Yes, South Bali has it all, including insufferable traffic jams and crowds. If you want to escape the chaos of the southern overdeveloped enclaves, there is probably no better place to visit than Jatiluwih. It’s a a relatively short 1.5 hour long trip and you will be compensated for the bumpy car ride with a lots of wow factor.
Jatiluwih means “truly marvelous” and the valley overdelivers on that term: you will be rewarded with spectacular views of centuries old rice terraces that will challenge your ability to describe the many shades of green.
Jatiluwih received the UNESCO World Heritage Status for its ancient rice growing culture and you will absolutely get why by viewing the panorama from the narrow, serpentine 18km long road. It will make you feel like traveling on a different planet, but to really take it all in you have to get out of the car and go for a rice field trek. The best vistas open up when you’re away from the “main drag”, follow the water as it runs through the bamboo pipes and it will be just you and nature. You will be surprised to see how very few people will be there, except for a few tourists from the nearby hotels, you will have the stunning beauty just to yourself.
The terraces are located in the central Bali near the Batukaru mountain and if you’re adventurous enough a day trip from the South is even doable on a scooter. The area is remote and requires a bit of an effort to explore, but it also weeds out the hordes of the new breed Instagram tourists ruining the scenery and the vibe elsewhere in Bali that is just as scenic, but way more accessible. We recommend you do not join the guided tour, as they’re short and not very informative and just park the car at one of the many pull outs and follow the narrow grassy paths connecting the terraces and wander around on your own.
Like with most things, timing is everything, make sure you see it before the harvest (happens 3x times a year at Jatiluwih) otherwise the 50 shades of terraced green, will turn into the 50 shades of mud. Admittedly, the area is a lot less spectacular right after the harvest.
There are a lots of charming small villages nearby, where you can experience the everyday authentic life in Bali, absolutely tout-free. This trip is fantastic for introverts, people who hate Instagram tourism and anyone who appreciates unspoiled nature.[Words & Photos by Vero]