There’s no better way to become immersed in Balinese culture and traditions than a visit to Bali’s rice fields (often referred to as “rice terraces” or “rice paddies”). Amongst the oldest and most picturesque in all of Asia, a visit to some of Bali’s most famous rice terraces, like Tegalalang and Jatiliwuh, is one of the best things to do in Bali.
When choosing which rice terrace to visit, the main consideration is your itinerary, including the locations you intend to visit during your trip. Whilst some of the rice terraces in this list are truly spectacular, it’s preferable to not have to drive many hours to get there! There are rice fields all over Bali, and it’s not usually difficult to find a popular rice field located near most major towns like Ubud and Canggu. Other factors to consider when deciding which rice field is best to visit include the type of visual landscape you most want to see, proximity to other destinations and landmarks, and any value-add experiences on offer like swings, markets or cafes. The details you need for all are found in our listicle.
In terms of the best time to visit, Bali’s rice terraces are vibrantly greenest between April and November but provide stunning scenes all year due to succession planting.
Rice is a staple food in Bali and has been grown and cultivated here for more than two thousand years. Bali’s rice fields are considered sacred, with many statues, temples and rituals dedicated to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice and fertility.
Rice is grown across Bali in rice fields (sometimes called “rice terraces” or “rice paddies”. Rice terraces are a levelled (or “terraced”) crop carved like steps into the side of hills and mountains, allowing farmers to control the flow of water and grow rice more efficiently. A rice paddy, on the other hand, usually refers to a flat or slightly sloped field which is flooded with water. Most visitors prefer to visit rice terraces over rice paddies, for their aesthetic value and the ingenuity required for their construction.
Bali’s rice fields rely on the unique Subak irrigation system, which dates back to the 9th century and is World Heritage Listed by UNESCO. Subak allows water management, preserves biodiversity and reduces fertiliser and pesticide use, contributing positively to the environment while providing farmers access to good water without compromising quality or productivity. Subak is tied to Tri Hita Karana (literally: “three causes of wellbeing”), a Balinese philosophy which emphasises the connection between humans, agriculture and spirituality.
So, without further ado, here’s our comprehensive guide to Bali’s top rice fields.
BEST RICE FIELDS IN BALI
1. Tegalalang Rice Terrace – UBUD, CENTRAL BALI