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Beneath tropical volcanoes draped in clouds, the undulating levels of rice terraces wind their way down hillsides. The freshly-watered layers have a mirror-like sheen, which reflects the sky. Trees laden with frangipani or fruit perfume the air and a whole choir of birdsong rings out. The central highland province of Bali, on Indonesia’s most famous island, may lack the hedonistic parties of Kuta and the tourist centers of Ubud, but it has more than its fair share of magic.

Things to see

A trip to the highlands of Jatiluwih is an experience you won’t forget. The cool, fragrant air is a relief from the tropical heat of Bali’s lowlands, and, as the rice terraces come into view, you can simply stand and stare, taking in the mesmerizing shapes and vibrant hues. If you look closely, you may see men with oxen ploughing the terraces, or women harvesting the rice by hand. All around, the jungles and mountains invite you to explore them – find a knowledgeable guide and head out on your very own Indiana Jones adventure. The Luhur Batukaru Temple is an arresting sight – its dozens of pagodas have so many levels they resemble pinecones and stone deities stand guard at every entrance. When the sun sets over this enchanting valley, the deep colors of the sky and the slow silhouetting of the mountains is a sight you’ll want to remember forever.

Hotels in Bali

In this peaceful, beautiful land, the hotels are just as tranquil. Bali hotels have a rustic charm to them – there are wooden verandas to make the most of the beautiful outdoors, while essential mosquito nets are made like design features over the beds. Luxury hotels in Bali provide full spa services and large, airy rooms furnished beautifully, as well as onsite restaurants, outdoor pools, and WiFi access. These are incredibly good value hotels, with luxury available on a budget. Even the cheap hotels here are simply but elegantly furnished, and have plenty of areas to sit and enjoy the landscape.

Where to stay

The area to the north of Jatiluwih has several hotels dotted about in the forested hillsides, benefitting from spectacular tropical views and a natural wake-up call in the form of birdsong. Both luxury resorts and cheaper hotels can be found here and it’s a good base from which to explore the rice paddies and temples of the region. If you’d rather sea views and sundrenched beaches, try the southern Tabanan area, where rustic bungalows and spa retreats line the beachfront. This area has slightly more bars and restaurants, but still remains very calm compared to other places like Kuta on the island.

How to get to Bali

Ngurah Rai Airport is located on Bali Island, in the southern Kuta district. It receives flights from several major Asian cities and is one way of getting onto the island. If you are coming from elsewhere in Indonesia, there are frequent ferry connections from Java, to the west, and Lombok, to the east. The ferry crossings take about half an hour. From either the airport or ferry port, local bemos – minibuses – and taxis go to Tabanan, a further 30 minute journey. To reach Jatiluwih, you will need a private driver with a suitable vehicle, or go on an arranged tour.

Bali travel guides

Bali travel guides