This post has been updated in December 2018.
The famous rice terraces of Batad were one of the most impressive sights I’ve seen during our 5 month trip around the world. Found on Luzon in the Ifugao mountains these ingenious rice terraces are sometimes called the 8th world wonder and rightfully so!
The terraces are believed to be over 2000 years old, it’s astonishing the Ifugaos have been able to build them without any (modern) equipment.
The best way to truly admire the Batad rice terraces is by going on a multi-day hike. Read everything you need to know about hiking the rice terraces of Batad in this post!
Hiking the rice terraces of Batad: the ultimate guide
How to get to the rice terraces of Batad?
There are daily night buses from Manila to Banaue, we booked a trip with Ohayami, this bus leaves at 9 pm. I recommend taking a cab to the Ohayami bus terminal, the address is Cor. Fajardo St., Lacson Ave, Sampaloc (Manila).
Must-haves on the bus:
- Warm clothes because of the freezing air-conditioning (like a warm hoodie or down jacket)
- Earplugs and eye mask
- A lot of patience and being ok with not sleeping much that night since you are sitting straight up and the road is very bumpy. But hey, that’s travel;-).
The drive to Banaue takes approximately nine hours and we stopped three times along the way, sometimes near a public toilet, sometimes not…
We arrived at Banaue bus station early in the morning. Everybody got off the bus and was shuffled into jeepneys. Our jeepney took us to Uyami’s Green View Restaurant where we had breakfast and arranged our hiking tour.
How to organize a hiking tour in Banaue?
Arranging a Batad hiking tour is very straightforward. While you can book a hiking tour online before arriving in Banaue, we choose not to do this (we wanted to be flexible about our hiking dates).
Instead, we there arranged our tour immediately after arriving in Banaue by night bus. We teamed up with 4 other travelers (who ended up being really good friends) and created our own hiking group. In the restaurant there were many guides offering their services, you can discuss your preferences with them and create a customized hiking tour.
How much does 3-day hike to the rice terraces of Banaue, Cambulo, and Batad cost?
Prices are always a little tricky in Southeast Asia as they usually depend on your negotiation skills. We did not shop around in Banaue trying to find the cheapest tour, but we did do a bit of bargaining. Ultimately we paid 2120php (€36/$40) per person, our group consisted of 6 people.
Included in the price:
- The wage of our guide named Lancer.
- Accommodation (2 nights).
- Storage for our backpacks at a hostel in Banaue.
- Transport from Uyami’s Green View Restaurant to start of hike.
- Transport from endpoint of the hike to Uyami’s Green View Restaurant.
- Transport from Uyami’s Green View Restaurant to Ohayami night bus terminal. Read more about our journey from Manila to Banaue in this post.
- Food and drinks during the hike.
Where do you sleep during a multi-day hike through the rice terraces of Batad?
During the hike, you will stay at small local guesthouses. To give you an idea of what to expect when you are going to hike in Banaue: accommodation is (very) basic.
During our first night in Cambulo, there was no shower and only one small toilet with a bucket. Nevertheless, the bed was clean and I slept like a baby because I was completely exhausted after hiking for 6 hours an not sleeping much on the bus from Manila to Banaue.
I have thoroughly searched the web, but could not find our Cambulo accommodation online (not surprising, it was a tiny village and a very small guesthouse).
In Batad we stayed at the Hillside Inn. This accommodation had a shower (with hot water!) which was shared with two other rooms. The bed was hard but clean and the view from the balcony was breathtaking. Click here for the latest prices of the Hillside Inn.
Where do you eat during a hike through the rice terraces of Batad?
You eat at your accommodation, usually, food and drinks are not included in the tour price. But with 70php (€1,20/$1,35) for a delicious chocolate banana pancake, you don’t hear me complaining.
Prepare well for your track and buy enough water and snacks before you leave Banaue. There is little to nothing available along the trail because everything has to be brought in on foot.
What to pack for a 3-day hike through the rice terraces of Batad?
I selected my gear for our 3-day hike very carefully and only brought the essentials to make everything fit into my day pack.
- Hiking shoes
- Hiking socks
- Hiking pants
- Merino hiking shirt
- Warm hoodie
- Rain poncho
- Travel towel
- Camera/phone plus charger
- Passport/other important documents
- Enough cash (there are no ATM’s in Banaue!)
- Plenty of water (and preferably a water filter bottle so you can refill along the way without using too much plastic)
- Food and snacks
We stored our big backpacks in a hostel in Banaue (in a locked room completely filled with bags). I never worried about stuff getting stolen but I’m not overly attached to stuff so if you have any items you cannot stand losing you may want to bring those with you.
