“Everybody stand up!!!!” Horace is screaming with a happy face while our boat is running down the Ayung River in Bali, Indonesia. Stones and water and an inflatable boat jumping here and there. This would be the right time to feel kind of scared. But we don’t; the adrenaline is rushing through our veins and we stand up with our paddles in the air screaming and laughing. We are wet to our bones, the hot sun is up in the sky, we have no idea where the boat will take us but we don’t care we just go with the flow.
One of the attractions of Bali is water sports and one of the water sports we decided to try for the first time while in Bali was water rafting. Packed in a car we are driven to the meeting point somewhere in a village near Ubud. Hidden by all these vegetation there’s a small reception where we pay for the ride, we get equipped with lifejackets, helmets and paddles and we are ready.
The water rafting experience starts with a series of stairs going down to the shore of Ayung River. Our guide/boat leader is named Horace. A bit shorter than us, with one of those smiles where one shows all his/her teeth, talkative and in a joking mood we know from the start this will be a fun ride.
The training takes less than 5 minutes during which Horace explains the forward and backward paddling, “bum bum” and how to take a person out of the water and back in the boat (if need arises, of course). Now I am sure you guys want to know what’s a “bum bum” right? As Horace said when we hear the words we should stop paddling, keep our paddles vertical and lean in front. Easy right? Now, if one of us is to fall over the others should pull the poor bastard back in the boat not by taking the person by the hand, hair, neck or [you feel in the blanks :p] but by the lifejacket.
Once the training is done we push the boat in the water, jump in and off we go. The ride is smooth at the beginning and starts to get bumpier on some sectors with the boat twisting and turning and hitting rocks on the way. On both sides there’s an impressive view with trees, rocks, vegetation, luxurious hotels.
Horace is making jokes, laughing and in the same time directing us. We can hear a combination of backward, forward, backward, backward, bum-bum, forward, bum-bum, everybody stand up and we paddle and stand up and paddle and paddle and stand up. At some point we even teach Horace how to say forward in Romanian “înainte” so the screaming gains a new word familiar to us “înainte”.
As we move forward on the river we are getting better and better at paddling and the boat slides through the rocks. When we get stuck Horace instructs us to slide on our seats but Phillipe (the Belgian guy with us on the boat) jumps instead of sliding and brings more laughter in the boat.
Midway into the boat ride we stop on a small shore together with other boats for beer and for the most courageous jumping from a cliff. Of course my courageous Gabi is jumping into the water while I enjoy my beer and click pictures.
The ride starts again and we paddle as we sing a Romanian song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WhrWZ1jeD8) and Phillipe sings a Belgium song. Once we reach a waterfall we are meeting up with another boat with some other tourists. We all jump in the water and enjoy a bath under the waterfall with lifejackets and helmets and clothes on.
And we are back in the boat and we paddle and gossip and paddle and laugh and paddle some more. After about 1:30 – 2 hours we reach the end point of our boat ride. We feel like we want more. As we walk up and more up on the stairs we are surrounded by impressive views and we can still feel the rush of adrenaline in our veins and the words of Horace “Everybody stand up!”.
For Tips & Tricks on water rafting in Bali click here Tips&Tricks water rafting Bali.