Photo: Just gorgeous.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

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Bali is synonymous with its postcard-perfect paddy fields (until they turn into villas), and the most iconic of them all are the terraces at Tegallalang, nine kilometres north of central Ubud.

The sculptured farmland here was developed by means of Bali’s cooperative water management system known as the subak, introduced in the ninth century, a system that has shaped the landscape and enabled the Balinese to become prolific rice producers. The subak is integral not only in Bali’s physical environment, but moulds relationships with neighbours, nature and the spirit world, and as such has been added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

Terraces here, terraces there. Photo taken in or around Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Ubud, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Terraces here, terraces there. Photo: Sally Arnold

The dramatic landscape makes it a popular stop for tourists, and it is indeed like walking into a postcard. However the hordes have taken their toll, and you’d be hard pressed to escape without being hassled by hawkers, scammers and selfie sticks in equal measures. Regardless, if you’re passing by, it’s worth stopping (if you can get a park) for a snap of the iconic view. Early mornings or late afternoons will help you beat the crowds.

The local community charges 10,000 rupiah for the privilege, and if you wander though the terraces, be prepared to pay “donations” for crossing bridges and fields, usually 5,000 to 10,000 rupiah a pop. And those charming old folk with the straw hats and yoked baskets? That’ll cost for a snap. You can’t blame the locals, as they have little form of income, and the stunning thousand year old landscape isn’t going to make them rich by growing rice… unless they sell it off for villas. Grit your teeth and enjoy the view.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces
9 kilometres north of Ubud

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Location map for Tegallalang Rice Terraces

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