Would you be willing to travel for 2 hours while passing through bumpy roads just to see rice paddies?
Normally, I wouldn’t. I mean, they’re just rice paddies! What’s the big deal?
But what if the view of the rice paddies is as amazing as this?
I’d say: “TAKE ME THERE!!!”
And so, our driver Made did just that.
Jatiluwih is an agricultural village located in the Penebel district of Tabanan in West Bali, which has expansive rice terraces with picturesque views of the surrounding landscape. The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces has been awarded as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 because of its unique water management and irrigation system called “subak,” wherein the rice fields are built around the temples and the water from the rivers flows into canals, and then branches out on to the rice paddies. In this system, the priests are tasked to manage the allocation of the water, but the whole community takes part in helping maintain the system. The subak reflects the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, which brings together nature, the people, and the gods so that they all live in harmony.
Being there will make you feel like you are wearing green-colored glasses because you will be surrounded by so much greenery! The scenery and the view of the deep, green rice fields is incredible! As I looked at the towering terraces, I could imagine climbing up each step and almost reaching Mount Batukaru, Bali’s second highest volcano, which is close to the rice fields.
In this rural area, aside from the few restaurants, there are not many commercial establishments nearby. The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces is about 1.5-2 hours away from the city of Denpasar so it is not the most accessible attraction. The best way — and perhaps the only way — to get here is by hiring a driver or driving your own car or motorbike (if you have the energy), as there are no means of public transportation here. Because traveling all the way here is quite a challenge, not too many people come here, thus, the place is able to maintain its state of serenity. Away from the crowds, this is really a wonderful place to seek some peace and quiet and be one with nature. No wonder this is Made’s favorite attraction in Bali!
Come and walk with us through the rice fields of Jatiluwih! But watch your step because some pathways are slippery! (My husband Mike actually slipped on the mud and had to walk around with brown stuff on the butt area of his shorts which looked like crap. Literal crap and figurative crap.)
It looks like April (or, based on what I’ve read, anytime from February to April) is the best time to visit the rice terraces because this is when the rice crops are the greenest, tallest, and healthiest, although I also heard that the place is stunning any time of the year. Just make sure to check the weather before planning a trip here. I wouldn’t advise going there on a rainy day because of all the trekking along muddy paths.
A rice field plantation this vast is easy to navigate when you have a tour guide. But for those planning on traversing it by themselves, there are arrows pointing to the tracking route, as well as a tracking map that shows visitors info on the short track, semi middle track, middle track, long track, and extra track.
Giving offerings to the Gods is such a huge part of Balinese culture, and even here in the middle of the rice fields, a statue where people can say their prayers and give their offerings stands. Rice is not only important to the Balinese people as a crop, but it is also considered to be a gift from the Gods.
For lunch, we stopped by Billy’s Terrace Café, one of the restaurants around Jatiluwih with a good view of the rice terraces. It was a buffet-style restaurant which has been around since 1969.
The food here was average and nothing stood out for me, really. We had the same experience with our buffet lunch in Kintamani where the view was much more delicious than our food. Still, it was a nice place to stop by for a quick meal.
After lunch, we walked around Jatiluwih some more. We were fascinated to see the whole of Mount Batukaru as they overlooked the sweeping rice fields, with their peaks touching the clouds.
Being in the middle of the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces really inspires a feeling of amazement and tranquility. Seeing this marvelous and infinite green land with my own eyes, after just seeing its beauty in photos and postcards, was an extraordinary experience. Was it worth the 2-hour drive? Look at the photos again and tell me if seeing all this natural beauty isn’t worth it!
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Address: Jatiluwih Village, Tabanan 82152,Indonesia
Admission: IDR 20,000 per adult (PHP 72 / USD 2)
How to Get There: Rent a private car with driver / guide. I recommend Galih Bali Tour.
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