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Bali Diaries: Blue Karma Resort

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In the heart of Seminyak, a piece of heaven amidst a tropical garden…

A place where art, creativity, ethnic design and comfort marry each other.  Blue Karma Resort in Seminyak was the last accomodation we stayed at with The Asia Collective (they also have a resort in Ubud, which I’d be interested to check out next time). This resort was like a dream come true for me- right in the middle of my favourite area in Seminyak and a short distance away from the beach, this place was brimming with creativity and inspiration. Expect: massive art prints, a giant chess set and cute room names such as ‘Coconut’ and ‘Tangerine’. Blue Karma certainly gives regular resorts a run for their money. Thanks for having us, Blue Karma Resort!

Bali Diaries: Puri Gangga Resort

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Next up in our Bali Diaries with The Asia Collective is Puri Gangga Resort. I absolutely adored staying here! 

Our days went a little something like this:  

7.00am: Wake up to the sound of chirping birds.

8.30am: Morning yoga in the ‘gym’, overlooking the jungle. Best Sun Salutations view you’ll ever see!

9.00am: Breakfast brought to our room- coffee, pastries, tropical fruits and the best-tasting savoury pancakes, all had on our dainty little porch.

10.00am: Swim in the infinity pool overlooking the rainforest. Reading on the sun lounge. Too blissed out to move for awhile.

12.00pm: Ride our rented scooters into the Ubud city centre to have lunch at my favourite The Seed of Life raw vegan cafe. Bali coffee break overlooking the rice terraces.

7.00pm: Dinner at Kalaisha Restaurant, Puri Gangga’s very own haunt. The rainforest view is to die for!

10.30pm: Lights out.

Thanks Puri Gangga for an unforgettable stay!
-Daz x

Bali Diaries: Royal Samaja Villas

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This month I was excited to embark on my annual Bali trip (which coincidentally occurs in February each year). I did a hotel collab with The Asia Collective, which was my first collaboration with them. The first resort we had scheduled was the Royal Samaja Villas. In the middle of Seminyak, we were a short walk away from many beach clubs and restaurants (some of the best in Bali). The room itself was well air-conditioned, spacious and featured the most comfortable bed EVER! Seriously, it was like sleeping on a fluffy cloud. We also had our own private pool, which is a big bonus in my books. The bathroom featured a charming glass wall looking out into the garden. And the breakfasts were generously served in our room. You can enjoy Happy Hour in their quaint and charming bar, a popular haunt for many people. A little slice of paradise in the middle of one of Bali’s busiest districts. See you again soon Royal Samaja!

-Daz x

NZ 01 • 2017

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This wasn’t a typical Perth sunset, which was fiery and in-your-face beautiful. This was a slower-burning, effervescent light that glowed for what seemed like hours before it dimmed.

-Daz x

My Top 10 Travel Apps

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I love apps. Gone are the days when all you need is a lonely planet book with a foldout map and the ever-so important translator (although I still purchase them because I love to read actual books!). You can now have all this and more at the swipe of a finger. Here are my favourite apps that I can’t live without when I’m traveling, that I hope will make your life much easier too. Thank god for technology right?


1. Air BnB

I’m sure almost all of you have heard of Air BnB, and if you haven’t, you should definitely give it a go. This is possibly the cheapest way to stay at a new location and the best way to experience the local way of life. Despite some alleged horror stories, it can be a valuable experience and a cheaper alternative to accomodation as long as you do your research beforehand and follow proper safety precautions (perhaps a subject for another post).

2. Rome 2 Rio



Anyone who has travelled with me knows how much I rave about this app. This proved to me especially helpful all over Europe, where the metro, tram and bus system routes are a popular means of transportation. You just type in your location and proposed destination, and this app will spit out travel options, timetables and even walking routes for you. This has been a lifesaver a number of times.

3. Currency Converter Plus


Numbers are not my forte, so when it’s anything to do with converting big numbers I like to have a backup, and this app is just perfect! It functions like a normal calculator and features 191 currencies, with regular online updates to ensure the conversion rate is up to date.

