Last Updated: 1/24/19 | January 24th, 2019
With so many great places to see, you’d expect some people to venture off the beaten path more. Few do, which means you can explore the rest of the island in peace.
One underappreciated place you should visit is the Jatiluwih rice terraces.
One of the top ten things to see in Bali and front and center in every guidebook, these rice terraces are stunning. They give new meaning to the word green. They crawl up the sides of the hills like steps leading you towards the sky.
And like so much of Bali, the terraces are equally as empty as they are beautiful. Except for a few people from nearby resorts, you won’t see anybody here. Plus, there are even fewer people walking through the rice fields. It’s just you and nature.
The Jatiluwih rice terraces comprise over 600 hectares of rice fields following the flowing hillside topography of the Batukaru mountain range. These are well-maintained by traditional water management cooperatives dating back to the 9th century!
Jatiluwih is derived from two words. Jati means “real” and Luwih means “good” or “beautiful”. So even the name in the local language lets you know this place is beautiful. When you drive the narrow, winding road to Jatiluwih, you’ll see the beautiful panoramas along the road. This area is the only place in the world that has three annual rice harvests.
The terraces span a huge area. A day trip here will give you a good feel for them, but to really explore them I recommend a two-day trip (assuming you enjoy hiking through rice terraces, of course). You’ll get to explore different parts of the terraces, jump over rivers, and even sit down to a nice lunch in the terraces.
I only got to hike around for a few hours, but I dream of coming back to hike more. Moreover, there are beautiful mountains in the area, small villages to explore, and great restaurants to eat at.
How to See the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
The Jatiluwih rice terraces are located in the middle of Bali near Ganung Batukaru. The area is very rural with nothing but farming communities (some of which now offer homestays for around 374,000 UDR/$25 USD per night) and a few high-end mountain resorts (1,500,000 IDR/$100 USD or more per night). It’s rural Bali at its best.
Your options to get there are driving there yourself, hiring a driver, or taking a tour. There used to be no tours here, though as tourism has grown, more and more people have been visiting, usually as part of a package tour that visits multiple sights around the island in one day. Even with the tours, it’s still a far cry from busy!
If you want to take a tour (which I don’t recommend) you should expect to pay at least 700,000 IDR ($47 USD). You won’t get long to enjoy the area, though, so I’d avoid this option.
Conversely, you could also stay at one of the nearby resorts or budget homestays if you want to extend your visit.
If you hire a driver for the whole day you can also visit other sights, like the Tegalalang terraces that are a bit closer to Ubud. A good driver for the day will cost around 600,000 IDR ($40 USD). Most hostels and hotels can help you arrange one. The drive to the terrace is only 40km and will take around 90-minutes each way.
If you want to rent a car yourself, expect to pay around 300,000 IDR ($20 USD) per day for a small car rental.
The inaccessibility of the region is what keeps the crowds away. Most people who leave Kuta end up in Ubud or the Gili Islands — places that are easy to get to with nice, cheap tourist buses and boats.
Jatiluwih is a lot harder to get to and requires effort to explore, so you can see these beautiful rice terraces without hordes of people crowding you or ruining the scenery.
The area might not be easy to get to, but if you really want to see Bali as it is outside the tourist areas, make the effort to spend a few days here. You’ll find some cheap guesthouses in the villages and get to explore real, every day, tout-free Bali.
Book Your Trip to Bali: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Bali?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Bali for even more planning tips!