Young Pioneer Tours

Visiting Banaue Rice Terraces

Known as one of the wonders of the world and on most “must see” lists we recently added the Banaue Rice Terraces to our Extreme Philippines Tour. Was it worth it though and are they really a wonder of the world?

We can only speak for ourselves and our group on this one, but the general consensus was yes, and yes, even if the hike was little more than we were expecting.

What the Banaue Rice Terraces?

Rice terraces are a form of rice farming where terraces are used to make the most of irrigation and indeed land. They can be seen throughout the Philippines, even from when we travel through Sagada. They are also common throughout Asia.

What though is it that makes the Banaue Rice Terraces so unique though is the sheer scale of them and indeed their age. It is estimated by most that they are at least 2000 years old, slightly younger than Jesus. There are though some historians who say that the terraces are much younger. Regardless rice has been harvested in the Philippines since at least 3500 BC (Before Christ) – or BCE if you do not respect the Catholic culture of the Philippines – BURN.

Lengh wise there are lots of cool statistics too, such as they can stretch to the moon and stuff if side by side, but I will not delve too much into this.

Alas they are not a UNESCO, with that being reserved for the Philippines Cordilleras, which we might have to include one day.

The Philippines do though consider them a national treasure and they have been on the 20 PHP note, and are slated to be included on the 1000 Peso note.

Aside from Banaue there is the Batad Rice Terraces, Mayoyao Rice Terraces, Hapao Rice Terraces, and Kiangan Rice Terraces. We spoke to the locals at one sight and amazingly they declared that while they produce lots of different types of rice, very little of it is sold and for the most part it is for local consumption.

Tourism at the Banaue Rice Terraces

While tourism is no doubt important here, the sheer difficulty in getting here means that far less people come than you would expect. This is of course good and bad, with it meaning it is still off the beaten track, but that the locals perhaps do not gain as much from it as they would like.

We though do make the pilgrimage here, with us also including Sagada, as well as the Hanging Coffins as part of this epic trip.

We currently stay at the Banaue Viewpoint Hotel, which as you might imagine has amazing views of this wonder of the world.

For those who do decide to travel here independently its worth noting that they are also close to Whang Od and her famous tattoos (of which I have one).

And Banaue Town

I once stayed at Banaue Town when I got my Wang Od Tattoo, and I have to say there was really not that much going on, although more in fairness than Sagada.

They do though have lots of hotels, mostly cheap as well as restaurants that make a change from just standard hotel grub. But if you are going to travel this far then it is all about the room with a view, so you should stay somewhere with a viewpoint of the rice terraces.

You can visit the Banaue Rice Terraces with me as part of our Extreme Philippines Tour with YPT – right before we head south and into the lips of Vagina Falls – Pun well and truly intended.

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