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East Bali is one of the island’s undiscovered regions. Some of the best things to do in East Bali include iconic views of Mount Agung, lush green rice fields, ancient temples, calming water palaces, and picturesque bamboo villas.
Most opt to stay in tourist hubs such as Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu, or Ubud, but I highly suggest making the 1.5-hour scooter ride to this part of the island. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. This region shows you the more authentic parts of life in Bali.
Once you’ve visited the East Bali highlights below, make sure to take some time to ride through the back roads and discover the regions on your own. There is inspiring scenery just waiting for you on the side of the road.
Look no further, here is where to stay in Sidemen Valley, East Bali
East Bali Guide – All the Best Things to Do in Bali’s Undiscovered Region
#1 Stay in a Bamboo Villa
We’ve all seen it plastered all over Bali instagram feeds, the iconic bamboo villa. One of the best things to do in East Bali is to book yourself a 1 or 2 night stay at one of these unique stays.
Immerse yourself in nature, hear the sounds and smell the fresh greenery. Most of these villas have open air living and bedrooms, so do be aware that you will be exposed to the elements and critters. Bring a sweater with you because the Sidemen Valley hilltops can get a bit cooler at night. This is all a part of the charm and adventure of being in Bali. Do it once, and thank me later.
Make sure to rise early to catch sunrise over the rice fields and do some meditation or yoga. Sunset is also lovely, all bundled up in white duvet hanging in the picture perfect nets. Food options are usually pretty limited in these areas, so bring a bottle of wine and snacks with you to thoroughly enjoy your stay.
Here are a couple of my recommendations for iconic bamboo villas in East Bali:
HIDEOUT BALI | Located in the Sidemen Valley, this bamboo eco village has 6 homes to choose from. All with the quintessential picture perfect architecture.
#2 Lahangan Sweet Viewpoint
Lahangan Sweet is a secret among locals as one of the best things to do in East Bali. The view of Mount Agung, the mighty active volcano, at sunrise is unparalleled.
The trek up is steep and a bit muddy, but follow the directions on google maps precisely and you should lay witness to a life changing Bali moment.
READ MORE | Everything you need to know about Lahangan Sweet viewpoint before you go
#3 Gembleng Waterfall, Bali
Talk about cool East Bali attractions, and you can’t look further than Gembleng waterfall. This Bali waterfall destination is new on the scene, which means you need to get there before it blows up on social media. Gembleng waterfall comes complete with rushing water, 3 lounging pools, and amazing views of Bali’s lush landscape.
Due to it just opening up to tourism, the amenities are limited here, so come prepared with toilet paper and swimmers under your clothes. There is a small snack stand near the top of the climb offering soft drinks and chips.
It’ll take you 5 minutes up a windy dirt path to reach the pools. Wear some water shoes or waterproof sandals to climb the pools so you don’t slip.
COST | Gembleng Waterfall Entrance fee is 20K IDR ($1.40 USD)
WHERE | Gembleng Waterfall, Bali
STAY | Nestled in the Sidemen Valley, Samanvaya, a luxury adult-only resort with individual bungalows is a great central location for all East Bali attractions. Don’t forget to book a spa treatment.
#4 Bukit Cinta – Mount Agung Viewpoint
The Bukit Cinta viewpoint is one of the places not to miss in East Bali. Set on the side of the road this spectacular view of Mount Agung is a sunrise gem.
READ MORE | The complete guide on Bukit Cinta, Bali – best view of Mount Agung
#5 Tukad Cepung Waterfall, Bali
Hidden within an enchanting grotto, Tukad Cepung waterfall is one of the most instagrammable places in East Bali. Go in the morning to catch the sun rays that come through the top of the waterfall and create a beautiful glow.
#6 Taman Ujung Water Palace, Bali
Taman Ujung is a great alternative to the ever-popular Tirta Gangga water palace. Located right along the coastline of East Bali, Taman Ujung was first built in 1919 by the king of Karangasem to host important guests.
