Bali,  Road Less Traveled

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces UNESCO World Heritage Site – A Must See in Bali!

About Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

After living in Bali for nearly 4 years, I finally decided to head to Tabanan Regency to check out the world-famous Jatiluwih rice terraces.  When I finally reached the UNESCO site, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

In front of me was an enormous horizon of rice terraces for as far as I can see.  The 360° panoramic view of rice fields encompassing every possible shade of green was breathtaking beyond words.  

Why had it taken me so long to explore this stunning destination?

Jatiluwih boasts an expansive 34 km2 area of perfectly sculpted rice terraces – once you see the beauty of the lush green horizon of rice paddies and palm trees, you can easily understand why it has become a popular tourist attraction for day trips and island tours.

Rice paddy fields are not rare in Bali.  If you ever drive around the island, you will notice rice fields pretty much everywhere, from the east coast to the west coast. 

Jatiluwih rice field, however, is unique in that it comprises multiple layers (like steps) of beautifully curved rice paddy.  These rice terraces are particular to the central region of the island where elevation requires farmland to form tiers and use the traditional Balinese irrigation system.

Named after the Jatiluwih village, the impressive rice paddy field became recognized by UNESCO as the World Heritage Site in 2012 and soon after became one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Bali.  

Despite the popularity with foreign visitors, Jatiluwih maintains local ceremonies with nearby Petali Temple as the “worship center.”

Jatiluwih rice terrace, representing Balinese tradition and heritage,  is one of the iconic symbols of Bali.  While there are many rice terraces throughout Bali, Jatiluwih is one you don’t want to miss!

jatiluwih rice terrace: panorama of tiered rice fields
The view that never ends...

How to Get to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Jatiluwih is located in the highlands of Mount Batukaru, about 2 hours north of the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

The best way to get to Jatiluwih rice fields is perhaps to hire a private driver and arrange a day trip.   Even though I took my motorbike to get there, I wouldn’t recommend the scooter option unless you are an experienced driver.

The mountain roads to Jatiluwih UNESCO site, while paved, are narrow and curvy.   If you are new to Bali, read my Comprehensive Guide to Bali Transportation and explore the best travel options for you.

Alternatively, you can book a pre-packaged tour with a stop at Jatiluwih.   There is an awesome tour that combines Jatiluwih with other not-to-be-missed places and activities in Bali (such as the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple!)

Or, book a driver for a day and create your personalized itinerary!

Planning Your First Trip to Bali?

walking through the iconic Jatiluwih rice terrace UNESCO site
Strolling through the rice fields

When to Visit Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Season

In Bali, rice is harvested only once a year – in some cases, twice a year.

Personally, I find that every stage of rice planting is interesting and colorful in its own way.  But the best season to visit the rice terraces is said to be during the rainy season of February to March when the crops are emerald green to golden yellow.  

The harvesting season is in Bali’s winter season from June to July.  During these months, you will see farmers hard at work collecting, bundling and piling crops for distribution.

Visiting hours

If you want to beat the day trippers (rush hour), I recommend that you arrive early.  When I arrived at 9 am, only one family was hanging out at the entrance.  

There were several farmers already working by the time I got there.   

I strolled through the trails alone, enjoying the gorgeous 360° views of the endless green and yellow horizon without obstruction or interruption.  

Another advantage of getting there early is that you can avoid the hot sun of the tropics!  If you plan to stay longer, make sure you slather on sunscreen – I can tell you that I became two shades darker during my 3-hour hiking trip, despite having arrived early.

By the time I ended my hike around 12 pm, I saw more people on the trails.  But due to the enormous size of Jatiluwih, it didn’t feel packed or crowded.  There is plenty of space and views to go around at Jatiluwih!

horizon of green and yellow rice fields at jatiluwih rice terrace UNESCO site
This panoramic view extends 360 degrees!

Visitor’s Guide to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Jatiluwih Rice Terrace Entrance Fee

There is an entrance fee of IDR 40,000 per person.   I did not incur any additional charges such as parking fee during my visit.  Make sure to receive an entrance ticket, and you are good for the day.

Hiking

At Jatiluwih, you can choose one of three hiking trails:

1)    Easy trail– takes about 1 hour

2)    Medium trail – about 1.5 hour

3)    Long trail – about 2 hours

To be honest, the amount of time it takes for you to make your way around the trails will depend on your pace and how many stops you take for photos.   I took the longest trail, and I made many stops for photos.   It took me just about 3 hours to return to the entrance.

All the trails are paved, and the hike is a relatively easy one.   I went with my flip-flops and managed just fine (although I imagine sneakers would be even better).  

If you plan to take the long trail, make sure to take some water with you (and that sunscreen!).

Food

There are many restaurants and cafes lined up on the outskirt of the rice terraces.   I stopped at a local warung selling Babi Guling, and an Italian restaurant for a coffee break.  

Unfortunately, neither was good enough for me to recommend them on this post.

There may be other restaurants that serve decent quality food, but my impression was that the restaurants at Jatiluwih primarily provide convenience.  Do not expect a gourmet culinary experience at Jatiluwih.

