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.
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!
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!
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.
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.