Sidemen is often referred to as Bali like it used to be and it won’t take you long in this peaceful location to understand why. With farmers working in fields stretching as far as the eye can see, incredible volcano views, local children laughing and waving as you pass by and the smell of incense from offerings filling your senses, you really feel emerged into the culture of this beautiful, rural village.
Sidemen, Bali is the place to be if you want to escape the scooter toots, Bintang singlets and hustle and bustle of Bali’s more popular towns. Keep reading to learn the best things to do in the region – how to spend your time, food to eat and tips to make your time as enjoyable as possible.
Everything on this list can be organised through Samanvaya – contact us to plan your curated trip in Sidemen.
Traveling here – The Sidemen Valley is located in Karangasem regency in East Bali, only 1 1/2 hours from the international airport.
Transport – The best way to explore the village is from the back of a scooter – the little roads can be very rough so if you are riding your own scooter, hati hati (be careful!) or jump on the back of a local guides bike so you can watch the world as you pass by.
Experience local village life, visit the temple and see how families live in this quintessential rural village. Sidemen region is known for its weaving, traditionally done by the village women. If you get the chance to explore the village with a local guide, make sure you see this ancient tradition. The intricate weaving process, the rhythm of the machines thumping and the time and concentration required to create each piece will give you a whole new appreciation for these masterpieces.
Samanvaya Tip – Locals will love to wave, smile and say hi as you pass through their village and farms. A few simple Indonesian phrases will go a long way!
Cost – Of course you can just wander through the village yourself but we highly recommend having a guide as you will have a much richer experience. Expect to pay around 100 IDR per hour.
Even just the drive through the local villages and stunning landscapes towards the waterfall and springs makes this spot worthy of a visit. Set within the lush, tropical jungle, Gembleng waterfall has several levels of cascading, tumbling water making it the most picturesque viewpoint of Sidemen.
Samanvaya tip – Make sure you catch the sunset here! Grab a couple of refreshments as you enjoy a dip in one of the natural pools. Support local – there’s a small shop just after the carpark selling snacks and drinks.
Cost – Entry is by donation. The more the merrier as tourism isn’t huge here and the locals rely on this income. If you do this as a tour, expect to pay between 150 IDR per hour including the entry donation.
Whether it’s a couple of hours or a full day, trekking is one of the best ways to enjoy Sidemen, Bali. Trekking alongside the rice terraces compacts the soil, making the terraces stronger and the farmers happier (so it’s good for everyone!). Depending on the route, there might be a river crossing and some roughish terrain, so bring walking shoes.
Samanvaya tip – Our guide Keren (originally named Wayan, but changed his name to Keren translating to ‘cool’ in English) is as local as you can get, is full of interesting information about the area, growing up on a rice farm and will keep you amused with funny jokes along the way. Set out early in the morning to miss the mid day heat!
Cost – You can do this for free, but a guide will tell you all about the plants, animals, culture and community. They will also take you to all of the hidden spots making sure you get the best views in the valley. Expect to pay around 75 IDR per hour.
Designed for luxury and relaxation, this gorgeous spa will be an unexpected surprise when stumbling in off the streets of Sidemen. Inside the Adults Only Resort, but open to walk in guests, the sexy interiors and finishing touches will make you feel like you’re royalty. For the four hand massage, two therapists work in synchronised movements over your body. This is the ultimate treat if you want to indulge yourself and comes highly recommended by many.
Samanvaya Tip – Order a glass of bubbles to have in the foot reflexology stage of your massage and book a soak in the bath for afterwards. You won’t regret it!
Cost – The Four-Hand Balinese massage is priced at 650 IDR for 60 minutes or 900 IDR for 90 minutes.
From the minute you walk into Asri Dining you will be spoilt with the most amazing views everywhere you look; views overlooking the ricefields out to the ocean, giant fig and monstera plants and even an old Javanese bridge that has been reconverted into a dining table. Boasting a large variety of delicious cocktails from the classic Negroni to a Ginger and Basil Margarita (a guest favourite) to a sharing menu of local and western delicacies.
Samanvaya Tip – Arrive before sunset – the sky is filled with pastel colours and you will be able to enjoy the daily 2 for 1 cocktail happy hour (5 – 6 pm). The cocktails go down great with their wood fired pizza -our favourite is the Salami and Blue Cheese. Enjoy!
Cost – Priced from around 250 IDR pp (cocktails and a meal) depending on how hungry you are.
