One of the most exciting add ons in the all-inclusive Club Med packages is the Water rafting through the Ayung river in Northern Bali. We were three of us and then there was our driver who seemed to know what he was doing. So when he took a detour from the main highway to approach the base of the river, we didn’t question him much. After all, it had been incessantly raining for over 48hrs and his claim that the bridge would have been closed due to the river rising seemed quite possible.
The road that we took was through a village and only a meter wide with a 15ft deep pit on the left. It was the driver’s sheer judgment that we were relying on. But as fate would have it, about a km into the village, we hit a jam as one of the vans had slipped into the pit. So we decided to pick up our backpacks and take a hike. The driver was talking to every villager as if he belonged to the place, but later said that everyone talks to everyone in Bali! Soon he spoke to some ladies (who he had met for the first time) and borrowed a moped, and we rode the rest of the 1 km. upon reaching the base of the river, he asked two of the reception boys to return the bikes, the trust amongst the Balinese people amazed me!
We put on our rafting gear, life jacket, helmet, and the oar, all in blue which matched the color of the boat as well. Out guide for the rafting spoke English well and instructed us to stop oaring when there were rocks as the water flow would guide us through them automatically.
On the 2hr long stretch, we felt as if we were starring in ‘Anaconda 3’, the set was just the same. A muddy river below, flanked by 100ft high mountain walls, swanked by lush green dense tropical forests, roped bridges and mud, and wooden houses. Due to torrential rains, the river bed had become unruly and the surface quite wild, giving rise to innumerable waterfalls along the course ranging from 2 to 5 ft in height. There was a patch where the entire ‘Ramayan’ was engraved and narrated through beautifully sculpted rocks, it was mesmerizing!
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Upon reaching the other side, there was some authentic Balinese launch served, delicious and sumptuous. There were about 500 steps down to reach the bank of the river from where started, and another 300 up to reach out van after we had finished. On the way, the local flea market had some very cheap and beautiful handicraft souvenirs which we bought willy-nilly. The experience will always remain etched in my memories, as one of the most adventurous and exhilarating.