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Sidemen is the undiscovered, authentic Bali. How Ubud was 20 years ago. Sidemen valley is full of rice terraces with views on Mount Agung, cultural experiences and many nature treasures. Although Sidemen is often overlooked as destination to travel to, it has so much to offer. Especially for nature lovers. You can have some of the most impressive views on Mount Agung. Whether it’s from some of the amazing accommodations in Sidemen, to some breathtaking viewpoints in and around Sidemen Bali. But also plenty of waterfalls, Hindu temples and even some of the best beaches in Bali are only 45 minutes away. Staying in Sidemen for a few days will show you the real Bali. You won’t get these experiences and views elsewhere in Bali. I hope to inspire you to visit Sidemen with this ultimate guide about the 17 best things to do in Sidemen Bali.  

About Sidemen Bali

The village of Sidemen is located in East Bali on the flanks of the holy mountain Gunung Agung, surrounded by green rice fields and rolling hills. Because you’re so close to Mount Agung you can see this majestic volcano throughout the whole area on a clear day. Sidemen is actually divided in four sub districts, known as Selat (north district), Manggis (east district), Klungkung Regency (south district) and Rendang which is the west district. In these areas are many things to do and explore. From waterfalls to beautiful beaches, epic viewpoints, green rice fields and Hindu temples. Let’s find out about the best things to do in Sidemen! 

Best time to visit Sidemen

Sidemen in general has more rain than the coastal towns in Bali. Overall the best time to visit Sidemen is from May until October. The rainiest months are December until March, April. However there is no guarantee it won’t rain during the ‘dry season’ in Bali. Because of the location in the valley and close to Mount Agung, weather circumstances can be completely different in Sidemen compared to the rest of Bali. Considering the rice terraces you have to take into account the harvest seasons. Right after harvest season the rice terraces will be muddy, which can give a completely different experience than the lush green colours you can see in the other months of the year. 

How many days you need in Sidemen

If you want to discover the real Bali and get the most out of your stay in Sidemen I would recommend 2 to 3 days at least. This will give you the opportunity to explore all the highlights which you can pick from this list. Of course everyone has different preferences, but to discover the real Sidemen you should at least visit some of the hidden waterfalls, see the rice fields and go to one or more of the beautiful temples around Sidemen. 

Where to stay in Sidemen

Although Sidemen isn’t a very popular tourist destination yet, there are still enough options to stay either cheap or in some of the more expensive and luxury hotels. My advice is to book at least 2 nights in Sidemen to really experience its beauty and tranquil vibe. Below some options. 

Cheap accommodations in Sidemen

Cepik Villa

Mid range accommodations in Sidemen

Darmada Eco Resort

Villa Sidemen

Patal Kikian

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Luxury accommodations in Sidemen

Wapa di Ume

Samanvaya

Samanvaya-Sidemen

Bamboo villa’s in Sidemen

Veluvana

The Hide Out

Laputa

Camaya

veluvana

Cool off at Gembleng waterfall

For a refreshing dip in the middle of the jungle you have to go to the hidden waterfall Gembleng. Tucked away in the jungle you will find this multi tier waterfall with natural infinity pools looking out over the Sidemen valley and rice fields. It is only a short hike up to the highest natural pool where you can dip in. There is also a little shack where you can buy a coconut to enjoy after exploring the waterfall. This is truly a place where you can connect with the authentic Bali life and see no, or only a few other tourists. 

Read in our complete guide about the best waterfalls in Bali

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Practical information about Gembleng waterfall

Getting there: Gembleng waterfall is pinned on Google Maps and can be easily found. From the centre of Sidemen its only a 20 minute drive to the waterfall so it’s a perfect place to explore in Sidemen. From the entrance it’s a little hike up to the natural pools and the top of the waterfall from where you’ll have the amazing views. Along the way you can see the different tiers of water flowing down.

Entrance fee: The entrance fee is based on a donation. You can give anything you feel like, but between 10 000 IDR and 20 000 IDR per person is a normal price.

