Sawah-Trekking: experience the sawah, guided by a farmer

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Wayan Renta has been a rice-farmer for almost 20 years. As a young boy he grew up in a farmer’s family and started helping his parents in the ricefield after school. Though it is hard to get a job nowadays, in the sawah there is always work to do. Wayan knows all about rice and farming and he enjoys explaining to you everything about it. The rice-terraces and the water-system in Bali are famous all over the world. Culture and nature follow each other seamlessly.

Let Wayan be your guide through the rice fields and you experience the daily life of 80 % of the Balinese people.

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The walk around takes about2 or 3 hours and
Wayan charges Rp 100.000 for 1 single person
Rp  90.000 p.p. for 2 persons
Rp  80.000 p.p. for 3 persons
Rp  70.000 p.p. for 4 persons or more.

Call Wayan Renta for an appointment: 085 23 8833 954
More questions? mail: renta.ubud@yahoo.com

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Bali, Ubud, walking at the slopes of a river

WALK  3

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This walk takes place in the wonderful, capricious landscape of Sayan, well known for its luxury hotels.

In the area opposite the hotels there are a few small villages, mostly populated by farmers, who made their rice paddies where the jungle allowed them. Beside that they have small fields where they cultivate vegetables and fruit trees. Of course the cow-house is there too, and closer to the houses you will often find a pigsty. Right across the fields and jungle the water flows and Wayan follows these channels a long way to get from one field to the next. Sometimes he even wades in the water to climb to a higher level. In fact, most of the walk is on the slope of the river.

At the opposite side you will see now and then a luxury resort with swimming pools and colorful parasols. But mostly the view is over the green scenery in which the speedy river glitters in the sun.
This walk starts from a village temple at the border of the ricefields. In the first part, the walk follows the small dikes which hold the water in the sawah. Gradually the sawahs pass into a more rough area, partly cultivated for fruit and vegetables, partly ranking woods. The water for irrigation is flowing through strong concrete gutters, which makes it possible to cross the slopes more easily. Often the people from the village take a bath in these irrigation gutters, and do their washing in the same time. Sometimes you only find some pieces of soap like silent witnesses. Moving on, you will see strange ruins: Unfinished buildings abandoned to the jungle or overwhelmed stairs leading to the river. Behind this all is a story which one of the villagers can explain to us in complete detail.

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Because of its scenery the river slopes of Sayan are very popular for foreign tourists and investors. The result of this has been, that the price of the land on the slopes rised considerably however, the land itself is not very interesting for farming. The big hotels promise their guests a free view towards beautiful scenery. They needed to keep their promise, therefore somehow they needed to stop the rise of new buildings on the opposite side of the ridge. They bought it off. The consequences were enormous…

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One of the consequences has been that the village at the other side of the river was split in two parts. Another result was that three enormous temples arised in a rather small village. The well-being in the village is striking with the nice houses and the cosy gardens.

The walk ends up through this village. You will leave the jungle through a farmer’s plantation and arrive on the square in front of the three temples where an enormous waringin tree throws its shadow over the road. An oasis of peace. From the square you walk through the main street with cosy houses on the left and the right, now and then a small warung and children playing. Nothing much remind to us of the struggle that was going on in former days.

At the end of the street you have returned at the temple where you started the walk.

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Bali, Ubud, Walking in the sawahs, Tegallantang

Walk 2

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This walk starts shortly behind the village of Petulu, well known for its daily landing herons.
The landscape here is quite varied and small sawah terraces follow the seamless the jungle-like landscapes and vice versa.Some parts of the trip you walk along river-shunts used to irrigate the sawahs. Some pieces lead over small dikes along the sawah. The landscape is worthwhile to stand still regularly and take a good look around.
High peaks and deep valleys and a variety of vegetation make you feel like you’re walked into a fairy tale. The peace and silence are only disturbed by the song of a bird, the sound of streaming water, or the rustle of a flying  mouse or snake. Even on very small pieces of ground you can find a sawah with fresh green blades of rice. The clear water is delivered through small gutters to lower land. Where you don’t find rice, cassava or beans, nature takes over.  Simply put: the landscape is very beautiful.

