the Amoret Apartments in a league above most of their Old Town private accommodation rivals. Studios from $92, multiple locations.   +385 20 324 005; Comfortable: A smart refurb at the Hotel Lapad has made it the best value four-star in town. The rooms use technology well, while the pool area is a sprawling suntrap. Doubles from $200.   Lapadska obala 37; 00 385 20 455 555; Luxury: With speedboats to the Old Town, private jacuzzis and luxurious decks overlooking the Adriatic, Villa Dubrovnik is the top dog. Executive rooms cost from $615.   Vlaha Bukovca 6; 00 385 20 500 300; Where to eat Affordable: Ask for the off-menu lunchtime ‘marenda’ at Orsan, where the dirt cheap but excellent chicken or fish meals comes with supreme yacht club views. Vana Zajca ; +385 20 436 822; Comfortable: Rozario is cosy and family run, but puts inventive pan-Mediterranean twists on local produce. It’s an oasis in a sea of cynically mediocre Old Town restaurants aimed at customers who won’t come back. High End: Dubrovnik’s culinary strength is its seafood, and Proto does it best. Book a table upstairs on the atmospheric Old Town roof terrace. Široka ulica 1; +385 20 323 234; You can’t leave without… Taking a half day kayaking tour around the Old Town and Lokrum Island. Numerous operators hawk tours by the Pile Gate. Adriatic Kayak Tours: +385 20 312 770.   Visiting War Photo Limited in the Old Town, a striking exhibition that includes some harrowing images from the Balkan Wars. Antuninska 6. +385 20 322 166.   A day trip to Mostar. Over the Bosnia and Herzegovina border, its Turkish-style bazaars and stone bridge cast an instant spell. Elite Travel is good. +385 20 358 200. Best thing about Dubrovnik The instant visual appeal of the city is handsomely supported by a setting that rewards exploration. Worst thing about Dubrovnik The city has effectively sold itself to the cruise industry. Big ships spill thousands of passengers into the Old Town every day, turning it into a giant rugby scrum. You should know Most hotels are located in inconvenient places for getting to the Old Town and ferry terminals.   Mercifully, bus services are good and run late – buy a multi-trip card from a kiosk next to the bus stop to get journeys at a slightly cheaper rate.   Taxis supposedly operate on a fixed rate of $11.60 from the Old Town to most hotels or the Gruz port. If drivers try it on for more, insist on the meter.   Call 020 970 whilst on the ground to hire one.   Dubrovnik In Your Pocket and the Dubrovnik Times are great sources of information.
Goa, India
The essential guide to Goa: the fascinating seaside state of India
Where the Indian subcontinent meets the warm Arabian Sea, nestled subtly between the relative behemoth states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the south and east, you’ll find India’s gorgeously laid-back, sometimes a little cheeky, and utterly fascinating smallest state: Goa.   It is a meeting place in so many more ways than mere geography. It is where the western ways and architecture of the Portuguese and British have fused with everyday Indian life; where history and ancient culture is melded with modern traditions such as meeting for sundowners on the sand; where generations-old recipes are transformed into on-trend eats and world-famous dishes; and where its famed coastline of beach upon beach forms a golden thread, tying it all together. [caption id="attachment_46121" align="alignnone" width="600"] How many perfect sunsets can you get?[/caption] History The irresistible scent of spices (and subsequent riches) lured the Portuguese across the seas around 1500AD, leading to an astonishing 450-odd years of colonisation under Portuguese rule, interrupted only by brief British occupation from 1799 to 1813, and only finally ended in 1961. During the height of Portuguese influence, Goa would have more closely resembled Lisbon, or perhaps Brazil or Macau, than it would its Indian sisters Mumbai or Delhi.   [caption id="attachment_46122" align="alignnone" width="600"] Oozing with history[/caption]   Now that Goa is safe back in the arms of Mother India, its European personality has blended quite uniquely with the countless other influences that have been thrown into this fabulous cultural crossroads. In any day, you might tour the 15th-century Basilica of Bom Jesus (housing the remains of St Francis Xavier, no less), munch on the local bhali-pau (bread roll and curry), shop a hippie market in Anjuna and then dance the night away in what is rated the sixth-best nightlife capital of the world. Don’t miss a heritage walk of the charming Latin Quarter of Fontainhas, and a visit to the state’s oldest fort at remarkable Reis Magos. Beach Every kilometre of Goan coastline meets the sea in spectacular fashion, with almost entirely uninterrupted beach in many sections. This article may tell you about Goa three ways, but the truth is, Goa interprets beach life about a thousand ways: whether you’re looking for a weathered hammock under a palm tree or perfectly swept sands fronting five stars of resort luxury, you’ll find it in (beach) spades.   Spiritual seekers come for the sunrise yoga and meditation retreats; Insta-influencers adore the perfection of the beachside bungalows of Turtle Hill, or Brangelina’s favourite flop at Elsewhere in Mandrem; history buffs fall in love with the wonderfully preserved treasures of Ponda and Old Goa, the inspiring temples and mosques such as Mangeshi Temple and 450-year-old Shri Mangesh, Bollywood-famous Chapora Fort and the must-see Fort Aguada, and stay in the opulently converted fort at Fort Tiracol. But then everyone seems to end up, sooner or later, on the beaches themselves. The ‘queen of beaches’, Calangute Beach, is an endless parade of watersports, shopping, eateries, and unbeatable people-watching.   Baga Beach is similarly non-stop, while Anjuna Beach adds a hippie vibe and some particularly sensational market shopping. For the perfect quiet, tucked-away oasis of your dreams, try Ashwem or Arossim beaches – the latter has a couple of beach shacks with cold beer, great seafood and killer views as you watch the sun sink into the waves. [caption id="attachment_46123" align="alignnone" width="600"] Go on, dip your toes in![/caption] Food Forget everything you think you know about Indian food and fall in love all over again with the gastronomic marvels of Goa. It was spices that made Goa the mixing pot it is today, and it’s spices that manage to bring together Indian ingredients with Portuguese traditions, Catholic cuisines with Hindi necessities, and make it all sing.   Fish and seafood are everywhere, befitting this coastal location and also pleasing both Hindi and Catholic sensibilities. However, the Portuguese wine that has flavoured their own cuisine for centuries has morphed into more sensible options here in India, with fermented coconut toddy (vinegar), Portuguese acrid lime, peppercorns and the southern Indian staple, tamarind, all adding a very particular tartness and depth of flavour in its place. You’ll also find a range of local sausage specialties, and a delicious obsession with cashews and cashew paste flavouring local dishes from corner holes-in-the-wall through to five-star kitchens.   [caption id="attachment_46124" align="alignnone" width="600"] Never have a bad meal again[/caption]   For top-shelf, occasion dining, the global-but-exotic menu at Go With the Flow in Baga is always a solid recommend, or pour on the Portuguese charm at The Verandah, Alfama or Nostalgia. On the other hand, put at least a mealtime or more aside to experience the famous Goan fish thali served at most beach shacks up and down the coastline. Follow the crowds to the best ones – they always know.   Australians can now apply for an e-Visa for India, meaning you’ll no longer have to hand over your passport at an embassy, if you are eligible. To apply, head to indianvisaonline.gov.in (and beware of third party websites).
Eat up!
