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5 dreamy Airbnb stays and experiences in Bali

Soak yourself in nature and culture

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Photo by Marvin Meyer

Bali has been one of the top destinations in every traveler’s bucket list. Some want it for adventure, some want to visit the place for their honeymoon, others want it for the ‘gram, and some just want to embark on their own quest à la Eat, Pray, Love. Whatever your reason is, there’s always a place for you to stay in Bali.

Here are our recommended stay and the experiences you can try using the Airbnb app:


Ubud

If you’ve watched Eat, Pray, Love, chances are you want to experience Bali the way Liz Gilbert did. Ubud is filled with green valleys and rice terraces, a perfect setting for contemplating about life and meditation. It’s also rich in arts, culture, and history so if it’s your jam, this is the place to go.

Where to stay: The Studio Villa Madella

 

What to do: Go on a cultural tour

Take a trip around Ubud and take photographs of its scenic and picturesque landscapes. Visit a volcano, a temple, and walk around rice terraces. Drop by the bamboo forest at Penglipuran village, and stop at the coffee garden to capture a glimpse of a traditional coffee making session.


Lovina Beach

Fancy watching time slip away? Lovina beach is the place to go! There’s not much to do, and people who want to take a break from doing anything should stay here. Go and play around the volcanic beaches, or spend the night slowly while sipping Bintangs.

Where to stay: Spice House Inn

Spice House Inn is a beachfront boutique-style apartment house located in Kaliasem village. It’s situated within a unique and historical community, and of course, a harmonizing sound of waves crashing down the shore.

What to do: Nothing

Lovina is a place where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ocean breeze. Go and read a book, sleep to your heart’s content, or just be at ease. Just don’t spend lots of time on your phone, and remember to make time to those who matter.


Seminyak

If you have the money, then let’s burn it. Seminyak is a quieter spot that attracts jet-setters instead of backpackers frequenting Kuta Beach. It has a relaxing atmosphere that every traveler craves. If you’re a jet-setter, Seminyak offers luxe accommodations surrounded with upscale restaurant and bars. Sounds like your style? Better add this to your itinerary!

Where to stay: Chloe Villa

What to do: Charter a private boat!

Use that hard-earned money and take a once-in-a-lifetime experience! There are tours being offered to tour Nusa Penida via a private boat. If a private boat isn’t enough to convince you, let me tell you this: You’ll also get a chance to swim with manta rays, snorkel, explore the island and see the iconic Kelingking cliff that you always see on Instagram. Sounds fun, right?


Canggu

Recommended by a friend who frequently visits Bali, Canggu is a laid-back town tucked behind the popular Kuta and Seminyak. Backpackers, young travelers, surfers, and digital nomads are attracted with the vibe this town offers, along with its lush greenery and hipster cafes. Oh, it’s also filled with yoga stations and sites where you can get a lot of creative inspiration.

Where to stay: Ethnic Wooden House

What to do: Surf and chill!

Canggu has a quieter surfing scene compared to Kuta. Take advantage of having less crowd so you can learn how to surf without being bothered by numerous swimmers and surfers in the sea. If you get exhausted, grab some snacks on any hipster cafe and watch the sunset!


Jimbaran

Jimbaran exudes a luxe vibe offering a quieter atmosphere. Prices here are a little bit expensive, but it guarantees you a good rest compared to when staying in Kuta, Legian, or Seminyak. Jimbaran might not have a vibrant nightlife but it’s definitely one of the best places to soak yourself under the sun.

Where to stay: Villa Jiwa

What to do: Worship the sun!

Go out and take outdoor activities like stand-up paddling or surfing. Sunbath on different beaches, and enjoy this quintessential seaside town. When you’re done with your outdoor activities, head out to munch on yummy seafood restaurants. If you have a lot of spare time, you can visit fishing villages and shop on markets. Feeling creative? Make a pot or make your own perfume! The possibilities seem endless in this beautiful town.


Images courtesy of Airbnb

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Google Maps incognito mode coming soon

It’s in testing phase now

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During Google I/O 2019, the company announced that it is bringing its incognito mode to its Youtube, Google Search and Google Maps apps. Youtube already got its incognito mode, leaving the two without it. However, that would soon change as Google is reportedly the feature on Maps, as spotted by XDA Developer’s Mishaal Rahman.