4. TripIt

You can organise all your travel plans in one place with this app. You can simply forward your hotel, car rental, restaurant and airline confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com, and the app instantly creates a travel itinerary that can be accessed offline. So much easier than carrying a physical copy of your itinerary or accessing numerous confirmation emails!

5. Maps.me

Get instant access to detailed maps from anywhere in the world- no internet connection required. Bookmarks, no roaming charges and auto location- this app can be a real lifesave!

6. Über

Need I say more? This is probably the most well-known app on this list, and is significantly more cost-saving than the super pricey taxi option. Plus,the GPS tracker is a nice touch and allows you to keep tabs on your ride. The best part is, you can expect a similar service no matter your location.

7. Triposo

This apps’s awesome algorithms crunch through millions of websites to create the perfect tailored travel experience for you from over 50, 000 destinations around the globe.

8. Urban Spoon

Now known as Zomato, this is still my go-to app for food outlets reviews. Restaurants or cafes, you can be sure to find millions of reviews for foodies everywhere.

9. I Translate



You no longer have to face the embarrassment of accidentally saying something inappropriate in a foreign language. Easily transfer text or engage in voice conversation. This is a leading app in the market for translating a whopping 91 languages in a timely, convenient manner. A+

10. Journi

This is like a social media app for travellers- you can follow other people’s travel journeys and document your own both on and offline. It’s the ultimate digital travel journal.

 

Hope you learned of some cool new apps to accompany you on your next journey. Happy travels!

-Daz

Welcome to Hyderabad

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This month I had the amazing opportunity to go to India- the most colourful country on earth. I was beyond excited to explore this amazing place, but I wasn’t entirely prepared. The city of Hyderabad, where we spent the majority of our own time, is home to the massive Tollywood industry (not to be confused with the Bollywood of Mumbai). Hyderabad is full of culture, colour, exotic taste and sound. It’s home to a multitude of different religions including Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. The food alone was reason enough for me to want to return- (apart from my  run-in with a very hot chili disguised as a green bean- I was certain my tongue would fall off). So here’s a brief guide to all that this fast-paced city has to offer.

Stay:

Katriya Hotel: This 4-star hotel has amazing value- huge suites at a bargain price, with some of that unique laid-back Indian style. The chef that was working there when we stayed is incredible. He has cooked all over the world, which is evident in his unique Indo-fusion dishes.

Drink:

Ever heard a ‘Hindi rock’ band play? You can at Hard Rock Hotel Hyderabad. Or, check out one of the many bars around the city that boast a traditional Indian band. Nothing is as mesmerising as the sound of the sitar and tabla played in perfect rhythm.

Eat:

India is home to some INCREDIBLE curries. If you like spicy food, Indian food is your thang. North Indian cuisine differs from the South. You can even find food from all around the world here, but it’s probably a fusion with Indian flavours. Think Indo-Chinese, Indo-Italian- all packing that iconic Inidan HEAT. 

If you are a vegetarian, you are in heaven! Since a significant portion of the population are Hindu, vegetarian food is everywhere- even at Burger King and KFC.

If you’re a meat-eater, try some of the meat dishes iconic to the region. The famous Hyderabadi biriyani or haleem can be found on every corner.

Shop:

Pay a visit to the Charminar markets any night of the week- you will be amazed at how busy it gets there! You can find anything from fresh fruit to pearl jewellery that the Hyderabad region is so well known for. There is a monument/ mosque in the middle of the markets that is a must-see.

See: Birla Mandre is the most beautiful temple I have ever seen. This Hindu Temple is built out of pure white marble, and teamed with the panoramic views of the city below, you will feel like you are in peaceful heaven. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted and you will need to hand in your phone before you go in. Women, make sure to cover your head with a scarf out of modesty and respect.

There is a giant Buddha statue on a little island in the city centre that you absolutely must see- it is the world’s largest statue of Buddha.

