If you’ve seen any photos of Bali online you will most likely recognise the shot below of lush green terraced rice fields. Does it look familiar? This is the iconic Tegalalang rice terrace, one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ubud. If you’re planning a trip to Bali, you have to add a visit to the rice fields of Ubud to your itinerary. In this guide I’ve included everything you need to know about Tegalalang rice terrace, including how to get there from Ubud, what to bring with you, and tips for making it a great visit.
- 1 What is the Tegalalang rice terrace?
- 2 How to get to Tegalalang rice fields from Ubud
- 3 Top tips for your Tegalalang rice paddies visit
- 4 My overall experience at Tegalalang rice terrace
- 5 Where to stay in Ubud
What is the Tegalalang rice terrace?
Tegalalang rice fields is a series of rice paddies located close to Ubud, in the centre of Bali, famous for its terraced layout. This is a traditional Balinese irrigation system known as subak. Positioned in a valley the Tegalalang rice terraces offer extremely scenic lookouts over the rice fields and surrounding green landscape. It’s a very popular tourist hotspot in Bali and a must-see in many Bali itineraries.
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How to get to Tegalalang rice fields from Ubud
The Tegalalang rice terrace is a short 20-minute drive north of Ubud (or a 2 hour walk but I wouldn’t recommend that in the Bali heat). The road is mostly straight and they’re pretty easy to reach if you have your own scooter or car and want to drive there alone. There is a big parking area close to the rice paddies where you can drop your vehicle for a small fee (around 10,000 IDR). If you’re not motorised you can get a taxi, we called one through our hotel and for 200,000 IDR (around 11 EUR) he drove us there, waited for us to visit the rice paddies and then drove us back to Ubud. If you plan on getting a taxi just make sure you agree on the price before getting in the car.
Top tips for your Tegalalang rice paddies visit
So now we know what the Tegalalang rice terrace is and how to get there from Ubud, let’s go over some basic information about the rice fields so you can plan your visit accordingly.
Bring small change for the entry fee / donations
As you arrive from the road you will then follow a main path that will take you to see the rice fields. Dotted along this path you will find small wooden shacks where locals will ask you for a donation to enter the rice paddies. This isn’t an entry fee per se, if you were to visit super early in the morning before any of the locals get there you wouldn’t have to pay access, but considering the donations they ask for are small and it’s their livelihood, I wouldn’t try to get around them. I’ve seen tourists just storm past the locals saying that if it’s a donation they shouldn’t be forced to pay one, but I find that very rude if you then intend to walk around the rice fields where they work.
Just make sure to bring small notes with you, as they will most likely say they don’t have change and you don’t want to end up overpaying at every checkpoint. The average donation is usually around 10,000 IDR (which is more or less 0.57 EUR). Depending on how many donations you’re willing to pay you can decide how far into the rice terraces you want to go, we stopped after the first few checkpoints since we felt like we’d seen enough of the rice fields.
Visit early in the day to avoid the heat and crowds
As you can imagine the weather in Bali is very hot and humid, and this is one of the main tourist attractions on the island. I would recommend visiting the Tegalalang rice terrace early in the morning so that you can avoid both the heat and crowds. If you’re looking for advice on what to pack for your trip to Bali, check out my tropical destinations packing list.
Bring water and snacks
There are shops and cafes nearby on the main road, however once you’re in the rice fields there are no services available so if you plan on staying there for a while I would recommend bringing water and snacks. Especially water, given the heat you don’t want to get dehydrated. You might find some small stalls that sell drinks and random tourist souvenirs depending on what time of day you visit, but I always like to bring water with me just to be sure.
Don’t miss the Love Bali sign
Admittedly this is pretty hard to miss considering it’s right at the start of the rice fields, however a visit to Tegalalang wouldn’t be quite complete without a photo at the Love Bali sign. Similarly to the rest of the rice terraces you will find a group of local children crowding the sign who won’t let you sit on the seat and take a photo until you give them a donation.
My overall experience at Tegalalang rice terrace
Tegalalang rice terrace isn’t the blissful and peaceful heaven that you see in photos, where you can walk undisturbed amongst rice paddies with golden sunlight washing over you and find yourself in true a “Eat, Pray, Love” moment. It’s an overly visited and exploited tourist attraction, where you will find locals pestering you pretty regularly, whether it’s to ask for a donation or ask you to buy water / sarongs / typical Bali farmer hats / or any sort of tourist trinket. That being said, I actually enjoyed my visit to the most famous rice fields in Ubud. I was visiting with another travel blogger and we had a fun time walking around the fields, taking photos and enjoying the atmosphere. After all, touristy spots become so for a reason, they are usually amongst the most beautiful in that specific destination. Just make sure to follow my tips and if you can see past the tourist attraction, you will have a great time visiting the Tegalalang rice fields in Ubud.
Where to stay in Ubud
I went to Ubud twice on two different trips to Bali and stayed at two different hotels. They are both amazing resorts that I can highly recommend.
Komaneka at Monkey Forest
Komaneka at Monkey Forest is a beautiful resort located in the heart of the Ubud town centre, just a short walk away from the Monkey Forest. Despite being so central the chaos and traffic of the main streets won’t disturb you, since all the rooms face either an internal courtyard or some small rice fields in the back. It’s the perfect place to stay if you don’t have long in Ubud, since its central location makes it easy to explore the town centre without wasting too much time getting to places.
Desa Visesa Ubud
Desa Visesa is also a beautiful resort, but located a bit further out from the town centre. They offer a free shuttle bus service into the town centre so don’t let the location deter you. There are beautiful rice fields on the property, so if you haven’t had quite enough of rice paddies after visiting Tegalalang you can spend some more time strolling around the rice fields of Desa Visesa.
Have you been to Tegalalang rice fields in Ubud, Bali? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below! Like any huge tourist attraction the rice fields of Ubud also have some downsides, however my overall experience when I visited them was positive. After all, if you go to Bali and didn’t get a photo with the terraced rice fields, were you even really there?
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