Program of a three day hike to the rice terraces of Banaue, Cambulo, and Batad
Day 1: we arrived in Banaue by night bus at approximately 6 o’clock. It took us a couple of hours to have breakfast, arrange a tour, buy food and drinks for on the trail and get to the start of the trek. We started hiking at around 11 am and arrived at our accommodation in Cambulo at around 6 pm.
Day 2: we left at 9 am and hiked to the Tappiya waterfalls. After a dip into the water and lunch, we hiked to Batad where we spent the rest of the afternoon.
Day 3: again we left around 9 am and hiked for about 3 hours to the end of the trail where a jeepney picked us up and drove back to Banaue. We spent the rest of the day in Banaue and got on the night bus back to Manila at 6:30 pm.
Map of a 3-day hike to the rice terraces of Banaue, Cambulo and Batad
Below you can find a map with the places mentioned in the post. We trekked with a guide and the track through the terraces is quite difficult to find on your own, I recommend you book a tour. It’s not expensive and you will learn a lot about the history and customs of the local people from your guide.
A personal account of our 3-day Batad hiking experience
Hiking the rice terraces of Banaue and Batad, day 1
It’s early in the morning and I am still a little dazed from not getting much sleep during the long ride on the night bus from Manila to Banaue. Breakfast and coffee at Uyami’s Green View Restaurant wake me up and after some bargaining with the tour agents, we arrange our three-day hike.
After a short ride in a jeepney up the winding road, we arrived at the Banaue rice terraces viewpoint. After taking a couple of pictures we get back into the jeepney which drives us the starting point of the hike.
Our guide tells us about today’s hike and our destination of the day. We will walk for about 20 km to the Cambulo, a tiny little village that can only be reached by foot!
The path is slippery at some places, so I fall down in the mud every now and then (like everyone in the group except our guide, who is walking in flip flops and doesn’t seem bothered by the mud in the slightest).
The first part of the hike goes through the jungle, so many plants and trees I have never seen before! So green! So quiet and remote! The second part of the hike goes through the rice terraces, which have very narrow paths so I am being careful not to fall in, or worse, fall off!
Amazing that these terraces are so old (they say over 2000 years!). it’s such an inventive system, with the irrigation canals flowing from the top all the way down to the lowest terraces. Really clever!
We pass through a village and learn from our guide it’s only for a couple of months this village has electrical power! Before the power line was extended to the village, the locals relied completely on solar power! After seven hours of hiking, we arrive in Cambulo, in a basic but clean guesthouse.
I am completely exhausted from the hike and all the impressions of the day (and probably also from not sleeping the night before). Barely being able to keep my eyes open I manage to clean up a bit with a bucket of water (no showers here;-) and chew down some food before falling asleep for 12 hours straight.
Hiking the rice terraces of Banaue and Batad: day 2
At 9 am sharp we take off for our second day of hiking and I am feeling completely rested and refreshed (cough…muscle ache…cough). We visit Cambulo Elementary school (many of the children have to walk for over an hour to get there!) and talk to the teachers.
If you pay a visit to the school of Cambulo, be sure to make a donation. The money will be put to good use!
We continue along a trail zigzagging through the rice terraces that I surely wouldn’t have found without our guide. It is a wonderful track, each view is more stunning than the last, the sky is a magnificent blue color, the jungle all shades of green, the mountains surrounding us are impressive and I am thoroughly enjoying the moment.
After two hours of hiking we arrive at a ridge and get to behold yet another beautiful view: the rice terraces of Batad! These terraces are the most famous ones in the region because the village center of Batad is located in the middle of the rice fields.
But before descending to Batad, we take a ‘small’ detour down some alarmingly steep stairs to a beautiful waterfall. Sticky and sweaty, we all dive in immediately. The water is cold but so refreshing!
A perfect place to picnic and eat our delicious lunch made by the guesthouse we slept last night. With renewed energy we hike back up the steep stairs…
And down the other side…
And up again to our guesthouse…
When we arrive, I fall into a chair and don’t get up until I drag myself to bed and fall asleep within seconds.
Hiking the rice terraces of Banaue and Batad: day 3
The next morning I feel muscles I didn’t know I had, but I don’t care, it’s totally worth it! Another three hours of hiking later we arrive at a road. I am a little shocked. Are we back already? A bit melancholic I get onto the roof of the jeepney, because I am not sure if I’ll ever get to go back to this wonderful place…
Hike the rice terraces of Batad: in conclusion
Hiking through the rice terraces was a huge highlight for me because I had never seen rice terraces before. I hadn’t seen rice fields at all in my life, let alone one of the most famous in the world! It was an incredible experience to be so removed from civilization and get back to basics.
No phone signal, showers or other luxuries. Only stunning nature to explore, enjoy and experience…
Download all the information (including a packing list) about hiking in Banaue and Batad below.