Batad Rice Terraces: Location, history, how to get there & experience

If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable travel experience in The Philippines, look no further than the Batad Rice Terraces. These terraces are a true wonder of the world, hand-carved into the mountainside over 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao people. The terraces are still in use today, providing a livelihood for the locals and a stunning backdrop for visitors.

The Batad Rice Terraces are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines, and it’s easy to see why. The terraces are nestled in the Cordillera Mountains, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning views. The hike to the top of the terraces can be challenging, but the reward is well worth it – breathtaking views of the natural rice terraces that are simply spectacular. After the hike, you can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters of a nearby waterfall.


DIY GUIDE TO BATAD

How to get to Batad Rice Terraces:

MANILA to BANAUE:

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From Manila, you can take a bus to Banaue. The journey takes about 9 hours or more depending on traffic.

You can choose from several bus companies, such as Ohayami Bus and Coda Lines. If you prefer a more comfortable ride, you can book a private car or van with a travel guide. However, this option is more expensive.

OHAYAMI TRANS has a Manila to Banaue airconditioned bus that leaves at 10 PM. The fare is Php 740 one way (as of 2024). The terminal is located at Fajardo Street corner Lacson Ave., Sampaloc, Manila.

You can also take an Ohayami Bus from Baguio to Banaue for Pop 700 which leaves at 7:30 PM. Reservation details can be found on their website or you can check out 12go above.

CODA LINES Bus schedule for Cubao to Banaue is 8 PM and 9 PM. Coda Lines bus station is at HM Transport Terminal, Monte De Piedad St., corner Maryland St., Brgy. Immaculate Concepcion, Quezon City.

Coda Lines Cubao to Banaue bus ticket price: 8 PM Php 775 (without cr); 9 PM Php 895 (with cr)

BANAUE to BATAD:

You can arrange for a private vehicle (usually a tricycle, van, or jeepney arranged by homestay) to take you to Batad Junction or Saddle Point from Banaue or you can take the public jeepneys bound for Saddle Point. Just ask the Tourism office where the terminal can be found. All transportation can only reach Saddle Point. Everyone must trek down to reach the village, around 3 kilometers.


Accommodation (Where to stay in Batad)

When visiting Batad Rice Terraces, you’ll find a range of accommodation options to fit your needs and budget. From hotels to guesthouses to homestays, there’s something for everyone.

For a better view, choose among the ones overlooking the rice terraces. Here are some options:

BATAD VIEW INN AND RESTAURANT

HILLSIDE INN AND RESTAURANT

BATAD TRANSIENT HOUSE

Klook.com

Overall, there are plenty of accommodation options in Batad Rice Terraces to fit your needs and budget. Whether you prefer a traditional hotel or a more immersive homestay experience, you’re sure to find something that suits you.


What to see and do in Batad:

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  • trek along Batad Rice Terraces
  • trek and swim to Tappiyah Waterfalls
  • trek to Awa Viewpoint
  • visit the village and the locals
  • buy local products and souvenirs
  • try the local food and coffee
  • stargazing and bonfire at night

Food:

Remember that Batad is only a small village. Do not expect much of the food and service. Do order in advance especially when traveling in big groups or if you have a tight schedule. Do try the local rice and native rice wine as well.

*The prices are high compared to the city but please bear in mind that this is not a city and that commodities are hard to find/bring here.

Other tips and advice:

If you want to avoid the hassle of commuting and travel planning, you can book a tour with a travel agency or a tourism office. The tour includes transportation, a guide, and accommodation. However, this option is more expensive than commuting.

You will need to pay an environmental fee to enter the rice terraces. The fee is PHP 50 per person (as of May 2023), and it goes towards maintaining the area.

If you’re not an experienced hiker, it’s recommended/required to hire a local guide to help you navigate the area. They can also provide you with valuable information about the history and culture of the rice terraces. Tour guide fee Php 1.500 (as of May 2023)

You can also reach Batad via Banaue from Sagada, Bontoc, and Tabuk.

Mobile signal: very limited to non-existent

Banks and ATM: there are no ATMs so do bring extra cash

Be careful when hiking or trekking in the rice terraces. The trails can be narrow and steep, so it’s important to watch your step. Also, be respectful of the local culture and customs.

Best time to visit Batad Rice Terraces: If you’re planning a trip to the Batad Rice Terraces, we recommend staying for at least a few days to fully experience the beauty and tranquility of the region. The best time to visit is from April to May or October to November when the weather is mild and the terraces are at their greenest.

What to pack for your trip to Batad:

When packing for your trip, be sure to bring clothes that are appropriate for the weather. Batad Rice Terraces can be quite chilly, especially at night, so be sure to bring warm clothes. You might also want to pack a microfiber towel, which is lightweight and dries quickly.

Before you start your hike, make sure you have the right gear. Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes or hiking boots, as the trails can be steep and slippery. You can also wear sneakers, but they may not provide enough support for the endurance required for the hikes.

When hiking to Tappiya Falls, bring a change of clothes as you will get wet. The waterfall is a great spot to cool off after a long hike. Also, don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning views of the rice terraces and waterfalls.


Location and Geography

Photo by Rondell Chaz Mabunga on Unsplash

The Batad Rice Terraces are located in the Cordillera region of Luzon in the Philippines. The terraces are situated in the remote village of Batad, which is only accessible by foot. The terraces are carved into the mountainside and are surrounded by lush green forests and rolling hills.

