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Tegalalang Rice Terraces: Bali’s Green Stairway

Updated 04 Jul 2024
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Tegalalang Rice Terraces guide

In the heart of Ubud, Bali, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces attract travelers with their beautiful green fields. These famous paddies, shaped by centuries of Balinese farming methods, offer more than just pretty pictures. They show a way of life that has lasted for hundreds of years. Let’s explore the history, cultural importance, how to get there, and practical tips for visiting this amazing place.

The Subak System and Ancient Origins

tegallalang rice terrace guideline

Tegalalang’s terraced rice fields use the traditional Balinese irrigation system called “Subak.” This old method of managing water is more than just a technique; it combines farming, religion, and community. A wise man named Rsi Markandeya is said to have introduced this system in the 8th century. Subak promotes balance and cooperation among farmers, making sure water is shared fairly across the rice fields. This system is a great example of how people can work with nature, creating a sustainable farming practice that helps everyone.

The Subak system isn’t just about irrigation; it reflects the Balinese belief in Tri Hita Karana, which means harmony between humans, nature, and the divine. This philosophy is seen in how the terraces are built and maintained, respecting the land’s natural shape and showing deep care for the environment. Walking through Tegalalang, you can feel the respect the Balinese have for their land and the strong connection they share with it.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tegalalang’s beauty is recognized worldwide it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2012, the Subak system, including Tegalalang, received this honor. This shows the global importance of the terraces and the traditional practices that keep them going.

UNESCO’s recognition brings attention to Tegalalang, encouraging sustainable tourism and efforts to protect the area from too much development. It also offers visitors a chance to learn about Bali’s rich cultural heritage and the wisdom of its traditional farming practices. By visiting Tegalalang, travelers help preserve this special site and support the local communities that maintain it.

Read more: Tirta Empul Temple: Bali’s Sacred Water Source

Visiting Tegalalang: Practical Tips

To fully enjoy the beauty and peace of Tegalalang, here are some tips for your visit:

Best Time to Visit Tegalalang

The best times to visit Tegalalang are in March, August, or September when the rice fields are at their greenest. Visiting in April and October will show you golden fields as the rice gets ready for harvest.

Weather Tegalalang

Bali has pleasant weather all year, with an average temperature of 26°C (79°F). However, it’s a good idea to pack sunscreen and rain gear, as tropical showers can happen anytime, especially during the rainy season from December to February.

Opening Hours Tegalalang

While Tegalalang is technically open 24/7, visiting during the day (8 AM to 6 PM) allows you to see its full beauty. The sunlight lights up the terraces, creating a stunning view of light and shadow.

Restaurant Views Tegalalang

For an unforgettable experience, enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants overlooking the terraces. These places offer a perfect spot to admire the landscape while enjoying delicious Balinese food.

How to Easily Get To Tegalalang

Tegalalang Rice Terraces are located about 10 kilometers north of Ubud. Here’s how you can get there:

  • By Scooter or Car: Renting a scooter or car is a popular option. The drive takes about 20 minutes from Ubud. If you’re unfamiliar with Bali’s roads, consider hiring a driver.
  • By Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Ubud. You can negotiate a fare beforehand, and many drivers will wait for you while you explore the terraces.
  • By Tour: Many tours include Tegalalang as part of their itinerary. This can be a convenient option as it often includes transportation and a guide.
  • Public Transportation: Public buses are not a common option for tourists, but some shuttle services operate between Ubud and Tegalalang.

Read more: 8 Things to Consider When Hiring a Driver in Bali: Expert Tips

Experiencing The Charm of Tegalalang Rice Terrace

One of the best ways to experience Tegalalang is by walking the narrow paths between the rice paddies. As you walk through the terraces, you’ll feel the earth under your feet and be surrounded by lush greenery. Each step gives you a new view, offering many chances to take photos of the layered beauty of the landscape.

Be ready for mud if you visit during Bali’s rainy season (December to February). The paths can get slippery, so wear suitable shoes and take your time. Despite the occasional challenge, walking among the terraces is a deeply rewarding experience that lets you connect with the land and its rhythms.

Things to Keep in Mind During Your Visit

Entrance Fee
There is a small entrance fee to access the terraces, which goes towards maintaining the area and supporting the local community.

Respect Local Customs
Dress modestly and be respectful of the farmers and their work. Avoid stepping on the rice plants and stick to the paths.

Stay Hydrated
Bring water with you, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time walking around. The humidity and sun can be intense.

Support Local Vendors
There are many small shops and stalls around Tegalalang where you can buy local crafts, snacks, and drinks. Supporting these vendors helps the local economy.

Photography: While taking photos is encouraged, always ask for permission if you want to photograph local people, especially farmers working in the fields.

Tegalalang is more than just a beautiful place; it is a living part of Balinese culture. As you explore the terraces, you’ll see farmers working in their fields with care and dedication. Their work provides food for their families and keeps a way of life that has been passed down for generations.

Understanding the detailed water management system that keeps Tegalalang thriving adds another layer of appreciation to your visit. The Subak system is a marvel of engineering and community cooperation, reflecting the strong values of the Balinese people. The peace of Tegalalang is easy to feel. As you breathe in the fresh air and listen to the rustling leaves, you can feel the calm that fills this special place. It’s a reminder of the simple joys of life and the importance of living in harmony with the environment.

The Tegalalang Rice Terraces show the enduring wisdom and beauty of Balinese culture. From the ancient Subak system to the recognition by UNESCO, Tegalalang is a place of great importance and stunning beauty

By visiting this green stairway to peace, you not only see a beautiful landscape but also connect with a rich cultural heritage that values harmony, cooperation, and respect for nature. So, take your time, walk among the green waves, and let the peace of Tegalalang wash over you.

Read more: 10 Days Bali Itinerary for a Journey Like No Other

Frequently Asked Questions About Tegalalang Rice Terraces

1. What’s the best time to visit the Tegalalang Rice Terraces?

For stunning views and to avoid crowds, aim for sunrise or late afternoon. The golden light creates a magical atmosphere for photography. If you’re not an early riser, late afternoon offers cooler temperatures and a softer light.

2. How much does it cost to enter the Tegalalang Rice Terraces?

The entrance fee varies depending on the access point. The eastern side has a lower fee around 10,000 IDR (US$0.70), while some entrances on the west might charge up to 50,000 IDR (US$3.50) especially if they include a swing ride. Landowners may also ask for small donations if you want to walk through their rice paddies for a closer look.

3. What’s the best way to get to Tegalalang Rice Terraces?

The terraces are located about 30 minutes north of Ubud. Popular options include renting a scooter for a scenic ride, hiring a taxi for a comfortable journey, or joining a guided tour for a hassle-free experience.

4. Are there any things to keep in mind when visiting the Tegalalang Rice Terraces?

Be respectful of the rice paddies and the farmers’ work. Stick to designated paths and avoid walking through the fields. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes suitable for warm weather. Bring water to stay hydrated, especially during the midday sun.

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rifka arianti

rifka arianti

Journeying through life with a camera in hand, Rifka Setia Arianti is a passionate explorer of the world's diverse landscapes. Currently settled in Bali as a web designer, her lens captures the essence of her travels, weaving together a tapestry of stories that encapsulate her love for both photography and adventure.

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