The next two days continued in the same laid back manner. By the second day we had partially adjusted to the new time zone. Probably one of the most beautiful places to see near Ubud are the Tegalalang rice terraces. In 2011 we visited China and the spectacular view of the Longsheng rice fields (even more impressive than the Great Wall of China) made me hope I would be able to experience something like this again.
The Tegalalang rice fields nearby Ubud are very different, a lot smaller but breathtaking and definitely worth a visit. The rice paddies are located half an hour drive from the center of Ubud (in case there is not much traffic). Before leaving I quickly checked TripAdvisor for reviews on this and it looked like if you are not there early in the morning, it might be extremely crowded and less enjoyable. It was already 10 am when I started reading these reviews and had to wait for the taxi as well. As you can imagine, planning an early morning trip with a toddler still adjusting to the new time zone is almost impossible and highly undesirable. We wouldn’t have done it otherwise either. In any case, we arrived there at noon and, surprise, there were hardly any people! I wasn’t even sure whether we were at the right place judging by what I just learnt. This probably has to do with February being low season and rainy season. Maybe we were really lucky, but we haven’t seen a single drop of rain and did not experience crowds anywhere.
With perfect weather ahead (a bit too hot every now and then but compared with the frosty Netherlands, where we left behind a snowman in the back yard, let’s just continue calling it perfect) we started our walk among the stunning rice paddies. The paths are very muddy. From a toddler perspective that is perfect for jumping like a frog in the mud, which may be why he refused to be carried in the baby carrier. He walked quite a long distance and was also carried by daddy. When preparing for the trip in the morning, I should have realized that rice paddies equal mud, and that mud and immaculate white dresses and sandals don’t really get along very well. Most of the walk wasn’t slippery, but by the end of the 2 hours I was wearing mud boots and my sandals were invisible😊, not to mention the dress. The pictures look great though!
There is no entrance fee to see the terraces, however there are a few toll booths where locals ask a donation as they maintain the paths there. It’s not really clear how much is required or how many of these toll booths you’ll be encountering, and there’s not always someone to give you change back. Also, if you want to take pictures of the locals working there, a small donation will also be expected. We encountered a friendly, old farmer who showed us the way in a particularly muddy area where there was absolutely nobody around us.I wasn’t bothered at all.
This place is so beautiful that I just could not stop taking pictures. All the angles were stunning and picturesque, the intensity of the green in the sunlight, the tranquil valleys, the surrounding villages, and the fact that I could be there with my little family and all of us were enjoying it made it one of the best moments of the entire journey. It felt, at times, surreal.
The rest of the day and our final day were well spent at the hotel with lots of playing at the pool, walking among the hotel’s garden, rice paddies and enjoying an amazing Balinese massage. The hotel organised a few Balinese instrument lessons. It felt heavenly just hearing the sound of it from far, late in the afternoon. Bali truly is a great place to disconnect from daily life and find inner relaxation.