Terraced Rice Fields in Bali: The Most Beautiful Ones

Alexis
Modified on January 22, 2024

Bali is filled with ricefields and many are very beautiful. Here is a list of terraced rice paddies that you should probably stop by if you're on the island.

Where Are the Rice Terraces in Bali Generally Located?

Rice terraces are truly everywhere in Bali. You can find them in rural areas, residential areas between neighborhoods, and sometimes even in urban areas between buildings.

While any rice terrace is exotic for a newcomer to Bali (and generally in Asia), not all rice terraces are equal, and that's perfectly normal.

Terraced rice fields are much more impressive, the kind of landscape that captivates you, even after years of living in Indonesia. But, of course, they are less common than the more "flat" rice fields.

In any case, if you've never seen rice terraces in your life, I can only recommend exploring areas where they are very present. Rice terraces are often the big love of travelers visiting Bali, much more than the beaches, jungle, or mountains.

terraced ricefield tegalalang bali

Terraced Rice Fields and the "Subak" System: A Highly Engineered Feat Closely Tied to Balinese Culture

Bali's rice terraces are organized according to a traditional and ecological system called the "Subak", which is a kind of irrigation and rice field organization system based on canals, cultivation terraces, and temples.

This explains why the rice terraces are always moist, even without rain and irrigation. The water is "simply" diverted from natural sources to irrigate the surrounding areas using nothing but gravity. The cultivation terraces, or terraces, can even be closed if necessary to dry the soil.

When you walk near a rice terrace, you quickly realize the engineering required for such a system. The water flows "on its own," to the point where you can hear the rice terrace "live" when you are alone inside.

The technical feat is real, especially when considering that the system was deployed in the 9th century!

The Subak adheres to the principle of Tri Hita Karana, which involves harmony between humans, gods, and nature. The rice terraces are primarily intended for rice cultivation but also align with local religious traditions.

The Most Famous Terraced Rice Fields in Bali

While rice terraces are scattered throughout Bali, not all of them have the same popularity. Here are those that are terraced and the most visited.

Tegalalang: The Most Visited Terraced Rice Fields in Bali (Entrance Fee Required)

tegalalang rice paddy

Tegalalang is a village near Ubud that is primarily known for its protected terraced rice fields classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The rice field itself is beautiful but also very popular among tourists worldwide. The entrance fee is affordable but required.

If you are in central Bali, especially in Ubud, it's worth a visit, even if you won't be the only one with that idea.

Where to Stay to Visit Tegalalang's Rice Terraces

There are many nice hotels around Tegalalang, some of which overlook the rice terraces. Otherwise, Ubud is also a good option, with other rice terraces and jungle views if you choose the right hotel!

Booking.com

Jatiluwih: Beautiful UNESCO-listed Terraced Rice Fields in Western Bali (Entrance Fee Required)

jatiluwih rice paddy

Jatiluwih is another flagship rice terrace in Bali, also protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In my opinion, they are even nicer than the Tegalalang rice terraces and much less touristy, although you won't be alone. The entrance fee is also reasonable.

Jatiluwih is less visited than Tegalalang because it is not next to a major tourist destination, except for the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple and a bit of Tanah Lot. There is, however, the Batu Karu volcano, Munduk (see below), and more generally, the authentic center of Bali in the vicinity, which is also very nice.

Where to Stay to Visit Jatiluwih's Rice Terraces

Here is a selection of some hotels near Jatiluwih.

Booking.com

Belimbing: Preserved from Tourism and Free Terraced Rice Fields

Belimbing is another well-known terraced rice field in Bali, but not too well-known: nothing like Tegalalang or Jatiluwih, clearly. The rice field is free and is not really considered a tourist activity.

The access is a bit tricky, and there are not many accommodations around. But if you want to discover authentic rural Bali, it's not a bad idea to stay in the vicinity.

Some Hotels Near Belimbing

Booking.com

The Best Areas to Stay to See Non-Touristy (and Free) Rice Terraces

There are actually many places to see free terraced rice fields in Bali, or even to stay facing one of these rice terraces. Here are some Bali cities to stay in if you want to be surrounded by rice terraces without them necessarily being touristy.

