Exploring Sidemen Bali – Bali’s Best Kept Secret

Sidemen Bali is located on the East side of Bali. It is not as famous as many of Bali’s other areas, and for those that know and love the area… they quite like it that way! We too hope that Sidemen can retain its natural beauty and not become too much of a tourist hot spot, but we couldn’t not share the beauty of this area of Bali with you.

Sidemen is Bali green at its best! Rolling rice fields, rice terraces, rushing rivers, epic waterfalls, and total village vibes. It is a spot for nature lovers, people wanting to get away from the crowds, and people wanting to experience the real village life of the Bali of old.

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Where to Stay in Sidemen, Bali?

Sidemen has a number of accommodation options ranging from budget homestays to luxe resorts. If you are wanting to spoil yourself with a boutique and unique Sidemen stay, we recommend Samanvaya Resort.

The Samanvaya Resort is an eco-luxe boutique resort, it has a homely feel from the moment you arrive. With sweeping rice field views, two pools, a cold tub, a warm tub, and an epic new spa… you could have a great time here without even leaving the resort. The Sidemen area, however, is just too gorgeous not to spend some time exploring it.
Woman enjoying a Bali sunset from the pool of Samanvaya Resort in Sidemen

Things to see and do in Sidemen, Bali

Explore Sidemen by bike

Just riding or driving through the villages in and around Sidemen gives you a great view of the rice farming around the area. Either adventure on your own bike (or car) or take a motorcycle tour with Samanvaya’s in-house local guides. We loved this option as not only did we get a heap of local knowledge along the way, but the bike used by the guide was super comfortable for a passenger and I could take photos and videos along the way.

Man on a bike exploring the rice fields of Sidemen, East Bali

Grab a bite at a local warung

There are many local warungs to stop and grab a bite at on your adventures. We ate at a cute little spot called Sweet Warung – it was delicious local fare, served by a very excited local family to have some tourists dining in. Our meals were authentically delicious and super affordable.

Explore Sidemen’s stunning waterfalls

If you are a waterfall lover, you are spoiled for choice in Sidemen. We explored two waterfalls during our stay and at each, we were the only visitors.

The first waterfall we visited was Jagasatru Waterfall. This waterfall is located in Salak Village which is about a 20 minute, very scenic ride from Samanvaya resort. This lessor-known waterfall has big plans, but if you are lucky enough to visit soon you may get it all to yourself like us!

The Jagasastra Waterfall in Sidemen
There is a HUGE new golden statue that has been built here, with stairs leading up to it. At the top, you have a view right out to Padang Bai. The development plans for this area are on display, but at the moment just the statue and lookout have been completed. When we visited there wasn’t even someone there to pay the donation for entry.
Golden statue at the Jagasastra Waterfall
There are around 100 steps leading down to the waterfall, some are quite deep (if you have bad knees, perhaps this is not the best waterfall to visit). At the bottom, you can swim in the small lagoon at the base of the waterfall. There is also a Holy Water area you can bathe in too. The vegetation is quite diverse leading down. You can see Salak (otherwise known as snake fruit) growing, along with Mangosteen trees and many other plants (and animals). At the moment there are no little stores open in this waterfall, so bring some water (and maybe snacks) with you!

The second waterfall we visited was in the actual village of Sidemen and only around a 10-minute ride from Samanvaya. Gembleng Waterfall has for sure become one of my favourite Bali waterfalls after this visit. You pay a donation to go in (they don’t specify any amount, we paid 20k each).

The waterfall is not huge, but the highlight is the small rock pools you can plunge in at the top. These pools have the most epic view of jungle, rice fields, and even the ocean. This waterfall you actually walk UP to (unlike most Bali waterfalls which walk down to). The stairs are shallow & easy and there are only around 60 of them. At the top, there is a little Warung selling drinks, snacks, beers and in true Bali style, even Arak! To get to the rock pools you need to climb over some rocks, these can be quite slippery, but it is not a far way. We loved plunging in the fresh water and taking in the gorgeous views!

Click here to read more about Bali’s most stunning waterfalls. 

Sidemen’s own yellow bridge

Sidemen also has its own version of the Yellow Bridge. Unlike the new Lembongan/Cenigan yellow bridge, this one is not really made for riding over on motorbikes (even though you’ll see quite a few people doing this). It’s quite rickety but provides a gorgeous view of the river below (don’t be surprised to see local villagers bathing naked in this river though). This cute little spot is just five minutes from Samanvaya resort.

The yellow bridge in Sidemen, Bali

Go hiking through the Sidemen rice fields

Beside motorbike tours the resort also offers guided hikes through the rice fields and down to the river. We didn’t get to do this during our stay but plan to do it next visit. The guide will take you right through the rice terraces and down to the river, explaining the local area to you.

Hiking through the ricefields of Sidemen

After all that exploring the Samanvaya offers a luxe retreat to rest. We loved their newly renovated spa – The Ananda Spa. The decor is stunning, and their therapists are highly experienced. The warm tub at the resort was also a favorite of ours after dinners to sit and relax in.

Restaurant at Samanvaya Sidemen overlooking the lush rice fields
Every room in the resort offers a stunning view. The rooms are eco-luxe and the styling is dreamy! There is one restaurant at the resort serving a mix of local and Western dishes. You can enjoy your meals at the restaurant, by the pool, in your room… or even enjoy a romantic dinner set up by the staff complete with candles and flowers. The boutique feeling of this resort makes for a very personalized stay.
The pool of Samanvaya in Sidemen
Restaurant at Samanvaya Sidemen overlooking the lush rice fields
Women overlooking the rice fields of Sidemen while standing on the edge of Samanvaya's pool

Final Words

We can’t recommend a Samanvaya Sidemen stay highly enough. For us living in Bali, it is a spectacular staycation spot. If you are visiting from outside of Bali, this is the place to experience the Bali village vibe of old!

Sidemen, we will be back to explore you more soon!

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After 15 years of visiting Bali as a tourist, Karlie moved her family to Bali 4 years ago. She loves helping others to enjoy Bali and founded Bali Buddies to encourage others to explore the island she now calls home.

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