I’ve wanted to go whitewater rafting for the longest time. Considering I’m from a country renowned for its adventure sports I still have a lot of them on my bucket list, and I’m finally doing them now that I’ve left New Zealand.
When I looked into booking whitewater rafting from Australia it was going to cost us around $90. Even after I took my commission off I knew I could find it cheaper in Bali. So we took a walk into Kuta and had a chat with the guys at MBA Tours and Travel. After speaking to a lovely guy named Artha we managed to book a whitewater rafting trip down the Telega Waja for only $35 each.
The guys picked us up from our hotel in Legian and we drove for about an hour and a half to the start of the trip. The drive was actually really interesting, as we got to see a side of Bali that we hadn’t yet seen in Kuta.
We passed rice paddies and tiny warungs. Women walked in bare feet while balancing huge loads on their heads, whole families were crammed on scooters, and children walked home from school. I winced as I watched a woman clutching a tiny baby and riding one-handed, and now that I’ve driven a scooter myself (way harder than it looks) I give her ten points for co-ordination.
Finally we arrived at the starting point. There was a lot of milling around and no one seemed to know what was going on, but eventually we were split into groups. Our guide handed me a plastic bag full of water with a few fish floating in it to dump in the water (there was no explanation about why we were doing this), and we put on our life jackets and helmets, grabbed our oars, and headed down to the river.
We waited for a while as the rafts were blown up and the guides smoked and told jokes, but eventually we were sitting in the raft and listening to our safety demonstration. Finally satisfied that we’d duck and lie back when he told us to, our guide pushed us off and we were floating down the river.
There are two choices for whitewater rafting in Bali-the Ayung River and the Telaga Waja River. After looking at reviews online, I knew I wanted to go with the Telega Waja since the Ayung is apparently much more tame, and better suited for families.
The Telega Waja is the best river for adrenalin junkies and while the water was sometimes slow, we did get stuck a few times- almost sinking at one stage which was interesting. The four-foot drop at the end was awesome, and I have let out a pretty embarrassing shriek (I tried to blame it on Jacob but as I was the only girl in a raft full of boys I don’t think anyone believed me).
We crashed into rocks, and floated under waterfalls. The scenery was incredible, and we drifted past rice paddies and farms. A woman was doing her laundry in the river, and half an hour later we came across two very naked little boys having their bath while their mother watched them. One of them jumped on our raft, laughing like a loon the whole time.
When we were finished my cheeks hurt from grinning and we climbed up a few stairs to take a shower before eating lunch. They offered us a CD with photos from the trip, but I decided not to buy it for two reasons. The first is it was expensive-it cost the same amount as the trip itself, and the second is because I am the most un-photogenic person in the world, and every time they took a photo I had fallen off my seat and was flailing in the middle of the raft while everyone else paddled and looked cool.
I highly recommend MBA tours and travel as they’re cheap, fun, and professional. I’ve used them a few times now and will definitely go back as I know they will often get me the best deal around. They show up on time, and we’re guaranteed to have a good time with them.
Credit for the photos goes to Jacob Tapp as I still don’t have a waterproof camera.