Embrace Serenity in Bali’s Sidemen Valley ~ A Complete Guide

Sideman Valley Bali Rice fields

“Sideman epitomises the image of Bali that lures travellers from across the globe — a serene, picturesque, and culturally rich oasis.”

Welcome to Sideman, a hidden paradise nestled within the enchanting island of Bali. Pronounced ‘see-da-men’, this charming village and region in East Bali is a haven for those seeking an authentic experience of Balinese culture and natural beauty, offering a serene escape from the bustling tourist hotspots and the chance to immerse in the tranquillity of the surrounding landscape. This complete travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan the ultimate getaway in this hidden gem of Bali.

Why Visit Sideman?

Sideman is often hailed as the ‘real Bali’. It is a tranquil haven far from the madding crowd, offering visitors a glimpse into the authentic Balinese way of life.

The Sideman region is a picture-perfect destination that features stunning scenery of lush green valleys, tiered rice terraces, and the majestic silhouette of Mount Agung in the distance. The landscape is dotted with emerald rice fields, cascading waterfalls, and dense jungles, offering an idyllic and serene environment without the hustle and bustle of tourist crowds.

14 Unforgettable Experiences in Sideman, Bali

Sideman Bali
Sideman, Bali

The Spectacular Rice Fields of Sidemen

The verdant rice paddies that stretch across Sidemen are a sight to behold. Beautifully carved into the hills, these terraced fields present a mesmerising panorama that is a treat for the eyes and a boon for photographers. The early morning light illuminates the fields in hues of bright green and yellow, creating a spectacle that is nothing short of magical.

Visitors can spend hours wandering through the terraces, marvelling at the intricate irrigation system, or watching the farmers at work. The towering Mt. Agung in the distance adds to the splendour of the scene.

Despite their stunning beauty, the rice terraces of Sidemen are not yet recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, they offer a tranquillity and charm that arguably surpasses the famed terraces of Jatiluwih (which are recognised).

Explore the Beauty of Cascading Waterfalls

Sidemen is home to some of Bali’s most beautiful yet lesser-known waterfalls. Exploring these hidden gems is an adventure in itself.

The Gembleng Waterfall is a beautiful spot surrounded by lush greenery where you can take a refreshing dip. The waterfall itself may not be as spectacular as some of Bali’s other waterfalls, but what makes it unique is that the water cascades down a cliff into a crystal-clear pool that sparkles in the sunlight and is perfect for swimming. This waterfall is also considered sacred and often used for traditional Balinese cleansing ceremonies. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Sidemen village, and you’ll pass by beautiful farmland on the way there.

A little further afield is the Jagasatru Waterfall, another holy site, with a natural sacred pool many locals use for bathing. The hidden spot is also home to a beautiful golden Hindu statue of Brahma.

Situated amidst the dense jungle, it offers a challenging trek – but rewarding views! The cascading water plunges to form a natural pool, which the locals often use for bathing. The waterfall is

Getting there can be tricky if you’re driving a scooter or motorbike due to the windy and slippery road, especially during wet weather. If you lack confidence in driving, avoiding attempting it on a scooter is best. Although there is no entry fee, donations are always appreciated.

Explore The Heart of Sidemen: The Village

The village of Sidemen is a small, bustling hub with a handful of hotels, eateries, and tour companies. Visitors can start their day early at the lively market on the main street to buy fresh produce.

Traditional weaving workshops and silver jewellery studios offer a fascinating insight into the local crafts.

Keep wandering through the village to the Jembatan Kuning, a small yellow suspension bridge that provides beautiful views of the river and the neighbouring jungle. This place is a favourite among locals for a cool dip.

Unique Bamboo Accommodation

In recent times, Sidemen has become well-known for its distinctive bamboo houses. These natural wooden structures offer a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing guests to stay surrounded by scenic views of the rice fields. The Camaya and Veluvana provide a mid-range eco-luxe option, while budget-friendly homestays are also accessible. Alternatively, situated on the rice terraces of Sidemen Valley, Samanvaya offers a stunning adults-only retreat featuring a luxurious spa.

Cultural Riches: Taman Ujung Water Palace and Tirta Gangga Water Temple

The Taman Ujung Water Palace and the Tirta Gangga Water Temple are two cultural landmarks worth exploring from Sidemen.


Taman Ujung is a stunning water palace located in Karangasem, Eastern Bali. It was once a king’s palace and is known for its historical buildings and large pools. The site is surrounded by lush green gardens and tranquil ponds that create a serene atmosphere.

The Taman Ujung Water Palace was built in 1909 and features a unique blend of Balinese, Chinese, and European architecture, making it a fascinating cultural landmark. The gardens are particularly renowned for their beauty, with floating pavilions and ponds adding to the tranquil ambiance of the site.

Tirta Gangga Bali
Tirta Gangga

Tirta Gangga, which means ‘blessed water of the Ganges’, is a holy place surrounded by pools, fountains, and water gardens. In 1946, the King of Karangasem designed this complex that once served as a royal palace. Visitors can explore the complex’s various levels, admire intricate sculptures, and even take a dip in the sacred bathing pools.

Both Taman Ujung and Tirta Gangga Water Palace are a 45-minute drive from Sidemen, and you can combine the two for a great day trip.

Unwind at a stunning infinity pool bar

The Monkey Bar Sideman
Courtesy of The Monkey Bar Sideman

The Monkey Bar offers a stylish and picturesque swimming experience on a cliff overlooking the jungle and the ocean. The bar plays music and serves food and drinks. There’s a minimum spend of 75,000 rupiah per person for swimming, which costs 25,000 (including towel) and the remaining 50,000 can be used on food and drinks. It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals, with gorgeous views, a simple menu, and low entrance fees.