Hawai‘i Foodie Guide: 7 Hawaiian dishes to try (and where to find them)
From Lau Lau to shaved ice. This is the essential list of Hawaiian dishes you need to try! Fried shrimp Ultra-fresh shrimp (prawns to us Aussies) show up on menus across the Hawaiian Islands, but arguably the favourite crustacean-based dish is fried shrimp. The true quality of a plate of fried shrimp comes from the amount of buttery garlic sauce that comes with it; the more the better.   Try it at: Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp Truck on the North Shore of O‘ahu. Malasadas Introduced by the Portuguese when they came to Hawai‘i in the 19th century, this doughnut without a hole is golden brown on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and coated with sugar.   Try it at: Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu, O‘ahu, which has been making these sweet doughy balls since 1953 leonardshawaii.com Lomi Lomi This salad is a traditional side dish, made from cured salted salmon chunks, fresh tomato and sweet Maui onions that are combined, or massaged (lomi lomi means massage in Hawaiian), to meld the flavours. [caption id="attachment_45874" align="alignnone" width="600"] A incredibly mouthwatering, fresh dish you HAVE to try[/caption] Try it at: Umekes in Kona, Island of Hawai‘i. umekesrestaurants.com Plate lunch Mix and match it however you like; the Hawaiian plate lunch is two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad and entrée – usually kalua pig, chicken lau lau (wrapped in taro leaves) or lomi lomi salmon. Can’t choose? Get a mixed plate and sample everything! [caption id="attachment_45876" align="alignnone" width="600"] A little something for everyone...[/caption] Try it at: Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina on Maui, which serves up incredible ocean views with its traditional plate lunches alohamixedplate.com Lau Lau This dish is considered to be soul food in Hawai‘i, so beloved it is. Meaning ‘leaf, leaf’ in Hawaiian, the name refers to the traditional process of wrapping meat (usually pork or salted fish) in taro leaves (luau) and then steaming it (wrapped in a ti leaf, which can withstand high cooking temperatures). It is now used to refer to the dish itself, which is usually served with a side of rice. [caption id="attachment_45877" align="alignnone" width="1024"] You'll never be hungry![/caption] Try it at: Highway Inn, O‘ahu, has been serving up Hawaiian food since 1947  myhighwayinn.com Kalua pig The main attraction at any luau and a component of the plate lunch, kalua pig is cooked in an imu (underground oven) for several hours resulting in smoky, succulent meat.   Try it at: Poi By The Pound on Maui poibythepound.com Shave Ice This frozen confection differs from a snow cone, which is made of crushed ice; shave ice soaks up the syrup better creating a fluffier texture. It was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Japanese sugar plantation workers in the mid 19th century, and it is a huge hit all over the state.   Try it at: Wailua Shave Ice on Kaua‘i wailuashaveice.com    
Poke Bowl.
Hawai‘i foodie guide: culinary experiences in the Aloha State
Think Hawai'i is all about surfing and beaches?  Think again, Hawai'i is the capital of food cool with cocktails plenty and quality local produce. In high spirits With a tropical climate that lends itself to a sundowner or two, these distilleries are brewing up something great.   It was the Polynesians who initially brought sugar cane to Hawai‘i, and the first sugar mill was established in Lāna‘i in the early 1800s; commercial cane fields were established at the town of Koloa on Kaua‘i in 1835. Since then the crop has been used to make everyone’s favourite island tipple, rum.   Even if you’re not a rum-lover, a visit to the Koloa Rum Tasting Room and Company Store at the historic Kilohana Plantation in Lihue will set you on the path to appreciation. Koloa’s rums are premium, single-batch, made using the kind of sustainable practices that are fast becoming the standard for businesses across all of the Islands of Hawai‘i. [caption id="attachment_45869" align="alignnone" width="320"] You won't want to miss a tasting session at the popular Koloa Rum Tasting Room[/caption] Meanwhile, on the island of O‘ahu, Manulele Distillers at Kunia has a farm-to-bottle philosophy when it comes to producing its celebrated Kō Hana Agricole Rum.   The heirloom varieties of sugar cane (kō in Hawaiian) used to produce its small batch, single variety white, barrel-aged and cask strength rums are all hand-harvested before being pressed for juice and distilled with care. The resulting spirits, considered to be some of the best pure cane rums in the world (many mass-produced rums are made with molasses, a by-product of sugar production), are presented in sleek cube bottles with glass stoppers and hand-numbered on site.   