Luwak Coffee, Bali Swings & Tegalalang Rice Terraces: My slice of Ubud Attractions

posted in: Asia, Culture, Indonesia, Nature | 22

Close your eyes and imagine Bali. Tell me what is the first thing that you see? Beaches? And if not the beaches, then it would be the green steps of the Bali Rice Fields. You cannot miss them enroute to Ubud and naturally, there is no missing them. With its increasing popularity, the Ubud rice terraces have become very popular tourist attractions in Bali. They do not just offer amazing views but a little coffee, served with a dollop of adrenaline. Well, I experienced all of this at one of the most popular Ubud attractions – the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Let me share what my day looked like, with Ubud travel tips and suggestions on how you can plan one yourself.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces - one of the most photographed rice terraces of Bali
Tegalalang Rice Terraces – one of the most photographed rice terraces of Bali

About Bali Rice Fields

Needless to say that the chief crop of Bali is Rice. For centuries, the Balinese have cultivated rice on hill slopes, in the valleys and all around. The crops in these fields are watered using a traditional irrigation system. Called Subak, this system was developed around the 9th century. Subaks can be described as water collective that links the water sources, water temples and rice terraces with the help of canals and tunnels. This allows the Bali rice farms to get fresh water from the rivers and streams. This is pretty important as the rice fields have to be submerged partially in the water.

Canals through the Bali Rice Fields - an important part of the Subak system
Canals through the Bali Rice Fields – an important part of the Subak system

The water system of Bali is quite well developed and given its historical importance, has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Besides the picturesque settings offered by the Bali Rice Terraces, checking out this aspect of the fields is a good reason for you to visit them.

Best of Bali Rice Fields

There are plenty of Rice terraces around Bali that you can visit. Some of them are along the valleys that take you along the villages and introduces you to the unique Balinese culture. Personally, I found one of these more authentic than the popular Bali terraces. More on that in my next post for that is a whole new experience. However, for this post, sharing the more popular approach of visiting Bali rice fields.

You can try a rustic experience of the Bali Rice Fields through the Ubud Village.
You can try a rustic experience of the Bali Rice Fields through the Ubud Village.

Practically every cardinal direction in Bali has a popular rice field for you to visit. Here are suggestions on the best of Bali Rice terraces that you can consider during your trip.

  • Jatiluwih Rice Terraces in West Bali
  • Munduk Rice Fields in North Bali
  • Pererenan Rice Fields in South -East Bali, specifically in Canggu
  • Soka Rice Fields in West Bali
  • Pupuan Rice Fields in West Bali
  • Sideman Rice Terraces in East Bali
  • Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Ubud

When in Ubud, there is no missing the Tegalanang rice terraces. They are possibly the number one attraction to include in our Bali itinerary. The multi-tiered green hill slopes provide you with a very scenic background. Almost every corner and level has a view that makes them irresistible photo stops. Frankly, that was the thing that slowed down my progress to get down from one side of the hill and climb up another. I might have succeeded if our time here was a little more.

Welcome to Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Welcome to Tegalalang Rice Terraces

There are easy steps that lead you around the fields. At various intervals, you will come across the homes of the workers in the field. If you visit the rice fields in the morning, you are bound to see them working on the terraces, but it was mid-morning when I paid a visit to Tegalalang. Most of the workers had gone home and were relaxing post their chores.

A walk through Tegalalang Rice Fields
A walk through Tegalalang Rice Fields

Given the popularity of Tegalalang in Bali, the walk through the rice fields felt more like a stroll through landscaped gardens rather than a field. Sure there were rice plants at every level but each section was adorned with bright flowers and hedges. In some way, it felt refreshing but at the same time, a little touristy. Possibly my walk through the more authentic and rustic rice farms in the morning was playing on my mind. Either way, I can’t say that I did not enjoy the little walk through the Rice terraces. I suppose, what made my visit fun was the adrenaline rush of the Bali Swings.

Bali Swings in Ubud

Bali swings have become extremely popular – Thanks to Instagram. The term refers to the long swings created with a plank and strong ropes and which allow you to sway across a scenic location – mostly over a valley or a gorge. Ubud, specifically Tegalalang Rice Terraces is the most popular location with the Bali Swing taking you over the gorge of rice fields. In fact, you will miss a heartbeat or two just by looking at someone swinging on them.

Bali Swing at the Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Bali Swing at the Tegalalang Rice Terraces

The Tegalalang Bali Swings also, have a costume rental service. You can buy one of those really flowy dresses, sit pretty on the swing and let it sway right behind you. Oops! Did I just reveal an Instagram secret to those perfect romantic pics? 😉

You can choose to embark on this ride as a single occupant of the plank or choose to do a duet. However, before you set out on the ride, do note that the safety of the ride is dependent on a few small harnesses. There is no elaborate hook. And yes, there has been an accident or two with people failing to stick to the safety instructions given by the operators.

