Jan 28, 2011

Sidemen - the best Bali rice fields retreat

Sidemen rice terraces
I was hugely disappointed by Bali beaches - either they were unpleasantly overcrowded with noisy Australians, or black lava sand and rocky bottom made it bikini unfriendly. On the other hand, rice terraces proved to be something truly breathtaking.

Bali rice terraces

The best place we found to indulge ourselves in juicy, peaceful and fertile rice pads was Sidemen, in south east Bali. It's not easy to get there since the road is pretty much in catastrophic state but believe me that all efforts pay off. We had Suzuki Jimny rented (great bargain of 10 euro per day) and it drove us straight to the valley of Sidemen - vast slopes of rice terraces, gardens and vegetable plots maintained in a way you would think of XIX century agriculture. Barefoot, sometimes toothless, people working on their fields since twilight till dusk, tiny shabby huts, primitive cattle barns and so much vegetation you can only imagine.

And in the middle of this green heaven, a few kilometers behind the village, there is a handful of beautiful cozy hotels and inns that offer view, intimacy and even external bathroom carved in lava stone. Surprisingly affordable ( if you bargain - we made it 25 euros for 2 bedrooms house with breakfast), refreshingly modern yet authentic in Asian style, with truly dedicated service - this single experience made a real honey moon to me.

Pineapple pancake on Bali

Sidemen accommodation

In the morning we got our pineapple pancakes, coffee and fresh papaya salad and we were ready to set off on hiking trail along river. Basically, what you do there is jump through muddy pads and take narrow footpaths until you finally find yourself amidst fairy tale trees, small pine apples, flowers and butterflies - some of them big as a hand.

No one bothers you for stepping in their rice, quite opposite - people usually greet you warm, happy to shake your hand. If it just wasn't so steemy hot, I would say there's no better place in the world.

Sidemen rice terraces

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