Speaking of food, if you plan to hike a long time inside the UNESCO site, take plenty of water with you.   I saw only one shack on trail #3, and it was not util 2 hours into the hike.   I would even suggest taking some snacks if you intend to stay a while inside Jatiluwih.

Want to avoid the crowds?

Check out this post for a list of 6 off the beaten track Bali destinations!

hiking trail inside the Jatiluwih rice terraces
A hiking trail inside Jatiluwih

Jatiluwih Rice Terrace or Tagalalang?

If you are wondering how Jatiluwih differs from another notable and acclaimed rice terrace hot spot Tagalalang, below are my impressions and why Jatiluwih is my preferred choice:

  • Tagalalang and Jatiluwih are equally stunning, but I found Tagalalang rice terrace to be more touristy with souvenir shops and hawkers targeting visitors.

    In contrast, Jatiluwih had no shops that I saw – only coffee shops and restaurants outside the terraces.   No one at Jatiluwih approach you, talk to you or bother you when you’re trying to enjoy the view.

  • Tagalalang is much smaller in scale.

    When you arrive at Tagalalang, you take a few steps out of the car to look at the rice terrace.   Once there, you take photos, have a coffee or lunch if you’d like, and hop back in the car.   At Tagalalang, you are “an observer” of the rice terrace from a distance.

    Jatiluwih, in comparison, had hiking trails through the green land.    Inside the trails, you are immersed in, and surrounded by the gorgeously sculpted terraces.   To me, Jatiluwih felt more like an “experience” than Tagalalang.

  • Due to Jatiluwih’s location in the mountains, the nature views en route to the UNESCO site was more beautiful and enjoyable compared to that of Tagalalang.

    As I rode my motorbike through the mountains, I can smell the clean, earthy scent of the forest and feel the crisp air brushing against my skin.   I think I saw just about every shade of green on the way up to Jatiluwih 😉

Where to Stay around Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

sitting on the steps of a cute bungalow at Bali Mountain Retreat
An adorable resort property @ Bali Mountain Retreat

There is no shortage of homestays, resorts, and villas in and around Tabanan.   I stayed a bit further out in a remote jungle because I wanted to get out of the busy south Bali and seclude myself in the peaceful mountainside.

I stayed a few days in the mountains, on a lovely property called Bali Mountain Retreat – it was amazing!  I couldn’t keep this magical place to myself so here is my full review for your pleasure 😉

I hope you get a chance to visit this hidden gem and enjoy it as much as I did!

Bali Mountain Retreat

$30-70 including breakfast

This jungle retreat is about an hour drive from Jatiluwih, nestled in the mountain surrounded by lush greenery.  As if the journey through the mountains, rice paddies and local villages to the resort isn’t scenic enough, the property is incredibly gorgeous.

Each room is uniquely designed, all with a view of the elegantly manicured gardens.

The food was superb (try the coconut cream chicken curry!) including the free breakfast.

I stayed here for 3 nights, and it was a beautiful and quiet oasis!   This resort is remotely located – there are no bars, warungs/restaurants, or supermarkets nearby.   So if you want a lively scene, this resort is not for you.  On the other hand, if you enjoy getting off the grid and surrounding yourself in nature, you will LOVE Bali Mountain Retreat.

Room Tip: I stayed in the Apartment above the restaurant which had pros and cons.

Pros: The Apartment has the best view on the property.  The balcony overlooks the mountain, offering a panoramic, 180-degree view of the jungle which was stunning.  It is also tucked away from the street, so it was tranquil and peaceful.

Cons:  1) the bathroom is located downstairs, so you’d have to walk down the stairs everytime you need to use the toilet/shower; 2) the Apartment is not entirely closed off from the restaurant downstairs – so you can hear every chatter, noise, music coming from downstairs.   Luckily only 2 other guests were staying when I was there, so the noise was minimal and tolerable.

Overall, I think the magnificent jungle view from the second-level Apartment made up for the cons!

Also, the property has a cute yoga shala with yoga mats, pads, and cushions that you can use.  They don’t offer yoga classes, but you are welcome to use the shala.  What a bonus!

Incredible jungle views right outside the Bali Mountain Resort

Summary

If you asked me, no Bali itinerary is complete without a visit to one of the iconic destinations of Bali, the one and only Jatiluwih rice terraces. 

From the never-ending panorama of lush green land to the visible local farming culture, every step of your journey through Jatiluwih is mesmerizing and awe-inspiring. 

Make sure you add this unforgettable destination to your Bali itinerary – you won’t regret it!

Bali Travel Guide | Bali Indonesia Travel | Bali Trip | If you are traveling to Bali, make sure this iconic rice terrace is on your itinerary! Get all the information and tips in this post about visiting this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bali! #baliindonesia #balitravel #UNESCO #riceterrrace #balitrip #beautifuldestinations
Bali | Jatiluwih | Rice Terraces |Rice Fields | Bali Indonesia | Bali Travel | Bali Tour | Jatiluwih Rice Terrace | If you are planning a trip to Bali, don't miss the iconic Jatiluwih UNESCO World Heritage Site. Immerse yourself in the massive panoramic horizon of emerald green and golden yellow fields! Check out this post for everything you need to know to plan your trip to this stunning rice terraces in Bali. #bali #riceterrace #ricefields #balitravel #balitrip #jatiluwih #unesco

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