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  • Writer's pictureDeb Smithers

White Water Rafting - Bali

Loving life's spontaneous adventures

As for adventures and testing the boundaries, I like to try to experience this each birthday, when possible, 'something a little different'. Whether it be from climbing the volcanos in Sumatra to reaching the top of Jungfraujoch in Switzerland to see the incredible snow-capped mountains of Switzerland. Each occasion has some form of adventure, big or small. In the past, I dreaded another birthday, and seemingly the older we get, the faster they come around. These days I have turned things around, and I enjoy each milestone and the perspective of an amazing day. This particular birthday I was in Bali and it seemed the perfect location for an adrenaline-pumping experience, not to go too over the top, the decision was to give White Water Rafting a go, hoping to avoid sporting any injuries for the celebrations at a Japanese Teppanyaki dinner planned for the evening.

The Muncan Village

After departing from Legian, the trip to Telaga Waja River takes about 2 hours by car. It is on the east side of Bali, located within the Muncan Village, Karangasem, and the river rises on the slope of Mt Abang. Once out of the bustling area of Kuta, it is an enjoyable scenic drive passing stunning rice fields, street markets, and local villages along the way.

As soon as arriving it was time to get geared up and fitted with our safety equipment, we took a short trek down the lush mountain to the river's edge where our rafts awaited. The Ayung River is the most famous river in Bali to raft. Still, in my opinion, the Telegan Waja River is more fun with more rapid white water than Ayung, and adding to the excitement is the thrilling Badjing Dam descent to get the heart pumping.

After a very quick briefing and with no time to waste, we were off, down the enduring 18 km river with its impressive waterfalls, lush green landscape, and perfectly constructed bamboo bridges. Taking in the peacefulness and the melodic sounds of wildlife, all the while beginning to hear the incessant roaring of the powerful rapids approaching.

The journey down the river is ever-changing, the conditions switching from calm, serene moments of the still water to the powerful force of the rapids throwing your raft around like it was a lost fallen leaf on the river. It is so sporadic that you don't have much time to let your guard down. With moments of extreme laughter to that of heart-stopping fear and you try not to ponder on the thought of being flipped from the raft into the river, leaving you to witness your vessel race away down the river at record speed.

Admittedly, safety is not always a high priority in some third-world countries and although the raft got us to the end in one piece, there were a few moments of uncertainty, especially when the guide had to stop three times to put more air in the raft, but regardless of this they were very experienced rafters and were vigilant in the safety of the group whilst traveling down the river for two hours.

You can never get enough of seeing beautiful waterfalls in hidden places.

A raft with 4 decending down the Tegala river dam drop
The dam drop

After experiencing both rivers, my opinion is that the Telaga Waja River is the better choice for your day of rafting.

After spending more than two hours rafting down, the grand finale of the trip was the dam descent at the river's end.

The raft hits the bottom of the dam decent and all that is to be seen is legs in the air.
An elegant landing

Finish your morning with a Bintang and a traditional meal of Nasi goreng, cooked perfectly by the local villagers. Your driver will then deliver you back to your accommodation.

- When making arrangements and booking, take into consideration your drop-off point to begin your rafting, some places will lead you to more steps to scale than others.

- The day of rafting, including transport, and lunch at the local warung costing under $60 Aud.

- You can take a run on the great zip line taking you across the river or you could combine your trip to the Telega Waja River with a scenic and serene visit to the Besakiah Mother Temple. Along the way to the river is the Penglipuran Bamboo Forest and Tukad Cepung Waterfall.

"For the love of nature"

And after a brilliant day of white-water rafting in Bali, traveling down the fresh waters of the Telagan River, and with no injuries, the day would not have been complete without the Japanese Teppanyaki night. Wonderful food, a sneaky few shots of Arak, and good company. Now that's how you celebrate 50-something!


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