On Google Maps

The Joy of Exploration: Driving and Hiking

Renting a scooter and driving around the area is one of the best ways to explore Sidemen. Visitors can discover hidden waterfalls, quaint villages, and picturesque viewpoints at their own pace. For the more adventurous, hiking up Mt. Agung, Bali’s most famous and highest volcano offers unbeatable views of the island.

Culinary Delights: Cooking Classes and Local Warungs

Food Sideman Bali

If you want a unique dining experience, consider having a candlelit dinner amidst the beautiful rice terrace. Many upscale resorts offer this option with locally sourced Balinese cuisine prepared from fresh and organic ingredients. The serene atmosphere and delicious food will create an unforgettable and utterly romantic dining experience.

If you enjoy Balinese cuisine and would like to learn some tips and tricks to take home to your own kitchen, join a cooking class to learn the local culinary secrets so you can recreate the flavours of Sidemen Valley at home. Participating in a hands-on experience will give you a deeper understanding of Balinese cuisine and allow you to have a fun interactive activity with your partner. Many cooking schools in the area offer these types of classes.

Don’t forget to dine at the family-owned warungs where you can enjoy authentic Balinese cuisine at an affordable price.

Trekking and hiking in Sidemen Valley

Sidemen Valley is perfect for adventurous couples. With hiking trails through lush jungles and rugged terrains, you’ll discover hidden paths and create unforgettable memories together.

One popular hiking trail in Sidemen Valley is the trek to Bukit Teletubbies. This unique hill formation resembles the iconic children’s show and offers panoramic views of the surrounding rice fields and mountains. The hike provides a great opportunity for couples to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying each other’s company.

Silver Jewellery Making

Sidemen is renowned for its exquisite silver crafting. If you’re planning a honeymoon or a holiday in Sideman, why not make your own rings or any other jewellery for each other while you’re there? A traditional silversmith in Sidemen offers couples the opportunity to create their own silver rings or custom jewellery together. At Agung Silver, you can try your hand at this craft. It takes about two hours and is great fun. This place has been recently featured on social media by some famous influencers, so booking in advance is advisable.

Hike Mount Agung


Trekking up Mount Agung is a must-do activity if you and your partner seek an exciting and challenging adventure. However, it’s important to note that this trek requires good physical fitness and stamina, as the terrain can be steep and rocky. But if you’re up for the challenge, the reward is definitely worth it.

For an unforgettable experience, consider doing the sunrise trek up this active volcano, which offers breathtaking views and a chance to overcome nature’s challenges. You’ll be able to witness the stunning sunrise from the mountain’s summit. As you ascend the mountain, you’ll be greeted by beautiful scenery, including lush forests and charming villages. Once you reach the peak, you’ll be rewarded with an awe-inspiring sight of the sun emerging from the clouds, casting a warm glow across the area – an experience that will create memories that last a lifetime.

Exploring the traditional culture and art in Sidemen Valley

Sidemen Valley is famous for its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting traditional villages, witnessing timeless traditions and rituals, exploring batik-making, or learning to create intricate offerings for Balinese ceremonies. These immersive experiences will deepen your connection with the local community.

For a more intimate cultural experience, consider staying in a traditional Balinese homestay to experience the warmth and hospitality of the locals firsthand. Immerse yourself in the daily life of a Balinese family, learn about their traditions, and savour authentic Balinese cuisine. This immersive experience will provide a unique insight into the local culture and create lasting memories with your partner.

Yoga and wellness retreats in Sidemen Valley


Sidemen Valley is ideal for couples looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. You can immerse yourself in daily yoga sessions amidst the serene beauty of the valley.

In addition to yoga, Sidemen Valley offers a range of wellness retreats focusing on holistic healing and rejuvenation. You and your partner can pamper yourselves with spa treatments, holistic therapies, and healthy organic meals and allow yourselves to unwind, recharge, and reconnect with each other.

Shopping for unique handicrafts and souvenirs in Sidemen Valley

Sidemen Valley is home to a vibrant arts and crafts scene. Explore the local markets and discover unique handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Bali. From intricately carved wooden sculptures to handwoven textiles, there’s something for everyone to take home as a memento of your romantic getaway.

Visit the Sidemen Art House, a cooperative of local artisans, where you can witness the creation of traditional crafts firsthand. Engage with the artists, learn about their creative process, and even try your hand at creating your own masterpiece. This immersive experience will provide you with a unique souvenir and a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry of Sidemen Valley.

Visiting Sidemen: Practical Information

Sidemen is approximately a 1.5 to 2.5-hour drive from the international airport, Seminyak, and Canggu, and about a 1.5-hour drive from Ubud. Visitors can hire a driver or rent a scooter to get around.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Sideman’s climate is relatively stable throughout the year due to its proximity to the equator. May to October is considered the best time to visit, with less humidity and rainfall. August is the least humid month, ideal for those looking to escape the tropical stickiness. March, the busiest tourist month, may fetch slightly higher prices.

With its serene ambience, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Sidemen is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic Balinese experience. This hidden gem of Bali offers an unforgettable escape from the bustling tourist hotspots, making it a perfect retreat for nature lovers, culture enthusiasts, and adventure seekers alike.

Related: If you love off-the-beaten track destinations, check out our guide to North Bali’s beautiful Munduk. And, if you are looking for a hotels in Bali, discover them with our library of hand-picked romantic places to stay in Bali.

Scroll to Top