The Tegallalang Rice Terraces make up one of five UNESCO ricefield sites in Bali. They’re among the island’s most popular attractions, and the photos you’ve seen depicting Tegallalang don’t lie…
…for the most part, and depending on the season.
More on that soon.
Needless to say, Tegallalang abounds with people trying to mimic Instagram influencers. And if you’re among them, no judgment here.
But here’s the silver lining for people wanting to escape the photography madness that lands on the Tegallalang Rice Terraces each day: It’s possible to visit the ricefields when farmers outnumber tourists.
Read on to discover the best time to visit the Tegallalang Rice Terrace and other tips to set you up for a smooth(er) trip.
Accessibility Note: Scroll to the bottom of this article for details on wheelchair accessibility at Tegallalang.
Tegallalang or Tegalalang?
If you’ve already done some research, you’ve likely seen people write “Tegallalang” and “Tegalalang” to describe Bali’s rice terraces.
At first, I thought it could be an Indonesian vs. English way of writing it. But my research didn’t prove this theory.
Instead, Google, Wikipedia, and Apple all use a double “L” for Tegallalang. And more importantly, so did my Tegallalang entrance ticket.
Grammar debate over.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces History Lesson
I promise to make this interesting. But if reading the word “history” makes you tremble, head to the next section for tips on visiting the Tegallalang ricefields.
Tegallalang’s rice terraces use the 9th-century system called subak to manage the ricefields. Water from springs and canals passes through a temple and into the rice terraces.
Subak embodies the Tri Hita Karana, which is the Balinese belief in finding happiness and harmony through the following items:
- The spirit
- Human world
Today, the Balinese still use the subak system to grow their rice. They don’t use fertilizers or pesticides, and rice is viewed as having a sacred connection, just like in the 9th century.
17 Tips for Visiting Tegallalang
Hopefully, you’ll have a greater appreciation for the canals of water you’ll see throughout the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. Now let’s talk about what to expect when you’re there.
Tip #1: Know the Official Entrance’s Location
Back in the day, the official entrance used to be clear when you arrived at the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. There was an “I love Bali” sign with a few shops and some warungs (family-owned local restaurants) nearby.
Now, the official entrance to Tegallalong is hard to find because restaurants sit side by side, all offering entrances to Tegallalang. And, of course, they claim that theirs is the best viewing spot.
To complicate things, Google maps shows multiple areas indicating that you’ve arrived at the Tegallalang Rice Terrace.
Since I arrived early, I had the fortune of not having to deal with crowds of people or vendors trying to usher me into their restaurants. So I had a clearer view of the situation.
The official entrance to Tegallalang sits by Alon-Alon Terrace Cafe, pretty much directly across from the hard-to-miss vegan and vegetarian Bycafe.
Alon-Alon wasn’t open when I was there. Google lists it as temporarily closed, and the last reviews from TripAdvisor are from 2018. But around 8:00 am, they set up a stand selling entrance to the terrace for 10,000 rupiahs (less than $1), and they opened access to the “I love Bali” sign.
Tip #2: There Isn’t a Single Entrance
I touched on this above, but it’s worth honing in on. There are at least a dozen ways to enter the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, and nearly all require paid access.
The warungs and shop owners have done a thorough job of preventing tourists from accessing the ricefields without a ticket.
And can you blame them?
Families own these terraces, so it’s only fair they charge an entrance fee for strangers to tromp around and take photos of their rice paddies.
The fee is less than $1, so it’ll hardly break the average traveler’s bank account.
It’s fun to try various entrances to get different views of the terraces. That said, after a while, they all start looking the same, so there’s no need to go overboard if you have other sightseeing to do.
A sidewalk runs down the main drag (you’ll know what a big deal having a sidewalk is if you’ve already spent time in Ubud), making it easy to pick and choose from them without risking your life with a scooter run-in.
I’ve heard of people finding small pockets of entryway space between the warungs to enter the terraces fee-free.
But I discourage you from doing so; you’ll be walking on someone’s property. If you can’t shell out 10,000 rupiahs or think Tegallalang has gotten too touristy because of it, don’t go.
Tip #3: The East Terraces Are the Classic Spot
I’ll admit it: I was wildly unprepared for visiting Tegallalang. Hence this blog post is to prevent the same from happening to you.
Unfortunately, my lack of research meant I didn’t get to visit the east side of the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. For all of you hoping to get the Instagram shot, the east side is where it’s at.
Originally, a bridge connected the west side of the ricefield (where all the warungs and shops are) to the east side. That bridge is now gone, so you need to arrive via another means.