Best time to go: Because Gembleng waterfall isn’t a popular tourist destination yet you can have the place for yourself at certain times. We always advice to go as early as possible for the best light. Especially in the valley of Sidemen it can get very cloudy during the afternoon when clouds come in.

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Watch sunrise or sunset at Lahangan Sweet volcano viewpoint

Some of the most amazing viewpoints on Mount Agung is from Lahangan Sweet. On an hour drive from Sidemen you will get to this viewpoint which will blow you away. You will have an unobstructed view towards the majestic volcano Agung with a beautiful green valley below. There are several bamboo platforms at Lahangan Sweet from which you will have a different view and photo opportunity. The great thing about this viewpoint is that you can either come with sunrise or sunset. Both are great, however the most chance of a clear view on Mount Agung is with sunrise. With sunset the sun disappears behind the volcano resulting in the volcano as silhouette. While with sunrise the volcano gets the first light showing all its details and colours. 

Read in our complete guide everything about Lahangan Sweet viewpoint

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Practical information about Lahangan Sweet viewpoint

Getting there: In an hour drive you can get to Lahangan Sweet viewpoint from Sidemen. Along the way you pass Tirta Gangga water palace and you can also easily combine it with a visit to Bukit Cinta, Taman Ujung and Virgin beach. 

Entrance fee: The entrance fee is 20.000 Rupiah per person.

Best time to go: As said before, Lahangan Sweet is a great sunrise and sunset spot. But with more chances of a clear view on the volcano with sunrise, I would recommend going early in the morning and then continue exploring to the other nearby places and mentioned in the ‘getting there’ section. 

lahangan-sweet-viewpoint-sunset-yoga

Visit Tirta Gangga water palace

If you want to explore a former royal palace then you have to go to Tirta Gangga water palace in Karangasem. This palace is built in 1946 and is still owned by the royal Karangasem family. It features 1.2 hectare of ponds and fountains surrounded by tropical gardens and stone sculptures of mythical creatures. You can feed the Koi fish in some of the fish ponds and walk around the gardens to admire its beauty and the history. 

Read in our complete guide everything about Tirta Gangga water palace

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Practical information about Tirta Gangga water palace

Getting there: From Sidemen it is a 45 minute drive to Tirta Gangga water palace. You can perfectly combine it with a day trip to Virgin beach and Taman Ujung which is in the same area. 

Entrance fee: The entrance fee for the Tirta Gangga Bali water gardens is 50.000 IDR per person for adults and 15.000 IDR for a child in 2022. Parking fee is 2000 IDR per vehicle.

Best time to go: Because there is little shadow around the gardens of the water palace it is highly recommended to go in the early morning. Otherwise it can get really hot in midday. If you combine a visit to the water place with a beach midday, such as Virgin beach, you can perfectly combine both.

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Relax at Virgin beach

Virgin beach along the East coast is one of the best white sand beaches with crystal clear waters in Bali. Tucked away in a gorgeous bay surrounded by green cliffs and waving palm trees, Virgin beach is pure treasure. The soft white sand and calm turquoise waters make it the perfect beach for swimming and relaxing. With warungs along the shore and enough options to rent sunbeds you can plan a full day of relaxing at Virgin beach if you want to be near the ocean instead of in the Sidemen valley. It can also be a great option if the weather doesn’t cooperate in Sidemen as it can be completely different along the coast. But that’s not guaranteed of course. 

Read in our complete guide everything about Virgin beach Bali

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virgin-beach-bali-walking

Do a rice fields trekking

To explore the real Bali and learn more about the culture of rice growing you should do a rice field trekking. During a morning hike through the rice fields you will not only see the beautiful landscapes that Sidemen has to offer, but your guide can also tell you more about the rice production, history of Sidemen and more. You will walk through local villages, cross rivers and see the stunning rice paddies of Sidemen. Make sure to do this walk when the rice is actually growing. Right after harvest season the rice fields are gone and turn into mud pools. 

