I knew when booking our trip to Bali that I really wanted to go to Tegalalang rice terraces. I had seen so many beautiful photos of light streaming through the palm trees and I really wanted to see it in real life.
The problem is that I knew nothing about Tegalalang rice terraces except how to get there! I wish I had a guide to help me because we actually completely missed the mark the first morning we went. We had to make our way back again the following day!
More about Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tegalalan Rice Terraces is actually a world UNESCO site and is renowned for not only the stunning landscape. It also encompasses Tri Hita Karana the basic Balinese philosophy of life that prioritizes harmony in 3 central aspects. The rice paddies also still use the traditional Balinese irragation system which makes them even more special.
Albeit being a bit of a tourist trap these days you can still have a lovely experience at the rice paddies if you give them a chance!
How to get to Tegalalang Rice Terraces
We decided to visit the rice paddies while staying in Ubud which made it really easy to visit. Riding on our scooter took us about 13 minutes to get to the paddies early in the morning and slightly longer to get back.
From Ubud it is pretty straight forward and the roads are great so you don’t need to worry or, just ad in time for traffic if you are going at peak times.
GOOGLE MAPS LINK TO TEGALALANG RICE TERRACES
When you get there you will see multiple entrances in between restaurants and curio shops.
TOP TIP – GO IN FROM ONE OF THE LAST ENTRANCES IF YOU WANT TO GET TO THE INSTAGRAM FAMOUS SPOT FASTEST!
What is the best time to go to Tegalalang Rice Terraces?
Sunrise and sunset will most definitely give you the best light and the least amount of crowds. A lot of people visit the paddies as part of a tour and those usually only start coming in from about 9am.
We left when it was still dark and got there about 15 minutes before sunrise which was ideal for us. This gave us enough time to get where we needed to be. Each time we went so early there were only a handful of people for the first 30 minutes or so. About an hour or so after sunrise there will already be quite a few people around.
The light shining through the palm trees happens about 45 minutes after sunrise and only if it is a clear day so be sure to double check the weather.
If you go later in the day you will miss out on the calming effect of this place. Locals set up donation spots everywhere along the walk and although I am 100% there for supporting local they are known to be very incessant and plain rude if you don’t give a high enough donation amount. There are also school children pestering you to buy postcards when you exit.
The only thing is that the swings and eggs to pose at might not be open but I had no desire to partake in those anyway.
How to get to the famous instagram spot at Tegalalang rice terraces
We all know that iconic rice paddie shot with the soft light magically filtering through the palm trees right? That shot is 100% real and not photoshopped so if you want to get one just like it you can. Even if you don’t want a photo just watching it as it happens is completely mind blowing and beautiful!
To get that shot you need to be at the terraces at sunrise at least. It will take you a while to get to the spot and then to find the perfect shot, angle or just place to watch it from. The light show starts happening about 45 minutes after sunrise.
I have highlighted the route that you want to take to get to the spot.
You need to walk down from the road via one of the entrances between the restaurants and shops. Then you need to make your way to the terraces that have the white paving blocks going up that will take you to a little open hut at the top. Just above the open hut there is a big open terrace. Walk along the right of the terrace next to the valley area. Stop when you get to the big cement steps with a little open house and some benches and umbrellas at the top. This is the spot you will see the show from!
How to get a photo in the rice terrace with the palm tree and rays
You might get there and see people standing at the front of the terraces getting their photos taken. DO NOT just walk in ( over the rice especially ) and go pose. Also don’t open the bamboo gates leading to the paths in front of the terraces.
The terraces all have someone tending to them as this isn’t just a photo spot but also where locals work. There is a guy that lives at the top of the stairs at the spot who’s name is Wayan. He will ask you for 50.000 IDR before entering and also to not step on or damage anything. If you try to not pay he will chase you with his long stick, NO JOKES! This happened to us the first day but he is actually super friendly and really keen to say hi and have a chat. I think he must be making bank though with the amount of instagramers coming there. If you get there early he will also reserve a spot for you, show you where the best spots are and when exactly the light will hit!
What to wear to the rice terraces
The first time we went I wore a red floaty dress with sandals to go. The scooter ride there was a bit chilly but still manageable. Mike wore shorts, a vest and slops.
I thought the red would look nice but it was just too contrasting against the green background! Walking in my sandals was a bit of a struggle in the mud and wet grass!
I would recommend wearing white or yellow for photos as these colours seem to work the best with the green. If you do decide to wear long dresses or skirts then do be aware that it will get dirty! My skirt was completely brown at the bottom but it washed right out thankfully.
I would also say wear closed shoes. Mike changed into hiking shoes the next day and he was way more comfortable. There are also snakes and bugs in the rice paddies so closed shoes are probably the safest.
WHITE VS RED FOR PHOTOS
What time does Tegalalang Rice Terraces open?
It says online that it opens at 6am but I can confirm we got there at about 6:40 and you could walk straight in. It does not look like there are any gates that close.
Entry fee for the rice terraces
We did not pay anything and there is not official entry fee. If you go later in the day you will encounter locals asking donations to walk around as well as giving you props to hold or asking for a picture but then charging you for it.
Drone shot of the terraces and Mount Agung
Another one of those bucket list type shots to get when you visit is the drone shot of the steps leading up to the top terrace and Mount Agung in the background. This shot is totally possible but you need to get the two elements separately and then stitch them together to get a good shot.
Mount Agung is quite far away and mostly blown out by the sun except in the afternoon. We found the sunrise time to be great for the bottom shot. The light was even in the morning and there wern’t too many people to shop out. I was able to bring back most of the detail on the mountain as well. Then I composited it into the shot we got of the terrace. I also made the mountain slightly bigger to make the photo a bit more dramatic!