Jatiluwih rice terraces Bali: Our tips for the rice fields
The Jatiluwih rice terraces are officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offer many hiking and cycling trails .
The area is still spared from mass tourism and offers individual routes for every taste. But be prepared for a few more travelers, because the Jatiluwih rice fields are no longer an insider tip.
1. Directions to Jatiluwih
a) With the scooter
The way to Jatiluwih is a real experience. The rice terraces are located at the foot of Batukaru Mountain, about 40 kilometers from Ubud in the center of the island.
b) With a driver
Of course you can also hire a private driver to get there . It is best to share a driver with several people to share the costs.
A trip from Ubud to Jatiluwih costs between 350,000 and 400,000 rupiah (as of Feb 2019). You can find drivers at Home Sweet Home Stay or in Facebook groups such as Bali Indonesia information, guides, travel acquaintances, and more.
Or you can simply book a taxi using the Grab or GOJEK apps .
c) With a guided tour
If you prefer a guided tour in Bali, then inform yourself in advance at various tour providers about suitable offers.
When Jatiluwih tour of locals with the collection, a local breakfast, the tour spot with the guide Wayan and a delicious lunch is included in the package.
Wayan is a local farmer who can tell you a lot of background about the Jatiluwih rice terraces and the growing of fruits, vegetables, and spices in the region.
2. The rice terraces in Jatiluwih
a) Entry to the rice terraces
An entry fee of 50,000 rupiahs (approx. 2.50 euros) * is required to visit the rice fields. You will be stopped on the street to pay the amount in cash.
Then you can spend the whole day here and stroll through the green natural landscape.
* As of February 2020
b) The rice fields in Jatiluwih
Unlike the Tegalalang rice terraces , Jatiluwih does not have “the one rice terrace” where tourist shops and stalls are lined up.
The rice terraces are located away from the hustle and bustle at the foot of Batukaru mountain and are very spacious and quiet.
In this area, pure nature awaits you, where you can really switch off. There are also many fruit and vegetable plantations around Jatiluwih.
c) Walking routes in Jatiluwih
If you are traveling without a local guide, head to “Jatiluwih Rice Terrace” on Google Maps, which are directly opposite “Billy’s Terrace Cafe” .
From here the hiking trails through the rice fields start. The paths are signposted according to colors and can also be done very well by yourself.
You can also take a bicycle along the green and blue route.
Overview of hiking routes
- Red: 1 hour (1.5 km)
- Yellow: 1 hour 15 minutes (1.7 km)
- White: 2 hours (3.8 km)
- Green: 2.5 to 3 hours (6 km)
- Blue: 4 hours (7.7 km)
3. About the rice harvest in Bali
The sophisticated irrigation system
When you are out and about in Jatiluwih, you can hear it rippling everywhere. Because the sophisticated irrigation system of the Balinese leads along the rice fields.
The Subak community is behind this traditional concept of narrow water channels .
The irrigation system ensures that sufficient water from rivers and lakes is channeled into the individual rice fields. Access to the individual fields is regulated by dams.
Rice growing in Jatiluwih
White and red rice is grown in Jatiluwih .
Up to three crops of white rice are possible in one year. Red rice grows taller and takes longer to ripen. In return, it is twice as expensive.
Steps from growing rice to harvesting
- 1. Spread seedlings
- 2. Plow the field
- 3. Insert young plants
- 4. Care (weeding, etc.)
- 5. Harvest and dry rice
- 6. Remove the seeds from the ears
Formation of the Subak community
At the end of the 16th century, the Dutch came to Indonesia in search of exotic spices and gradually occupied the island of Bali from 1846 to 1908. They ruled until 1942 and continuously improved the irrigation system on the island.
Indonesia achieved independence in 1949 . The sophisticated irrigation system has since been organized by the Subak community.
Members of the Subak organization are rice and vegetable farmers who own the fields.
The majority of decisions are made and there is great solidarity within the Subak community.
Organization of the Subak community
There are hundreds of different Subak communities in Bali, since each village belongs to its own Subak organization.
The members of a Subak elect a head together. This is necessary above all to mediate between the rice farmers , because the water from the irrigation system is not enough for all rice farmers. The head has to decide when which field gets how much water.
There are no real boundaries between the rice fields and conflicts arise when fields are moved or the harvest is not distributed correctly. The Subak head also acts as a mediator for a smooth interpersonal relationship.
About rice goddesses and offerings
Rice is a staple food on the island and is considered a gift from God by the Balinese. To optimize the relationship between man, nature and God, the farmers have their own ceremonies and rituals.
So that the gods remain benevolent to people, the believing Balinese offer them offerings . In the corner of rice fields you can often see small shrines with offerings for the rice goddess Dewi Sri . The farmers show their gratitude and ask for a rich harvest.
The exact time for sowing rice is also no coincidence. The Balinese believe that there are good and bad days for all things in life. The lunar calendar plays an important role in this. Ordinary rice farmers often ask a priest when is a good day for sowing.
Meaning of the Subak community
Subak is much more than just an irrigation system.
For the spiritual Balinese, Subak stands for a life in harmony and regulates three different areas:
- Interpersonal relationships
- Relationship between humans and nature
- Relationship between man and god
4. Alternatives to Jatiluwih
Do you want even fewer tourists on your foray through the rice terraces?
Then head for the nearby Belimbing rice terraces or the small town of Sidemen in the east of Bali.
a) Belimbing rice terraces
In Belimbing you will also find incredibly beautiful rice fields, as well as cocoa and coffee plantations with a view of the majestic Batukaru mountain – a perfect landscape for hiking, biking and scooter riding.
After your arrival at the Belimbing rice terraces you can order a delicious Mie Goreng in the Perugas of the “Warung Tepi Sawah” restaurant and enjoy the great view of the lush green rice fields.
The dreamy area around Sidemen mainly offers long walks through idyllic rice fields and orchards.
The small place is still relatively unknown and has a great authentic flair.
Around the village of Lemukih, you are surrounded by a postcard panorama.
There is an impressive mix of waterfalls, rice terraces, jungles and natural water slides and springs here. But for this place you have to be a little adventurer!
Did we forget something? Do you have any more tips for Jatiluwih? Bring it in the comments!