Well – if you are wondering what I did? I chose to do a Bali Swing with my friend Swati but – not at the Tegalalang Rice Fields. A few meters away from the main tourist Tegalalang field is another one with the Luwak Coffee center called Alas Harum attached to it. I will share more on the coffee fields later, for now – let me share my Bali Swing Experience.

Swati and Me on the Bali Swing in Ubud
Swati and Me on the Bali Swing in Ubud

Somehow, I did not trust the harness system. It did seem a little too less (if you know what I mean) and so, I chose to experience the thrill with the premise of safety in numbers. I thought just in case I slip, Swati will hang on to me 😉 . Strapped and ready, the operators let go of the swing and whee!!! We were right over the rice fields. The 3-minute ride was just fun and I kept screaming just for the sound effects. Frankly, it wasn’t too bad. However, my guess is that had I chosen the single ride, the swinging would have been higher and the feeling more intense. Maybe, you want to keep that in mind when picking your Bali swing!

Photo stops and other thrills in Tegalalang Rice Fields

Ubud Sky Bike experience at the Tegalalang Rice Fields
Ubud Sky Bike experience at the Tegalalang Rice Fields

Besides the Bali Swings, you can also, opt for sky biking. You can cycle mid-air with a partner over the lush green Bali fields. The Sky bikes are available at the main Tegalalang fields. I did not see it at the other center.

Selfie Point at the Alas Harum, Tegalalang
Selfie Point at the Alas Harum, Tegalalang

At both the places – the Tegalalang Rice Terraces as well as the Alas Harum, you will find tons of photo stops. The famous “I love Bali” sign along with heart-shaped nests suspended over the fields, you can choose to grab a memory wherever you fancy. However, be aware that most of the places are charged for – either in the main entrance ticket or separately at each of the photo booths. A bonus tip – if you like Instagram tours, you should check out Wanagiri in Bali.

About Luwak Coffee

Time for me to tell you all about the most expensive coffee in the World – Kopi Luwak. Luwak Coffee is no ordinary coffee. It is not plucked straight out of a coffee plantation. It is how it is made that makes it a costly and unique affair. Produced in Bali, the story involves a cute little animal – a civet. Civets are nocturnal creatures that are found in the tropical forests of southeast Asia. They look like small skunks or beavers and are said to have a musky odor. They love eating fresh fruits and berries -especially coffee berries. And yes, you are getting warmer with the next assumption!

A model of the Civet at the Alas Harum Agrotourism center
A model of the Civet at the Alas Harum Agrotourism center

Uh-huh! They eat the berries and then excrete them out. These processed coffee berries are harvested and used to make the popular Kopi Luwak. And why so? Well, they say that the bitter flavor of coffee gets processed by the digestive system of the Civets and what remains is a lovely coffee flavor. The processed beans are roasted and then crushed to make the coffee powder that comes to us in those expensive packets.

Luwak Coffee Beans displayed at the Alas Harum center
Luwak Coffee Beans displayed at the Alas Harum center

At the Alas Harum Agrotourism center, besides the fun with Bali swings and the photo ops, we had the opportunity to taste the Luwak coffee. As costly as it was, I still could not get myself to sip off those cups. Besides the plain coffee, there were flavors offered to us. I still looked at them suspiciously and just chose to ignore them – only to realize later that they weren’t Luwak coffee. Just regular flavored ones. I was told this at the reception when I was offered just a teaspoon of the actual coffee. Apparently, because it is expensive, it is offered only to a few and just a teaspoon of it. I did not oblige but was nonetheless, quite intrigued by the process of the costliest coffee in the world. It was fun to get the story from the people around.

Flavors for tasting at the Alas Harum center
Flavors for tasting at the Alas Harum center

With that my experience at the Tegalalang fields ended and we proceeded out of Ubud toward Uluwatu for an evening of Sunset and Fire Dance. Personally, I feel the Tegalalang Rice Fields make a great photo stop but there is little beyond that I would attach to the place. Instead, I loved the walk in the Balinese Rice Fields that took me through an authentic village and allowed me to glimpse the culture of the place. How, what and where that can be done is coming up in my next post. In the meanwhile, you enjoy this one and mark it on your list of things to do in Ubud. After all, you must want that one picture against the green terraces of Bali.

How to get to Tegalalang Rice Fields?

  • Ngurah Rai International airport in Denpasar is your gateway to Bali. I flew Malindo Air from Bangalore to Bali via Kuala Lumpur. It is quite a convenient flight – in terms of timing, seating comfort, and even prices.
  • For Bali/ Indonesia, Indians have a free Visa on Arrival. Should you want to check your eligibility for a visa, just click through this Ivisa link.
  • Tegalalang Rice Fields are closer to Ubud. To get to Ubud or the fields, you will have to hire a cab or a bike. You can get one at the airport or book a convenient one online through one of the booking resources that I have mentioned below.

Where to stay in Ubud?

