What is it about lush sceneries that we, travelers or not, could not get enough of? Even if I’m a self-proclaimed beach person, any form of greenery never fails to put me in such a calming mood. Although I’ve been living in the Philippines and I have seen a few rice terraces before, Tegalalang was non-negotiable for me. It’s almost like an unspoken rule of visiting Bali. You just can’t afford to skip this wonder. Others even argue that you didn’t really see Bali unless you’ve seen the countryside.
We almost missed out on Tegalalang due to our tour guides well-executed attempt to half ass his job. He was actually doing really well as a guide, but I suppose he thought he could get away with skipping out on one of our destination agreed on. We actually had him for two days, so imagine my dismay when he decided to bring us to a mediocre rice field in Ubud. Thinking that was what’s included in our tour, we want back to the hotel dissatisfied. Later on, I found out that he not only skipped out on Tegalalang, but he also fed us at a crappy restaurant where we went white water rafting, instead of a buffet overlooking the volcano. I did email a complaint to the company, and they sent him to us to apologize with $10 back for the food, and two souvenir t-shirts. At that point I didn’t really care for it anymore, but the apology was nice.
Anyhow, learning that we almost missed out on the rice terraces, we decided to hire a driver to take us to the other spots I wanted to visit. The good news is, we contracted a good one for a good price, but the bad news is that our last full day to explore falls on the Balinese new year, which would limit our time because of the festivities and traffic. But this was non-negotiable so we decided to start early in the morning. Coming from Elephant Cave, we made a beeline to Tegalalang. I had to skip out on other stuff in our itinerary for this, but it was well worth it.
Located north of Ubud, Tegalalang Rice Terraces lies 600m above sea level. Despite that, it was still pretty hot and humid. But upon reaching the site, we were greeted with a stunning view of the rice terraces. Lush, green, and all natural. It was definitely a treat to the eyes. It was everything I imagined the countryside of Bali would be. The best part was that there weren’t much tourist in sight, just a few who has braved the inevitable traffic just like us. Since it was a new year, most of the restaurants and establishments were closed, except to a few souvenir stalls on the main road. That was quite alright since we didn’t really have time to linger too long. We were on a crunch because we weren’t trying to get stranded from the road blocks.
I adored the rustic charm of the village. The quaintness and peacefulness was unlike what I’ve seen even in the Philippines. I wish we had more time to explore the rest of the village, but I was still pretty satisfied to at least have my eyes laid on such a stunning view. There are many more rice terraces I plan to visit, and I’m glad I was able to finally check Tegalalang off. Viewing remarkable rice terraces was a pretty incredible way to start off the Balinese new year. We still have a long day ahead.
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