Most people focus on the coast when checking out the area around Candi Dasa and Padangbai. There is however some magnificent scenery inland and by driving for just 15 minutes in from the main road, one gets views of the mountains and coast heading off into the distance. Roughly 6km west of Candi Dasa is a turnoff for the village of Manggis. By taking that and driving north, one can pas through the villages of Bakung and Putung, and swinging westwards carry on through Iseh and Sideman. In the lower elevations rice fields extend to the road with houses dotted around. These lowland areas receiving considerably more sunlight than in the higher elevations.
As the road winds its way up steep hills and motorbike riders are down to 2nd or even 1st gear, the rice fields stop and its back to forest. A large part of Amuk Bay is visible, with Padangbai obscured by the high coastal outcrops.
The drive to Sideman is one of those ‘white roads‘ on the Periplus map that we talked about. Very good driving conditions, not overly toursity but having lovely views. Of course staying in the vicinity allows one to fully appreciate the local scene and spend time exploring it rather than driving back and forth from Kuta or Candi Dasa. Manggis has 3 places to stay
Buitan Village, Manggis
Karangasem District 80871
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(Beckham stayed here 2 weeks ago)
Puri Bagus Manggis
Br. Manggis – Manggis – Karangasem,
To best enjoy the scenery you might want to hire a car with driver for the day, easy to do in Candi Dasa. Best strategy is to go to a car rental place, negotiate for a car and then say you’ll add on another 60,000rp for a driver, rather than letting them dictate to you what a car and driver will cost. A drive from Candi Dasa to Manggis, up to Putung, Iseh, Sideman, Klungkung and back to Candi Dasa might take a leisurely 2-3 hours allowing for the odd stop to take photos and have a drink.