8 Most Breathtaking Rice Terraces In Asia

07 Jan, 2023 | A-> Z Guide

From Mu Cang Chai of Vietnam to Tegalalang of Indonesia, rice terraces vary in size and color, offering an endless list of breathtaking sights to those who want to tickle them off their bucket list.

"What are rice terraces?"

Asia has been famed for its rice agriculture for centuries, one that has greatly impacted each country’s tradition, culture, and identity. While in the delta region, rice is cultivated on flat paddies, in the mountainous area, people have to turn the hilly slopes into thousands of terraces to grow rice on. The main water supply from rain, rivers, and mountain streams will flow down the terraces to each of the levels. This unique cultivating method, believed to date back hundreds or thousands of years, also helps to preserve the land from erosion.

Scroll down to read about the most beautiful rice terraces in Asia.

1. Rice Terraces With Vibrant Tribal Culture, Sapa, Vietnam

Rice terraces have been cultivated in Sapa and the northern mountain destinations in Vietnam for hundreds of years by a number of ethnic minorities such as the Hmong, the Dao, the Tay, and the Ha Nhi from generation to generation. From the distance, the beautiful terraces look like a ladder with a thousand steps toward the sky. The large rice fields not only provide food for the locals but also create a breathtaking natural painting for travelers.

The best time to visit Sapa rice terraces is in summer when the fields are filled with bright green colors like a carpet of the giant and in late autumn when the carpet turns to a brilliant yellow creating the best-ever picture you have ever seen in your life

After exploring the fields, you can visit the villages and markets to learn about the cultural diversity of Sapa’s ethnic tribes. Those who love outdoor activities can hike the Fansipan mountains, whose height reaches an impressive 3143 meters. 

2. Rice Terraces For Adventure Seekers, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, Vietnam

Situated in Yen Bai province of northern Vietnam, about 300 kilometers from Hanoi, Mu Cang Chai is one of the five must-visit mountain destinations in Northern Vietnam. To get there, travelers must conquer Khau Pha Pass, which is one of the most winding, dangerous, and hair-raising passes in the country. But the award for your bravery is worthy: Mu Cang Chai features the most stunning rice terraces in Vietnam and the most authentic culture of ethnic Tay and Hmong. 

Between mid - September and mid – October, when the massive fields change from green to a shining yellow color that allures every photography lover, is the best time to visit this place. 

3. Rice Terraces Amidst Lush Jungle, Tegalalang, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud is famous all over the world as a beautiful holiday destination. People often visit Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud Art Market, and Pura Taman Saraswati Temple but Ubud has more than that to offer. Just 20 minutes north of the town, you are likely to lose yourself  in the remarkable Tegalalang rice terraces. High palm trees and the surrounding lush jungle enhance the beauty of the elegant fields. It lures a large number of visitors, photographers, and painters to come here to capture the picturesque and exotic landscape of Tegalalang.

Come in the harvesting season, from April to October. It’s also the dry season in Bali, which is best for outdoor exploration.

Come to Southeast Asia to experience all this greenery.

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4. Rice Terraces Facing The Ocean, Hamanoura, Saga, Japan

It's easy to go to Hamanoura rice terraces by train or bus. Another short walk from the bus stop and you will see the terraced rice fields facing the Genkai Sea. The rice terraces are always filled with water by mid-April and fully planted with rice by early May. During this time, when the setting sun dyes the ocean surface and the rice paddies are all orange, the geometric patterns formed by the reflection of the sunset and the paths between the paddies create a fantastic view. That is the reason why this has also been named “Lover’s Sanctuary.” 

Once you are here, don't forget to discover the destination of Saga. Learn the history of the place at the Saga Castle History Museum, the largest wooden reconstructions of Japa then take a tour of 8 Shrines or enjoy a walk at Sagajo Park if you visit in March and April to see the cherry blossoms. 

5. Rice Terraces Awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yuanyang, China

Yunnan Province covers an area of 394,000 square kilometers and offers many things for you to discover. Lijiang ancient town, Meili Snow Mountain, and Songzanlin Lamasery - a Tibetan monastery, to name a few; plus. you will not want to miss its UNESCO rice paddy fields.

Yuanyang County Rice Terraces situated in the southern Ailao Mountains are home to the Hami and Yi tribes. Their ancestors had created these stunning rice terraces more than 1,000 years ago for cultivation. Yuanyang Terraces are now a World Heritage Site in China; only a few tourist facilities have been set up there so they are well preserved. 

The best time to visit Yuanyang rice terraces is from January to March when the terraces have been irrigated after harvesting. During this time, the water reflects the sky, and clouds are most likely. From late February to March, pink peach blossoms and white pear blossoms fill the vast land with vibrant colors.

6. Rice Terraces With Hillside Villages, Annapurna, Nepal

The legendary Annapurna region is the most diverse and popular trekking area in Nepal with the Great Himalaya Trails but it's also home to one of the most beautiful rice terraces in Asia.

Nepal rice terraces are among the most untouched in the world; most of them are out of massive tourism, remaining rustic as the backdrop of daily local life. Unlike Bali, the high altitude and cold winter of the Himalayas let the fields fall over the winter. But in late February, the fields are revived with women’s singing when they are planning for the next season’s crop.

The best time to visit is during summer when it is filled with the light green color of wheat, and the dark green color of potatoes and lentils 

7. Rice Terraces With Breathtaking Panorama View, Banaue, Philippines

Located over 1,500 meters above the sea, Banaue Rice Terraces is the steepest rice field in the world. It was hand-carved into the mountain of Ifugao more than 2,000 years ago. These rice terraces are the pride of the Filipinos, it is featured on the 20 peso banknote and is a National Cultural Treasure of the country. The rice fields are viewed best from what is called the Sunrise Viewpoint.

You can get to the terraces by bus from Manila  The journey takes around 8 hours but the road is in good condition and the view is amazing enough to make the journey feel shorter. Visit between February and March and between June and July for the best sightseeing.

When you are fulfilled with the rice terrace's beauty, visit Tam An native village to learn about the culture, trek to the hills, or take a bike ride. Here, you will always find something to your liking.

8. Rice Terraces Dotted With Stilt Houses, Jiabang, Guizhou, China

The terraces extend over a 40-kilometer square with hills and several ethnic villages dotting the rice fields. It boasts a fascinating landscape throughout the year. When it is spring, the yellow rapeseed flowers set the tone. When the rice is planted, the terraces are changed gradually from green to yellow which provides great shots for nature lovers.

If you plan a visit, take note that the best times to visit are from April to June to appreciate mirror-like terraces, and from September to October for gold terraces.

There are more than 15 ethnic minority groups settled in Guizhou such as the Miao, Zhuang, Dong, Yao, Shui, and Han. They create a rich culture and instill unforgettable feelings in the place. Make sure to visit Qingyan Ancient Town, Hongfeng Lake, Huangguoshu Waterfall, Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, and Zhaoxing Dong Village.

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