Today is another beautiful day here in Ubud.
This morning we went white water rafting down the Ayung River. The Ayung River flows past Ubud, so it was nice and close to our hotel in Ubud. We were picked up from our hotel at 9.15am, and driven about 10 minutes to the rafting end point. There, we deposited our change of clothes and other gear, and then jumped in a car to be driven to the rafting starting point.
At the start point, we were outfitted with life jackets, a paddle, and a helmet, and then walked down to the river. It was quite a descent, starting with a bit of a walk through rice paddies, followed by an endless amount of steps to descend into the river valley and reach the actual river.
They use a flying fox system to get the rafts down (and inflate them at the bottom), but the rafts are transported back up at the end by porters. They carry the rafts on their heads, and I was told that they weigh about 50kg each, and they’re paid the equivalent of about $3 per boat.
Once we were all set up in our raft, our guide launched into his formal safety briefing. When he asked if there were any questions, I inquired about the procedure if one should fall out of the raft. I’m not sure why I thought that was important to know.
Once we started heading downstream, we were struck by just how amazing the scenery along the river was. Everywhere we looked there was jungle, punctuated by frequent waterfalls, ranging from small trickles to decent streams. We saw some very large butterflies fluttering about, one incredibly blue bird, a few large lizards, and many small birds.
There were quite few rafts on the river, and although it occasionally felt a bit crowded (like at the points where everyone stopped for a break or for photos), most of the time this just made it more fun. Dad most enthusiastically splashed everyone that we got close to. They splashed back, so everyone was just having a great time.
At one point, were going through some very mild rapids, and I took advantage of that to continue splashing the raft in front of us. This required two hands on a paddle, so when we suddenly bumped against a rock, I just rolled straight off the raft and into the water. Oops! I only had a few minor scrapes, so hopefully that provided some entertainment for all the rafts nearby. After checking I hadn’t lost anything, I scrambled back into the raft and resumed my seat.
We also passed quite a number of riverside hotels/resorts, including the Ritz-Carlton. They all looked pretty impressive, but I also recall that when I was looking for a place to stay here in Ubud, they were also rather expensive.
Finally, we reached a point where the river passed through a narrow canyon, and immediately following that, we were at the end of our rafting. It took us nearly two hours from start to finish, and according to my GPS, it as about 10km on the river. There were more steps to climb back out of the river valley (243, our guide told us), and I am glad I didn’t have to carry our raft up with us.
After changing and collecting our gear, there was buffet lunch waiting for us. It was pretty good, I enjoyed two bowls of pumpkin soup (soto labu), nasi goreng, mi goreng, cap cay, and chicken curry (ayam kare). Finally, we were driven back to our hotel. All around, a very blessed morning, and again, a wonderful opportunity.