Embark on a culinary adventure unlocking the secrets of authentic Balinese cooking utilising traditional ingredients and preparation methods. Your day starts early with a 20 minute journey to the local Klungkung markets where you choose your own fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. Head to the rice-fields and visit the onsite organic garden before you cook a delicious Indonesian meal with a local chef. Enjoy the taste of Indonesia created by you.
Samanvaya Tip – Skip breakfast, and come hungry! The day is started with some local Pisang Goreng (deep-fried bananas with palm syrup and shredded coconut) then create (and feast on) a huge lunch with local favourites dishes.
Cost – Priced from 500 IDR pp for a 4 hour class (minimum 2 people)
The Kolektif Gallery is worth adding to your Sidemen to do list. This luxury concept store sells clothing, accessories and Balinese souvenirs handmade from trusted local producers to ensure fair working conditions. They use natural fabric where possible & create pieces designed to reduce our impact on the planet.
The Kolektif gallery is located directly opposite Samanvaya Luxury Resort & Spa.
Samanvaya Tip – All designs & products have been handcrafted by local artisans so a purchase at Kolektif is supporting the local community. Pop over to Asri Dining for the best coffee in Sidemen after your shopping trip.
Cost – Costs are very reasonable ranging from 50,000 IDR for small souvenirs to 900,000 IDR for clothing items.
Appreciate spectacular mountain views as you weave your way through the tropical forest surrounding Sidemen Valley with minimal effort on an exciting downhill bike ride. Cycle through the heartland of Bali, travelling along secret back roads and through small villages experiencing quintessential Balinese daily life. Take it at your own pace and enjoy a swim in the river or a swing over the valley.
Samanvaya Tip – Book in for an hour of relaxing foot reflexology at the Ananda Spa after your bike ride. There is no better way to finish an adventure packed day and your body will thank you!
Cost – Costs are 500 IDR pp for 4 hours which includes bike hire and a local guide.
Jagasatru waterfall offers crystal clear water and panoramic views of the Sidemen Valley. The lush, green surroundings and sounds of splashing water falling from a great height create a feeling of peace and tranquility. There is also a natural holi water site where you can participate in a purification blessing ceremony.
Samanvaya Tip – This is the perfect spot to meditate in nature, take a quick dip and take home some stunning photography.
Cost – For 3 hour tour is 400 IDR pp (minimum 2 persons)
This is a great activity for those craving some adventure. Telaga Waja is one of the longest rivers in Bali with crystal clear water alongside rolling hills, cliffs and waterfalls. A 25 minute drive from Samanvaya, start your day with a local coffee and let a swing take you to the river entrance (or walk if you prefer) enjoying beautiful views of the valley. Roll through medium rapids finishing with a 5 meter high drop dam at the end.
Samanvaya Tip – Take an extra change of clothes because it’s highly likely you will get wet!
Cost – For the 4 hours of fun including gear hirage, pay 500 IDR pp (minimum 2 persons).
We may be biased but lounging around Samanvaya Luxury Resort is the perfect way to spend a relaxed day. Enjoy the two infinity swimming pools suspended over the rice terraces, a natural temperature jacuzzi, lounge bar, garden bar, restaurant, wellness centre, hot tub, yoga studio and several event and dining spaces.
Samanvaya Tip – Book a Romantic dining experience which includes a 3 course meal and a dedicated staff member in a beautiful, private dining space just for you and your special someone (or a friend).
Cost – Head over to the Book Now section of our website to see rooms and prices (we have some great deals at the moment!).
Dreaming of creating something special to remind yourself of your time here? Silversmithing in Sidemen gives you the chance to learn the basics of jewellery making or progress your existing skills. A bracelet, necklace or even an engagement ring, the options are endless. There is also a shop if you need some inspiration or want to take a couple of extra pieces home, or you can bring in your dream piece to recreate. This is an extremely popular activity so book in advance to make sure you secure your spot.
Samanvaya Tip – We love gold jewellery – for an extra cost you can get your high quality silver pieces dipped in gold plating. A very classy look!
Cost – From around 800 IDR for a four hour class plus materials.
With views that dreams are made of, even the most skeptical of yoga find themselves on a mat when in Sidemen. Komang does private classes dependent on your needs and skill level.
Samanvaya Tip – For something a bit different, try the Passive yoga class. A combination of yin yoga and assisted stretching makes for a relaxing but beneficial time on the mat.
Cost – 450 for an hour with a private teacher.
We hope you enjoy all of our recommendations and enjoy your experience in Sidemen, Bali. We look forward to welcoming you here soon. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Sampai Jumpa (until we meet).
All prices are 000 plus tax/service of 20% and are in Indonesian rupiah (IDR).