Bali Rice Terrace

Why the Bali rice terraces are special
Rice terraces throughout the world are photogenic. Of all of them, those in Bali are the most beautiful.

The emerald-green rice terraces in the river gorge north of Tegallalang village in central Bali (see photo) are generally considered to offer travelers the best photo opportunity. Other popular lush-green and well-tended Balinese rice paddy sites include those in the Ubud area (including Sayan) — and in Pupuan, Jatiluwih. Tabanan and Tirtagangga.

The Balinese rice terraces go back over 2,000 years when hard-working farmers with primitive hand tools began carving the stepped terraces out of steep hill sides. Generation after generation has extended and kept them in meticulous shape out of necessity – rice is the staple food of the islanders.

Today’s individual rice terrace farmers, as did their ancestors, join a community cooperative.

Localized administration
Each informal agricultural mini-society establishes firm regulations on a local level. This helps ensure that the limited irrigation water is fairly allocated and that only so many farmers tap into the limited-flowing water at the same time.

Communal spirit
The community cooperative also makes sure that the complex irrigation system is jointly maintained and that a farmer does not block the water from flowing downward to rice terraces below his.

Rice terrace cooperatives are a major reason why a farmer is able to get up to three crops per year from his paddies.

Rice fields vs. rice terraces

Although the maze of rice fields that blanket Bali’s flat lands are not quite as visually striking as the rice terraces that follow the natural contours of the hills, they are stunningly picturesque in their own right.

 

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