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Wayan finds several ways to lead his guests through the scenery.  For his younger guests usually in good physical health, he does not avoid climbs or other barricades. But he is always alert to find alternative ways for older people or those who are not capable to take the strenuous path. The difficult path is at the beginning of the trek and the path gets easier as the trek progresses.

Half way Wayan leads you through a small village to get a local snack or refreshment. But for people who enjoy so, he passes nice places for a picnic in the scenic environment. In the village you can take a look in the workshop where the dried rice will be stripped of its husk by a machine. In the end the rice will be weighed and packed.
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Sometimes, in the middle of the woods suddenly a cow will stand staring at you, being disturbed eating lunch. Most rice farmers have one cow or more and feed them with the grass that grows around the sawahs. At the border of his sawah the farmer places a sign, mostly a stick with fresh palm leafs, to show others that he needs the grass around for his own cow so that nobody is allowed to take it.

The walk will take about 2 ½ hours. People who start the walk around four o’clock, can pass Petulu afterwards to watch the herons returning home.
A simple warung between the padddy fields offers the possibility to enjoy a refreshment while you are watching the birds. A beautiful end of the day before twilight.

 

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The combination of nature and culture

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This walk has a long and a short version.

Both walks start at the border of Ubud, from where you experience directly the peace, the silence and the view over the sawahs.

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There Wayan will tell you everything about the cultivation of rice; the difference between the Balinese and other rice; the number of harvests; the irrigation of the land; the cooperation among the farmers; the distribution among the workers; the necessairy offerings to the gods; the benefit of the ducks; and a lot more…

Strolling through the rice fields you will come upon a more natural scene, where a small path leads along an outlet of the river, coming all the way from Lake Batur, guided along the rice fields.

It is a beautiful, peaceful, green and cool area, where the farmers at the end of the day often take a refreshing bath in the running water.

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At a point where the water is guided in two directions, you cross the river. At the other side of the river, you climb up and arrive -how surprising- in a local jungle-warung. A place where the farmers take a rest and buy a refreshing drink and a local snack. But, of course, everyone else will be welcome there. Further up you are standing again between the sawahs. Walking back in the southern direction, a path to the right leads to the hill of Campuhan, a rather rough route and straight on you pass the rice field of Wayan himself, where he, if you like, climbs in the tree to pick up a coconut for a fresh drink. A little bit further in this direction you will find the ‘organic farm’, an Indonesian initiative to grow organic vegetables and products of it. In the opposite of the farm is an open-air restaurant for organic food and drinks. (even organic beer and wine)

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Walking along the same route, you will come back again to the Jalan Raya, the main street of Ubud, where you can be picked up to bring you back to your hotel.

 

The real die-hards take the rough way. This is the route, that after the jungle-warung leads to the right, in the direction of Campuhan. Via a path between the sawahs you come out at the next river. You pass a farmyard, where some stone stairs leads to a lower platform. In a small stable stands the cow of the farmer quietly eating from his trough and looks curiously at the passer-by. From there the descent to the river is not very easy, because the places to put your feet down are very small and sometimes slippery, while there is hardly any handhold. Over the river is made a small shaky bamboo bridge you have to pass one by one (no more than 70 kg!)

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About 5 meter below is the twisting riverstream.

The other side of the riverslope is just as rough to climb and you need a good physical condition to do this.

After this piece of jungle you arrive directly in the middle of the green cultivated landscape again, which gives a wide, quiet view.

Right across the sawah you arrive at the road, that to the right leads to Keliki and to the left via Campuhan to Ubud again.

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You move on to the left, you pass a small village with some galleries, small warungs and some bungalows. At the end of this village the road passes into a foot-path on the top of the hills between the two most important rivers that stream into Ubud. Over the top of these hills is a path situated only reachable for walkers. At both sides of this path alang alang is growing, a sort of grass, long and tough, cultivated for roofs. Beside the path you find several wild flowering plants, attracking a lot of butterflies.

Later in the afternoon this place is visited by a lot of young couples, hiding between the long blades of grass.

This path ends at the important temple of Campuhan, set up where the two rivers come together and where Ubud began in the past, so it is said.

The river is a popular bathing place for the local citizens.

After passing the temple and the school, you come out on Jalan Raya Ubud again.

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