After a 12 year wait, Bali has just received UNESCO World Heritage Status for its unique Subak irrigation system, which creates the stunning emerald green rice terraces that make the west of the island so well known.
The UNESCO status was awarded in recognition of the central role the rice terraces play in preserving Balinese culture as part of an ancient living cultural system still in operation today.
To celebrate the significance of these precious rice terraces to local culture, boutique hotel specialist Alila has created a number of experiences to offer guests the opportunity to explore the remote regions of the west and gain an insight into the importance of these traditions in the Balinese life cycle.
‘All about Rice’ – Alila Villas Soori
Set on the wild-west coast of Bali, Alila Villas Soori is nestled between the paddy fields and the sea with villas overlooking either the emerald green rice terraces or the black sand beach and crashing ocean waves. The resort’s ‘All About Rice’ journey takes a fascinating look at how rice is cultivated, its religious significance – seen as a direct gift from God - and how the planting, growing and harvesting of rice is linked to temple ceremonies. Exploring the local villages with a local guide, guests will visit the Subak museum and Taman Buwana Farm before stopping for lunch in a typical Balinese compound. The journey completes with a guided walk through the paddy fields, finishing with a stop at Pura Penawangan to learn how to make religious offerings using rice and for an insight into the Balinese blessing ritual. http://alilahotels.com/soori
‘Rice Terraces and Volcanoes’ – Explore Balinese back country with Alila Ubud
The boutique hillside hideaway of Alila Ubud has introduced a new way to explore the quiet hinterlands around Bali’s latest UNESCO site, taking in the Jatiluwih rice terraces, lakes and mountains of the island’s back country. Starting from Ubud, the journey takes guests through the back roads and countryside towards the Taman Ayun Temple, a secluded site set amidst lakes and gardens away from the tourist trails in Mengwi village. Continuing onto the UNESCO Jatiluwih rice terraces, the experience will introduce guests to the concept of the Subak (irrigation and water management system) before heading onwards and upwards to the high altitude mountainous area of Bedugul, which produces Bali’s best coffee, strawberries and vegetables, for a picnic with stunning views overlooking the volcanic Lake Bratan.
Each Alila experience is tailor-made for individual guests for an authentic adventure. A combination stay of ‘One Island, Two Experiences’ includes two nights at Alila Villas Soori and two nights at Alila Ubud. A great introduction to two of Bali’s best locations, staying in a stunning Valley Villa with magnificent valley views at Alila Ubud and a One-Bedroom Terrace Pool Villa at Alila Villas Soori, overlooking the rice terraces. This four nights journey costs from $1640++/£1056.25++ including daily a la carte breakfast, private return airport transfers and inter-resort transfers, daily afternoon tea at both resorts and complimentary group Yoga and Tai-Chi.