When one thinks of Bali, I imagine they think of two things. Sunny beaches and rolling hills of rice fields and terraces. Which is a correct image and assumption for this beautiful island in Indonesia. Despite the hustle and bustle that surrounds us during our visit, we have been able to find ways into the beauty that has made Bali such a popular destination with travelers.
Our first step was leaving the madness of Kuta and heading inland to the cultural center of Ubud. Although you will see the commercial tourism here, it isn’t as aggressive and pretty easy to get away from. The next step was renting a scooter and going deeper into the real Bali.
Our mission for the day? To witness the impressive landscapes at the Tegalalong Rice Terraces. These particular rice terraces are the most famous in all of Indonesia. They were featured in the movie Eat, Pray, Love and ever since then, they see thousands of tourists every year. There is a small village that has sprung up at the entrance that is soley supported by the new wave of tourism.
It is best to arrive early to the site for two reasons. To beat the heat and the tourist vans that arrive from both Ubud and Kuta during the early afternoon. Also, arriving early gives you plenty of time to enjoy the terraces from the inside, not just the overlook off the road. Which is what we spent our time doing.
If you ask nicely to one of the sale stalls, the locals will point you in the right direction to access the terraces. There are many steps that will take you down the large hill and to the base of the terraces. From here, you need to make your own way along the narrow dirt working paths that lead all through the property.
On either side of you is field after field of gold glowing rice lined with bright green terraces. It really is a site to see. So many people visit this site for only 10 minutes, take a photo from the top of the overlook and leave. They don’t really take the time to truly experience them and it is something you really shouldn’t miss.
The paths are well groomed and you will come across the occasional ‘toll’ station. In these random stations you will be asked to provide a donation for the maintenance of the paths. There is no set fee and not all stations will be manned. We only paid one during our time there. Besides those stops, you are free to explore at will.
You will be blown away by the sure beauty of the terraces as you make your way to the top. There are many beautiful things in this World and this is one that you stand at in awe by the brilliant engineering of the design to the lush beauty of the bright green grass. We lingered for a long time at the top just taking it all in.
Just when we thought we had spent enough time here and started making our way down, we noticed some people coming from a side path and decided to check it out for ourselves. Turns out, it was a good thing we did. The terraces that you can see from the road are insanely beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but the terraces that reside at the end of that side path are magical.
Being curious enough to pursue that path rewarded us greatly. I won’t lie, the whole time we were walking around on those narrow paths I was mortified that a snake would come out of the rice. Luckily, we saw only one dead snake and no live ones. We did hear a couple screams and witness some running, which I can only guess was other people having encounters with them but we never saw one.
So don’t let your fears of seeing a snake stop you from taking the chance to explore this beautiful little piece of the World in Bali. Despite it’s commercialism at the entrance it is worth a stop and makes for an affordable and mesmerizing day trip.
~The hidden rice terraces, aren’t they beautiful?~
Have you ever visited the Tegalalong Rice Terraces in Bali?
Did you discover the hidden magic?