The Tegalalang rice terraces in Ubud And Gunung Kawi Temple (also referred to as Pura Gunung Kawi) are some of the most important spots to visit in Bali.
The day after our ridge walk in Bali, the biggest thing we did all day was to go get massages. Like seriously – one in the morning and one at night, with lots of chilled pool time in between!
This trip to Bali was one that was strictly for fun so our biggest goal was to leave the island totally relaxed. As such, we’d all decided to alternate days between being utterly lazy (like that day) with days spent exploring the island.
After a delicious home-cooked breakfast at the villa, we were picked up by our driver and headed straight for our first sight – The Tegalalang rice terraces in Ubud.
When we arrived, we went to pay for entry tickets, though in retrospect, I have no idea why – no one was checking the tickets and you walk a fair distance from the ticket stand to the rice terraces. Then again, the tickets were really cheap (literally pennies) so not much time was spent thinking about it.
The last time we visited the Tegalalang rice terraces, it was bone dry! The harvest had been completed, the terraces bare and very brown. It was nothing like we’d pictured it. This time, however, they were lush, green and utterly picture perfect.
Walking through the rice terraces, you just couldn’t help but be impressed. The sheer scale of it from the top and even as you descend into it is pretty spectacular.
By the way, when you’re here, you’ll probably be asked multiple times for donations to help with the upkeep of the Tegalalang rice terraces. I have no idea how ‘official’ these donation stands are – they’re worded as optional but are made pretty much mandatory.
As irritated as I was with the first one (it was there almost as soon as you stepped in, which felt so silly considering we’d just paid to get it), I paid and it was at the next one not too far away I just lost it and refused to. Something about it felt like a scam (it probably wasn’t), especially the multiple positioning of it in quick succession after you arrived so I just opted out. Turns out, quite a few people had been doing this too! In any case, if this happens to you when you visit, I just wanted to give you a bit of a heads up. 🙂
When you visit the terraces, it’s probably worth noting that there’s not much shade so take an umbrella with you if you’re that way inclined, definitely use a lot of sunscreen and bring at least a small bottle of water with you (you can buy water from the stalls across the road when you’re done here if you’re really thirsty).
Anyhooo, carried away by how brilliant green the rice terraces were compared to the last time we visited, we pretty much went off to explore every possible nook and cranny!
It was only once the thirst truly hit that we decided to call it quits and head back in search of water and our driver.
Back in the car (and unbelievably thankful for the cold air-conditioning cooling us down), our driver suggested a coffee stop – one that I reluctantly agreed to because I just wasn’t ready to part with the air-conditioning just yet! 😀 (For what it’s worth – before long I got very used to the heat and humidity in Bali – I just always find the first proper day out to be more of a noticeable struggle).
The coffee plantation we went to was just down the road from the Tegalalang rice terraces and so within minutes, we were there – taken on a very quick tour of the plantation…
…before trying the many different types of coffees here (the tastes are so varied – you’re definitely bound to find several you’ll like no matter what sort of tastes you’re into).
Done with the coffees, we headed off to our next stop – Gunung Kawi temple.
This visit to Gunung Kawi temple was actually my first visit (didn’t do the other time we visited) so I was understandably excited! What I didn’t know till just before we arrived was that you have several steps to walk down to get to the main temples – which just means you’ll have several steps to walk back up.
By the way, male or female – you need sarongs when you visit the temples. It’s included in your fee so you don’t actually need to bring one with you (unless you have strong objections to sharing sarongs with strangers).
The intricate, ancient carvings on the temple walls, jungle-esque setting and nearby stream were all that I’d hoped and imagined the temple would be like.
The sun was also kinda hidden behind clouds from time to time so the heat let us a bit (though the humidity definitely stuck around).
We wander through Gunung Kawi temple grounds, amazed by the beauty and history behind it, surprised by a rather gigantic spider in one corner of the temple and subsequent laughing so hard at the terrified shrieks of a guy who’d just found out how close he was to said spider.
To get a true sense of the temple and it’s setting, it’s definitely worth walking up the stairs behind the temple where you can see it all surrounded by the trees and lush rice terraces.
I think eventually, it was the humidity that made us call it quits here (well that and the familiar rumbling from hunger pangs) and so, thoroughly impressed with Gunung Kawi temple, we started our climb back up, past the rice terraces and stands selling souvenirs and some rather tempting coconut water.
The next hour or so was then spent cooling off over food and drinks, and super eager to explore even more of Bali after lunch and over the coming week…
There’s a reason why people love visiting and keep coming back to Bali and the Tegalalang rice terraces and Gunung Kawi temple are certainly part of it!
If you’re planning on visiting Bali soon, definitely check out the following posts below to help you plan your time there!