TOUR GUIDE: SIDEMEN & MUNDUK

Updated: Jun 9

Sidemen and Munduk are incredible places that are very different to many we'd ever seen before. Rice fields fill the lands all the way out to the horizons, up mountains, and there is jungle as far as the eye can see. It's full of so much beautiful greenery, and then the waterfalls....oh wow! The waterfalls!


Not only can you do and see some incredible things, but eat amazing local food. Here we will run through our top picks on what to do, and the best places to lay your weary head after a long day of exploring. That way you can make sure you experience everything these amazing places have to offer.


SIDEMEN

You don't have to spend too long in Sidemen to see its beauty, because you're surrounded by it from the very moment you arrive. Danielle and I spent multiple weekends here after setting up a base in nearby Ubud. During our time we were able to do some incredible things, but first things first.


WHERE WE STAYED

We stayed in 2 different places in Sidemen and would recommend either. Both are incredible but come with very different budgets. Take a look and see if either of these are down your street.

  • Samanvaya: If it sits within your budget then do not pass on the chance to stay here! It's a beautiful place with amazing views and every single room is incredible. The Rice Barn is a stretch but if you're able to stay there then you will not regret it.

  • Uma Agung: A more cost-effective option if Samanvaya is out of your price range. It's a basic room but you still get incredible views. It's next door to Samanvaya so you get pretty much the same view for a fraction of the cost. The staff are amazing and it has a pool...what more could you want!

A young couple are seen here enjoying some time in a pool that overlooks some incredible views of the rice paddies and jungle in Sidemen, Bali. The man is standing in waist high water with his torso exposed and his body is pressed up against the woman in front of him. She is sat on the edge of the pool in a black two piece bikini and is embracing the young man as they both look out and admire the view. The pool looks inviting as it is blue and very clean. Beyond them there are some bamboo huts with straw roofs which fit the setting perfectly. Surrounding them is all kind of luscious plants and trees as well as the beautiful rice paddies all layered aesthetically at different tiers. It looks like paradise, and the sun is shining down on the pair as they look out at the scenes before them.
Samanvaya ranks high on the list of places we have been fortunate enough to stay, and it's likely up there as the #1 place!

WHAT TO DO?

For such a small place there is a tonne of incredible things to do in Sidemen. Here are our top picks of the bunch!

  • Green Kitchen Cooking Class: This is an incredible opportunity to learn how to cook some authentic Balinese food, with fresh ingredients that you can take directly out of the ground. We cooked a variety of incredible dishes...and then the best bit is eating it all afterwards!

  • Besakih Temple: This is the largest Balinese Hindu temple and an incredibly impressive one at that! It was 60k IDR per person to enter. We walked along a long path up to the very top for some amazing views.

  • Gembling Waterfall: This beautiful waterfall is a must-see while you're here! It's a great waterfall where you can sit at the top in some natural pools and admire the breathtaking views. Once you've had a dip, take a few more steps up to a viewing platform for the ultimate view!

  • White Water Rafting: Danielle and I have been white water rafting in Thailand, Croatia and elsewhere in Bali...but this wins by a landslide. This was the most fun we've ever had in a raft, as the water was white from start to finish. It's a great activity with some friends, we laughed and fell over from start to finish.

  • Silver Jewellery Making: Earn some brownie points with your partner by taking them to make their own silver jewellery. We went to Agung Silver and it was an amazing experience. For a very reasonable price of 450IDR+, you can make rings, necklaces or bracelets. Pick the design that you love, heat up, hammer, pull and then voila...there you have it!