The Ramoji Film City is another interesting place. Entry is pricey (about $100 per head) but it is well worth it if you want to see firsthand the ins and outs of the Tollywood industry.

Bucket list: 

You have to ride an auto rickshaw in peak hour traffic, at least once! Seeing it weave in and out of what seem like impossible spaces is sure to be an experience. 

While in Hyderabad, you should see a Telagu (Tollywood) film. You probably won’t understand it all that much, but it’ll still be a good time.

One last important thing to remember: When you see something long and green on your plate, IT’S NEVER A BEAN!

-Daz x

24 Hours in Bangkok

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Argh, long layovers at airports are the worst, right? But if you’re anything like me, you will like ceasing any opportunity you can to explore a new place. During our recent 20 hour layover (!!!) in Bangkok, we weighed up our options:


-A: Hire out a cubicle hotel at the airport and have a long and much needed snooze,
or


-B:  Forgo sleep for two days due to our dedication to travel and exploration 

What would you do? Travellers coming from India didn’t need any visa requirements, so naturally we said ‘cya’ to the airport and dragged our sleepy heads onto the sky train into the city. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with how clean and developed Bangkok was- we came during monsoon season, so everything looked green, luscious and tropical even in the city itself. Anyway, I digress- here are some ideas if you ever have just 24 hours in Bangkok.

1. Temple sightseeing

Thailand is a Buddhist kingdom and home to a wealth of opulent temples and palaces, like the Wat Phra Kaew, which is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It houses the iconic Emerald Budha, a regal statue meticulously carved from a single block of jade.

2. Shopping

The MBK shopping centre is absolutely huge and offers an insane variety of choice. Every floor is dedicated to a different genre- an entire floor is dedicated to electronic goods. The merchandise range from locally crafted goods to the latest international brands. Oh, and did I mention the food court has TWO DOLLAR PAD THAI?

3. Evening Markets 

The  JJ Green Markets are part of Bangkok’s non-tourist scene. These bustling markets are where you can get your fix of vintage clothing, trinkets and good food. 

4 . Dining out

Some of the best food in Thailand can be found in Bangkok, and some of the best food in Bangkok can be found at La Table de Tee. With French and Thai fusion dishes and a daily changing menu, this place is a culinary sensation and a bucket list item for all foodies. Make sure to book a table as it’s very popular! 

5.  Night life 

When the sun goes down, Bangkok gets its second breath. The heavy traffic subsides but the people come out to play. By night his city has everything for the night owl- shopping, clubbing, fine dining, bar hopping, cinemas or the theatre. Sukhumvit is proposed to be Bangkok’s best night life district. It can be reached via sky train or the underground system. 

6. Hotel stay

The Chatrium at Riverside offers fantastic riverside views, a central location and 5-star quality at a mere fraction of the price of other hotels.
Hope this guide gives you some ideas for when you visit this bustling city!

-Daz x

11 (Practical) Ways to Save Money for Travel

Life, travel

Saving money is easy- no, trust me, it is! It’s all about tweaking those little expenses. Got a Netflix account? Cancel and use someone else’s (with their permission of course). It’s all about making those little sacrifices and living frugally for a time in order to live it up exuberantly overseas. Here are 11 surefire ways to up your savings in no time. 


1. Start a savings account- and name it

Research shows that if you name your account, such as ‘USA July 2017’, it will motivate you to reach your goal considerably faster and makes sure that you always remember the end to the means. Keeps your eyes on the prize sister!

2. Shop at a warehouse

I LOVE Chemist Warehouse and wouldn’t go anywhere else for all my toiletry needs. It’s considerably cheaper and the best part is that the receipt tells you how much you save each time (it’s a lot!)

3. Stop buying coffee

Make a home brew (instant coffee ain’t great but it does the job) or invest in a coffee machine to save money in the long run. You can also get a liking for tea instead- My personal favourite alternative is dandelion tea, it tastes similar to coffee but without the caffeine. 

