Ubud vs. Sideman

There’s an old tale about a man coming to Sideman, discovering the beauty of the valley and the surrounding rice fields. Getting back home, a photo of the place began to spread around the world, starting a wave of people go looking for the place. When they got to Ubud, they thought they had found the place and it didn’t take long before more and more visitors arrived. Ubud eventually got ruined by large scale tourism, while the tranquility of Sideman remained.

Sideman is what Ubud was fifty years ago. A spiritual place in the heart of Bali, surrounded by rolling mountains and green rice terraces. A cultural experience that lets you interact with the community in a personal and meaningful way. A man fishing in the river. A family owned Hindi temple. Farmers, working on the fields from early morning, harvesting pak choi, chili, and soya beans. A low-key atmosphere that connects you with nature in an almost meditative way.

The valley of Sideman offers something for everyone, from simple home-stays and cottages to luxurious retreats with spa facilities. Stay among the rice fields on the western side to experience local Balinese life. Opt for the resorts on the eastern side for absolute tranquility combined with discrete luxury and a wider selection of restaurants. Nevertheless, Sideman reinvents what the journey was all about in the first place – a reviving retreat from the stress, boredom, and shallowness of the Western world.

How do I get there?

Where: Sideman is situated in the heart of Bali, 35 kilometres west of Ubud and 50 kilometres northeast of Denpasar.

How: By car from Denpasar in approximately one hour. Rent a family-owned cottage among the rice fields on the western side or check in at one of the valley-facing resorts on the estern side.

When: Visit Sideman between May and October for dry and sunny climate. The rain season in Bali starts in November and ends in April, with heavy rains during December and January.

Written by Erik Ekberger. Photography: Erik Ekberger

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