Here is a mixture of three different images, all of the same young couple all exploring the beautiful area of Sidemen, Bali, and having an incredible time while doing so. The image top left is them both standing side by side overlooking one of the most breathtaking views you can find in Sidemen. The man is standing to the young womans left and in nothing but black shorts with his torso exposed in the hot sun. He is standing and the woman to his right is sat on a small bench in a black two-piece bikini, He has short brown hair and she has long flowing blonde hair. Both are staring out away from the camera taking in the beautiful scenery which is all shades of green stretching out to the horizon and up and down the mountains along its path. The top right image is the pair walking down some temple steps towards the camera. The woman is on the left side of the steps and the man on the right with a divide in the steps between them. They are reaching out holding hands as they step down. The woman is wearing a white short covering her shoulders and an orange and grey sarong, as is expected when entering a Balinese temple. The man is in a white and grey sarong with a white t-shirt. Both are looking towards each other smiling as they walk down. The final image across the bottom is the couple now sat on an orange scooter as they have parked up where there is a break between trees on the side of the road that opens up and shows the incredible views of the rice terraces. The man is in black shorts and flip flops and he is driving with the woman behind him. Her hair is tied in a low bun and she has a black bikini top on with an orange and grey sarong covering her bottom half. Her head is resting on his back as they stare out at the tropical view.
So much to see, and so little time to do it! Make sure you don't miss out on any of these...

Munduk

Like Sidemen, Munduk is somewhere that you can see within a few days if you're on a deadline. Where it differs is that the mountains here are much larger. Other than that it's the same luscious greenery that you can see from even higher up. Word of warning, as it can be very cold! We weren't prepared for sub 20-degree temperatures, but depending on the time of year you go it could be fine. We visited towards the end of the rainy season, and it rained a lot! While the rain would usually dampen our spirits it was difficult to feel down in such an amazing place, with jaw-dropping views everywhere you looked.


WHERE WE STAYED

  • Made Oka: This lovely little homestay should fit all needs because it's affordable and beautiful. Sat up in the mountains you can see wondrous sights straight from your bed, and it comes with breakfast included. The outside eating area is the perfect place to collect your thoughts for the day as you look at the valley below. We loved it here and would stay again in an instant.


WHAT TO DO?

Regardless of the weather, you should make sure you find time for these incredible sights. You won't regret it!

  • Sekumpul: It's not in Munduk, but it's easiest to reach from here. This is the largest waterfall Bali has to offer, and probably the best too. The 250K IDR per person is some of the best money you'll spend to trek to these magnificent waterfalls. At the least you should trek to the point where you can see all three waterfalls at once, it's amazing!

  • Banyumala: Another of Bali's unmissable waterfalls. It was a little cold when we went but when it's hot this is a nice place for a refreshing dip. The bridges parallel to each other make for great spots to take some pictures too.

  • Aling Aling: This is the last waterfall I promise! It is a must-see. You can either pay for a guide who will take you on a short, medium or long trek, or you can pay the 20k entry fee and go about it yourself.

  • Mountain Road Viewpoints: You can take your pick with this one. There are several Warungs, coffee shops and platforms to take in the amazing sights from the top of a mountain. We opted for a random cement platform that overlooked the jungle and lake below, and it was a real sight to behold. Make sure to take advantage of any clear skies when driving along the road over the top of the mountain! They can be few and far between.

Here there are two images of waterfalls placed side by side. The picture on the left is a young couple standing from a high vantage point overlooking the jungle and two waterfalls ahead of them. The man is wearing black shorts and has his torso exposed, which the woman has light blue gym shorts and a sports bra on with her blonde hair down over her shoulders. The waterfall here falls from high up the mountains, and is so long you can't see where it ends, but it falls on some rocks below and then continues to trickle down the cliffs. The picture on the right is the same couple wearing the same clothes and looking at a different waterfall which is falling down into a beautiful blue pool in which they are standing in front of. In this image they are standing at the bottom of a waterfall looking up at it falling down from above. They are standing on some rocks to the right side of the natural pool that has formed. Above them, where the water springs out from is luscious greenery.
Waterfalls, waterfalls and even more waterfalls! they're all so different, but always magical.

DON'T MISS OUT

Both of these beautiful places are not to be missed, as they offer some of the best views you will see in all of Bali. The luscious green is amazing in the rainy season, however that comes with issues of...well, rain. You can't beat simply renting a scooter in either of these places and driving through the mountain roads, they leave you breathless and in awe at every turn.

 

For ideas on what to do when you get to Bali check out our blogs on The Nusa Islands, Whether Canggu is the one for you, The 10 best places to visit in Uluwatu and our Ubud Tour Guide.


Follow us on Instagram & TikTok as we tackle the what, where, why and how we’re travelling... as well as all the twists and turns along the way.

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