Wednesday, June 10, 2015


visited May 2015

These rice terraces are about 10km north of Ubud and 44/48 km from Kuta/the airport. However because of Bali's increasingly difficult traffic you are looking at something like 20/95/115mins give or take.

I feel the terraces at Tegallalang are not as good as at Sideman in the east  or Belimbing in the west. However Tegallalang has 2 advantages:
* immediate access for people wishing to walk the terraces
* this area is much easier to reach from the southern tourist areas not to mention Ubud which is a major accommodation destination in itself

The terraced area is immediately adjacent to Jl Ray Tegallalang which is one of the main roads between Ubud and the Kintimani volcano area. Seeing these are about the two biggest daytrip destinations in Bali, plenty of passers-by call in. These vehicles are actually parked in the main drag - makes for a major traffic hickup: our free shuttle from Pondok Sebatu Villas 5km north avoided the jam; dropped us off just north of this area. Plenty of restaurants with terrace views, and other touristy businesses along the above strip.

This is the outlook from the restaurant we chose. Food prices along here seemed to be a little higher than Ubud budget restaurant levels but lower than Pondok Sebatu Villas (the latter wasn't over the top - way cheaper than western prices). This shot is a good one to click-expand.

The restaurants etc along the main road from the opposite side of the gorge

Entry to the restaurant slope is free - the opposite slope (above) has a nominal 10k idr (abt us80 cents at the time) fee.

The free shuttle the 5km from Pondok Sebatu Villas took less than 10 minutes - I chose to walk back (slightly more than an hour) along the parallel, slightly shorter and way less busy Jl Raya Ceking - check your Google Maps. 90% of the route was shaded by trees, slopes gradual to moderate, one village and at least a dozen woodcarving businesses.

There is closer accommodation to the terraces (none right in the main road strip or very close to it) but Pondok Sebatu Villas was the nearest which had a room within yer humble correspondent's modest budget. 
I find it difficult to build a linear scale on a Google Earth image featuring variable relief (there is a series of parallel gorges within the above area) - but fer you map nerds, the straight line distance from the "r" of "rice terraces" to the "P" of "Pondok" is 2.7km.
Many booking sites include PSV in their Ubud lists but I don't think this should be the case - at 15km north and 30 to 40+ minutes driving depending on traffic it is too distant. There is a lot of equal or better for the price accommodation in and immediately around Ubud – as a repeat Ubud visitor I reckon you really need to be close to make the best of the town. I booked Pondok Sebatu on the basis of proximity to the rice terraces
PSV is a short distance south of Sebatu village - the straight line distance between the place marker of each is 540m. I found a good general type store less than 10 minutes walk from PSV, immediately on entry to the village - if you forget to pack something you could probably find it here. But I couldn't find any budget (or other) restaurants in town. There were some food stalls down near the temple (it is in a deep gorge) but nowhere to sit down. The nearby Puri Ganga resort (small square near temple's place marker) had food prices considerably higher than PSV's. Resort itslelf looked pretty sweet - pool and restaurant had outlook over the gorge.

This is the view from our villa's balcony. PSV is a pretty nice place with only 10 villas, located on the side of a small gorge with views across to some okay rice terraces on the opposite slopes. The lowest villas also look out over a small lagoon which you may be able to see if you click-expand  – their downside is a pretty steep climb to the restaurant and pool (which are just above the level of this pic), although most of the lower villas have their own mini pool. Sweet.  

Chez tezza at PSV

We booked the cheapest  room, a  one bedroom no-pool villa, and at around $us70 a night for May which is not really high season I was a bit disappointed (I have stayed in dozens of Bali rooms in recent  years and have found better value elsewhere).**  But I think PSV's villas vary a fair bit - people who book more expensive ones should maybe search for those reviews (even the other basic room seemed bigger and of different design to ours so my conclusions may not apply to it). 
Our room was more compact than I expected – the queen bed took more than half the space. There was no hanging area for clothes (there was a wardrobe with shelves), no luggage stands, no inside chairs (chairs outside on the spacious balcony with great views over the gorge), poor lights for reading. Done up in attractive dark stained wood but the floors were very thin meaning they creaked when walked on. The bed was comfy and the fitted mozzie net was a very good one. TV, jug, aircon (quiet), safe, in room wifi but some other inclusions mentioned by absent – they may be found in the more expensive bungalows.
** that may be a bit harsh - PSV has quite a few free extras - afternoon tea, 3 shuttles to Ubud and back daily, free shuttles any time to the rice terraces plus pickup when you want, free bicycles, a good value guided morning hike of the Sebatu region's highlights, meals and afternoon teas delivered to your villa if you wished. 

Overall I thought the place was pretty good and enjoyed my stay.

Characterful outdoor bathroom had good hot water. Mozzies didn't seem a problem.

Small pool had nice outlook.... did the restaurant immediately above the pool. Restaurant prices not budget but still a bargain by western standards. Food pretty nice. Ditto the inclusive breakfast - staff here excellent as elsewhere in the resort.

The free pre breakfast walking tour is recommended. One hour, gentle gradients apart from the first 100m up PSV's killer driveway, very relaxed pace. Informed commentary from guide Udi about farming, village life, temples - also provided free bottles of water. 

I also went on an independent wander thru the district. Walked as far north thru Sebatu village as I could, from where the road became a concrete path.....

....which cut thru the rice fields (that's distant Agung in the background)....

....finally ending at a small temple....

From there I took a narrow path which cut across a small, deep ravine and then climbed to the busy Jl Raya Tegallalang 
I walked back down this road (there must have been a dozen wood-carving places as above in the 2km I walked - how many in the next 10km to Ubud?)....

.... to the turn-off back to Sebatu, Checked the Gunung Rawi Sebatu temple on my way thru the gorge and was back at PSV in about 2hrs.

3 times a day but the timing is such you either spend 5 hours in Ubud or 10 minutes. 
If you insist on making PSV your Ubud destination, do a bit of research - 5 hours is plenty of time to fit some of the more time-consuming activities in (eg the Campuhan ridge walk which takes you thru some attractive rice growing areas although not particularly terraced) plus fit in a nice meal at one of Ubud's many good value restaurants.