Hawai‘i’s abundant sugar cane is not just utilised to produce rum; on the island of Maui, sustainable, select harvested organic sugar cane is combined with deep ocean mineral water, sourced some 900 metres below the Kona Coast off the Island of Hawai‘i, to produce a uniquely Hawaiian vodka, Ocean Vodka. The water used is purified and desalinated through a natural filtration method that ensures it retains its rich mineral content, while no GMOs or pesticides are used. The bottles resemble antique glass fishing floats.   From paddock to plate With a growing focus on utilising sustainable farming practices, as well as its abundant natural resources, Hawai‘i has earnt a reputation as a destination creating quality food and drinks from its deliciously fresh produce. [caption id="attachment_45870" align="alignnone" width="600"] Hawai'i's famous Farmer's Markets.[/caption] This kind of attention to detail and respect for the environment is encapsulated in places like O’o Farm, located at 1066 metres on the slopes of Haleakala in the upcountry farming community of Kula on Maui. The passion project of surfing buddies Louis Coulombe and Stephan Bel-Robert, who purchased the land here in 2000 with a citrus and stone fruit orchard and a few coffee trees attached, O’o Farms is now a thriving ‘no-till’ farm growing Hawaiian coffee, fruit trees, garden vegetables and greenhouse tomatoes, flowers and herbs. [caption id="attachment_45872" align="alignnone" width="600"] Hawai'i is earning a growing reputation for its quality produce[/caption] Given the cornerstone of Hawai‘i’s unique cuisine is island-fresh local produce and ingredients, it should come as no surprise that there is also no shortage of farmers’ markets to visit. Some of the best on offer include Hilo Farmers Market on the Island of Hawai‘i (Wednesday and Saturdays, 6am – 4pm); KCC Farmers Market across from Diamond Head in Waikiki (Saturdays 7.30am – 11am) or Hale‘iwa Farmers Market on the North Shore (Thursdays, 2pm – 6pm); Kaua‘i Culinary Market at Poipu on Kaua‘i (Wednesday, 3.30pm – 6pm); and Maui’s Upcountry Farmers Market in Pukalani (Saturdays, 7am – 11am).   The best way to see (and taste) the traditions and practices of farming on Hawai‘i first-hand is on one of the many farm tours available across the Hawaiian Islands at places like the Surfing Goat Dairy in lower Kula on Maui, which supplies its award-winning cheeses to restaurants across the island, and Big Island Bees on the Island of Hawai‘i, where you can take a beekeeping tour and join in on opening a bee hive. And for the sweet toothed, Garden Island Chocolate on Kaua‘i produces organic dark chocolate (85 per cent cacao) which you can sample on its guided chocolate tour.   Another way to experience Hawai‘i’s paddock to plate ethos is on a rambling culinary home tour, which gives an irresistible taste of the island lifestyle. Home Tours Hawai‘i on the Island of Hawai‘i offers its guests the chance to enjoy a progressive 3-course ‘farm to fork’ brunch using fresh ingredients and prepared in private homes. What is poke? [caption id="attachment_45871" align="alignnone" width="600"] The famous poke bowl - A crowd favourite and a must-try when you're in Hawai'i[/caption] One of the most delicious culinary exports from Hawai‘i food exports is poke (‘to slice’ in Hawaiian), which originated when local fishermen seasoned off-cuts and ate them as a snack. Traditionally served as an appetiser or main dish (the cubed fish is seasoned with salt, soy and sesame oil and mixed with Maui onion, ground candlenut and algae), it has evolved into a popular salad served with accompaniments ranging from avocado to coleslaw to rice. Caffeine culture Hawai‘i has a reputation for growing great coffee beans. Coffee arrived in Hawai‘i in 1817 and after a few years of patchy success at growing, plants were successfully introduced onto the Island of Hawai‘i in 1828, with the first commercial operation starting up in Koloa on Kaua‘i in 1836.   As sugar cane became less profitable many farmers started growing coffee beans instead; now more of Hawai‘is farmers grow coffee than any other crop across Kaua‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i and Island of Hawai‘i. So it’s not surprising that there are some serious brews to be had; here a few coffee spots to hit up for a heart starter on your next visit. The essential go-to's Little Fish Coffee Poipu and Hanapepe, Kaua‘i Order hand-brewed coffee using organic Hawaiian beans and feast on dishes constructed of locally grown produce. littlefishcoffee.com   Akamai Coffee Co. Maui Housed in a light, airy space in Kihei, the coffee here follows a seed-to-cup process, serving up 100 per cent locally roasted Maui beans. akamaicoffee.com Island Vintage Coffee - Waikiki and the North Shore, O‘ahu With three cafes on O‘ahu, this consistently good coffee, made with Kona beans, is a must. islandvintagecoffee.com   Kaya’s at Kona Island of Hawai‘i The best organic Kona beans are used in its brews, including the coffee ice cubes in the iced version. kona123.com/kayas.html

Free Travel Brochures

Tips on Thailand

Browse our carefully selected brochures from
across the world.
Tips on Thailand