October 18, 2016


I read an article on This is exactly what we are trying to offer our guests in Villa Sidemen --- The real Bali:


For many Australians, a trip to Bali equates to slurping cheap cocktails by the beach in Kuta, dodging banana-crazy monkeys in Ubud and shopping in Seminyak.


But there’s so much more to Bali.


After spending time in the more remote, mountainous areas of the island, the tourist capitals are a bizarre sight.


Most of the people pounding the pavement are tourists rather than locals, there’s a lot of tacky wares for sale and the bars feel like they’ve been cloned from Australia.


When you’ve made the effort to fly to another country with its own religions, history, language and tradition, why experience what you can in your own backyard?

If you’re looking for more than just a cheap beach holiday, venture away from the tourist traps and try these tips for a more cultural experience of Bali, that’s worth every rupiah.

Sure, swanky 5-star western hotels are nice, but you can stay in one of these culturally homogeneous high rises anywhere in the world.


Do your research and check into a boutique villa or, even better, venture out past Kuta and Ubud into mountain areas like Tabanan for ultimate relaxation.

Not only is it quieter, but at somewhere like Sarinbuana Eco Lodge you get to meet the locals, who may take you hiking to a nearby temple to participate in a prayer ceremony or teach you how to make delicious ikan pepes (fish in banana leaves) and sambal mentah.


Many of these places, including Bali Eco Stay, practise environmental management and sustainability, so you can have a clearer conscience while holidaying too.


Getting your hands messy in a cooking class is a sure-fire way not only to lap up the culture of Bali, but take home some fun recipes.


In the south, Bumbu Bali cooking school is led by Heinz von Holzen and his Balinese chef Pak Bagus, who help you explore this flavour-packed cuisine.

A highlight of their class is a tour of the Jimbaran village market, which is a sensory feast as you discover the main ingredients and spices of Balinese cooking, the aromas to recognise and some tasty breakfast treats.

There’s also a visit to the fish market, which gives a sombre view of the state of the overfished and polluted oceans, before it’s on to the day’s hands-on cooking lesson, which covers over a dozen recipes from chicken stock, to base sate (peanut sauce), kambing mekuah (lamb stew with cardamom) and the secret of the perfect, crispy pisang goreng (fried banana).


On that note, you’re missing out if you eat pizza or burgers, so try some tastebud-tingling local food and have some fun by picking a few dishes you don’t know.

If you do want to visit the tourist-oriented Potato Head Beach Club or the Sacred Monkey Forest, at least plan to go somewhere off the beaten track as well.

You don’t even have to push yourself too far outside your comfort zone.


For the caffeine-crazy, The Luwak Coffee Plantation is not as overcrowded as, say, the nearby UNESCO protected rice fields. A local guide takes you through the plantation, pointing out the spices they grow for their coffee and showing you the still-painstaking process of how it’s roasted and prepared.

Some may be turned off by how Luwak coffee is made, (it’s partly thanks to the digestion of a weasel/catlike civet), but even if you don’t want to try the expensive beverage, there are many other super-sweetened teas and coffees to sip, all before a gorgeous view of rice paddy fields.

A wild civet gathers ripe Arabika coffee fruits at a coffee plantation producing the expensive Luwak coffee


The whole article can be found here:

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