White Water Rafting, Bali
Ayung River White Water Rafting
No doubt one of the best activities I would recommend to anyone who's heading to Bali!
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We first came across the activity on Klook and was deciding if we should purchase the package from them but something keeps telling me that there must be a better deal out there. After all, they are an OTA (online travel agency) and not the direct operator so it is not surprising if the packages are more expensive. They do need to take a cut and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Coming from another perspective... it would also be wise to go with an OTA because surely there must be a level of standard when it comes to the operators they work with. The package seems quite promising with a lot of positive reviews which was why it caught our attention in the first place.
Call me a budget freak but I wasn't quite comfortable to pay SGD 76 for this activity. Even more so after I found out there are other operators offering the same activity at a fraction of the price.
So to cut things short, I found Bali Raft. They are offering the same package at almost half the price - USD 29 (SGD 40) per pax. Why is it so cheap? I don't know but decided to take the risk and go with it anyway. But that's after Koon and I did our fair share of research on them.
- They are a subsidiary of Bali Travelo which is highly rated on Tripadvisor.
- They are not the direct operator (and they declared it on their website) but they work with leading providers in Bali to ensure their high quality and service standards of rafting are met.
They offer white water raftings at Ayung River and Telega Waja River and we chose to go for Ayung as it boasts as a better option for first timers.
About the package
Price: USD 28 (SGD 40) per pax
Duration: 2.5 hours on the boat (Doesn't feel that long though!)
- Hotel Pick up and return transfers (Nusa Dua, Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Tuban, Jimbaran, Uluwatu and Ubud)
- High quality rafting equipment & International Safety Standard
- Welcome drink
- Clean towel
- Safety & paddle briefing
- Professionally trained raft guide
- Changing room & shower at finish point
- Personal insurance coverage up to US $55,000.
- Buffet lunch with delicious local food after rafting.
There are different sessions - 2 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. We chose the earliest slot (9am pick up) so that we have time to enjoy the later part of the day! You can read more about the package here.
Transport was arranged to pick us up from our hotel and a fellow Singaporean joined us en route to the meeting point. The meeting point had a big signboard that says Graha Adventures and I assume this is the operator that Bali Raft works with. Me, being curious, did a search and found out that Graha Adventures offer the same package at USD 69 per pax.
Seee-riously?! Maybe they are just inflating the price to create a "wow" moment for people like me who thinks she found a great deal where this is actually a standard market price. Or, to cater to people who don't do enough research.
At the meeting point, we were provided with the rafting gears - helmets, safety jackets and paddle - and later got ushered onto a mini lorry which then drove us to the rafting location. We were squeezed like sardines on the lorry because a bench meant for approximately 4 people (comfortably) was occupied by 6-7. Luckily it was just a short ride!
From there, we had to walk about 15 minutes downhill to get to the starting point. It was quite a scary walk due to the steep inclination of the hill. I was perspiring all the way downhill (can you imagine that) and at some parts I also had to sit down before landing my feet on the next step because you know, short people problems. Anyway, just be prepared for some stress on your knees.
The distance of the rafting track at Ayung river is about 12 km and in the itinerary, it says that we will be in the boat for 2.5 hours but I honestly don't think it was that long. Maybe only 1.5 hours?
We were assigned to a raft with 4 other Singaporeans who were very sociable and that made our time together really fun! We were given a 10 minutes briefing by our guide, Rainbow, before embarking on our rafting adventure - which also serves an immense workout for my arms. Koon used to be a dragon boater so that was a piece of cake to him. Hahaha.
The scenic view of the river makes one feel really at peace and the waterfalls, on the other hand, brings out the playfulness of Ayung. Like this mild one:
And this big one which Rainbow brought us under:
It was really fun and we were also allowed to get out of our rafts and into the river for photo taking. Anyway, pardon the photo qualities above 'cus these are snapshots from our gopro video.
There is a resting point about 45 minutes into the journey where all the tour groups stop for a break, to get a drink and freshen up. We also took the opportunity to snap some photos!
We continued with the second half of the rafting journey which was less than an hour and then it was another 15-20 minutes walk (upslope) to our transport, which brought us back to the meeting point.
Lunch was included in the package and these were the dishes offered on the buffet line. Nothing fanciful but it was decent.
Experience and Thoughts
We've all heard stories about how people got thrown off from their rafts, how their rafts flipped and they almost got washed off / drowned by the strong rapids, so on and so forth. That was my initial fear too but after my first water rafting experience, I have learned that the most important thing (as with any other activities that carry a certain level of risk) is to listen carefully to instructions - a bare minimum for any participants.
The raft is a 6-seater and Koon and I sat at the middle row in the beginning. Two of our crewmates who were seated at the front fell into the river when we had our first "Boom Boom" moment in the river. According to Rainbow, we are supposed to go down fully into the rafts (drop our butts to where we place our legs) when he shouts "Boom Boom" - a cue that we are approaching a downslope rapid. Unfortunately, 2 of our crewmates misheard the instructions and thought they just had to bend their bodies forward (90 degrees) which led to them being thrown off the raft. The experienced Rainbow was very alert and got both the ladies back to the raft almost immediately.
We also got stuck a few times in the river and had to "jiggle jiggle" (shake left right up down) in full force to move our raft. It's funny because we never succeeded in all our tries and eventually Rainbow had to get into the river to push our raft forward.
The whole experience is actually very safe as long as you listen carefully to the cues of the guide. And it was no doubt a very fun experience and I would love to try out Telega Waja River the next time I head to Bali :)
Good to Know
- Lockers are available but we carried our belongings in a 5L dry bag, which were later put into the guide's dry bag (think it's at least 30L) used to accommodate all the crews' belongings.
- If you are using a GoPro, don't bother to bring a GoPro stick (you wouldn't have hands for it). Instead, ask for a helmet with a GoPro mount.
- There are a lot of photographers and videographers along the river, snapping photos and taking videos of the tour groups for the purpose of selling it at the end of the tour! The prices are reasonable though, about IDR 150,000 (SGD 15) for 20-30 photos. Even cheaper if you have your SD card or USB with you at IDR 130,000 (SGD 13). If you split the cost among the group of 6, that's less than SGD 3 per pax. Very reasonable I would say. Our rafting group agreed to purchase the photos for memory sake - and that explains the first set of photos you see at the top of this post. Videos are slightly more expensive, at about IDR 300,000 (SGD 30) if I remember correctly.
I hope this post inspires you to take on an adventure at Ayung River, Bali. Till the next :)
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