Around Ubud: The Rice Terraces Of Tegalalang

By Alex Rathy

Around Ubud: The Rice Terraces Of Tegalalang

*Author’s note: as there was a bit of an unforeseen 3 a.m. motorbike crash and subsequent trip to the ER to contend with, I was unable to actually make the trip out to Tegalalang. Fortunately, my good friend and trusty squire Kris Wigley managed to make the journey (don’t worry, I’ve forgiven you for abandoning me in that hellhole of a sunny garden villa during my 14-hour coma of need) and took the following photographs of one of Indonesia‘s most iconic scenes.

Bali is world-renowned for it’s sandy beaches, big waves and hedonistic nightlife, but a trip to the centre of the island reveals an entirely different vibe altogether. Here, undulating hills of verdant green dotted by little villages and tranquil river valleys dominate the landscape to create a spectacle straight out of a postcard.


While it’s true that as with many other destinations on the island, Tegalalang’s rice terraces have a distinctly “found out” feel – complete with parking and entrance fees and stalls filled with cheap trinkets – the view really is hard to beat. Though there are a few other places one can go to witness a more spectacular or peaceful scene (the towering terraces of China‘s Yunnan Province and Sa Pa in the northwestern corner of Vietnam come immediately to mind), Tegalalang is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of nature and a simpler, slower kind of life if those remote locales aren’t feasible for you.


It’s not without reason that the tourist trap in Tegalalang sprouted up where it did; simply put, it’s the best place in the area to view and take photos of the terraces. But if far from the madding crowd is where you prefer to be, fret not. The countryside surrounding Ubud is teeming with rice fields and terraces of varying shapes and sizes, so a motorbike and adventurous spirit is all you really need to find a more serene setting to take in. And just to prove it to you, I’ll let you in on a little secret: those photos above actually weren’t taken at Tegalalang’s primary viewing spot.


No, my mate Kris (who to his credit was probably a little grumpy from not having slept the night before on account of having to take someone to the hospital and so not up for big crowds) took one look at the sarong vendors and swarm of humanity fighting for a better vantage point and hopped right back on his bike. After 10 or 15 minutes of cruising around the area he stumbled upon the fields that you see, where a friendly local farmer came along and offered to take him on a tour. For free.

His recommendation is that it’s worth it to brave the peddlers and pack for the view and the photographs, but once you’ve done that be sure to explore the area more thoroughly. You might just find something a touch less…touched.


How To Get To Tegalalang’s Rice Terraces

To get to the rice terraces, simply hire a driver (our fearless guide is pictured above) or rent a motorbike (approx. $5 USD/day). From the Ubud town centre, take Jalan Raya as far east as you can go, and then turn north. After about 9KM, you’ll reach Tegalalang and see the terraces on your right.

Photos courtesy of Kris Wigley; Header image courtesy of Flickr; leodelrosa…

Alex Rathy
Alex is a writer, ESL teacher, baseball enthusiast and Hunter S. Thompson fanatic currently based in Sydney, Australia. He has previously lived in Canada, the U.S., South Korea and China and has traveled extensively throughout Asia. He enjoys hiking, spicy food, dance parties in the jungle, questionable hairdos, Vonnegut novels and has been known to appreciate a good hammock on occasion.


  1. Amy Lynne Hayes 3 years ago

    Wow this place looks amazing!! Too bad you had to miss it for a little inconvenience… hope you’re healed now!

  2. Alex Rathy 3 years ago

    @AmyLynne thanks :) I’m all better now. Was a bit bummed to have to miss out on this but glad Kris could go and get the photos. Hoping to spend more time exploring Indonesia in the future…

  3. Nico 3 years ago

    Really like your website! Great post. Will definitely keep my eye out for more!

  4. Sabina 2 years ago

    I am loving your posts! I am also planning on going here but don’t trust myself riding a scooter/motorbike. I guess hiring a car for the day is recommended? How long did your friend spend in the rice terraces? I am trying to work out whether its better doing a tour where they combine this and a few other places.

    • Alex 2 years ago

      Hi Sabina! So sorry I didn’t see your comment and get a chance to respond till now. Have you already been? If not, don’t worry if motorbikes aren’t your things. You can hire a driver for very cheap to take you there, no worries. A few hours, half day absolute max should do you for the rice terraces. They’re most easily accessible from Ubud, but even from Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu etc. in the south it’s not a stretch. If you’re looking for a day worth of activities in the area, you could check out the rice terraces, the monkey forest in Ubud, the coffee plantations just outside Ubud, Pura Tanah Lot (temple on the ocean). Plenty to do around. Mt. Batur and Mt. Agung are also not too far away. Enjoy!

  5. mank mink 2 years ago

    Nice post, Thank for sharing The beauty of bali…

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