Is there anything you can’t do in Bali? Think of the most random or crazy activities, and they are doable here! If a physical and adventurous activity suits you, rafting can be one of the options there is.
Rafting through the wild water of the Telaga Waja in east Bali, I enjoyed nature while sometimes I slipped through the boat and had to hold on tight so the wild water wouldn’t swallow me.
At the top, where the rafting route started, the instructor briefed us. Each team consisted of a maximum of 4 people. With swimwear, slippers, a life jacket, a helmet and a thick layer of sunscreen together with my team, we got into the boat and we were ready for it. There were not that many instructions so we wouldn’t be able to ruin it. Paddle forward, paddle backward, stop (not paddle and hold on tight), low (for threes and branches) and move (a kind of uncomfortable bounce movement to get the boat forward when it’s stuck on a rock). As you read, it’s no rocket science. However, we got stuck multiple times and got caught up by 3 other rafts, but we stayed surprisingly positive and managed to keep up the good spirit.
I noticed that only the rafting itself is not the only most important part of the activity, the second important part is to also look around a bit from time to time. Because… wow… the area is quite something. The landscape varied from steep canyons to lots of greenery, waterfalls, and rice fields to small villages along the river. Therefore I realised that it’s advisable to keep my mouth shut while looking around and enjoying the view and at the same time being surprised or shocked by a bump. Unfortunately, realising this required 3 mouths fool of river water. In order not to miss all this beauty, I decided to sometimes commend ‘nature’ so that my team wouldn’t forget to absorb a little of the environment. At a waterfall halfway we were commanded to stop our boat. We took a break there and had a necessary beer, soda can, or water bottle. Here, we also got the opportunity to make crazy ‘I’m rafting’ photos with our funny but cute little helmets and life jackets. After a short break, we continued our journey.
After a while, the instructor prepared us for the highlight. When you type Telaga Waja river in Google Photos, you get this image as one of the first results: a 4-meter dropdown from a waterfall. I’m not so fond of those jitters in my belly of adrenaline in attractions, I often find it a pretty good feeling afterwards but not worth it to jump out of a plane with a parachute for example. To come back to free fall, you can imagine that I was getting slightly nervous. We had to raise our feet and lay back in the boat. I saw the fall approaching and I was a bit shocked, but I did not feel any crazy tickles in my stomach during the fall and in the end. It wasn’t that exciting, to be honest.
We continued our journey. There were many small passages where the boat fits precisely trough every time. I caught myself sometimes wondering if this rafting route is real. I wondered if not every night people secretly lay rocks for the perfect rafting route to create narrow passages through which the boat fits just a little too precisely. We were approaching the end of the route while chatting and joking with our instructor, who was beginning to find us a lot more fun than at the start. We laughed a lot about our clumsiness, were shocked by some bumps and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.
At the endpoint, we were guided from the boat to a cottage on a mountain for an extensive lunch. Because the cottage was high up there was a magnificent green view from there. Satisfied from the sun and after a light workout, we prepared ourselves for a tasty meal. After lunch everyone was tired and we prepared ourselves for a siesta at home.
I would not recommend this trip for rafting as a sport or physical activity. However, for the beautiful surroundings and for a fun activity with family or friends where you can laugh a lot, I definitely would.