This post was last updated on July 14th, 2020 at 12:55 pm
After spending some days in gorgeous Munduk, we decided to travel to the east of Bali. In the cozy village of Sidemen, you literally stay between the rice fields, and in the distance, you can see the impressive Mount Agung. This fantastic landscape and the relaxed, village atmosphere makes it easy to linger around in this quiet spot in Bali!
We went to Sidemen by taxi from Munduk. It was a long drive where we dozed off every now and then, but as soon as we got close to Sidemen that was immediately over. It’s wonderful to stare out the window here. Everywhere we saw the greenest rice fields, all kinds of animals walk on the road and people laugh friendly. We felt so welcome here. Sidemen made a great first impression!
When we are then warmly received by the people of our accommodation and see the view from our house, we are completely sold. We look at the towering Mount Agung. A volcano that impresses, because it protrudes far above everything. Wow! Waking up to such a view is an amazing experience.
To the Tukad Cepung Waterfall
The next morning we take the scooter and drive to the Tukad Cepung waterfall. It is a fun ride over small paths and through authentic villages. Children wave and shout at us enthusiastically, women carry everything on their heads and men are working on the land. For a moment we feel like we’re part of the real Balinese village life. For us, these villages are and remain one of the nicest things in Southeast Asia.
Due to a large traffic jam on the way – we thought there might be a ceremony at an important temple where everyone comes from far and wide – we are on the way to the Tukad Cepung waterfall for a long time. We are happy when we arrive and we can finally stretch our legs. We have high expectations for this waterfall because it is a special one! The waterfall is located in a kind of cave.
Once we went down the steps and walked through the low standing water to the waterfall (put on slippers or go barefoot) our expectations are exceeded. What a special, beautiful place! The sunlight shines from above the gorge and gives the place something magical. It is highly recommended to go there!
Extra: Temples Near Sidemen
We actually wanted to go to the largest temple complex in Bali afterward, but because of the enormous traffic in that direction, we couldn’t. The Besakih temple seems to be beautiful, especially because of its location against Mount Agung. But if all these people in a traffic jam do indeed go to the main temple on the island, we will not see much of the temple itself due to the crowds. Oh well, it’s also great to just sit on our terrace at the accommodation and enjoy the surroundings! 😉
If you want to experience more culture in the surroundings of Sidemen, you can go to the Tirta Gangga temple and/or the Lempuyang temples. Both structures are located east of Sidemen.
Another popular activity in Sidemen is trekking through the rice fields and villages. You can arrange a trek at almost every guesthouse. Led by a local guide you can explore the beautiful area and learn about local life.
Rafting Down the Telaga Waja River
A day later it is time for some more action: we go rafting in the Telaga Waja river. The river winds through a beautiful, very green environment and that makes the raft very worthwhile. Unfortunately, the water level in the river was very low when we were there, so our boat regularly scraped the riverbed and we couldn’t go very fast. That did make it less spectacular, but we still had a nice morning.
Do we really recommend rafting in this river? Hmm, we don’t know. The guidance is pretty mediocre – also from other providers as far as we could tell – and it’s not a real rafting experience, because you don’t actually have to do a lot. It is mainly trying to avoid the big boulders. But it may just be a much cooler raft when there is a bit more water in the river, so maybe it’s best to check that in advance.
There are several rafting providers in the Telaga Waja river. We paid 300,000 IDR per person (~ US$21), excluding transport to the starting location. Other prices we have heard are between 250,000 and 450,000 IDR. This includes lunch after your raft.
Places to Stay and/or Eat in Sidemen
Sidemen is a small village, but there are plenty of nice accommodations to stay at. We chose to stay at Maha Neka Villa and it was really good. This local family only has 2 cottages that they rent out with the best views imaginable. In addition, they have a small restaurant where you are served fresh, local dishes for a good price. You can also rent a scooter and they arranged transport to the port. At Maha Neka, you really have everything you need under one roof! And the family that runs it is very sweet and hospitable. Really recommended!
Maha Neka Villa
Spacious, clean cottages with great views from the terrace – run by a helpful and sweet local family. Read more information on Booking.com.
TIP – We also had a delicious meal at Warung Ida in Sidemen.
In short, the east of Bali is more than worth it. The atmosphere is very nice, the landscape is incredibly beautiful and the locals are so sweet and hospitable. You can be active (hiking, rafting), visit interesting sights (waterfalls, temples) and there are fantastic Indonesian dishes waiting for you. Sidemen is a hidden gem in Bali!