The water palace comes complete with beautiful ponds, bridges, walkways, greenery, roman style theatre, and a grand staircase. Picture perfect on every turn.
A great route to take here would be to start by entering over the bridge, then turn right along the lake and take the picturesque walkway to the central palace. Then keep walking through to the other side of the pond, go right up the staircase to the roman pillars. Here you will be able to see the entire grounds and coastline of East Bali.
WHERE | Taman Ujung Water Palace, Bali
COST | 50K IDR ($3.50 USD)
#7 Monkey Bar at Bella Vista
A crystal clear blue infinity pool with a giant concrete Buddha statue overlooking the lush mountainous landscape of East Bali, who can ask for more. This restaurant slash pool club is a must for an afternoon of lounging in a pool and marveling at the view.
The staff is super friendly, and the food here is okay/decent, but that’s definitely not the reason to come here. If you are into views, swimming, and lounging, it’s a must-visit East Bali attraction.
Go during the week if you can, as we were advised by the manager that weekends are the busiest.
WHERE | Monkey Bar at Bella Vista, Bali
COST | Entrance fee for Monkey Bar is 50K IDR ($3.50 USD) in which 20K goes to towel rental and pool usage and 30K goes to food.
STAY | If you fancy a stay at the villas located right at Monkey Bar, you can book a stay at Bella Kita to have full access to the pool during your visit.
#8 Tirta Gangga Water Palace, Bali
Hidden away in the flatlands of the Karangasem region is the Tirta Gangga water palace, one of the most popular things to do in East Bali. The name means “water from the Ganges” and if you know anything about Hindu religion and culture, the Ganges River in India is one of the most sacred places in the world.
The Tirta Gangga water palace was built in 1947 by the former heir to the Karangasem kingdom and almost all but destroyed by the Mount Agung eruption in 1963. What remains today is still a delight to witness and walk amongst. The water garden consists of ponds, fountains and many stone structures. The grounds have always been considered holy.
The Tirta Gangga complex has many food options surrounding the main gate so you won’t be starved for snacks. There are also several individual washroom stalls located just to the left of the entrance for your convenience.
If you’d like to buy a bag of fish food for the koi pond, find it outside the gate for 5,000 IDR ($0.35 USD) at many vendors
WHERE | Tirta Gangga Water Palace, Bali
COST | Tirta Gangga entrance fee is 30,000 IDR (approximately $2.10 USD)
#9 Maha Gangga Valley – National Reserve
Just around the corner from Tirta Gangga water palace, is the Maha Gangga Valley reserve. A local secret at this point, Maha Gangga is a large park that includes a campground, restaurant, multiple flower fields, a quirky bridge, and several small cone-shaped straw huts.
What makes this reserve even more spectacular, is the beautiful backdrop of fearsome and mighty Mount Agung and the valley’s rice fields that surround the park.
Spend an hour or two perusing and taking pictures to your heart’s content. Make sure to check when the marigolds and flower fields will be in full bloom, when we went they were a bit shrively.
WHERE | Maha Gangga Valley, Bali
COST | Maha Gangga Valley entrance fee is 50K IDR ($3.50 USD)
#10 La Montagne Cafe
What can be so exciting about a cafe you ask? The view, of course! La Montagne Cafe has incredible views overlooking a deep valley of lush green rice fields. And like most places not to miss in East Bali, Mount Agung looms ahead.
Throw ‘La Montagne Coffee’ into google maps and it will take you exactly where you need to go. Arrive around 9 AM when the cafe just opens to get the best midmorning light. They have a table specifically set up for photos (an Instagrammer’s dream), so you won’t be able to sit at it, but the tables inside are just as good.
If you end up arriving for lunch, grab yourself some local Indonesian food, the Gado Gado is delicious.
WHERE | La Montagne Coffee, Bali
COST | Since it’s a cafe, there is no cost besides what you purchase off the menu
STAY | About a 25-minute drive away is the picturesque Bird Hills bamboo home, a quintessential East Bali experience.
