Day trips are a great, accessible travel hack for anyone in or traveling to a major city who wants to get to know a region in a deeper way. Que Duong, a travel photographer currently based in New York City, took a day trip to the Jatiluwih Rice Terrace in Tabanan, West Bali, on a recent excursion to Ubud. He shared his itinerary below and the photos he took along the way.
Traveling somewhere, anywhere, is worthwhile because it opens your soul and spirit to new cultures, but I especially love day trips because you are able to pack and experience so much in such a short amount of time.
For a trip from Ubud to the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, which is just an hour’s drive without any stops, I recommend hiring a local tour guide. There are a few ways to do this: through Tripadvisor, you can book with the Bali Sun Tours company. They let you customize your stops and can give you a better insight into the historical background of the sites. If you are traveling alone and want to make new friends, I would look into the Airbnb Experiences in the area.
Bali’s roads are small and not fully developed. You can get motion sickness while on the road. Pack light and only bring things that are essentials such as sunscreen and hand sanitizer. Note: If you are eating in Bali, you’ll want to take the necessary dietary precautions to protect yourself against “Bali Belly”—take Travellan, only drink bottled water or fresh coconut milk, and beware of ice made from tap water. You can bring some ginger to help with any nausea.
My favorite part of the trip was hanging out with the locals and eating exotic fruits. When I arrived at my final destination, I was so grateful for all the wonderful things I experienced before getting there.
I started here to be able to compare the differences between these rice terraces and the rice terraces at Jatiluwih. The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are the most popular and easily accessible from Ubud. Make sure to bring good walking shoes. It was easy to walk around the terraces, however, there are some bumpy parts to the pavement. It can be pretty touristy here, so I recommend coming extremely early, around 7 a.m., to beat the crowd and the heat. Another benefit of arriving early is that you will be able to catch the morning sun rays through the palm trees—a very surreal and peaceful moment. There are plenty of Instagram photo opportunities in the field (look for the swing and the bird’s nest). Even though there isn’t an official admission fee, the farmers at the terrace asked for donations and I gave them about 10k-20k Rupiah (equivalent to a couple dollars).
Stop #2: Bali Pulina Coffee Plantation
I stopped here to get breakfast and to try the famous (and expensive) Luwak coffee. A cup of Luwak coffee can cost 50K Rupiah ($4) and a bag of the Luwak coffee powder is 500K Rupiah ($50). I wanted to learn how the Luwak coffee is made in person. The process was interesting, since you are essentially drinking poop—the coffee beans are fermented through ingestion by a cat-like animal called a palm civet. But keep an open mind! I had the coffee with Kue Lupis, a small banana snack that will fill you up. In my opinion, the Luwak coffee tasted earthy and smooth. It was not as strong as the normal coffee. I also tried the different flavored teas that came complimentary with the order. It was really relaxing with a beautiful view.
Stop #3: Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
I stopped here to hang out with the playful creatures in person. The forest was huge and I spent about an hour here. The main stars of the attraction were the monkeys of course. I would limit what belongings you bring to the forest—the monkeys tend to pickpocket, especially anything that is shiny. Do not feed them either; they have their own food. The monkeys can scratch if they are afraid but are usually just harmless, curious creatures. They roam around free and are super adorable!
Stop #4: Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)
Along my route, I stopped here to observe a Bali temple and its traditions. The temple was very pretty and the cave is still used for prayer. I would have your guide check in with the temple before arriving. It can get extremely packed with villagers during the religious ceremonies. Explore the back end of the temple, the stairs, and the adjacent forest. Note that if your legs are exposed, you will need to purchase and wear a sarong (temple scarf) in order to enter the temple.
Stop #5: Tegenungan Waterfall
This was the most accessible waterfall around Ubud. The waterfall is great for swimming, especially on a hot day, so bring a bathing suit and extra clothes. During the rainy season (October-March), the waterfall can be intense, and I wouldn’t recommend swimming at this time. The fall gets crowded easily with tourists and locals, but before coming down the steps to the Tegenungan, I found a smaller, more private waterfall.
Stop #6: Arang Sate Bar
I stopped here for lunch before hitting the long road to Jatiluwih. I recommend trying the Arang Sate platter. The platter had a full range of Indonesian-style meat and tuna. I would recommend trying the Spiced Tamarind Margarita—deliciously sour and spicy.
Stop #7: Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
These rice terraces are the largest in Bali and listed as a protected site by UNESCO. Bring plenty of water, comfortable shoes, insect repellent, and an umbrella during the rainy season. This place was less crowded with tourists than the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. And it was huge! It’s best to take your time and explore the area. You could definitely see the difference between Tegallagang and Jatiluwih in size and scenery. I recommend coming here later in the day for cooler temperatures and to witness a golden sunset if it isn’t cloudy. Beware of fire ants if walking on the paddy and make sure to give the farmers a donation if you want a photo with them.