Some of Bali's more attractive countryside can be found in the Sideman area. That's Agung volcano in the background.
I've done daytrips from the coast thru the rice terrace areas but have never had the chance to stay there. So I made a point of booking 3 nights at Lihat Sawah Homestay overlooking the valley just south of Sideman town in our August 2010 visit.
Modified Google Earth image of the Sideman valley - might be worth clicking to expand - my labels are a bit small. Main road from the south on right. Others are some of the walks we did. Route 1 circuit takes around 2 hours - is a nice overview of region. A few short steep pinches but no killer climbs - otherwise easy, scenic going. Route 2 is a steep well paved path which goes directly uphill from main road. Turns into rugged uphill track past mid-slope temple just right of 2 symbol. Reaches top of saddle maybe 10 minutes later - continue past houses here until you meet main lane - turn left and head uphill 5 minutes until you see steep multi-stairs to left leading up to Tegeh temple. Looking at maybe 60+ minutes total from Lihat Sawah. Route 2 pretty steep - if you are not fit you will need several stops. Route 3 similar to start with - side road heads steeply uphill pretty soon after entering Ogane village. A couple of scenic warungs on this climb. Once up the top on the ridge you meet fairly major north-south road with ribbon village - nothing outstanding up here bar some cranky dogs and friendly people. Route 4 stats around 100m uphill from Lihat Sawah. First 5 minutes is thru ribbon village which is maybe offshoot of Sideman town. After that, road descends to valley bottom along a ridge with maybe half a dozen accommodation places with scenic outlooks both sides - some are midrange with pools etc. Google will find them. Maybe one hour return - some steady slopes but no steep ones. Lihat Sawah provides a better map than this with some other routes needing a guide which they can supply. They can also do white water rafting, guided Agung climbs, motorcycles and bicycles.
Chez Tezza at Lihat Sawah. This is a "deluxe room" which is actually a separate two level bungalow with a downstairs family room containing a single bed, plus a big upstairs bedroom with a queen size bed and mosquito net. The bathroom and laundry room were on the lower level. There were 3 balconies with wonderful views of the valley, the opposite western ridge and the immediate terraces in the two shots below. In August 2010 this cost 445ooo rupiah (less than $us50) including brekka and dinner for 2 (the latter increasing the price from the website level) - dinner a choice of two courses from the menu. Food good, portions not small. Prices in the menu were little higher than budget restaurants we used in other Bali locations. There were two rather nice warungs within 5 mintutes walk up the road towards Sideman town with similar pricing.
Lihat Siwah also has budget rooms. We noticed some of these did not have great views from their balconies, but the outlook from the restaurant and the side of the rice terrace below made up for this. The website also shows more expensive villas with tvs, full service etc in what sounds to be a separate nearby location.
Our neighbours check the scene. I'm not sure if their's is a deluxe room or a budget room. There were 2 on this upper level - the owner's family occupied the lower level.
Lihat Sawah is also a working rice farm. I'm not sure if these guys are contract farmers, share farmers or part of the family, but guests are welcome to pitch in and help. This was shot from near reception - they have the mechanical cultivator ploughing the terraces - just past it you can see the seedlings in the nursery patch ready for transplanting once the ploughing is finished. We saw one other mechanical cultivator working the valley - more common was the old way, the water buffalo-drawn plough.
By late afternoon the ploughing had reached the bottom of 5 terraces and the rest of the gang was working on the seedlings.
Those guys and gals sure work fast. This is 24 hours later and they have ploughed the whole 5 fields and planted out the seedlings. Pic is shot fromt the lower balcony of what I call Agung View Deluxe Room. Restaurant is adjacent top terrace just out of shot to right.
Part of Lihat Sawah. Reception is at left, Chez Tezza at right. The restaurant and other accommodation is out of shot to right. The earthen banks are the mud bunds which form the side of each narrow terrace - there are at least 5 fields between the camera and the buildings.
Tegeh temple is located on one of the highest points of the western ridge.
Some of the view from the temple. That's Sideman town on the opposite slope.
One of the off-road walks takes a path to the left of this river and eventually goes thru to near the village in the shot below. This is where a guide would be handy - I took it but came to a dead end about 500m along the river - there were several side-tracks but none were sign-posted.
Sideman town is nothing to get excited about, but there are several attractive villages on the narrow country roads like Dukuh here.
Nice country just up the road from Lihat Sawah/
After a walk in the countryside, a drink or two in the scenic restaurant checking the late afternoon rain shower goes down real well. Restaurant tended to attract several daytripping tours and trekking outfits throughout the day.If you are considering Sideman perhaps you might be also interested in nearby CANDIDASA AND PADANGBAI, plus BALI'S BEST BEACHES, THE MAIN BALI PAGE and the GILI ISLANDS and LOMBOK pages which can all be accessed via THE INDEX
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