#11 Virgin Beach
Caught between the Southeast Bali mountain range and the Indian Ocean is Virgin Beach. A white sand and clear water haven notched nicely into the side of the cliff. You’ll find everything you need here to spend the morning or day frolicking in the waves, getting a tan, or sipping on a coconut. There are a few local warungs along the beachfront, a small campground, ladies offering beach massages, and fishermen selling their catch of the day.
Typing ‘Virgin Beach parking lot’ into Google Maps is likely the most direct route, as there are a couple of different entrances. Once you’ve left the main road, it can be a little tricky to navigate through the small village before heading up and over the mountain. But, don’t worry, a friendly local will be there to guide you in the right direction. Stop your scooter at the pinnacle of the mountain to get a spectacular view of the beach from up top.
Afternoons at Virgin Beach are quite hot, so I’d opt to spend the morning lazing around before heading home after lunch. Alternatively, sunsets can be beautiful here, and if this is your jam, arrive around 5 PM.
WHERE | Virgin Beach, Bali
COST | Virgin Beach in Bali has an entrance fee of 10K IDR ($0.70 USD) for foreigners
#12 Penataran Lempuyang Temple (Gates of Heaven)
Penataran Lempuyang is a Hindu temple located close to the far East coast of Bali. It’s one of the longest-standing East Bali attractions. The ‘Gates of Heaven’ are located close to the top of Mount Lempuyang, which is deemed one of the holiest places in Bali.
This spot was made popular years ago by a single image of a person standing in the middle of the reflected gate. Some people are disappointed to find out that the reflection is created by holding a piece of glass up to your lens but the end result still brings awe to many people. It remains one of the most instagrammable places in East Bali.
Due to its fame, I’d advise arriving before the temple grounds open if you are planning to get the famous shot for sunrise. A cue here can be several people long.
COST | Penataran Lempuyang Temple entrance fee is 10K IDR ($0.70 USD)
STAY | Located a 20-minute scooter ride from the temple, is Kubu Carik Bungalows. These 2 bungalows have an amazing view of the valley all to themselves.
Essentials for your East Bali Trip
With any trip, it’s always a good idea to prepare and bring a few items that will make your experience better. Here are my recommendations:
DAY PACK | I travel with my WANDRD backpack, it comes with a compartment for your camera and tons of space for all your other goodies
MIRRORLESS CAMERA | If you want to invest in something other than your camera phone (the newest phones have great cameras by the way), I purchased the Sony A7iii with a Sigma 24-70mm 2.8 lens. Couldn’t be happier.
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE | Let’s help save our planet from plastic pollution and carry around a reusable water bottle instead. I love my Swell water bottle as it stays cold for 24 hours and is lightweight. A LARQ water bottle would also fit the bill and has water purifying technology built right in.
More Bali Travel Inspiration
10 COOL + UNIQUE PLACES TO STAY IN UBUD BALI | Looking a unique place to stay in the heart of Bali’s wellness culture? This guide has you covered.
WHERE TO STAY IN SIDEMEN BALI | Sidemen Valley is an untouched paradise in East Bali. Here are all the best places to stay in the area.
LAHANGAN SWEET, BALI | Located on top of a mountain overlooking Mount Agung on one side and the East Bali coastline on the other. Lahangan Sweet is a must-visit location.
BUKIT CINTA, BALI | One of the best viewpoints of Mount Agung, Bali’s active volcano. Go for sunrise and you won’t be disappointed
TIBUMANA WATERFALL, BALI | Who can resist a picture-perfect Bali waterfall? Check out this gem located a 30-minute scooter ride from the yoga centre of Ubud
TUKAD CEPUNG WATERFALL, BALI | A unique waterfall nestled inside a mossy cave in central Bali
SUWAT WATERFALL, BALI | Suwat waterfall is tucked away in a grotto with natural falls and an epic cave