I had seen an area on the east side with a hiking logo labeled “Tegallalang Instagram View Banjar Tangkup” on Google Maps.
So, after being satisfied with my west Tegallalang terrace visit, I hopped on my scooter (or better put, wobbled on, given that it was my first day of scooter driving) and headed to this so-called Instagramable spot.
I found the location and a few workers hanging out by a mound of dirt where the entrance presumably sat.
After driving further up the road, I returned to conclude that the entrance from the east side was temporarily closed. From my understanding, they charge 10,000 rupiahs when the east entrance is open.
So, it’s worth asking about that entrance once you’re in Bali (and please update me about it in the comments section 🙂).
It wasn’t until later that I learned you can hike to the east side of Tegallalang’s rice terraces via Uma Ceking, located on the west side, for 50,000 rupiahs. Uma Ceking is the site of some of the best swings in the area (there’s an extra charge to swing), so many people make this stop anyway.
Tip #4: Everything Comes at a Price (Except Sunrise)
Your Tegallalang ricefield visit doesn’t have to break the bank. You can easily spend only a couple of dollars per person to walk through the terraces and enjoy the views.
But you should put any information you’ve read about free entrances to the terraces into the “old news” category. Except if you visit at sunrise, which I’ll talk about next.
Once you pay the entrance fee and you’re inside the rice terraces, it’s common for locals to approach you offering to take your photo. By all means, accept their offer if you genuinely want the picture.
But be sure to have small bills on you—5k to 10k IDR is ideal.
The farmers-turned-photographers will expect a tip for their services, and declining to do so isn’t a good look on your part.
They’ll also likely try to sell you a swing ride, coconut water, and more. If you’re not interested, smile and say, “No, thank you.”
Remember, you’re on their property. Be gracious.
I found that the locals weren’t persistent once I said no, and I could continue exploring the terraces on my own without them making me feel guilty for not spending money on the extras.
Tip #5: Enjoy Sunrise Views
The farmers at Tegallalang Rice Terraces have the luxury of sleep if they choose; rice paddies don’t need feeding, milking, or being let outside like the set schedule an animal farm requires.
Therefore, Tegallalang is a ghost town in the mornings. And by “morning,” I mean until 8:00 am or so. Even then, many shops and restaurants remain closed.
Needless to say, watching the sunrise over the Tegallalang Rice Terraces is a beautiful way to soak in the scenery without many people around.
Yes, there will likely be a small crowd of other tourists wanting to see Tegallalang at sunrise. But bring your own food and drinks, for you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything open.
Since this also means that the ticket counters aren’t open yet, you’ll find several unmanned staircases leading into the rice fields without you having to pay.
I still encourage you to spend money in Tegallalang once things open to support the local economy. But there aren’t any signs stating you can’t enter the rice fields, and the locals know that tourists do so.
So, from a moral standpoint, I think it’s okay to walk into the Tegallalang Rice Terraces for free to watch the sunrise.
Tip #6: Work Around the Crowds
Even though shops and restaurants in Tegallalang start opening at 8:00 am, I didn’t find the crowds unbearable until after 10:00 am.
The tourist groups start to move in by late morning, making it harder to get photos without lots of people in them.
I didn’t get as early of a start on my Tegallalang visit as I expected (driving a scooter for the first time and tipping over in the middle of an intersection may have had something to do with it). But that had its surprise benefits.
As you can see from my photos, there was essentially no one around.
I took these photos starting around 9:00 am. Granted, this was in November, which isn’t Bali’s high tourist season.
But still, unless you want to see the sunrise, there’s no need to get up at the crack of dawn to make the 20-minute journey to Tegallalang from Ubud.
Furthermore, you can wait until the daytime crowds die down. Visiting Tegallalang anytime after 4:00 pm is an excellent option for visiting the rice terraces with fewer crowds.
Tip #7: Know the Season
The best time to visit the Tegallalang Rice Terraces is in March, April, September, and October. That’s the time when the Tegallalang fields are at their very greenest.
However, there’s some flexibility with these “best” months. I visited Tegallalang in early November, and you can see just how green the rice was, given that they still hadn’t harvested it.
Between harvests, the ricefields are either brown or have new rice plants with sparse growth.
While such scenes can be disappointing, it’s part of the rice-growing process and is interesting in their own right.
Worst case scenario, you might have to book a trip back to Bali to see the Tegallalang Rice Terraces when they’re green.
And would that really be so bad?