4. Learn to cook and invite friends for dinner

Stop buying takeout and perfect your culinary skills. Instead of going out every weekend, host a dinner party. Tip: master one or two dishes that can be your signature and you know will be a hit each and very time. Absolutely don’t want to cook? Have a cheese and wine night!

5. Kick that Rent 

Consider moving home with the folks for awhile, get another housemate if your rental house has a spare room, or if you own a home and don’t want permanent tenants, consider Air BnB to provide temporary accomodation and earn some quick cash.

6. Travel smarter

When you are constantly traveling and want to cut the costs on your journey, learn to travel smarter, not cheaper. Many people unknowingly waste money on unnecessary things. Save money on flights by utilising student flight centres, and pack a light suitcase to avoid excess baggage fees. If you go to an expensive restaurant, try not to go for a full meal and opt for drinks instead. Try Air BnB instead of hotels, and Uber over taxis.  

7. Buy clothing off season

Perhaps my favourite tip because it involves shopping! I always do this, as you can find some great winter cardigans and boots for as little as $10 in spring.

8. Set budgets (for everything)

The best way to ensure you don’t overspend is to have a weekly budget- and not exceed it! One for grocery shopping, eating out, fuel, etc. Factor in ongoing expenses such as rent and you will have a rough idea of how much is left over. Now work with that!

9. Record your spendings 

There are so many apps available for your phone that track your spending and earnings. They also allow you to set budgets and stay on track. Amazing stuff when you need a little shove in the right direction. 

10. Sell what you don’t need 

I know better than anyone how hard it is to let go of old things- especially clothes. But what if you need it in the future, right? I have a number of wigs and Christmas Tshirts tucked away in my spare room, just in case there is a dress up party they would be perfect for. While this might be the case, you might be waiting a loooong time, and you need $$$ for your travels NOW. You can try EBay, Gumtree, Facebook swap and sell groups, and apps like Carousel to get rid of any unwanted items and earn some quick cash.

11. Got a gym membership?

 Cancel and take up walking everywhere to get fit (which also saves money on fuel- what a win!). 
Hope some of these help! Do you have any money saving tips that work for you?

-Daz x

Life on Mars

travel

A couple of weeks ago we were feeling much too restless, after weeks of working and not adventuring anywhere exciting. So we decided to be spontaneous and drive the 250 kilometers up north to one of WA’s not-so-hidden gems, the Pinnacles. The title of this post is exactly what you will experience in this rocky desert spanning kilometers. If it wasn’t for the few tourists, it would feel like an isolated foreign planet. 

We couldn’t drive up north without visiting the Lancelin sand dunes, my personal favourite for silly sand fun (if you have a sand board all the better) and clean photography. 

Has anyone been to these places? Let me know!

    Making our Way Down South

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     Margaret River will always be that one place that will forever have my heart. So many special memories formed here over the years, each trip better than the last. My favourite place to stay is actually out of town in Augusta, camping style! There is something so rejuvenating about sleeping in a tent surrounded by fresh air- our phones flat, with only our imaginations, a deck of cards and Mother Nature to entertain us. It’s chicken soup for the vegetarian soul.

    Highlights of our last trip include: sucking at mini golf, getting addicted to ‘Last Card’, spotting some pregnant stingrays close to the shore and finding a secret stash underneath an old waterwheel in Augusta (everyone who found it could sign a little notebook inside and leave a little memento. We left the exciting likes of our over-used car air freshener. Oh, and eating our weight in chocolate at the choc factory was a bonus, because it was Easter (not that we needed an excuse). It was raining for the better half of the weekend, but we didn’t mind, because we got to see a full rainbow- something I thought I’d never see (we could only snap half of it, but you’ll just have to take my word for it!).
    Despite the breathtaking beauty of Augusta, Margaret River also has its fair share of treasures. From chocolate and wine tastings, to the turquoise waters of Hamelin Bay, it’s a place I can go back to time and time again. 
    Has anyone explored this region before? Let me know some of your favourite spots!