Sidemen: A More Remote Area of Bali Known for its Beautiful Rice Terraces

sidemen ricefield bali

Sidemen was almost a well-kept secret spot just a few years ago. Located in the East of Bali, Sidemen is a true haven of peace with terraced rice fields everywhere and breathtaking views of Mount Agung (if it's clear).

Most of the hotels and other accommodations in Sidemen overlook a rice terrace or are at least right next to one. If you want to immerse yourself in a rice terrace for a few peaceful days in Bali, I can only recommend it.

The Best Hotels in Sidemen, Bali, to Stay in the Rice Fields

Booking.com

Munduk: A Small Village Surrounded by Beautiful Rice Terraces

 munduk ricefield

Munduk is another haven of peace surrounded by rice terraces, this time located in the center of Bali, near Bedugul and Lake Tamblingan. The area is more mountainous and therefore cooler than the rest of Bali, which is ideal for those who struggle with coping with Bali's humid tropical heat. It is also a highly renowned location for its many trekking trails, many of which pass through rice terraces. Walking enthusiasts, you'll be in paradise here.

Almost all hotels in Munduk overlook a rice terrace or are in the immediate vicinity of one. The surrounding rice terraces are naturally cultivated and not touristy. A great opportunity to understand the Subak system or to relax in an environment that only invites that!

The Best Hotels and Accommodations in Munduk to Be in the Rice Terraces

Booking.com

Ubud (and Tegalalang): The Center of the Island Remains a Convenient Destination to See Rice Terraces

Ubud and the neighboring village of Tegalalang remain very good options for those who want to stay amidst rice terraces.

While not all establishments necessarily have a view of a massive terraced rice field, there are plenty of small rice fields around Ubud, and many hotels have views of rice fields or the jungle (especially those along the river). If you want a "natural" view (jungle or rice fields), it's better to choose a hotel a bit away from the city center, which is more urbanized, even though there are always small rice fields between the buildings.

Hotels in Ubud and Tegalalang for Rice Field Lovers

Booking.com

Some Basic Rules in the Rice Terraces

Before venturing into Balinese rice terraces, here are some common-sense tips and other tricks that can help you avoid unpleasant surprises.

Do Not Walk in the Rice Fields, Especially If Rice Has Been Planted

Rice fields are a farmers' cultivated area. Just as you wouldn't walk in the middle of a freshly planted field in your country, you should not walk in the middle of a rice field (where the rice plants and water are) without being 100% sure you can do so.

Remember, rice is planted by hand in Bali. Stepping on rice, frolicking in a rice field, and all such ideas are very offensive to the work done by the locals. Some tourists have even been expelled for jumping into rice fields!

Ask for Permission Before Venturing into Non-Touristy Rice Fields

Not all rice fields are tourist attractions. If you want to explore the paths of a working rice field, it's better to ask locals and/or farmers for permission before venturing in.

Most of the time, there's no issue as long as you don't walk on the rice and stay on the paths, but there might be situations when it's not the right day because people are working in the fields.

In any case, no one will bite you for asking permission.

Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes If You Stay Near Rice Fields

Rice fields are beautiful and highly photogenic places, but keep in mind that they are primarily wet areas with stagnant water. Stagnant water means many mosquitoes.

If you plan to stay near rice fields, it's better to avoid completely open accommodations and/or have good mosquito repellent solutions if you want to avoid leaving with numerous itches and/or dengue.

Here's the guide to protecting yourself from mosquitoes in Indonesia if you're interested.

Rice Fields Mean Rice Field Animals

Stagnant water and vast spaces unfortunately attract not only mosquitoes and tourists. There are, of course, many types of animals living in rice fields.

Not all of them are necessarily dangerous, but they can be quite surprising. Expect to find many toads, frogs, rats, as well as some monitor lizards and quite a few snakes near rice fields.

For more information, I invite you to check out this article on dangerous animals in Bali.

Conclusion

There are really plenty of rice fields in Bali, from the simplest to the most complex, from the most hidden to the most touristy. Staying in a hotel with a view of a rice field remains an experience to be had, in my opinion.

It's simple; I don't know anyone who hasn't liked Bali's rice fields, including those who didn't like Bali! If you want to avoid tourists in the most famous rice fields, explore the surroundings of cities surrounded by rice fields, and you will clearly not be disappointed with the journey.

Similar Articles

See More | Category