Tip #8: Hire a Guide If You Want Context
If you want to understand the rice growing process and the fascinating subak system, arrange a tour with a guide. But don’t just arrange any tour; choose one with good reviews and a guide with a strong command of English.
I quickly learned that tour “guides” in Bali are often more drivers than guides.
And in Ubud, nearly all the Balinese speak English, but it’s usually at an intermediate level at best. So, it’s not the kind of English where you can get an in-depth understanding of Tegallalang and your questions answered in detail.
I encountered lots of locals selling entrance tickets in Tegallalang. But only one person offered me a guided tour.
So, I recommend booking a guide in advance—and double-checking their language skills—before you head to Tegallalang.
Tip #9: Shop Around for Swing Prices
Seeing a swing is exciting if you’ve just arrived in Bali and Tegallalang is your first stop.
And it’s easy to think it’s the swing.
But the reality is that swings have become so popular at Tegallalang and on the island as a whole that there are many great places to take a swing photo.
And, of course, it comes at a cost.
I received the following quotes to swing over the Tegallalang Rice Terraces:
- 200,000 IDR
- 150,000 IDR
- 100,000 IDR
Keep in mind that’s before trying to barter the price down. Though in the case of Tegallalang, some of the prices are genuinely set as-is.
The highest price was for the swings by the “I love Bali” sign.
So, shop around for swing prices, keeping in mind that the view matters too; not all swing views are made equal at Tegallalang. Although with such stunning scenery, even the average views are still beautiful.
Most people selling swing rides also let you choose from one of their flowy dresses to wear with no extra charge, if you’re a lady and want to have the classic Bali swing photo.
Tip #10: You Don’t Have to Climb for Views
I’ll talk more about accessibility for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility at the end of this article. But for now, know that you don’t have to sweat it out in Bali’s heat to get decent views of the Tegallalang Rice Terraces.
Instead, you can eat at one of the many restaurants lining the ricefield’s uppermost edge.
These restaurants have anywhere from a small ledge to enter to a handful of stairs—nothing like the steep climb involved to make your way back up to the road after visiting the ricefields.
Speaking of climbs, check out my guide on the best beaches in Uluwatu for details on the ideal spots for hiking beachside cliffs (and those that don’t require a hike).
Tip #11: Parking Is Limited
If you arrive at the Tegallalang terraces before 10:00 am, it’s unlikely you’ll run into availability issues for parking your scooter. Car parking is more challenging but still usually doable.
But anytime after 10:00 am is fair game for encountering full parking lots.
Part of the reason for this is that parking options are few and far between. The closest parking lots to the terrace sit on steep hills. As a first-time scooter driver, the incline was way too much for comfort.
Since I arrived in Tegallalang so early, I found a free parking spot beside the vegan and vegetarian cafe I mentioned earlier (and I ate there, of course).
But since you’ll likely want to eat at a restaurant looking directly down on the terraces, streetside parking options are even more limited, and a parking lot is your best bet.
Some of the parking lots have a “free” sign. But as we already established, everything but the sunrise comes at a price at the Tegallalang ricefields. So, they’d expect you to either make a donation or buy an entrance ticket to their rice terrace.
Tip #12: Know Where the Cheap Restaurants Are
Hint: The cheapest restaurants at the Tegallalang Rice Terraces aren’t smack-dab in the middle of the terrace views.
Instead, walking to the far north or south of the terraces will land you cheaper prices at warungs. Some restaurants even boast that they serve food at local prices.
As with so many restaurants in the tourist hubs of Bali, expect a 5% service charge and 10% tax to be tacked onto your bill. That includes food served at a warung.
But even so, you can find meals starting at a little over $2 if you eat on the outskirts of the Tegallalang terraces.
And you’ll still get decent views of the rice paddies.
Tip #13: Infinity Pools Are a Thing
You don’t need to splurge on a luxury hotel to enjoy an infinity pool over rice terraces in Bali.
By taking a trip to the Tegallalang ricefields, you can head to Tis Cafe, where a purchase as small as a cup of tea will land you the ability to take photos of their infinity pool hanging above rice terraces.
Tis Cafe has two pools—a large, upper pool that’s more crowded and a smaller, more secluded lower pool.
Their cafe grounds are stunning, so the pools aren’t the only place where you’ll be able to take a lot of great photos.
And, yes, if you’re wondering, Tis Cafe has a swing over the rice terraces.
Tip #14: You Don’t Need Tons of Time
The Tegallalang ricefields are beautiful, but they’re not an all-day trip unless you’re traveling there from the other side of Bali.