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Check out Jagasatru waterfall

Jagasatru waterfall is another hidden gem in Sidemen. This 40 meter high waterfall is flanked by two high cliffs and can be accessed by going down steep stairs for about 5 minutes. Because it isn’t a popular tourist destination you can expect to be here alone. There is even a small purification area where locals pray and purify themselves. There isn’t a possibility to swim at the waterfall as there isn’t a pool which is deep enough. But nevertheless it’s a great opportunity to discover the nature in Sidemen area. 

Jagasatru-waterfall

Visit Besakih temple

The Besakih temple is one of the six most holiest places of worship in Bali and also the biggest Hindu temple in Bali. Therefore it is also known as Bali’s mother temple. The complex has more than 86 clan temples and shrines and yearly more than 70 ceremonies take place at Besakih as each shrine has its own anniversary. Located on the slopes of Mount Agung you can have incredible views when visiting the temple. Make sure to arrive early to have the highest chance of clear volcano views. Don’t expect that you can just explore the complete complex of Besakih as some of the temples are more than 3 kilometre apart from each other. 

besakih temple

Explore Taman Ujung water palace

Another water palace in Karangasem is Taman Ujung. This former palace consists of beautiful historic buildings and various large pools. Built in 1909 and designed by a Dutch and Chinese architect the water palace is a combination of Balinese, Chinese and European architecture. It is one of the largest historical landmarks in Bali and a beautiful place to explore. In our opinion is Taman Ujung water palace even better and more beautiful than it’s sister Tirta Gangga water palace. So if you’re short in time then we recommend Taman Ujung instead of Tirta Gangga. 

Read in our complete guide everything about Taman Ujung water palace

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Practical information about Taman Ujung water palace

Getting there: From Sidemen it is a 45 minute drive to Taman Ujung water palace. You can perfectly combine it with a day trip to Virgin beach and Tirta Gangga which is in the same area. 

Entrance fee: The entrance fee for Taman Ujung water palace is s 75.000 IDR per person. If you have KITA’s it is 50.000 IDR per person. 

Best time to go: Because there is little shadow around the gardens of the water palace it is highly recommended to go in the early morning. Otherwise it can get really hot in midday. If you combine a visit to the water place with a beach midday, such as Virgin beach, you can perfectly combine both.

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Admire the lightrays at Tukad Cepung waterfall

For a magical experience with light rays peeking through a cave you have to go to Tukad Cepung waterfall. In the morning between 9 – 11 AM, depending on the season and position of the sun, the sun rays peek through the gap above the falls resulting in beautiful light rays. But that’s not all.. Because when you turn around you will see more magical light rays shining through the trees on the rocks. This gives a perfect podium to take your most magical instagram picture in Bali! But you have to go on a clear day with sunshine, otherwise it is hard to have those magical light rays.

Read in our complete guide everything about Tukad Cepung waterfall

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Watch sunrise at La Montagne Café Mahagiri hotel

Another hidden gem with incredible unobstructed views on Mount Agung is Mahagiri Resort in Rendang, Karangasem. From the terrace of their restaurant you will have an amazing view on Mount Agung with the rice fields as foreground. However, you have to be early to have the highest chance of clear views. Therefore we advice to come with sunrise to not only have the best light for photography, but also the best chance of clear volcano views. 

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Because it is a hotel and restaurant, you will have to order something at the restaurant to make use of their facility. If you come with sunrise you can ask the security guy to open the gate because you want to take a picture at the terrace and will order some drinks or food. Make sure to order something out of respect for the hotel and to keep this opportunity to enjoy the view for future outside visitors of the hotel. 

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Relax at the Sidemen river

The river in Sidemen is called Telaga Waja and from Jalan Raya Tebola (which is the street where Wapa Di Ume, Samanvaya and more hotels are located), you can easily access the river. It is such a serene place where you can meditate, enjoy the fresh air and stunning views on the lush mountains. You won’t find any other tourists here, at most some locals that are relaxing in or along the river. If you love to have a quiet moment for yourself, then follow the path down at the end of Jalan Raya Tebola until you get to the river. 

