Jatiluwah rice terraces, Bali
Asia Indonesia Unesco World Heritage Sites

Wandering through Bali’s Jatiluwah rice terraces

Just a few months before I visited, Unesco named a number of new World Heritage Sites in Bali, including the Jatiluwah rice fields. So of course I made it a priority to go and have a look!

It’s not just the rice fields at Jatiluwah that have received the designation but the “cultural landscape” of the region including the traditional Balinese agriculture system of Subak that can be seen here.

It is an area of 19,500 hectares of rice terraces and water temples. Subak reflects the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana – where the spirit, human and natural world are brought together.

Jatiluwah rice terraces, Bali

The Jatiluwah rice terraces may not be as spectacular as in China, rather this is an idyllic valley of gentle and verdant fields, mixed in with other food crops in the way of traditional Balinese rice growing life (which I saw being abandoned in the central highlands region around Munduk).

Jatiluwah rice terraces, Bali

The soft emerald green of the mature rice fields, punctuated by wood and straw shelters and shrines, shows off the beautiful curves of an ancient landscape that is surely worth preserving.

The red rice grown here is not treated with chemicals to promote faster growth, it is cultivated as it has been for an age or more.
Jatiluwah rice terraces, Bali

I hired a driver to take me to the Jatiluwah rice terraces en route from Munduk and the central highlands to Ubud, or it is an easy day trip from Candi Kuning.

It was a delightful day in rural Bali. There was never another tourist to be seen, despite a large sign and flags proudly announcing the new Unesco World Heritage Site status.

There is a line of restaurants overlooking the terraces and ample opportunities to wander through the rice fields with a guide or independently.

By Natasha von Geldern

Have you visited the Jatiluwah rice terraces in Bali? Did you think they were Unesco World Heritage Site material?

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  1. So green and beautiful, love it!

  2. We got a chance to head out to rural Bali on a tour when I was there and it is indeed beautiful. I loved the mountains and fog in the valleys.

  3. I had no idea about this! I’ve wanted to visit Bali for forever. This is just another reason why!

  4. Very interesting how UNESCO has added these more unusual types of landscapes and activities to the World Heritage list lately – like this one – and pearling in Bahrain. I like it. And you’ve captured the rice terraces beautifully.

  5. Its a good thing that its protected too, the current level of uncontrolled development in Bali might see the rice fields as a thing of the past. Great photos!

  6. This is on my travel bucket list!

  7. There’s something very calming about the sight of all of that green, eh? Growing up in Indonesia I never really appreciate rice terraces until I start seeing them from a foreigner’s point of view. They are amazing and so pretty.

  8. I love the interior of Bali, away from the tourist beaches. The rice paddies are artworks and the color is the most beautiful green. Very peaceful and restful, although I assume the workers might find it tiring to work in them. Wish we could have found a way to live there, but it is too far from the other parts of our life… (Instead we now live in the South of France, but I’d still prefer Bali!)

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