Incognito mode in Google Maps will be a boon for users who don’t want their location to appear on their timeline. It can also hide searches for places and locations where users can have their “private” time.


Baking it directly into the app is useful. It’s so much easier than having to access it via the Chrome browser’s incognito mode and search for the mobile version of Google Map’s website.

Google putting incognito mode into its native apps is in line with its mission to put more privacy controls in the hands of its users. As more and more tech companies are being scrutinized for supposedly interfering with their users’ private lives, Google’s move is surely a step in the right direction.

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Google wants to assists users without depending on the Internet

And Google Pay just got more exciting!

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Google is by definition an “internet” company. Every part of its business depends on connectivity, whether its Google Search or AdSense. The company has penetrated every developed market and now intends to grab the untapped markets of India and other Southeast Asian countries.

Google Assistant

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

At its Google for India 2019 event, the company announced the launch of a special helpline that users can call to have their questions answered. We usually use Google Assitant on the go via any Android phone, but it depends on internet connectivity. How do you reach out to a feature-phone user who barely has a 2G connection?


A 24×7 healpline. Teaming up with Vodafone India, users will be able to dial 000-800-9191-000 and they won’t be charged for the call or the service. Early this year, Google also worked with KaiOS to integrate Google Assistant on entry-level 4G phones like the JioPhone.

Google Assistant was launched in India a couple of years back and Hindi is now the second-largest language globally. You can also switch languages by a simple voice command now.

Google Pay

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

Usually, you can use payment solutions like these in the US via NFC. Your cards are saved on the app and a gentle tap to a PoS machine will initiate the transaction. However, in India the app leverages the countries universal UPI protocol to transfer money. Up till now, you had to add your bank account in the app and scan a QR code to send money.

Google has now announced support for NFC cards. This will make the experience much simpler and streamlined. Though your phone needs to have an NFC reader and only HDFC, Axis, Kotak, and Standard Chartered bank are supported for tokenization at the moment.

The company went on to share a few interesting stats about its position in the country. The app handled 918 million transactions a month in the country.

New AI Lab

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

A new artificial intelligence research lab is being set up in Bengaluru to create India-specific products. Google has tied up with state-run BSNL for expanding Wi-Fi hotspots in villages in Gujarat, Bihar, and Maharashtra. They’ve already deployed more than 5,000 WiFi hotspots in partnership with Indian Railways.

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SIM card vulnerability puts your sensitive information at risk

It’s called the SIMjacker

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SIM cards are very important. However, a new SIM card vulnerability found out by AdaptiveMobile Security might be putting our information at risk. The Simjacker exploit, which was recently found out and still being investigated on, allows malicious hackers to steal sensitive information from your phone through a SIM card.

Mechanism of attack

Infographic explaining the attack using Simjacker vulnerability | Photo by Simjacker.com

How does the Simjacker vulnerability work?


First, a hacker sends a malicious code to your phone through SMS. Then, the malicious code is read directly by your SIM card. The code then causes the [email protected] browser to send sensitive information to an accomplice device through SMS.

According to the report pulished by AdaptiveMobile Security regarding the vulnerability, the [email protected] browser is found on most SIM cards even though its development was abandoned many years ago. [email protected] browser was never updated, so it carries the risk of sending sensitive information to hackers when exploited successfully.

Sensitive information retrieved and transmitted by the [email protected] browser include location and the IMEI of an exploited device. The IMEI is a shorthand for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which is a 15 digit number unique to your smartphone that has some information about your device including its brand and model. As such, hackers can determine your exact location if you have a compromised SIM card, regardless of what device you have.

And the worst part of the attack is that you have no way of knowing that it has already been done since it all happens within the SIM card.

Origin and scope of the attack

The purpose for carrying an attack varies. However, the report traces the origin to an unspecified private company that works with governments to monitor individuals. So, there is a real possibility that it has been used to spy on us. And rightly so, since specific individuals were targeted in a certain country.

The report also warned that over one billion smartphones across all continents could be at risk to the vulnerability — and you could be one of them.

Response to the attack

In response to the discovered vulnerability, industry association SIMalliance has already put up recommendations for network providers to secure their networks. At this point in time, you can’t do anything to secure yourself from the vulnerability, unless you decided to go SIM-free.

But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t just give your smartphone number like a free lunch. It also pays to update your smartphone once in a while, since some updates are designed to secure your phone from these kind of vulnerabilities and attacks.

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