One of Bali's most scenic areas, where exceptionally beautiful verdant rice terraces tumble down hills to deep valleys, the Sidemen makes a great side trip from Ubud or a stop off on the way to Amed. Sidemen is also known for its traditional weaving. Songket, a ceremonial cloth for weddings richly decorated with gold or silver thread, is one of the best known and several weaving shops along the main road sometimes offer weaving demonstrations. Look for the signs outside the shops or ask your driver who will be sure to know.

The road from Semarapura to Duda through Sidemen and Iseh, with breathtaking paddy field views among some of the most stunning in Bali, is a great way to approach Pura Besakih. Both Walter Spies and Theo Maier resided in the countryside near Iseh to seek peace and inspiration -- and to escape overcrowded Ubud.