Do you love the water – but don’t want to lie on the beach or splash around all day? For the more adventurous traveler to Bali, white water rafting is right up your stream.
There are a number of companies that offer white water rafting packages, however, all go down the same river (at varying points). We chose Sobek, which provided a grade three rafting experience that lasts around 2.5 hours and includes a buffet Indonesian lunch afterward.
We were staying in Kuta, so a car picked us up from our hotel, driving over an hour and a half or so to Ubud. Here, we quickly put on our lifejackets and helmets, packed all of our valuables into waterproof bags, got into teams, and chose our oars. Getting to the river below is a mini trek in itself – there were 543 steps leading all the way down.
Our guide, Rocky, was hilarious and good-natured. He would sometimes slap the oar on the river surface, making us jump, or dribble cold water down our necks. When we’d jump and squeal he’d yell, “Anaconda!”. The guides looked like they really enjoyed their jobs – they'd paddle past each other, encouraging us to race the other tourists, or we’d get into water fights, flicking the oars towards each other. Needless to say, even though nobody fell into the water, you are guaranteed to get wet.
The rapids were not particularly challenging, and the guides are very good in directing us to paddle forwards and backward when we need to. We did manage to get stuck on one of the rapids which meant that Rocky had to jump out and drag us over the rocks, however other than that the rapids are quite easy and are suitable for ages young and old.
We saw monitor lizards almost camouflaged on the banks of the river, were amazed by beautiful, moss encrusted rock carvings (they looked ancient but were disappointed to hear that they were only about 15 years old) and were drenched under gushing waterfalls (well, Rocky made us go underneath it).
At the end of the tour, Michael jumped into the water, which was freezing as it was in the shade. Drenched, we made our way to our well-deserved buffet lunch that included fish satay, mie goreng, curry chicken, rice, and fried soybeans, followed up with fresh fruits and sticky rice sweets.
Incredibly, we still had the energy to return back up to where we started, to change, and also, in true tourist form, check out the professional photos of you rafting and potentially purchase it.
Sobek is one of many major adventure tour companies operating in Bali, but there are many other companies that offer white water rafting. When choosing a company, be sure that they are accredited to ensure that they have the proper safety and insurance regulations in place.
Sobek is accredited and has won a number of tourism awards as well.