Bali ~ A Walk through the Rice Fields

“Whoever offers to me with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, with a pure heart, I accept.” ~
Bhagavad Gita

I once read that a walk through a rice field is like a walk through God’s garden.

I believe that to be true.

While in Ubud, our plan  included a rice field walk that began with a visit to Threads of Life, an Indonesian Textile Arts Center and end with lunch at Sari Organik, a restaurant located in the fields, adjacent to its organic farm.

It was a warm, humid but lovely day. Ready to leave the crowded tourist area, our walk began close to the Ubud Palace along Jalan Kajeng, a side street that proudly displays a sign with all the contributors’ names who donated to pave the narrow road. Walking past tiny shops and family compounds each with their distinctive temples, we spent much time at the Threads of Life, made our purchases and headed up the narrow road.

Turning onto a paved foot path, it takes us across the river and becomes a dirt pathway. Immediately we recognize the absence of the noise and distractions of the city and immerse ourselves in the beauty surrounding us. My husband, adult daughter and I are in photographer’s heaven. The lush green foliage along the river mixed with tall coconut trees and the ever presence of rice fields create this oasis. Sounds gurgle from the steady and abundant flow of water from the irrigation ditches. It reminds us to drink some of our own water before we continue on our way. We pass an occasional rice field temple with its offering basket placed nearby and further up the path is a hibiscus bush with lovely white blooms.

A colorful scarecrow stands sentinel along the edge of the verdant green field. How artistic it looks. Our only encounters on this footpath is with the woman and child who shyly walk past us and later on the men who carry their heavy beams to build yet another house or bed and breakfast which is slowly displacing these lush rice fields. Off in the distance we hear the rooster’s crow and tinkling of the whirly-gigs placed in the fields to chase the birds away from the ripe grains of rice.  We stop and watch workers in a field harvest their rice, a long hard process using age old methods. We notice the smiles on their faces and listen to their singing out to each other.

Rice is life. It is this ancient system of cultivation that connects the farmers to the land, to each other and to their spiritual life. They live in tune with the rhythms and cycles of water… planting, harvesting and crop rotation. Our quiet walk takes us past fallow fields where  flocks of ducks are used for pest control and natural  fertilizer. And to think that because little has changed over 1000 years of Balinese agriculture, UNESCO has recently recognized Bali’s irrigation system as a “world-heritage activity.”

After a couple of hours of walking, we arrive at Sari Organik, an open air restaurant that looks out over the rice fields. It’s a welcome respite from the heat as well as an opportunity to enjoy a tasty meal while taking in the beautiful views.

This is the Bali we came to see…on foot.

For more on Bali see

Click on a thumbnail for a larger photo and slide show:


About travelerlynne

Traveler. Writer. Retired Educator.Traveling on and off the beaten path with my photographer husband. Volunteering locally as well as in Haiti and Tanzania, an enriching and humbling experience. A sun lover! Shelling, boating, fishing and watching sunsets. Growing mango, banana, key lime,and pineapple.Making smoothies and chutneys. Enjoying family and friends! Savoring each new day!
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71 Responses to Bali ~ A Walk through the Rice Fields

  1. lynnsarda says:

    This is so lush……warming, wonderful.

  2. Absolutely stunning. Your vivid description enabled me to walk the narrow path through the rice fields with you. Thanks for a moment of tranquility in my hectic day.

    • Am pleased you took a walk along this beautiful path, Debbie, in the midst of a hectic day. It definitely was tranquil…eye candy everywhere. Thanks for the visit and comment.

  3. This post is so comforting to the eyes! How much greener can images get! They’re all stunning and invite the viewer to walk beside you!

    • Thanks, Z. Trying to decide which images to “leave out” was a challenge. Green and lush describe it.

      • Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

        yes, that’s always a problem for me as well!
        i’m pondering what to edit on a post for frizztext’s letter ‘O’ right now.. i’ll be posting about the olive ridley turtles!

        goodness it feels great to feel great!

        i’m sipping a huge cup of coffee and fear i won’t sleep!.. nah, i can sleep easily and always!


  4. Spiritual World Traveler says:

    What a great experience!!!

  5. roomaomao says:

    Beautiful pics! One time in the Philippines , I fell into the muddy waters of a rice paddy. I was not as enthused about rice paddies then. Haha

  6. Your descriptions of the place have an immediacy that draws one into the experience.. I can feel the humid warmth breathed out of the lushness of the setting! Beautifully written, Lynne. And hubby’s pics are lovely!

    • Thanks you for your kind remarks. I usually have photos intermingled in with the text, but this time decided to do a different format. Keep the text together…to create a sense of place.

  7. This brings back memories to me. I loved Ubud, which sounds as though it has a few more tourists now, but looking at the photos of rice paddies, it hardly seems to have changed.

    • Am pleased this brought back memories, Denise. Ubud is really filing up and young people are caught up in the tourism dilemma of selling family land or building their own B&B. Building in agricultural fields diverts the irrigation and starts to break down the system…that has worked for over 1000 years. Thanks for your visit and comment.:)

  8. Must have been one awesome trip!! Loved the pictures and your descriptions!! 🙂

  9. What a lovely lovely post, beautiful words, beautiful pictures and beautiful quotes. You captured the serenity and silence, the sound of the cock crowing and the water running, it was just lovely, thank you

    • Thank you Valerie. It was enjoyable to relive the walk in the rice fields myself. The problem was in choosing photos. Am glad I captured the experience and that you could feel the serenity.

