WHITE WATER RAFTING – UBUD, BALI
Splashing wars, low-hanging bridges, and a multitude of breathtaking waterfalls are just a few of the highlights from the fun filled day of white water rafting in Ubud, Bali.
TEXT BY JESSICA BLACKMUN // IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES
The Telaga Waja river is home to a handful of white water rafting companies that use the same 14 km section for their rafting tours. On any given day you can see a rainbow of different colored rafts taking groups of tourists along the 2 hour water adventure. Like many of the tours in Bali, the shuttle to and from the activity and buffet style lunch was included!
After a two hour ride from Kuta, our mini bus dropped us off at a small shelter on the edge of a gorge. Here, we were outfitted with lifejackets, helmets, and paddles as we waited for our names to be called then began the long trek down the hundreds of stairs to the river. The warm sun beat down on the rice fields that lined the gorge and we were glad that we would be getting into the water soon!
If you are up for a Bali adventure you should check out the shipwrecks on Nyang Nyang Beach.
Once we reached the bottom, we were given a quick safety talk before we hopped in the rafts- Jackson, his sister, and I in one and his parents in the other- and began our adventure down the Telaga Waja river! As we floated down the first 100 meter stretch we quickly realized how qualified our guide was; we barely even had to paddle! Every few minutes he’d tell us to paddle, lean back, or yell out “boom boom” which really meant ‘brace yourselves we’re about to crash into some rocks’.
The thick jungle canopy shielded us from the hot sun as we passed through a multitude of different waterfalls, Balinese shrines, and small huts along the river. We went from quietly being in awe of our beautiful surroundings to laughing about being thrashed about as the guide called out “boom boom”. About half way through we stopped at a small outcrop to enjoy drinks and stretch our legs. Unfortunately, the drinks sold out within the first few minutes so most people just walked around thirsty.
The second half of the ride proved to be much more entertaining as there was a waterfall with a 10-foot drop that we would be rafting down. As we approached the drop, my stomach began to flutter. Was this even safe? Even as the question crossed my mind it was too late to do anything but let out a little scream as our boat slowly tipped over the edge. On impact Jackson flew backwards and right into his sister’s lap. My scream morphed into hysterical laughing as they struggled to right themselves.
Shortly after the drop, we got off the rafts and were greeted with another steep set of stairs. Many of the tourists struggled up while guides and other locals working for the company easily climbed up, carrying rafts and supplies.
At the top there were showers and change rooms, and our driver was nice enough to bring our bags over so that we could change into fresh dry clothes.
After a quick clean up, we sat down to enjoy the buffet style lunch that surprisingly enough, even with my food allergies, had plenty of choices for me! We ate and looked through some of the pictures that the photographer on hand had captured before getting back into the van and heading home. The photos had us laughing at our misadventures.
All in all, white water rafting in Ubud was a great time! While we usually try to avoid the touristy activities when we travel, this was definitely worth the time and money.
Another one of our favorite activities was visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.