Located in a village just north of Ubud awaits the magical rice terraces. As you pull up alongside the hillside the view really just take your breath away. We were lucky again to have another clear blue sky day, so the sun lit up this spectacle to show all it's glory.
Walking down the steep steps to the start of the trail you feel the humidity that this mini rainforest-esque canopy has created. It's only 10am and sweat is pouring down us like the stream we can see below us. We strap the backpacks, secure the water bottles and begin the small, winding scale up the terrace.
30 seconds in, we come across our first hurdle of the day. A rather odd, chubby Balinese man climbs out of his hut and blocks our path from walking any further. He says nothing, pointing at a sign to his left stating that a donation should be paid to help the upkeep of the fields. Now, we don't mind paying for admission to these sorts of things. Firstly, as Westerners to pay 50p for entrance as a donation is extremely cheap and incredible value. Secondly, seeing how beautiful it is you want to provide money to enable the site to stay open for others to enjoy and for locals to ensure they can keep earning a living. However, what is completely ridiculous is the angry, moody manner it is demanded to be paid and the false pretence of calling it a 'donation. Just state it's an admission fee – you'd probably make more money as well. Rant over.
We began our climb taking in the awesome views. People all around us were snapping away on their cameras, taking selfies and generally gawping at what they were looking at. Frogs and lizards lined the pathways as well as several streams.
Further up the terrace, we discovered a little man made cave. The workers use it as shade from the midday sun to recuperate before their hard afternoon slog. It was surprisingly high once inside although only room for 2, possibly 3 people at a push.
Carrying on around the bend, an Eden rises. Most tourists won't go up this far as there are further checkpoints requesting donations and the majority refuse to pay more than once – for the record, so did we but the man allowed us to pass after offering a handshake a slightly strange cheek-to-cheek greeting. The terraces are more pristine and the grass was even greener, meanwhile scarecrows guarded the terraces.
The scarecrows weren't the only thing guarding the fields though. Further on, we came across an elderly and fragile worker who offered to come down and pose for a photograph. What an opportunity!
The smile on her face was quickly gone after she asked for money and I told her we left our wallets in the car! With her machete in hand we didn't around too long and made our way back towards where the main group of tourists were.
Who knew a field full of rice could be so fun and so beautiful?