Untouched Bali still
found in Selemadeg Kaja
Features - December 20,
Being famous as Bali's rice barn, Tabanan regency offers
breathtaking views of terraced rice fields, like those in Selemadeg
Located about 26 km from the province's capital Denpasar, it is
clear that Selemadeg Kaja has not been much affected by
For instance, the houses are still traditionally true Balinese in
terms of architecture and function. Some houses still have rice
barns and outdoor water containers that are made out of a single
The residents still adhere to traditional life, and children are
not addicted to modern entertainment like play station or video
games. Unlike in other villages in Bali where play station stores
and VCD rentals are found everywhere, there's not one single such
store in Selemadeg village.
According to the village head, I Putu Mahardika W., local
residents still adhere to customary law and follow cultural
The village's asphalted road is only 400 meters long, with other
streets being tracks paved with large stones.
One ecotourism operator has being eyeing the area as a possible
site for an off-road tour. There is a spot where a base camp could
be set up from where there is a complete view of terraced rice
fields. The spot is ideal. On a cloudless day, the peak of Mt.
Batukaru in the north can be seen in the distance beyond the green
rice fields. Once in a while, white egrets feeding on the paddy can
The track covers 10 km and can be used for trekking, mountain
biking and off-road driving.
"Three weeks from now, the rice fields turn into a green carpet,"
said Putu upon seeing the newly planted paddy. "As you already know,
terraced rice fields are made possible by subak," he
explained. Subak is an irrigation system that dates back
generations, in which farmers share water.
However, artesian water is scarce in Selemadeg Kaja village.
"We dug 125 meters deep but still failed to find any artesian
water," Putu explained. "If you dig five meters you will only find
stone." This is the reason the town is called Selemadeg, which means
Farmers working in rice fields is a common sight in the
Driving along the track can be difficult, especially in the woods
where it becomes rough and narrow. And it is a bit risky passing the
river because the track is steep and slippery. The stone track is
lined with shrubs, bushes and trees.
"This river depends on rain," said Putu pointing to the
protruding rocks in the turbid river, which indicates a long dry
season. The river is also a bathing site for villagers.
Still, trekking through the green, traditional village is a