January 2019

The hidden gem of Bali

Bali doesn’t stop to surprise me with it’s beauty!!!

I was invited to visit the newest (and I might say “only”) 5 stars boutique hotel on Sidemen … Wapa di Ume Sidemen.

Let me say that there’s no words o explain these experience.

Overviewing the famous Mount Agung, on a rural countryside area from Karangasen disctric, there’s a valley covered of jungle and rice paddies … a hidden gem waiting to be explored. In this valley we can find Sidemen village, one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I know in the island, away from tourist hustle and bustle elsewhere. 

How’s possible that most people still never heard about this place??

I got amazed soon as I arrived. On the way, I start to notice the changes. The traffic decreased, the rice fields and jungle areas increased, less shops and more local houses. I was getting away of the hectic life of the south and getting into my element: nature. Soon as I arrived at Wapa di Ume Sidemen, I was blowed away.

I was welcomed by the most beautiful smiles and with a traditional balinese blessing. Pak Agus, the resort manager, escort me to the villa that would be my home for the next 2 nights … and what a villa!! A private individual villa with my very own private pool overlooking to the panoramic hillsides … just for myself. A spacious and bright room, with big widows and a huge bathroom with both outdoor shower and indoor huge bathtub with a view, a balcony and a pool to get some tan without anyone looking around.

The bed was so comfortable that I felt sleeping hugged in a cloud of pillows. Being such a remote and quite location, the only sounds you can hear all day long are birds, crickets, geckos and the river. Join the frogs at night time, and you’ll get the perfect lullaby. If the night was amazing, wait until you wake up. I love to sleep with all curtains open, so in the morning I wake up easier. This time to a beautiful valley view and with the swallows starting their daily dance around the villa. These last couple of months haven’t been easy for me but here I had my best 2 night of sleep in a while.

The restaurant’s main feature is the bamboo work structures and natural materials, used on a very elegant way. It’s faced to the hills and rice fields and you’ll be enjoying your meal listen the river flowing. The food is simply delicious and they even offer a free tea snack!!!

They also have a stunning open-air-bamboo-made yoga studio.

As for activities, if you don’t want to just “vegetate” by the pool, there’s plenty to do here. I started my only full day in house with a 2h trekking. I walked along rice fields, crossed rivers and climbed hills.  Along the way, my guide Utari, explained me that in this area they still live primarily from farming, and most farmers only plant one crop of rice per year (unlike other parts of Bali, where up to three crops are planted). Crops are rotated and you’ll find chillies, peanuts, corn and tapioca, among others. Flowers grown for offerings add spots of colours to the green. Soon as we start getting higher on the hill, the rice was replaced by cacao, clove trees and durian trees. Spending too much time seated on the computer, made the steeper part of trek a little tough, but all efforts are worth of reaching the top and enjoy the view from the entire valley bellow Agung.

To recover from all the exercise, I had a Balinese massage at the Spa. The main feature of the treatment rooms: open room with outdoor bathtub and shower, face to the jungly hills. No music is needed for the treatment. Even the sound of the rain that started to fall (or the thunders), together with the birds chorus and the river flowing right bellow, made this one of the best massage experiences I ever had (the massage was also out of this world).

There’s also a mountain biking tour (i didn’t have time to do it) and a sightsee option, but due to the heavy rain of the afternoon, we had to shortened it and I didn’t have the chance to visit the magic waterfall, temples and markets. Maybe’s these are the perfect excuse to go back.

They even have weaving workshops, where guests can learn how to made the traditional songket and endek (ikat of the weft) of the region. Songket is an intricate and time-consuming process, produced on backstrap looms. It can take several months to weave a sarong. The traditional style here uses gold and silver thread along with naturally dyed cotton.

Wapa di Ume is made of views and senses: beautiful landscapes; most comfortable sleep; incredible experiences; delicious food and the most incredible soundtrack of mother nature, not to mention the super nice staff always helpful (most of them are from the area)!

Two nights are not enough to enjoy some quality time, and I wish I could had stayed longer.

Check my instagram to see my stories from this adventure.
And please, please … visit Wapa di Ume Sidemen if you’re looking for a place to recharge energies, away from the crowed Ubud and south of Bali.

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