Sidemen, Bali, Indonesia

Landing a few minutes past midnight, a gentleman dressed in traditional Balinese attire greeted us at the overcrowded receiving area outside the baggage carousels. I am Ma’dé! He grabbed our bags, sorted the car and off we went into the desolate streets of east Bali on our way to our first destination; Sidemen.

The singing cries of Roosters, geckos, toads and various birds filled the air as morning came, drawing our curtains revealed beautiful sceneries of mountainous valleys and rice field bases. The sun crept Bali’s highest peak in Mt. Agung to our right while the distant view of the ocean to our left began to clear of its’ morning fog.

So serene and a great way to ease my partner into her first foray into SE Asia and the impending hustle and bustle of the iconic island of Bali. To her credit, ahead of our trip, in the planning stages, she chose the rough areas she wished to visit and created a powerpoint file to present her wishlist! Bless her, as I booked the rightful accoms in the areas of her interest and whipped up a route that would eventually lead her to the hectic south centre of Bali.

We would do it in gradual way.

Sidemen is quiet, back country, farming type life. Lush green surroundings, old world people, simple and kind. Our choice of Homestay; Barong Villas offered an intimate experience with just 5 villas perched on a pseudo cliffside. Made and his family run the property and its a real family atmosphere where they take you in like one of their own, you meet the family, learn about their lives and even take part. The beauty of travel is to gain authenticity to your experience, the removal of the sugarcoat reveals riches and allows you to make real human connections with those of like mind regardless of language barrier.

I planned for 5 days in Sidemen, mainly just relaxing in our villa or poolside but also booked a tour with Made as our guide visiting a virtual moonshine setup (Arak is a fermented Coconut alcohol that’ll put some hair on your chest!), we also visited beautiful rarities in a floating water garden completing with giant Koi & schools of African Cichlids, that I may add…you could hand feed and steal a caress or two 😉 Tirta Gangaa as its named featured many Hindu deity depictions as well as a life size structure of the basis of Ying & Yang. A definite must visit if you find yourself on Bali’s east coast. We also visited former Royal Palace grounds and took in the awe inspiring Balinese Royal architecture, the type of place where photos serve no justice but you try to capture them any way.

Our East Bali experience was capped off by a little gift by our hosts as they took us to the local night market where there were food options galore and you really got a sense of the bustling local life when the days are totally shrouded in ‘chill’!

I reminded my partner that I was easing her into eventual chaos but would make it as painless as possible. As morning broke on our 5th day, a man by the name of Nono came to pick us up…

…onward to the North coast, another new spot for me and another step faster for her.