One cannot go to Bali and not make time to see the Tegalalang Rice Terraces.

Located about 3 miles (10 kilometers ) from Ubud, the Tegalalang rice fields are only 20 to 30 minutes away from the popular town. The rice fields are perched at about 1,970 feet (600 meters) in elevation, therefore benefiting from colder temperatures and rains from nearby Mount Batur. It did feel colder when we reached the rice fields, leaving behind the heat of Denpasar.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Tegalalang rice fields north of Ubud

Tegalalang rice fields north of Ubud

Green Galore at the Tegalalang Rice Terraces

We wandered to the edge of the hill overlooking the terraces. And then we met the lush vegetation, the landscape declining all the shades of green. The hills were lined up with wild palm trees, as well as colorful plants and flowers bringing in contrasting red and purple shades.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. View of the Terraces

View of the Tegalalang rice terraces

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. Coconut Trees and Red Plants

Coconut trees and red plants

Our guide Gede, who is a native from Bali and the owner of rice fields himself, explained that the current fields displayed a one-month-old growth so it would be another three months before the harvest. Indeed the community will only pick it up when the rice husks are yellow. Bali rice, which is grown is Tegalalang, takes longer than most rice variations.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. One-month old rice growth

One-month-old rice growth

There are four different types of rice on Bali:

  • Bali rice – originally from China and called Bali by the Chinese
  • Black sticky rice
  • Red-brown rice
  • White rice
Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. Extended View of the Terraces.

Extended view of the Tegalalang rice terraces

Subak Water Management

Besides getting rains from the higher grounds of Mount Batur, traditional Balinese uses a particular irrigation system called Subak. This water system of the Bali rice terraces was developed in the 9th century. The Bali Subak and rice fields are now designated UNESCO World Heritage.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. Subak Irrigation System

Subak irrigation system

We just stopped for a quick visit of the Tegalalang Rice Terraces on the way to Mount Batur, but one can hike through the fields and get a closeup view. Bruno and I are soon returning to Indonesia, including Bali, and we can’t wait to get our feet in the mud and walk through the rice fields.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. House hidden by the vegetation

House hidden by the vegetation

Rice Fields – A Bali Tradition

Besides Tegalalang, the rice fields culture is omnipresent on Bali. Many estimate the rice fields to have been in Bali for over 2,000 years. The higher you go, the more impressive these will be, as the temperatures will be cooler and the land will get more water.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. Balinese rice field worker

Balinese rice field worker

We passed by so many rice fields, both in small villages or in the remote countryside. We saw a family of three harvesting their fields in a well-established routine. The man cut the plant and shook the grain out, while the wife separated the grain from the remaining husks using a weaved pan. This process is called winnowing. She then packed the rice into large bags, ready to go to the market for sale or the family storage.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Balinese rice field workers during harvest

Rice field workers during harvest

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Balinese rice field worker shaking rice husks

Shaking rice husks

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Balinese rice field worker winnowing

Winnowing

In another occasion, a group had finished packing the rice and loaded the large and heavy bags to a truck for transportation.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Balinese rice field workers by the road

Rice field workers by the road in Bali countryside

Two ladies brought offerings to the Hindu gods after a successful harvest. Bali is predominantly Hindu, and it was very common to see Hindu gods on every building and through the daily life of the Balinese. Gede, our guide, knew we were keen on learning more about the Indonesian culture and made sure we stopped every time we could witness such moments.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces Banner. Balinese rice field workers giving offerings to the Hindu gods.

Ladies giving offerings to the Hindu gods after the harvest

The Jatiluwih rice terraces are another fabulous location close to Ganung Batukaru. Even more impressive than Tegalalang, these are however further away, standing at about 50 km from Denpasar. Other areas worth visiting are Sidemen and Tabanan paddy fields.

Indonesia. Bali Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Balinese rice fields

Endless rice fields in Bali

How to Get to Tegalalang Rice Terraces

We went with a guide – Gede, whose English and knowledge about Bali was just perfect – and a driver, but you can also simply hire a driver for the day. They are a very short distance from Ubud and very reachable from Denpasar.

This visit, as well as my entire Indonesian trip, including the tour of Mini Indonesia in Jakarta or Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, was organized and sponsored thanks to the Konsulat Jenderal Republik Indonesia di San Francisco and provided by Marintur Indonesia. Thank you for the terrific opportunity! Our opinion is our own and is not impacted by this partnership.

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A Glance at The Lush Tegalalang Rice Terraces of Bali // One cannot go to Bali and not make time to see the Tegalalang Rice Terraces.