You can easily walk around one of the paid entrances to the rice fields in around 20 minutes. Of course, many people enjoy walking through more than one section.
Trekking from the west to the east side of the rice terraces and back will take more time. But even then, coupled with a relaxing bite to eat at a terrace-view restaurant, you’re looking at about a 2.5-hour excursion.
The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are only about a 20-minute drive from downtown Ubud.
So, it’s common for people to couple a trip to Tegallalang with sightseeing in Ubud, the cultural center of Bali.
Tip #15: ATMs Are Available
Finding places in Bali that accept credit cards is as hard as not stepping on canang sari (Balinese offerings) as you’re looking for that coveted “Visa” or “Mastercard” sign.
But if you arrive at the Tegallalang Rice Terraces short on cash, you’ll be able to take money out of an ATM.
I saw two ATMs in the short stretch of the main tourist area, but there could be more.
Just keep in mind that most ATMs in Bali dispense bills in 100,000s, which is inconvenient when you only need 5k and 10k bills for Tegallalang.
Tip #16: Dress for the Weather
The weather in Bali can turn on a “rupiah,” from sun to rain and back to sun.
Bring whatever gear you use to shield yourself from the sun, for the rice paddies in Tegallalang have no shade. That, coupled with humidity emitting from the moist soil, can create quite the sweat fest.
If you’re traveling during the rainy season, consider forgoing your flip-flops for sneakers.
Some of the paths along the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are cement or stone. But you’ll eventually reach mud paths, and it would be a shame to turn around because you’re tumbling into the rice paddies from wearing flip-flops.
Tip #17: Newbies to Scooters Can Access Tegallalang
Parking in Tegallalang isn’t for the faint of heart if you arrive between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
But getting to Tegallalang isn’t hard if you’re coming from Ubud. In fact, it can be an excellent road for practicing your scooter skills if you’re new to driving.
And as you well know, I was brand spanking new to scooter driving the day of my Tegallalang Rice Terrace visit.
After you drive out of Ubud, you’ll remain on a road that will lead you straight to the rice terraces in a curvy kind of way; it’s a country road, and there are turns you’ll need to navigate.
But the curves aren’t massive, nor are there steep drop-offs. Traffic is also pretty light on the road between Ubud and Tegallalang.
So, rent a 24-hour scooter for a few dollars, and give Tegallalang a visit.
Bali has too many beautiful rice paddies to make Tegallalang your only stop. Check out my guide on the best rice fields in Bali for rice terrace hopping ideas.
Wheelchair Accessibility at the Tegallalang Rice Terraces
The Tegallalang Rice Terraces aren’t ideal for wheelchair accessibility. However, wheelchair users can enjoy a view of the terraces from a sidewalk that runs along the top of the terraces.
Your driver will need to let you off on the side of the road by one of the small vehicle ramps leading up to the sidewalk. From there, the sidewalk is flat and plenty wide for you and passersby.
Although many inaccessible warungs and shops have prime views of Tegallalang, you’ll still get a decent sighting of them from the sidewalk.
That said, Abian Desa Rice Terrace, which sits at the far end of Tegallalang proper, offers a ramp that leads down into an accessible viewing area over the rice paddies.
They also have a parking area, making it more comfortable for disembarking. Like most places in Bali, there aren’t marked spaces, so you can create your own spacious area to get out of the vehicle.
The ramp to the Abian Desa viewpoint is steep. So, manual wheelchair users might need help pushing to return to the vehicle.
I recommend coupling your visit to Abian Desa with a drive through the Sidemen Valley rice fields.
So, Is Visiting the Tegallalang Rice Terraces Worth It?
In my humble opinion, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces is very much worth the visit. Although it’s become more commercialized in recent years, it doesn’t take away from the breathtaking beauty of witnessing rice paddies plunging into a narrow valley.
When you’re down in the ricefields, and especially if you visit at an off hour for tourists, it’s easy to forget there are restaurants and swings on the road above you.
If you have questions about visiting the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help.
I’d also love to hear about your experience after your Tegallalang ricefield visit. Are there any tips you’d add to this list? Has anything changed since my visit?
P.S.—It’s unlikely you’ll see monkeys at the Tegallalang terraces. But check out my guide on 15 tips for visiting Ubud Monkey Forest for details on seeing monkeys. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to hike Campuhan Ridge from downtown Ubud or take a day trip to the Jatiluwih rice fields.
Also, check out my guide on Tegallalang vs Jatiluwih if you’re curious about the differences between these rice terraces.