Indians Don't Visit This Underrated Town In Bali, But Really Should

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Photo of Indians Don't Visit This Underrated Town In Bali, But Really Should by Neha Bhise Sadalge

With its varied landscapes, sandy beaches and ancient culture, Bali is one of the most popular destinations in the Indonesian archipelago. Surrounded by world-class archaeological attractions against stunning backdrops, it offers a large number of options to travellers across the globe. However, an increase in tourism over the past few years has sadly taken away the charm of experiencing the local culture of small villages on the island. Most people visit luxury beach resorts in Ubud, Kita, Seminyak and other popular destinations around Bali during their visit here. If you want to experience quintessential Balinese countryside though, there cannot be a better place to visit than the Sidemen Valley in Bali.

Where?

Photo of Sidemen, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Neha Bhise Sadalge

The traditional Sidemen Village (pronounced as see-de-men) is located along the Klungkung and Besakih Temple route, about 2 hours from Ubud. Long winding dusty roads and lush valleys covered in flora and fauna is how most locals would describe this beautiful hilltop village.

Travelling to Sidemen is like taking a time capsule and  to the decades when Bali was once yet untouched by western culture. Locals wearing conical hats and thong sandals smile as you pass by reminding you why Balinese people are known the world over for their warm hospitality. This enchanting countryside is a far cry from the populated and overdeveloped tourist areas of South Bali with places such as Kuta, Denpasar and Nusa Dua.

What’s so special about it?

Photo of Indians Don't Visit This Underrated Town In Bali, But Really Should by Neha Bhise Sadalge

This magically preserved region is nestled in between endless hills and valleys giving you a peek into the traditional charm and way of their local life. Popularly known as old Ubud, this place is a depiction of how Ubud was years before tourism spoiled its natural beauty. It is easy to go along long walks in Sidemen without being swarmed by tourists and local jams. It is also easy to see how closely the community is connected through the way locals work together or take coffee breaks in the shade of marvellous paddy-fields. It is no wonder then that Sidemen is known as the ideal gateway to experience the best of East Bali.

Things to do:

Photo of Indians Don't Visit This Underrated Town In Bali, But Really Should by Neha Bhise Sadalge

The best thing about Sidemen is that it offers you a lot of options to explore nature and local surroundings without being burdened by commercialisation. With picturesque scenery everywhere, it is one of the best places to hike or take a walk in the mesmerising paddy fields. Local guides can take you through tiny trekking trails and past the villages giving an insight into their local life. It is also the best place to start a summit towards the active volcano Gunung Agung, which is the highest point in Bali.

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Photo of Indians Don't Visit This Underrated Town In Bali, But Really Should by Neha Bhise Sadalge

You can also try rafting down the Telaga Waja river course or take a drive to the nearby beach villages of Candidasa and Padangbai. Known for its colourful outfits, Sidemen is one of Bali’s weaving centres and gives you an understanding of the traditional Endek or Songket weaving techniques.

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Photo of Indians Don't Visit This Underrated Town In Bali, But Really Should by Neha Bhise Sadalge

For foodies, an early morning visit to the local market is a must to taste authentic Balinese cuisine made with fresh local produce. A fun activity to experience here is to make your own jewellery and take back home as a souvenir.

Best time to visit:

You can visit Sidemen all throughout the year. Although to avoid the very humid months, best time to visit would be between May-October.

Stay:

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Photo of Indians Don't Visit This Underrated Town In Bali, But Really Should by Neha Bhise Sadalge

This beautiful region offers you a unique chance to stay in luxury resorts at surprisingly affordable prices. With options to suit everyone from backpackers to high-end visitors, there is plenty to choose from. Private balconies in most resorts offer a stunning view of the nearby mountains. The villas here are known for their infinity pools and spa treatments.

How to reach?

A 2-hour drive from Ubud, you can take a private or shared cab starting at just 35 USD.

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