Life in Bali often revolves around the cycle of rice growth, and rice is a Balinese staple. Rice terraces in Bali grow white, red and black rice, and Indonesia is one of the world’s largest rice producers. What is unique to Bali’s rice terraces is the sustainable Subak irrigation system. The Tegalalang rice terrace and the Jatiluwih rice terrace are UNESCO world heritage sites, but Bali is also home to multiple other rice terraces, each as beautiful as the last.
1. Tegalalang Rice Terrace
The rice terrace at Tegalalang is set in a small, lush valley, with coconut and banana trees lining the way. The terraced steps let you take in stunning views of the island and paint the fields and the lush vegetation in various shades of green. The Tegalalang rice terraces give you great photo opportunities, and the swings and “I Love Bali” signs are ideal for posing at. The rice terrace is half an hour to the north of Ubud and gets crowded during the day owing to its popularity.
2. Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
Spanning over 600 hectares, the Jatiluwih rice terrace is the largest in Bali and is situated on the foot of Mount Batukaru, 700 metres above the sea. From the fields, you get gorgeous views of Mount Batukaru and the surrounding rolling green hills. Numerous local restaurants lie along the way, and there are hotels and guesthouses near the rice terraces, which means you can stay the night there. Jatiluwih rice terrace is an hour and a half away from Ubud and an hour from Munduk.
3. Munduk Rice Terrace
With trees towering over the fields and vast expanses of forests in the distance, the rice terraces at Munduk are a popular destination for nature lovers. There are waterfalls near the area as well as farms producing strawberries and durians. The rice terrace at Munduk is just over 1000 metres above sea level, which means the area is colder than the rest of the island. The altitude also means you get to see low-hanging clouds around the area. There are a lot of places to stay around Munduk, and you should spend multiple nights here if you want to cover everything the region has to offer. Munduk is around 2.5 hours from Ubud.
4. Pacung Rice Terrace
The Pacung rice terrace lies en route to Leke Leke waterfall and the Ulun Danu temple. Sitting on the slopes of Pacung valley, you can take in the beauty of the rice terraces and the surrounding mountains in a cool and serene environment. You might even see farmers in action on the fields if you visit during harvesting or planting season. The cafe of Warung Gemitir is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings when you visit the rice terraces at Pacung. Pacung is around an hour from Singaraja and the Ngurah Rai International Airport.
5. Payangan Rice Terrace
Located in the village of Payangan near the city of Ubud, the rice terraces here follow the slope of the hill down to the Ayung river at the foot of the hills. Payangan is one of the quieter spots in Bali, making it a refreshing experience. The neighbouring villages of Penestanan and Pengosekan also have their own rice fields, so you could take a whole day to explore this part of Bali. Payangan is about 20 minutes to the north of Ubud.
6. Sidemen Rice TerraceVisiting the rice terraces at Sidemen village, you get stunning views of Mount Agung, an active volcano. If you’re into hiking, the village has paddy field trekking tours available for you, taking you over vibrant green hillsides, across rivers, and through lush farmlands. You can also buy souvenirs such as traditional dye weavings from the numerous markets in the village. SIdemen is around 1.5 hours from Ubud.
6. Belimbing Rice Terrace
With the Batur volcano in the distance and palm trees lining the scenery, the rice terraces at Belimbing are great spots for some photography. It is best to visit these terraces on a clear day, as a fog often covers it up, especially during monsoon. You can trek through the rice terraces, explore the paddy fields and catch farmers in action as well. The village of Belimbing offers magnificent views of the rice terraces and is an attraction in itself. The waterfalls of Bembem and Sade in Belimbing are popular among tourists. Belimbing is about 2 hours from the town of Denpasar.
7. Tirta Gangga Rice Terrace
Tirta Gangga, meaning “the water of the Ganges”, is the site of the Royal Water Palace, revered by Balinese Hindus. The area also houses some of the most beautiful rice terraces in Bali. Despite not being as steep as rice terraces typically are, they offer easy treks for visitors, as well as a long 6-hour trek through local villages. It is best to visit Tirta Gangga in the early mornings as it tends to get crowded as the day grows older. Tirta Gangga is around 2.5 hours from Ubud.
Tips While Visiting the Rice Terraces of Bali
- It is best to visit the rice terraces early in the morning as they tend to get crowded during the day.
- Bring appropriate footwear if you plan on hiking through the rice fields.
- Carry water with you, especially if you hike through the scenery. There are not too many shops along the way, so you might not get water along the hike.
- Some rice terraces require entrance fees, while others ask for donations. These donations are helpful to the farmers because they do not earn enough to sustain their lives from farming. Further, tourists disrupt their farming.
The rice terraces of Bali remain green and luscious all year round. Successive planting means once the paddy season is up, farmers grow other crops on the same fields, which means there is no specific season to visit the terraces.