Amphitheaters Should Have Escalators
From our room we have a pretty killer view of Batad – a tiny village surrounded by a massive amphitheater of rice terraces that are 2,000 years old. But we wanted to get a closer look by hiking through them.
In addition to the photo slideshow above, we have a piece of digital wizardry that plots our location, so you can view our hike in 3D if you’re into that kind of thing. Check out the Google Earth embed below the post. Zoom in and play with the perspective to get a better look.
We started by circling the upper part of the amphitheater, walking on what was often only a foot wide path between rice paddy and 15-foot plunge. We walked past doghouse sized huts that villagers used to escape the unrelenting sun.
When we arrived at the opposite side of the amphitheater from the hotel we’re staying in, we began a long and steep descent down somewhat recently created steps. Next to this new, but still precarious stairwell lay the original far more challenging path – 2000 year old stones carefully wedged in the side of walls one after another forming a stairwell all the way to the top. To get around this place back in the day, one would need to be nimble and have legs of steel. For tourists, nothing has changed.
We took a break at the base of the terraces, and picked up more water. In all we drank 6 liters during the day. Then we descended even further into a neighboring valley. The valley’s river began as a huge, refreshing, 90 foot waterfall. It begged us to take a quick dip. We obliged.
From there we had to hike back up out of the valley and all the way back to the top of the terraces to the hotel. The views from the entire hike were stunning and the rice was delicious. We slept very well.