Ubud without the hordes
Bali’s Sidemen (pronounced Si-da-men) sprawls across an enchanting valley in east Bali 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.
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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. A small Muslim population lives here too; these people are descendants from the Karangasam kingdom, which was based in modern Amlapura and once extended to Muslim-majority Lombok. There is a mosque in the village next door to Villa Lihat Sawah. Famous Westerners who discovered Sidemen before you did include German painter Walter Spies, who in the late 1930s moved from Ubud to Iseh near Sidemen as Ubud was “too crowded”—one wonders what he would ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,700 words.)
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