Throughout Ubud the countryside is covered with majestic green rice terraces. On our scooter rides in Bali we passed by many lush fields and even many resorts in the area have their own. The Ubud rice terraces play a large role in many of the locals’ lives. The terraces have been passed down from generation to generation and they pray to their gods each year for plentiful harvests.
The first time Peter and I visited Ubud we hopped on the scooter one early morning to one of the main rice terraces that allows visitors. Since it was much too early for the tour groups to have made their way to the terraces, we had the whole area for ourselves and caught the morning’s cool weather for the hike.
We made a second visit with the guests from our wedding, nearly two year later and the terraces were just as beautiful as I remembered. It was so special getting to share the experience with our friends and family and I highly recommend planning a trip to the Ubud rice terraces when you’re in Bali.
Although the rice terraces may appear like small steps from afar, once you’re up close, you realize how massive each level of the terrace really is. Many were as tall as me so walking through the terraces was actually a bit of a hike.
Luckily when Peter and I made our solo trek, we found ourselves another early riser to give us a private tour. Our guide was a local woman who quickly re-tied our sarongs (there are different styles of tying sarongs for men & women and for working, casual and formal affairs). Sarongs are also useful for carrying your wee babies and our guide made sure to bring her daughter along for the walk.
Not only was it impressive seeing gorgeous, green mountainsides, but also I loved being able to get insight into the lives of the locals. I was so impressed by our guide’s knowledge of the rice terraces and by seeing her climb the steep and slippery terrace sides with a baby in her arms.
She said her family owns a large area of land near Ubud where she lived until she was married. Because of Balinese custom as a woman she could not inherit any land or wealth from her family. On occasion she said her brothers or uncles can offer her a portion of the season’s harvests to sell for profit, but she is not entitled to this and now works at these terraces to help support her husband and young family.
Although this is common and made me sad for her, I still found it fascinating hearing this woman openly talk about a few of the differences between men and women in Balinese culture. She seemed very happy with and proud of her life and family and of the generous Balinese earth underneath us.
We climbed up to the top of the fields and across the terraces before making our way back down. How lucky we were to escape the tourists and catch the day’s first sun on this beautiful landscape.
For those of you planning a visit, do go early and do consider allowing someone to guide you through the terraces as they’re tricky to access, slippery, and high.