My room at the Ubud Sthala Hotel
My room at the Ubud Sthala Hotel

Ubud is like a cultural hub in Bali. Besides the rice fields, you can see the various art factories in Ubud. It is great for shopping those Bali souvenirs as well as visiting the pretty temples of Bali and the monkey forest. Naturally, it makes sense for you to stay in Ubud for a day or two and take in all these sights. There are plenty of hotels in Ubud that you can pick – based on your budget and preference. I was treated to a gorgeous hotel in Ubud – The Sthala – a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. The property is built near a stream that runs through a green landscape. The Ubud hotel has an infinity pool that overlooks the stream and you can have a floating breakfast on it. A bonus here was the free tour through the Bali rice fields (one that I promise to share in mynext post). Definitely, an experience to have. Check out the rates and reviews of this hotel by clicking here. The same link can be used to book the hotel.

Booking resources for Tegalalang Rice Terraces

There are a few resources that can help you book various services for your visit to Tegalalang Rice Terraces. These booking links will not cost you anything additional but they do help me earn a commission that keeps this website going. So do consider the same.

 

Travel Tips

  • The Tegalalang Rice Terrance entrance fees are IDR 10,000 per adult. The price for a Bali Swing is around IDR 200,000. In case you are looking at using one of the selfie points, you will have to shell out IDR 25,000.
  • Wear flat shoes and stick to the paved pathway when walking through the fields.
  • Do not pluck or damage the plants in the fields.
  • There are plenty of shops in Tegalalang Village that you can visit. You can shop for a variety of things including handicrafts, clothes and pottery. Just remember to bargain well.

P.S: I visited the Rice Terraces as a part of the Indonesia FAM trip organized by the Indonesia Tourism Board and Malindo Air. 

Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.
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22 Responses

  1. Linda (LD Holland)

    Thanks for taking me back to Bali. It is hard to choose between views of beaches or rice terraces. We had a local guide so he took us to a few different rice terraces – not just the big tourist stops. Although we are sorry we missed the swings. This would have been so fun. Hubby tried some Luwak Coffee and was not really impressed. He liked the local Bali Butterfly Coffee much better. But we got to spend some time with a friendly Luwak and that was fun. The other tip is to beware of the tourist tax – our driver was stopped twice and asked to pay a “fine”. Luckily as a local he knocked the price down to a reasonable fee.

    • Ami

      Thanks for sharing that bit about tourist taxis. Guess we did not encounter it and so did not know about it.

  2. Lisa

    Reading this brought back so many great memories of Bali! While we did try the luwak coffee, we didn’t get to see, or try the swing. I love that they do a costume rental service (thanks a lot Instagram!!), and I too would have been a little nervous by that harness, just saying! Tegalalang rice terraces are so beautiful, but I agree, just overly touristy now. End of the day, many locals work there and it’s not an Instagrammable job for them!

  3. Danik

    Ubud is on my list of dream places in Indonesia and cant wait to get there. The first thing I do want to see is the rice terraces here, there is something about this landscape and by reading your experience, this has wettin’ my appetite to get sooner. I would love to check out the Sthala hotel, the bed looks comfortable and I love the decor there.

    • Ami

      Am sure you will love the sight of those terraces. They sure are stunning despite all the touristy things.

  4. Susanna

    Wow, I was here years ago, and so many fun things have popped up since then like the swings. However, those rice terraces are just as beautiful as always and everyone should see them someday. I like your swing photo with your friend as it captures a great travel moment without too much fuss. I had no idea you could rent dresses! haha.

  5. Ritesh Agarwal

    I have never experienced this amazing adventure you have experienced in Bali “Sky Biking”. After feeling your experience and seeing wonderful pics I have decided where I am going in my next vacation.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Keep encourage us.

  6. Mijia Eggers

    I love to see the rice field since I am eating rice nearly on daily base. The resort has so many activities to do which are surprised me. I will save this post for my trip.

  7. David

    I didn’t know that the Bali swings have costume renting at them! I’ll never look at peoples Instagram pictures in the same way again… That said, the Tegalalang Bali Swings look awesome. Slightly worrying that there’s been a few accidents though!

    • Ami

      Frankly, that is why I was skeptical. Mu guess is that if you stick to the rules and norms, you are going to be fine. 😀

  8. Indrani

    The walk through the rice fields was indeed refreshing! The costume rental fact broke the mystery of the stunning pictures of tourists in the swing. I had always wondered who travels in those flowing dresses. 😀 I too couldn’t make myself taste the Luwak coffee. But it was a great trip.

  9. Debra Schroeder

    I loved Bali but wasn’t able to visit the rice terraces or the swing. I could have but spent a lot of time relaxing on the beach instead. 🙂 I’ll have to do it on my next trip. OMG, that’s too funny that the swings now offers flowy dresses for rent. Very smart though. 🙂

  10. Manjulika Pramod

    I had heard about Bali, but the way you wrote down the beauty I can guess it’s a heaven for travel lovers. thanks for sharing your beautiful experience with us dear. High five for travel lovers…

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