White water rafting is one of those things that I love but just don’t actually do very often — along with Stand Up Paddleboarding and a whole host of other interests that I don’t actually put into practice all that often. So you better believe I jumped at the chance to review Viator’s Jungle White Water Rafting Adventure for their website during our recent week in Bali.
Photo by Tour Operator
The first time I tried rafting was in Honduras, and ironically that was probably my most intense experience to date. Though I loved the experience I didn’t try it again until a few years later when I signed on for a two day rafting trip through the Thai jungle. While the scenery was stunning and it was still quite an adventurous outing, my timing was off and it was more like Calm Water Napping than White Water Rafting. At the time we were in the dry season in Bali as well so I mentally prepared myself for a tame ride.
The day got off to a rocky start when our pickup didn’t show up in the morning. I was pretty ticked off because I had called to confirm with the local operator and the company even sent a confirmation to our hotel the night before. Okay, I lied — that part didn’t really bother me. What really annoyed me is that we totally rushed through the breakfast buffet for no reason! Priorities: I have them. But the local operator placated us with a free photo (shown above) and bumped us to the afternoon. When the pickup eventually showed the midday heat and the motion of the car lulled us to sleep — when we finally woke up, we were deep in the Ubud jungle.
Anders came along to keep me laughing and to shoot video with his GoPro. We lucked out as the rafting company had a helmet with a camera attachment, and he got some really fun footage. As you guys loved his Rinjani video so much I asked him if I could share this one as well, and he agreed — check it out at the end of the post! I’m thinking of taking him on as the official Alex in Wanderland videographer — what do you think? (Salary to be paid in mango smoothies.)
I was kind of won over by this experience before we even got started because of the scenery. We had to walk down a million steps down to the river and with each one I just fell more and more in love with the lush jungle valley we were in. The cute leaf-made water cups at the bottom didn’t hurt the charm, either!
I had suspected that this would be a pretty laid back rafting experience and when Anders and I were paired with three adorable girls all under the age of eight it was pretty much confirmed. That was fine by me — I was all about a few hours of soft adventure and feeling reflective in nature.
While the river was quite busy with boats from several rafting companies, it was easy to see why. The setting was easily the most beautiful of any of the rafting trips I’d been on, with dense jungle canopy overhead, chirping swallows dipping into the water alongside us, and intricate ancient carvings lining the riverbanks.
Yeah, I’d say this was a pretty unbelievable setting to spend a few hours in.
We passed several waterfalls along the way, as well as a local Hindu shrine, several mischievous monkey and laughing local kids playing in the water. Rafters aren’t the only ones to enjoy the area’s charms — we also spotted several luxury hotels around the valley.
Towards the end of the run, the guide let us know we could jump in and swim the rest of the way. I was feeling a little chilly and so I said a polite “thanks but no thanks,” but Anders had other plans.
After discarding our gear and drying off with warm towels we grabbed a seat in the company’s private riverside pavilion and treated ourselves to heaping servings of the included buffet lunch. We watched in amazement as local women packed up enormous sacks of gear and deflated rafts and carried them up what we would soon learn were endless steep stairs to the road. It was quite the sight!
While I wouldn’t recommend this tour to anyone looking for a heart-stopping adrenaline based experience, I would absolutely suggest it to someone looking to see some of Bali’s beautiful jungle scenery with some light adventure thrown in for good measure. While pickups are available from Kuta and other southern beaches, unless you want to spend a lot of the day in the car it’s best to take this tour from Ubud. Check out Viator’s tour description for more information on dates and current pricing and happy rafting!
Have you ever been white water rafting? Tell me where!
I am a freelancer for Viator and participated in this tour in order to write a review for their site. I was compensated for my time and they did not request a favorable review on either their site or my own.
This actually sounds like the perfect white water rafting trip for me…I went when I was in Panama and I loved it, once I got past being terrified, but I haven’t gone since. I’m thinking if I ever go again, something like this with the gorgeous scenery and not-so-crazy rapids would be perfect.
I’m hoping to be in Panama in January, Sky! Where did you go rafting there?
Love this! Looks like a perfect honeymoon for me 😉
Ha, funny enough whenever we do an activity together the honeymoon question comes up pretty often. The “just dating” response is always very disappointing to the asker!
No offense, Alex 😉
This actually looks like such a chill trip, would be great for a hungover day! Haha, or is that just me? x
Getting in the water is always my number one hangover cure — so I couldn’t agree more!
Yes Yes Yes! I’ve done this in Bali last year with my two bestfriends. My first time rafting ever and it was really fun. Wanna do it again, next time I go back to Bali!
Glad you enjoyed it! This would be a great trip to do with a bunch of friends as you could take up the whole raft to yourselves!
A lot tamer than the white water rafting I’ve been on in British Columbia (I fell out of the raft, and we rescued another rafter who fell out too). My favourite part was the carvings along the water. Beautiful!
