The Awe-Inspiring Beauty of Rice Terraces

The unique rice terraces of Yuanyang County, China.
The unique rice terraces of Yuanyang County, China.

9. Banaue, Philippines

The Banaue rice terraces are a breathtaking sight. The mountains upon which the terraces have been carved exist at a high altitude and are steeper than any other terraces in the world. Furthermore, the Banaue rice terraces, which were built 2,000 years ago, are the oldest in the world. A unique fact about the Banaue rice terraces is that if the terraces were placed side by side, they would occupy half the world. In 1995, the terraces earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Presently, they are the 8th Wonder of the World. Consequently, the Banaue rice terraces have become a tourist destination for both local and international visitors.

8. Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam

The Mu Cang Chai rice terraces are located in the mountainous regions of Vietnam. They are made of multi-layers which result in beautiful landscapes. Rice is grown during the summer season which is between May and October. As a result, the terraces are watered by the summer rains. The Mu Cang Chai rice terraces have a pleasant climate which is convenient for visitors. Hence, tourists can visit at any time of the year. However, those who desire to take beautiful photos of the terraces may take them between May and July. During this period, the locals water the rice terraces in anticipation of the planting season. The Hmong people make up 95% of the population that lives around the mountain slopes.

7. Tegalalang, Bali, Indonesia

The beautiful Tegalalang rice terraces in Bali, Indonesia.

The Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of the best tourist destinations in Bali. It is situated in the village of Tegalalang which is found north of Ubud Bali. The Tegalalang rice terraces have a green landscape unfolding on the cliffs making them stunningly beautiful. The rice paddles thrive due to the highly organized labor provided by the subak who are a social order. Tourists who visit the rice terraces have the unique opportunity of watching farmers work on the rice terraces. In addition to the beautiful scenery, those who visit Tegalalang rice terrace are also exposed to the Balinese culture.

6. Mae-Jam, Thailand

The Mae-Jam rice terraces in Thailand.

Mae-Jam is a village located in Chiangmai Province in Thailand. Some of the rice paddles are found on the hilly parts of the village. However, most paddles have been cultivated on the flat areas of the village. Most of the rice paddles are cultivated by the locals. This practice has been handed over from one generation to the other.

5. Sapa, Vietnam

The rice terraces of Sapa, Vietnam.

Sapa is a beautiful town located on Vietnam’s northwest mountain ranges. It is found along the Chinese border. Sapa is popular for its rich cultural heritage coupled with magnificent but rugged scenery. In addition, it is home to nicely grown rice terraces which have recently turned into popular tourist destinations. The rice fields are situated between Fansipan Mountain and Sapa town.

4. Lake Maninjau, Sumatra, Indonesia

The Lake Maninjau rice terraces in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Lake Maninjau is a volcanic lake which is located west of Sumatra, in Indonesia. It is the eleventh largest lake in Indonesia. The caldera was formed more than 50,000 years ago through volcanic eruptions. A visit to the lake grants one a relaxed atmosphere and a chance to watch the sunset. The area surrounding the lake is quiet and serene. The lake is used for fish farming, swimming, and canning. In addition, beautiful rice paddles surround the lake. The rice farming is done in the lower slopes and swamps around the lake.

3. Chiang Mai, Thailand

A terraced rice terrace in Chiangmai.

Chiang Mai is the largest city found in northern Thailand, Chiangmai Province. It receives more than 14.1 million tourists each year. One of the aspects that attract tourists to Chiang Mai is the unique ancient culture exhibited by the hill tribes. It also possesses many rice fields and is often referred to as the “Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields.” The rice fields are positioned on the steep mountains that surround Chang Mai. Besides having adventure on the wonderful rice terraces, tourists also have the opportunity to go stargazing in the night. Furthermore, they can also enjoy eating some of Thailand’s famous dishes such as “khao soi.”

2. Jatiluwih, Indonesia

The Jatiluwih rice terraces in Bali, Indonesia.

The name “Jatiluwih” means “truly beautiful". This name is used to describe the ubiquitous rice terraces which are found on the slopes of Mt. Batukaru. The terraces form breathtaking views during both planting and harvesting seasons. They are inhabited by the Balinese people who have a rich culture. Visiting the terraces will enable one to see the locals at work. While farming, the locals are normally accompanied by water buffaloes and flocks of ducks. They use organic and traditional Balinese farming techniques. As a result, UNESCO recently listed the Jatiluwih rice terraces as a World Heritage Site.

1. Yuanyang, China

The Yuanyuang Rice Terraces are a unique and magnificent sight. They are located in Yuanyang County, Yunnan province in China. The terraces are a masterpiece of the indigenious Hani people who inhabited the Ailao Mountains over 2,500 years ago. In a quest to make a living, the Hani people put their creativity to test as they beautifully carved the terraces on the slopes of the mountain. As a result, they were honored by the Ming Dynasty emperor with the title of “Skillful Sculptor.” Their efforts have also led to the Yuanyuang rice terraces becoming a tourist attraction site. The Yuanyuang rice terraces are a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.


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