  10. letizia says:

    I agree with the other commentators, your description is so poetic and your photographs are so beautiful. As always, you have momentarily brought us with you on one step of your journey (and we thank you!).

    • Am pleased you enjoyed the journey. We stayed at a B&B in the rice fields for a few nights so we were close to Sari Organic and had several meals there. Bali is beautiful…away from the crowds. It is being loved to death.

  11. vbholmes says:

    Tantalizing description and gorgeous photos–thanks for whetting my appetite for a visit to Bali.

  12. Gigi Galore says:

    Gorgeous, beautiful photos! You have whet my appetite! I just love rice! With a little salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil. What a divine system of agriculture! 🙂

    • I have never eaten so much rice, but much is cooked in coconut milk and curries added to it or seasoned with zest of just lime and chilies and basil. Since Ron is gluten intolerant, we live on rice products, anyway.

  13. neongreenmilk says:

    nice pics! I live in Japan so I traveling is very familiar to me!

  14. Lynne, I think we stayed at a homestay not far from where some of these beautiful pictures were taken (Nirwa Homestay). Your lovely description has transported me back to our two weeks sleeping among these glorious rice fields in Ubud. I can still hear the crickets chirping now. 🙂

    • I’ve heard of Nirwa Homestay and we even considered a homestay. After reading your blog on the intricacies of making the offering basket I wish we did stay at one. We stayed three nights at Sawah Sunrise B&B close to Sari Organic which was delightful. Your auditory remembrance is crickets and mine is roosters. 🙂

  15. What a beautiful walk through Bali! So far, I’ve seen it only in my dreams… Hope to make it a reality one day! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  16. Trishanka says:

    The lush greenery everywhere. Bali is too beautiful. Thanks for sharing,

  17. I love that I can come to your blog and live vicariously through your photos…so beautiful. I especially love the one with the baby ducks (or are they geese?) Thanks for sharing your lovely walk in the rice fields.

  18. Thanks for your visit and your gracious comment. They are ducks and are used exclusively in the fallow fields for controlling the pests. It’s fun to watch the men get their ducks into the fields then, later in the day, lead them to their pens. Such quacking.

  19. What a lush, green and beautiful gallery of the rice fields, Lynne. I hope to make it to Bali one day!

    • Thanks, Cathy, for stopping by. Bali is Beautiful…but is being loved to death by tourism.

      • catbirdinoman says:

        Ah, that’s always the shame isn’t it? All the beautiful places in the world are overrun by tourists. I love those special places you run across that no one has heard about. I guess that’s one good thing about Oman.

  20. I always thought Bali was the most peaceful, lush, beautiful place on earth. And then a couple of years ago there was a terrorist attack there. I know it can happen anywhere, but now I feel skeptical about going to Bali. Did you see anything there that made you feel uncomfortable for your safety?

    • We knew of the attacks in the past, which were in the beach areas. We stayed in Ubud and traveled around the island doing day trips and never felt unsafe or saw anything suspicious. Thanks for your visit and comment.

  21. segmation says:

    Hi Lynne,
    Love your blog! Where are you going to next?

    • Thanks for visiting and liking my travel blog. As far as going anywhere right now…that is on hold. My husband and I are care giving his elderly mother and it is a full time job right now…but we hold on to the dream of traveling again. In the meantime, I turn it into a positive situation and write about where we’ve been. Best to you.

  22. gwynnem says:

    This post brings back such striking memories from a trip I made to Java and Bali. Indonesia is such a complex country. Great post!

  23. eof737 says:

    Your photos show an amazing landscape… great shots! 🙂

  24. Thank you Elizabeth for the visit and nice comment. I owe the photography to Ron, my husband.

  25. adinparadise says:

    What an unforgettable experience, Lynne. Your photos are wonderful. 🙂

  26. Lisaman says:

    What stunning photos of a beautiful place!!

  27. Thank you Lisa for your visit and comment. I love the tropics and this place oozes with it.

  28. Oh, you made me miss the rice fields in my hometown. I now live in the city and barely have time to walk on rice paddies anymore. But after seeing your photos, my feet are itching to go back home for a vacation. Thanks!

  29. i like the stack of pictures of the rice field

  30. Madhu says:

    Grew up among rice paddies….our back yard looked like that at one time!! I am sure I would love Bali. Thank you for sharing this Lynne.

  31. What a view you must have had. Rice paddies and the spiritual and ecological relationship really fascinate me. Avoid the tours and hire a driver if you ever make it there. Bali is being loved to death.

  32. Pingback: Bali Rice Paddy Reflection

  33. eof737 says:

    TY for stopping by Lynne… I look forward to your new posts. 😉

  34. Pingback: Sustaining Culture through Weaving ~ from North Carolina to Bali | On the Go with Lynne

  35. Wow, I passed dozens of rice paddies in Southeast Asia and never saw any of them up close. Your walk looks like it was incredibly beautiful. Photographer’s heaven indeed! I loved to see the conical hats speckled through the paddies.

  36. I love the conical hats, too. I feel that time stood still when I saw them working in the paddys. Pictures from a distance tell part of the story, but actually walking along the fields really puts the whole operation into perspective. Thanks for your comment, Doree.

  37. restlessjo says:

    Such a beautiful walk, Lynne. Lovely to see Ron and your daughter smiling so happily. 🙂

  38. Thanks for popping by, Jo. Yes, it was a beautiful day which put smiles on our faces. It was the first and only time our daughter has been able to travel with us and she was such a joy to have with us. Great memories.

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