Bali’s scenic rice terraces
Bali is renowned for the beauty of its sculpted rice terraces. Estimated to cover 20 percent of Bali’s land area, these vibrant green plantings and layered mirrors unfold like giant stairways from the mountains to the sea. Most people who have visited the island say that the ‘real’ Bali can be found where the rice grows, and for sure, the magnificence of these gorgeous hand-carved landscapes can fill entire memory cards with remarkable photographs.
Jatiluwih, in the heart of the Tabanan Regency, also known as Bali’s ‘rice bowl’, is the most agriculturally productive region on the island, with 600 hectares of rice fields stretching from the coast and following the graceful hillside topography to as high as 700 metres above sea level. The glorious scenery will unfold in front of you like a map as you journey along a narrow winding road up the inclines of Bali’s second highest peak, the 2276-metre Mt Batukaru, through steep terraces planted with Asia’s staple crop. Jatiluwih, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is true to its name, which means ‘extraordinary’ or ‘truly marvellous’, and this scenic point offers one of the most breathtaking views imaginable. The Balinese have been the world’s best landscape sculptors for more than a millennium! Several restaurants serving international and local cuisine line the small road here, offering a picturesque lunch stop.
Also in Tabanan, the farming village of Pupuan is likewise characterised by its stunning rice terraces, together with cocoa, clove, banana and coffee plantations. Off the main paths, the area also features tropical forests watered by mountain streams. Viewed from afar, the rich patterns of the plantations and the polka dot padi fields are reminiscent of a complex traditional batik. Here, each rice field is linked and separated by a uniting seam. At harvest time, the farm-workers sing while they collect the harvest.
Belimbing, meaning ‘starfruit’, is another traditional village, situated 600 metres above sea level in the Tabanan Regency, against the resplendent backdrop of Mt. Batukaru. Here, the verdant rice fields are sculptured into the form of grand and ancient amphitheatres. The land is very fertile and food forests of durian, coffee, clove, rambutan and mangosteen, also flourish here. The area is perfect for trekking.
The dramatic emerald-green rice terraces on the almost-vertical banks of the river gorge at Tegallalang, 12 kilometres north of Ubud, are probably the most photographed padi fields in Bali. Here an astonishing vista spreads out before you across the slopes of a timeless valley. The farmers graciously allow visitors to walk among their intricately carved terraces. After reaching the top of the valley you can wander a bit further along the tracks until you reach the next valley, which has better views and fewer crowds. The best times to visit are early morning and late afternoon, when it’s not too hot. Artists are naturally inspired by this place, and there are numerous art kiosks and cafes near the ledge, where you can drink fresh coconut and buy the artists’ paintings. In fact, souvenir shopping options abound along the roadsides of this woodcarving village.
The enchanting Sidemen Valley, in the Karangasem Regency, is East Bali’s panoramic answer to the more famous Jatiluwih rice terraces of West Bali. Here you’ll find a rural countryside clinging to the volcanic southern slopes of Bali’s tallest mountain, Mt. Agung. Swathes of paddies and plantations encompassing the village are tended by their respective farming communities. Trekking in this beautiful region offers a truly immersive experience, which often involves traversing local plantations and crossing rivers.
Also in Karagasem, near the Tirta Gangga Royal Water Palace, the scene of the cascading rice terraces alongside the main road to Amed is worthy of a calendar cover. The picture is completed with awe-inspiring views of a fertile plain extending all the way to the coast.
If you would like to see some of these spectacular rice terraces for yourself, or trek through the rural areas in which they are located, InterContinental Bali Resort’s unique brand concept ‘In the Know,’ is proud to offer insider destination tips. Treks and excursions can be arranged through the Resort’s concierge.
About InterContinental Bali Resort
Blessed by an endless stretch of white sand beach overlooking the tranquil waters of Jimbaran Bay, InterContinental Bali Resort features 417 guest rooms in three unique levels of accommodation. The property embraces a 14 hectare tropical landscape that is a blend of indigenous flora, gentle waterways and stone statues reflecting the island’s artistic heritage. There are six swimming pools, Planet Trekkers children’s resort, a fitness centre and plenty of recreational activities to keep guests occupied throughout the day. Spa Uluwatu is a dedicated healing and beauty facility for individual sessions, while the exclusive Villa Retreats promises indulging spa packages for couples. A superb choice of restaurant venues makes every dining experience an adventure in culinary excellence.
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