There’s no shortage of sweeping landscapes, verdant rice terraces, jungle-fringed working farms and soaring volcanoes in Bali. But perhaps the most impressive of all are the emerald green rice paddies and traditional villages of Sidemen Valley, about 90 minutes’ drive northeast of Ubud. Here, the villages are tucked in between cascading rice terraces and cloud-capped Mount Agung looms over them all like a benevolent sentry. Visitors can visit temples and shrines, stroll the village streets and explore cocoa and coffee plantations. They can also relax at clifftop cafes and sample the famous Kopi luwak (civet coffee) – and even spot friendly civets snoozing on tables!
While it’s great that people from all over the world are visiting Bali, it’s important to remember that many of them are staying in expensive villas and using the local scenery as a backdrop for Instagram photos. This can put a strain on the island’s infrastructure, and it can make it hard for locals to earn money from their land and culture.
A trip to Bali is not complete without exploring its stunning natural wonders and vibrant culture. From secluded waterfalls and hidden forests to ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples, there are endless opportunities for adventure. The Balinese have a deep respect for nature and the environment, which can be seen in their farming practices and philosophies. For example, they use a system of irrigation called ‘subak’ which harnesses water from rivers and lakes for their crops. They also have a sacred day called Nyepi, where the entire island shuts down and is silent for 24 hours. This is to protect the island from bad spirits.