One of the joys of a longer travel plan has been not mapping out the exact route through each country we will take and remaining open to new destinations. We had planned to spend a few days on the east coast of Bali, in Amed (known for seafood and good snorkeling). In planning our route to Amed, I read that Sidemen was a nice (small) place in the mountains to stop on the way. Turned out our driver had no idea how to get there, so we practically drove to Amed before turning on to the right road for Sideman. We stayed at the Khrisna Homestay, which also has its own organic fruit and vegetable farm. Our room overlooked the lush garden and ingredients for meals are literally plucked from the garden – delicious!
The next day we couldn’t find a place to rent bicycles from, so we opted for a guide to take us through the rice fields and up to the temple above Sideman. It was lovely to walk through private farms, rice terraces, crossed streams and passed a small waterfall. To get to the temple we walked though a small village whose main (only?) export is cloves. All along the path were millions of cloves laying in the sun to dry out, creating a lovely scent in the air. After a long climb up the steep steps we were rewarded with a locked temple. Lunchtime? It’s pretty small and hard to tell if it’s normally open or not. Our guide offered little explanation but quickly herded us to a restaurant where he proceeded to have his lunch added to our bill. Not such a big deal if agreed in advance but it was the assumption that we weren’t happy with. It was taken off of our bill and we had a similar awkwardness when we paid him. He asked us not to tell his boss that he’d stayed with us for more than 5 hours but he hadn’t?!?! On our trek we saw others who were not with a guide. My advice, skip a guide here – it’s easy enough to see on your own.
While in Sideman James learned about Nusa Lembongan, which offers crystal blue waters and uncrowded surf, so we dropped the plan for the surf-less Amed and headed to Sanur to catch a ferry to Lembongan.