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Experience a bamboo hut with magical views

In Sidemen you can find a lot of beautiful bamboo houses which you can rent for a night or two. There is so much choice, and most of them have a beautiful view on Mount Agung or rice paddies. While the experience of sleeping in a bamboo hut is different than in a luxury hotel, it is definitely a unique stay. Some of the great options of luxury bamboo huts in Sidemen are: Veluvana, Camaya, Magic Hills, Hide Out and Laputa villa. 

veluvana

Watch sunrise at Bukit Cinta Mount Agung viewpoint

Bukit Cinta is located in the East of Bali and is (one of…) our favorite sunrise viewpoints in Bali. It is basically a grass land with views on the rice fields with Mount Agung as backdrop. On a clear morning, you will have stunning views on the active volcano of Bali. Mount Agung is the highest and holiest peak of the island that stands at 3,031 meters above sea level. The first rays of light shining on the top of the volcano are magical. So if you’re up for an early adventure, you have to go to this amazing Bali viewpoint! There is no entrance fee for this spot and you can easily park along the road to get to this spot. 

Read in our complete guide everything about Bukit Cinta

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Do a purification at Tirta Empul

Tirta Empul is a sacred water temple with holy, fresh drinking water from the ground. Balinese Hindus go here for a purification ceremony in the holy waters, but also tourists are welcome to experience the healing ritual of a water purification and to understand to magical mysteries of Balinese spirituality. From Sidemen it is about an hour drive, but you can perfectly combine it with a visit to some of the waterfalls along the way such as Kanto Lampo Waterfall, Tibumana waterfall or Suwat waterfall. The entrance fee for Tirta Empul temple is 50,000 IDR per person.

tirta-empul

Relax at Blue Lagoon beach

Blue Lagoon is a beautiful white sand beach in a green cove with crystal clear water. Located in East Bali, it is not overrun by tourists and therefore a great place to relax for the day. With some local warungs where you can order food and cold drinks, you only need to bring your towel and swimsuit for a day at Blue Lagoon beach Bali. 

Also, if you love diving then Blue Lagoon is a great place to do this activity. But also snorkeling is a great thing to do here because of the reef which is just of shore. You can rent snorkels and swim fins at the warung so if you plan to do this spontaneously or don’t have them, they got you covered!  

Read everything about Blue Lagoon beach in our complete guide

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Treat yourself for some luxury in Sidemen

Although there aren’t endless options in Sidemen to stay, you can definitely experience a luxury getaway here. It depends if you want to have a private villa or the comfort of a hotel experience. If you choose the last one and would like to indulge yourself in luxury with the beauty of Sidemen around you, then I’d recommend Samanvaya. This Adults only luxury resort and spa boutique hotel is the most modern and high standard accommodation in Sidemen. We stayed here during my birthday in 2021 and it was outstanding.

Samanvaya-Sidemen

Visit Lempuyang Temple 

The Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple in east Bali has some of the best views on Mount Agung and is a super photogenic place with the two white gates. Also known as the ‘Gates of Heaven’, this sacred temple is a must visit in Bali. Throughout the years the Lempuyang temple has become a huge Instagram hit which makes it a very popular place to visit. Therefore you should take into account that it can be busy. An early visit to Lempuyang Temple is not only recommended to beat the crowds and be some of the first in line, but also to have the highest chance of having clear views on Mount Agung. During the day the volcano often disappears in the clouds. 

Read in our complete guide everything about Lempuyang Luhur temple

lempuyang-temple-bali

Practical information about Lempuyang Luhur temple

Getting there: From Sidemen it is an hour drive to the temple. But after sunrise you can perfectly combine other spots in this area such as Tirta Gangga, Bukit Cinta, Taman Ujung and Virgin beach. 

Entrance fee: The entrance fee for Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple is 100.000 IDR per person. 

Best time to go: If you want to have clear views on Mount Agung volcano the best time to visit is early morning. Also considering it’s popularity you can expect there will be a line of people to take a picture. If you don’t like busy tourist places, then skip this place and go to Lahangan Sweet or Bukit Cinta instead. Also amazing viewpoints on Mount Agung but no temples. 

