Rice Terraces

Author PhotoRice Terraces

Humans are amazing. Taking a step back, I marvel at so much of what we, as people, are able to create. Sometimes, it’s through necessity and sometimes through the sheer love of creation. Rice terraces were definitely out of necessity and they are a marvel.

As I began exploring the beauty of rice terraces, I discovered that this method of planting is ancient as in thousands of years old. Even more amazing, the earliest creators of these hillside wonders used crude tools and their bare hands. They didn’t have the shovels we have today, for instance.

LandscapesAs a hobby-gardener, I can relate…sort of. I’m not exactly carving out hillsides and shoring up what will be very wet rice paddies. I’m not worried about my Mesquite and Lantana providing food throughout an entire year for my family. But in terms of shaping the land, yes, that I can relate to.

One of the most famous rice terraces is located in the Philippines. These terraces are called the Banaue Rice Terraces and they have been referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. At some point, between two and three thousand years ago, the tribes people shaped the hills into steps that could be flooded then planted with rice. These terraces are still used today. They cover 4000 square miles of land and some of them are as as high up as 5000 feet. If you’d like to see some photos of these terraces go here.

A lot goes into the site selection and the construction of rice terraces. To see an excellent diagram of the layers of construction go here.

*** Note: None of the photos I’ve included on this page listed Banaue as the location.


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And now, here are the photos! Enjoy!  (Photos from Pixabay…)








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*** This week’s giveaway! *** To be entered into the giveaway drawing, please leave a comment about rice terraces. Have you seen a rice terrace on your travels? Which photo did you like best? Can you imagine what daily life would be like for those in charge of working and tending the terraces? Feel free to share whatever comes to mind and share from the heart. 

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34 thoughts on “Rice Terraces

  1. I suppose if it’s a matter of starvation you do what you must. Hard toil that’s for sure. The beauty of the pictures belie this in some ways I think.

    • Mary,
      Farming of any kind is hard work! My father was raised on a farm. He never considered going back to it. I agree that the beauty of these photos belies the toil involved. But that’s also what is so amazing, that all this incredibly hard work, often in mud, created so much beauty.

  2. Wow! I never knew that what those are called. I enjoyed all the pictures, but the four picture in the sequence with all the rice terraces going every which way, is a sight to behold! Wonderful!

  3. All the photos are beautiful and yet also heart rending! My father was a farmer here in North America not in Asia, but I’m sure he can identify with those farmers on the other side of the world, because all farmers’ struggles revolve around water supply/ irrigation.

    • Sue,
      I work my little backyard garden here in the desert, near Phoenix, and it’s a fair amount of daily tending to keep it in decent shape. All flowers, trees and shrubs. A few figs, but no real attempt at vegetables, yet. I can’t imagine the work of farm life!

  4. I grew up SE Texas and we had a lot of rice farmers in the area so I understand what rice farming looks like on flat land. To do that on hillsides and with the crude tools they had to use so long ago astounds me. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Grace,
      It’s truly amazing, isn’t it? It’s no wonder the Banaue rice terraces are considered the 8th wonder of the world!

  5. All the pictures are awesome but I love the first, with the house amongst all that gorgeous greenery. I’ve never seen one myself, only in pictures. Really amazing the ingenuity of the generations past.

  6. I didn’t have any idea that rice could be grown on terraces.

    Other crops, yes. Rice? Not a clue.

    Just last week I changed my phone home screen to these green terraces sans the cottage.

    I just thought it was a pretty natural wonder. Plus all the icons popped against that background.

    The things we learn here!

    • Sandra,
      I’d seen the pictures as well in different places. But I had no idea what was involved to create them. They basically build retaining walls for every step of the terraced hill. It is an incredible feat.

  7. I really like all of the pictures. I didn’t know that rice could be grown on terraces. Just seeing that the greenery is nice. Living in the desert (Henderson, NV) we don’t get to see a lot of it.

    • Nancy,
      I hear you, speaking as one desert-dweller to another. I’ve come to crave ‘green’. Anything green. Please, lol!

  8. Truly amazing. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures as well as the informative facts, I like learning new things. Would you believe I plan to make rice for dinner tonight? 😀

  9. I’ve been to SE Asia and the rice fields are just as amazing in person! It’s continually amazing what the human race comes up with. But its not as surprising when its a necessity of survival and finding ways to have food some of the things we do.

    • Tamara,
      That’s exactly right. We’d all create and build terraces if it provided the food we needed for our families and our communities.

  10. It’s truly amazing what humans can do when in need . It’s even more amazing knowing it was done thousands of years ago. When someone puts their mind to one can always find a solution. Peoples ancestors were clearly not afraid of hard work. I wonder how many of us could survive if we lost our modern ways & had to rely on our own

    • Marie,
      I just give thanks for the relative ease of modern life. Sometimes when I’m doing laundry, I become acutely aware that without electricity, I’d be in the backyard with a tin tub and a washboard. My grandmother, who homesteaded in Canada, said that each day had a chore. She washed one day because it took the entire day. She made bread for the week one day, because it took all day. And so on.

      On the other hand, I have no doubt that if push came to shove we’d all buckle down, do the work, and get it done.

      For now, I give thanks.

  11. I would not want to live in the rickety shacks right in the middle of the flooded areas! Wow those people are brave. Of course we are a little soft here in the U.S. Compared to the many cultures all over the world. At least that’s my opinion lol. We can always justify getting out of performing such hard work like that, but in truth it takes a strong group of people to create such masterpieces out of the land!

  12. Fascinating to see how each space, no matter how large or small, can be used by these folks to support themselves and create such beauty!

  13. so beautiful, I never realized they grew it that way.I like the second to last best.

    I’ve seen some wild rice fields in the South, but I’ve never seen real rice grown.


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