Sidemena magnificent landscape of terraced hills
Sidemen sprawls across an enchanting valley and not only offers a magnificent landscape of terraced hills overshadowed by Gunung Agung, but here you can connect with traditional village life and recharge away from the trappings of the tourist hustle and bustle elsewhere.
Sidemen is found about 90 minutes’ drive northeast of Ubud or an hour northwest of Candi Dasa. The valley is peppered with several small villages, with most tourist accommodation and restaurants around the village of Tabola. Here you will find the temperature drops a little, offering ideal conditions for trekking. It can be downright chilly at night — check that the hotel you’ve chosen provides enough cosy covers before you sign on the dotted line.
Sidemen is a traditional Hindu area and many locals, although friendly, are a little overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of tourists. It’s polite to dress respectfully when wandering around the village; we’d recommend keeping your shoulders and knees covered.
While it’s primarily a rice growing area, most farmers only plant one crop of rice per year, unlike other parts of Bali, where up to three crops are planted. Crops are rotated and you’ll find chillies, peanuts, corn and tapioca, among others. Flowers grown for offerings add other colours to the green. On the higher slopes salak (snakefruit), cacao, coffee and cloves are grown.
Temples are dotted through the fields as are large boulders — evidence of the holy mountain Gunung Agung’s former rage. The farmers just plant their fields around them. On the summit of the hill in Banjar Sangkan Gunung, Pura Bukit Tegeh (the temple on the hill), offers tremendous views and a steep uphill trek to see them. The Unda River meanders through the valley and forms part of Bali’s subak, the traditional irrigation system that pulses across the island.