I had read a lot about the rice terraces in Tegallalang, north of Ubud. However, it seemed a bit like a tourist trap, so I wasn’t sure it was worth a visit, but then I saw all those gorgeous photos from the place on Instagram. Tourist trap or not, I had to go.
To beat the crowds, I got up really early, as in 5:30am. It turned out to be a great idea, because when we arrived, we were the only ones there. My driver offered to walk with me because, as he explained, he had a big belly and he could need a little exercise. Furthermore, he also told me that he often got up early in the morning to go for a walk in the rice fields and enjoy the fresh air and the peace and quiet before work began.
None of us came particularly well-equipped for our little hike. The driver was wearing flip flops and I was in a silk dress and a pair of Toms. Not exactly the best attire for climbing the slopes, which were slippery from morning dew and very steep at some places.
The driver told me that you can grow rice all year round. The rice cycle is about 6 months including one month after harvest, when the field is allowed to rest. The yield depends on the weather, but if the conditions are optimal, a typical rice field can yield about 50kg of rice.
While we were walking, we also saw some white flowers growing in the wild. The driver didn’t remember the name of the flower, but he explained that it was used as a remedy for red and irritated eyes.
I asked if there were snakes, and he nodded, but because they are afraid of humans, it wouldn’t be a problem, he said, and then asked me to walk in front. Hmm. The snakes kept away, and the only thing we encountered were some pretty feisty ants that climbed up and bit my leg.
On our way back we stopped at a viewpoint to watch the sun rise over the terraces. When it finally happened, it was so beautiful that I almost teared up. The perfect finale of a wonderful morning, and one of my very best memories from Bali.
If you’re planning to visit the rice fields, I can warmly recommend my driver. And no, I’m not getting paid for this. He was such a nice guy, and he was so eager to share his knowledge of Bali, so what should just have been transportation turned into one of the best guided tours I’ve ever experienced.
He told me about everyday life in Bali, and how people usually eat soup for breakfast, which they buy at the small stalls along the road, and about Babi Guling, which is suckling pig. I told him that Guling sounds like how foreigners in Denmark pronounce kylling, which means chicken in Danish. Babi Kylling. He thought that was funny. Unfortunately, I’ve lost his business card, which might make it a little difficult to find him, but he’s usually located around the junction between Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud and Jl. Monkey Forest. I hope that I’ll find his business card when I’m back from this trip and unpack my stuff, and I’ll post the details here.