Free wheeling to Sidemen

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Jul 17, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Monday, July 9, 2012

To me it was a late 9.30 am departure by the 2 vans bound for Sidemen, so I thought.

Quickly leaving Ubud and passing through the outer suburbs with their many craft factory shops and galleries, our first stop was at Pecingkrem to see the Ceking rice terrace.

This is really a picture perfect postcard setting of the rice terrace and how Bali and Indonesia is portrayed in the paintings, tourist brochures and magazines that I have seen. Hope you agree with these few images. Yes, they were so good (my opinion of course) that I took some with HDR in mind and that chewed up even more of my memory card.

Soon we turned down a country lane and ahead of us were our mountain bikes all lined up ready to go. A quick work out how the gears work and we were off.

I had a expected one of two slight up hill sections but it was all downhill for the whole way. We travelled just over an hour literally free wheeling all the way.

Well worthwhile as the scenery started up in the jungle in the village of Taro, then passing through many small villages that were first turning out the different stone work items and then those villages which specialised in the timber craft items. Besides the temples, some artists studios were scattered along the road side and then we finally came to the rice terraces.

I stopped many times to take photos which no doubt annoyed the “tail end Charlie” van driver.

The children who were on holiday would be waving to us as we rode by … "Whose that guy at the rear in his pink helmet and bright fluro yellow safety vest?" I heeded the trip notes that said no helmets are provided so brought my own and bright fluro vest. With a van in front and 2 vehicles behind us, it was reassuring that if anything went wrong help was right there. This road had very little traffic anyway ... just the scooters.

At last I saw close up several mechanical ploughs that are used to prepare the rice paddy fields ready for planting. The second one, the farmer was riding behind it like he was on a single water ski or wave board. I trust that you can get the actions with the short sequence that I took.

We finished at the village of Keliki.

After getting back into the van we were off and then to my surprise I saw a sign on a tree that I had taken a picture of 2 days earlier. Sure enough, we had stopped just above the start of the yesterday’s walk at the top of Campuan Ridge. So this bit of road I have now been over it not once or twice but 3 times.

So the morning trip heading as I thought out towards to Sidemen actually meant that we did a near circle ending back not quite into Ubud central before we headed away from town for a lunch stop at I Made Joni Restaurant & Gallery overlooking some more rice fields.

Nasi Campur Bali - Steamed rice with mixed veregetables, fried chicken and local steamed chicken, tofu with curry sauce, prawn shrimp crackers and chicken satay 75,000 Rp plus a refreshing lime juice 22,500 Rp - total 118,000 Rp (NZ$16 or US$12).

Our most expensive lunch so far but in a real lovely setting. How cooling it was here with the gentle breeze. Love the open air restaurants with high roof and no walls that we have stopped by. Gosh, we were advised to allow 150,000 Rp per day for meals etc. At this rate the budget will be blown in next to no time. Sure, I could have chosen the cheaper food options.

Then time to head for the hills and the village of Sidemen just over an hour away.

Set against a backdrop of Bali's highest peak mostly hidden by cloud, Mt Agung, surrounded by rice terraces, this peaceful and friendly village of Sidemen is for now proof that Bali still has pockets completely away from the tourism that the island is famous for. However with the construction in this area of new small resorts eating into the rice terraces, this will unfortunately soon change. Being at a higher elevation, it's also slightly cooler here which is a welcome relief from the last 2 weeks of travelling through Java and Bali.

A walk around the narrow local roads and rice fields walkways as the sun set over the fields. Many farmers were still out in the fields undertaking their various duties. A sense of peace and a slower pace of life kind of descended upon this place for me. Ah, to be away from the small bustling city of Ubud and out in the country at last.

Dinner at the villa’s restaurant: Pepe Ikan - steamed fish in banana leaf with Balinese sauce and steamed rice 49,000 Rp and a pineapple juice 18,000 Rp = 77,050 Rp (NZ $9 or US $8).

The night sky was like that at the Seloliman Nature Reserve. Being away from the city, the stars were certainly out in force and twinkling in the distance. With the many evening insects mixed with the sound of a near by evening performance over the loudspeakers, this was the evening sound that put me to sleep.
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Eve on

LOVE your pictures...and the helmet and jacket combo :)

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