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Watch sunrise at Bukit Tengah

On a 45 minute drive from Sidemen you can get to Bukit Tengah which is an awesome viewpoint overlooking the layers of mountains with Mount Agung in the distance. On a clear morning you will be able to have an incredible show of colours, low hanging fog and the impressive view on Mount Agung. After visiting Bukit Tengah you can perfectly continue exploring along the coast to Blue Lagoon beach, and eventually pay a visit to some of the salt farmers to see how they make pure salt from sea water. 

bukit-tengah

Go rafting

If you want to get an adrenaline kick and you like adventurous activities then go white water rafting in Sidemen! The rafting course of 15 km long stretches along the Telaga Waja River and will show you the wilderness of Sidemen nature between the gorgeous green hills and beautiful plantations. 

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rafting-bali-ubud

Watch the sunrise from the infinity pool of Patal Kikian

Some of the most impressive views of Sidemen is from Patal Kikian. This accommodation has an infinity pool overlooking the green valley with Mount Agung as backdrop. With sunrise the views are like a painting. How the soft morning light touches the green valley and lights up the volcano. Words can’t describe the real feeling, it is something you should experience yourself! For around $40 per night you can book a room here including breakfast. Definitely some of the best views in Sidemen! 

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Watch the salt farmers at Kusamba beach

Something typical Bali is not only rice farming but also traditional salt harvesting. So if you want to learn more about how the Balinese make salt from sea water, then go the Kusamba Beach and witness the techniques on making salt the Bali way. This traditional salt farm dates back almost 1000 years and are still run by the local villagers who also make their living from fishing. 

Salt farming is an interesting process. You can see the salt farmer repetitively fetching seawater in palm leaf buckets on carrying poles, then splashing them out onto the smoothened black sand under the scorching sun. The salt begins to crystallise after several hours of drying. The salt crystals are then scraped off, collected and brought inside huts for the filtration processes.

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Cool off at Tibumana waterfall 

If you’re planning on exploring west of Sidemen, then you can perfectly combine a visit to some of the amazing waterfalls located between Ubud and Sidemen. After Bukit Tengah for example it is only 45 minutes to Tibumana waterfall which is a beautiful curtain of water falling down in a straight stream into a natural pool. You can take a refreshing dip in the pool and relax in the beautiful canyon. Keep in mind that this spot is quite popular, so it can get busy during the day. 

Read in our complete guide everything about Tibumana waterfall

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Visit a traditional weaver

A great cultural activity to do in Sidemen is visiting a traditional weaver. This craftsmanship is often passed on from generation to generation within the female side of the family. Besides rice farming, this is one of the main authentic jobs that the locals do. It is impressive to see that it will take a full month of work to weave one sarong. These are very high quality sarongs and will be sold for around 2 million IDR. 

lotus-silk-weaving

Shower under Kanto Lampo waterfall

Kanto Lampo Waterfall is only 10 minutes from Tibumana waterfall. So if you’re down for a day of chasing waterfalls outside of Sidemen, then I can definitely recommend to add Kanto Lampo and Tibumana to your itinerary. From Bukit Tengah for example it is only a 40 minute drive to Kanto Lampo which is a great way to cool off after an early morning adventure. Kanto Lampo is also definitely some of the most beautiful Bali waterfalls with it’s multi tier stream. Situated in a canyon, this waterfall seeps down the rocks into a river. It really gives you the feeling that you’re deep in the jungle.

Read in our complete guide everything about Kanto Lampo waterfall

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Attend a cooking class

If you want to learn how to cook Balinese, then booking a cooking class in Sidemen is a must do! There are a few options in Sidemen for a cooking class. Anandinii Organic Garden and Kitchen is our recommendation as you will get a guided tour around the garden while picking the fresh fruits & vegetables for your own cooking ingredients. In the meantime you will learn more about the unique characteristics and benefits of the spices. A passionate chef will then guide you to cook with the traditional Balinese cooking methods using ancient Balinese cooking utensils. After all this effort it is then time to taste your own cooked Balinese meal with incredible views on the green hills. 

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More Bali travel inspiration

We hope you enjoyed this complete about the best things to do in Sidemen Bali.

For more Bali travel inspiration, head over to our other Bali travel guides.

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