Sideman Valley by MonoWilli
This picturesque slice of old world Bali is a must do if you crave tradition, scenery & hospitality like you have never known. Situated neatly between Ubud to the west & Candidasa to the east, Sideman Valley is the destination, not the stop off along the way. Stay for a couple of nights if you can, you’ll be very pleased you did.
Getting there involves driving up steep & windy roads as Sideman is located on the slopes of Mount Agung. It’s a very interesting & scenic drive as the road is dotted with lovely villages & views down to the coast. Many crops are farmed in Sideman & surrounding areas including rice, corn & chili. The rice paddies are carved into the valley walls creating a spectacular view of lush green as far as the eye can see. As you pass through the villages catch glimpses of crops being laid out to dry in the sun – cloves, peanuts & rice.
Hiking, walking, wandering – set your own pace & enjoy the beauty & enjoy not knowing what will be around the next corner. Get lost, it’s half the fun! Or hire a guide to make the most of your trek. Walk down to the river or walk along the irrigation canals. Walk through the township, past the school & check out accommodation for next time. Pagi everyone & feel the warmth of the Balinese smile. Stop by any warung for a cool drink & a tasty nasi goreng cooked with soul.
As a tourist in Sideman you are in for a real treat. You are well taken care of with some exceptional accommodation options where even the most humble home stay looks like a beautiful Bed & Breakfast. There are many local warungs & hotel restaurants to choose from that all somehow seem to take in that gorgeous view of green, either jungle or farm land. Oh and if you need a massage after all your hiking choose an open air, rice paddy view one for added wow factor.
The only shops in Sideman are local stores. There are no ATMs or money changers.
What you’ll notice as you walk around is that although tourist is important business here, it’s still very much a local village, completely revolving around the daily rituals & tradition of these spiritual people. You will see majestic Balinese ladies carrying offerings perched high on their heads. The men all wear traditional headdress & sarong not to mention carrying their Kris (knife). You will see them make their way to ceremony, smell the funeral pyres, hear the cock fights.
It’s a deeply rewarding experience visiting this area – as a tourist you are not just tolerated, you are able to experience & observe, you are almost expected to be there.