Jatiluwih: Bali’s underrated rice terrace

When you booked your holiday to Bali you probably imagined yourself posing gracefully with a backdrop of lush, vibrant green rice terraces. Am I right? Rice terraces and and Bali kinda go hand in hand. And most people are easily able to tick this off their bucketlist  when visiting Ubud with Tegalalang rice terraces a short distance away. However many never make it to  Bali’s biggest and best (if you ask me) rice terrace. And it truly is a crying shame. Let me introduce you to beautiful Jatiluwih: an outstanding rice terrace worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage site title. 

Where is it?

Jatiluwih is located 48km west of Denpasar in the Tabanan region. The drive would take about 2hrs. It is located at the foot of Mount Batukaru and  the rice terrace roll outwards towards the coast. The atmosphere is cooler here as it is located 700m above sea level. Unsurprisingly, the location makes for stunning views of rolling rice terraces, mountains and glimpses of the coast at the right vantage point. 

How big is it?

While no definitive numeric size has been noted, the best estimate is around 16,000 hectares. The rice paddies consume much of the village of Jatiluwih. In addition, you can find villages and restaurants nestled within the rice terrace as the area is so large. 

Why is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Jatiluwih became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2012. This was awarded due to the impressive Subak system the Balinese used to irrigate the rice terraces. The Subak system is a part of Bali’s cultural landscape. It was made up of five temples that cover 19,500 ha and their cooperative water systems of canals and weirs, the system dates back the 9th Century. The Subak irrigation system encompasses the Tri Hita Karana philosophy of the spirit, the human world and nature together. It is a philosophy reminds us that mankind needs to maintain harmonious relationships between man and god, man and man, and man and nature.

Earning the UNESCO World Heritage Site is unquestionably the result of the maintenance of this historic and cultural irrigation system. This is on account of the villagers and farmers that maintain this complex system allowing it to continue to run. For more information on how the Subak system works and it’s links to Bali’s water temples read on here. The award covers 14 Subak systems and 11 villages covering 2375 ha of rice fields, 9316 ha of forest, 3545 ha of gardens 475 ha of wild bush and 317 ha of housing. 

What to expect at Jatiluwih?

Entrance to Jatiluwih is priced at 40,000 IDR per person. Once you arrive there are many colour coded trails you can walk along through the rice terraces. The best part is that it doesn’t feel crowded (unlike other popular tourist spots on the island), due to the size of Jatiluwih. Furthermore, you can also stop off for lunch at one of the restaurants on the site and enjoy the breathtaking views of the lush, green fields. It’s worth pointing out that appropriate footwear would be required. The terraces can get muddy and wearing flip flops lends you running the risk of playing stuck in the mud. Sadly I speak from experience! 

So there you have it. The nuts and bolts of why you should check out Jatiluwih. I’m sure once you go, you will be amazed more people haven’t been there!

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jatiluwih rice terraces

13 Comments

    • Yeah absolutely. We visited Jatiluwih on a day trip from Seminyak. We actually packed a lot into that day visiting Ulun Danu Beretan temple and Tanah Lot for sunset. We spent a couple of hours at Jatiluwih, had lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the terraces. Sadly we didn’t explore the trails further as it started to rain and the mud was very sticky! Hope you get to explore it some time soon!

      Reply
  1. The rice terraces are a must visit and this is one of the best post out of many that I have read lately. I love the pictures. Thanks for letting me know it’s a unesco site

    Reply
    • I’m glad you liked it! Bali really is a unique island when it comes to Indonesia. There’s so much more I would want to explore of Indonesia too! I’m hoping you get to enjoy it soon!

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  2. I’ve never been to Bali because I thought it was just beaches and not much else! Your post has changed my mind 🙂 Are there any activities in the rice terraces, or do people go for the views and a wander? I’ve always wondered!

    Reply
    • I would actually argue not to go for the beaches as I’ve seen better in Thailand but definitely go for the lush jungle and nature in the centre of the island. The temples and waterfalls were what drew me to Bali. I think hiking the trails is what people tend to enjoy with the terraces. Particularly at different times of day eg: early morning or around dusk when it’s not too hot. I think interacting with the locals is also a possibility during the visits too. We had a guide take us around Bali so he was able to tell us a lot about the culture etc.

      Reply
  3. These are lovely rice terraces – we went to the tegallalang terraces because, as you said, they were the most convenient from Ubud. These seem to be much less touristy though! Will have to remember for when we next visit Bali!

    Reply
    • I would say it is less touristy. And I also felt that the price was reasonable given the sheer size and the maintenance from the villagers. Definitely give it a go the next time you’re in Bali.

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