British Columbia… hmmmm. While I’m sure the scenery is stunning there too, I have no interest in rafting anywhere the water is cold 🙂
Looks like you guys had fun! Can I put a vote in for Anders for videographer? I really like his videos. You can tell him I said a mango smoothie salary is an opportunity not to be missed out on!
He really does have great style! He loves making them too so hopefully there will be many more appearing here!
This sounds the perfect option for me to get my better half on the water (she’s long had reservations about white water rafting, but this looks like it may even be tame enough for her).
Some more beautiful shots as well (we’ll be in Ubud early in the New Year as well) so can’t wait to see it first hand!
Ah, Ubud is fantastic! It will be a beautiful place to begin 2014 in. If either of you are yoga kind of people, you should absolutely check out Yoga Barn (and my other posts on Ubud, while you’re at it :))
Loved this beautiful post taking us all through your jungle rafting adventure. And you’re right about the Anders videos…. I love them! Very well made and entertaining. He definitely should be your new Videographer 🙂
Thanks Sophie, I’ll give him your vote 🙂
I would love to go White Water Rafting one day! I’m not really one for adrenaline inducing activities, but this is something I would actually enjoy doing! 🙂 There’s a town (Voss) near of where I’m living in Norway that is famed for all sorts of extreme sports including white water rafting, but unfortunately the season’s over already and I’m not sure if I’ll still be here by the time the season starts next year. But maybe I’ll be able to do this once I hit up Southeast Asia next year! 🙂
Depending on the season, you might want to check out the two day trip I did in Thailand as well. It was a great experience!
Everything seems so fun! I’ve never gone rafting but I would love to especially when I read stories like this. I look forward to more like this! 🙂
Hopefully South or Central America will have even more rafting adventures in store for me! And then you’ll see many more posts like this 🙂
White water rafting is one of those things that never occurs to me do, and then I wind up on a random excursion when traveling with the group and have SO MUCH FUN. Need to do more of it clearly.
Me too! I think we just came up with an idea for our next trip…. 😀
Nice post and good job on the video by Anders
I will pass along your compliments!
That looks more my speed, whenever I think of white water rafting I imagine getting sucked under by some giant vortex never to be seen again! It didn’t look like there were many giant vortex’s on that river though.
Great video too!
Nope, this was more of a gentle-wash-cycle kind of river 🙂
The scenery looks so pretty. I absolutely loooove the carvings. Something out of an Indiana Jones movie!
I kept asking if they were real! I guess Disney has made me skeptical of things that are too beautiful 🙂
I recently had my first ever white water rafting experience in Chiang Mai, Thailand and absolutely loved it! It had been on the bucket list forever, but never had the guts to actually try it and I’m so glad that I did! It was so much fun and I’m now completely hooked – the next time I travel to South East Asia I’m making sure I’ll do it again!
ps – I’m also loving the videos too!
Sounds amazing! I’d love to go back and try it again in Thailand during the more adrenaline pumping season 🙂
The adventure must be so mind-blowing! And the place is just right for a perfect day adventure!
You can’t really beat the Bali jungle for a setting, I’ll give you that 🙂
Oh, that was a blast to watch. Great job. Very pretty spot too. All my WWR has been in NC, GA and TN, but some pretty scary moments. Yeah, I’m tough!
I didn’t know you’d ever tried it! Maybe we need to plan a trip together!
I’ve tried white water rafting twice in Bali. First was in Ayung River, like you did. And 2nd was in Telaga Waja. I should say Telaga Waja is more adventurous than Ayung. It has plenty of horizontal trees in the river, which will make you duck over and over when you pass it. And…it has like 5 meters dam at the end of the trip. High enough to make you scream. But both was fun. just like you said, Ayung has beautiful jungle scenery, especially with it’s stone carving.
Cheers from Indonesia! 😉
Thanks for the tip, Mita! I’ll have to check out Telaga Waja next time I’m in Indonesia!
Which camera did you use for these photos? They’re beautiful and I’m looking to buy a new one.
Hey B, you can find out about all my camera equipment by checking out the “Gear and Resources” page on the navigation bar! Hope that helps!
Great post, love white water rafting. We just took on the Nile and it was a trip that no matter how many times you have rafted you were out of the raft.
That sounds like so much fun! However… aren’t there crocs in the Nile? That would make me a little nervous! Though I suppose I have stand up paddled in an Amazon tributary that was full of alligators…
Great photos! I finally went to Bali in December and the only regret I had was that I didn’t go sooner. There is really something special about that place.
Indeed there is. I am aching for a trip back, one of these days!
The local women do sound like they would produce quite the sight with all that work. It’s good that you were won over by the experience.
That was one of my favorite moments of the trip! What a balancing act!
This looks truly amazing. I wish I dared to do something similar 😉
You might just surprise yourself someday, Oliver 🙂