Batad Rice Terraces history

The Batad Rice Terraces are a testament to the ingenuity and hard work of the Ifugao people. These terraces were carved by hand into the mountainside over 2,000 years ago, and they continue to be used to grow rice to this day. The terraces are a living cultural landscape that has been passed down from generation to generation, and they are an important part of the Ifugao people’s identity.

Importance and Recognition

The Batad Rice Terraces are an important part of the Ifugao people’s cultural heritage and part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The terraces are recognized as a cultural landscape that is of outstanding universal value, and they are an important symbol of the Ifugao people’s connection to their land and their history.


Batad Rice Terraces during the rainy season: personal experience

And when the fog finally lifted, even for just a few minutes, I couldn’t help but stare in awe at the 2,000-year-old beauty before me. A combination of nature and man’s handiwork slopes along the mountainside, forming an amphitheater-like landscape that dwindles to a small town at the center.

Jelly legs and near misses notwithstanding, I can truly say it was all worth it.

The long and winding road to Banaue

The paved road gave way to twists and turns of the mountainside, leaving the bigger cities behind. It was already foggy and drizzling. What I was already dreading when I checked Accuweather earlier. I’m betting it would even get colder.

The journey started at the Ohayami bus terminal in Manila with the conductor telling us that it would be a cold bus ride. Halfway down the road, we realized he wasn’t kidding. It was arctic. My feet and legs were numb due to the unexpected cold and cramped leg space. I was tossing and turning in the little space that I had just to get some sleep. I barely remembered the two stopovers, I was that tired from work.

This trip was another of my attempts to be a weekend warrior. It was also a long overdue trip ever since Sagada a year ago.

The first stop was this unknown rice terraces, the name of which we forgot to ask our guide since it suddenly rained hard after taking a few shots. Soon enough the jeep stopped and the walking finally started.

Imagine my surprise when the guide said we were supposed to trudge up the mountain to get to the other side. In my horror of going up the muddy path, I forgot to take pictures. I was more concerned with securing my camera and my sandals possibly not making it to Batad.

There was no clear trail, the path was muddy and slippery as hell,  and there was little to hold on to. One wrong step and you’ll be careening down the mountainside from where we began. Upon reaching the top and taking a few long breaths in, we transferred to another jeep that took us to Junction.

Soon the trees dwindled and we got our first view of Ifugao’s inhabitants. Seated on their porch, drinking coffee, and feeding their chickens out by the roadside. It turned out to be a 9 to 10-hour bus ride that ended on a cold and wet Saturday morning in the Ifugao Province.

With the bus stopping in front of the Banaue Tourism Center, we found a group of men awaiting our arrival. I immediately saw my name on one of the placards and approached the guy sent by Kuya Randy of Randy’s Brookside Inn.

After getting the fees sorted in the tourism office and booking our bus tickets bound for Manila the next day, we finally went on our merry way to the inn, eager to start the day’s adventure. We soon found out that we were the only locals at the inn for the weekend.

No wonder since Randy’s Brookside Inn was #1 on TripAdvisor for its category during the time of our trip. After a breakfast of native eggs, toast, and tea, Randy laid out the bad news. There was road construction halfway along the road going to Batad. We will have to cut the jeepney ride before that area and trek a bit around the mountainside to transfer to the next jeepney. It’s turning out to be more adventurous than we thought it would be.

Undeterred, we agreed to share the jeep with another group of locals and a group of foreigners. The excitement was palpable, undiminished even by the cold, wet, and sleepy weather.

Road closures and detours

road to batad
this is how bad the conditions were

Off we went for more walking and trekking along the being-constructed road until we finally reached Saddle Point. Soon enough, the descent down the sloping trail started. It was easier now even if gravity was pulling us down. Along the way, there was a fork in the road, the other we learned was a shortcut, but both led to the same road to Batad.

dada batad
striking a pose at the marker

Breathtaking Batad

welcome to batad
Welcome to Batad

Short of breath and my jelly legs near giving up, we finally reached civilization. After paying the environmental fee, we turned left to head down to Rita’s to rest and take our lunch along with the foreigners who got their way before us, thanks to their long legs. Haha!

And when the fog finally lifted, even for just a few minutes, I couldn’t help but stare in awe at the 2,000-year-old beauty before me. A combination of nature and man’s handiwork slopes along the mountainside, forming an amphitheater-like landscape that dwindles to a small town at the center.

Jelly legs and near misses notwithstanding, I can truly say it was all worth it.

Unfortunately, the rain didn’t look like it was stopping soon. So any plans we had of going down the terraces to the famous Tappiyah waterfalls were scrapped. We didn’t want to risk it with our quivering legs and meet the same fate as one of the foreign girls, who took a fall down the terraces earlier. Thankfully all she suffered was a bad case of muddy clothes.

We started our ascend a few hours after and made it back to Banaue just as the sun was setting in for the night. While it is true that I would love to come back here when the roads are finished, the sun ablaze, and the fields glittering green ready for the harvest, I would also not trade this experience for another.

Batad may be the lesser-known cousin to the Banaue Rice Terraces, but few people are only ever aware of the fact that the latter is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I sincerely hope that Batad, in the coming years, will retain its quaint and small town feel,  as well as its natural and cultural heritage.


While the Batad Rice Terraces are less crowded than their more famous cousin, the Banaue Rice Terraces, they are no less impressive. The terraces are a favorite of many travelers due to their unique amphitheater shape and the fact that they are relatively untouched by modern development.

In conclusion, the Batad Rice Terraces are a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history and natural beauty of Southeast Asia. With their stunning views, ancient engineering, and unique cultural significance, they are truly a wonder of the world.

Travel date: November 2014

Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.