There is nothing as exciting as going on a white water rafting tour in Ubud while you’re on holiday in Bali. Especially during the wet season when the rains have risen the level of the rivers and there’s plenty of water spilling over the rapids.
White Water Rafting Ubud Tour
I like white water rafting in the Ayung River just north of Ubud. There are a number of operations lining the river but we have our favourites. After going on several trips myself and evaluating the balance between value, service, safety, thrills and amenities we partnered with Grafitti Rafting Adventure and get tickets for a discounted rate which we pass on to you.
The price also includes a towel, shower facilities, insurance and safety gear. The rafting tour is 11km long and takes between 2-3 hours.
Tickets for adventure tours in Bali are often sold at big markups through the online travel agencies (OTA) that specialise in aggregating package tours and onselling them.
They also have packages that include complimentary pick-up and drop-off, but the problem is that you will be driving around many different hotels picking up customers from many different locations, taking much longer to get there than with a private car and driver, not to mention the comfort level.
The other reason for booking my private car and driver is because we can make your day unique, going for lunch in Ubud and then going to Real Bali Swing or Tegalalang Rice Terraces afterwards.
The best tour is in the morning before it gets too hot. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes – there are shower and changing facilities at the location and the price includes a simple buffet lunch at the end – although as you read more I prefer to skip this and have lunch in Ubud instead.
Ubud Art Market and Village
You’ve had a big day on the water and in the air, and this is a great chance to slow down a little and visit the famed Ubud Art Market and wander around Ubud village sampling the great coffee and doing some shopping.
The Ubud Art Market is just 100m down the road from the Royal Palace, so after lunch and before you go shopping you can visit the palace.
Pro tip: While the rafting company provides a buffet lunch at the end of the rafting tour, it’s a budget meal put on to lure the cheaper end of the market. I would much rather wait and have lunch in Ubud.
There are several places I can recommend. Naughty Nuri’s Warung on the way from the river into Ubud serves the most amazing BBQ ribs. While there are several outlets the original warung is the best. Another great option is Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3 for some Balinese roasted pork.
Wandering down Jalan Gootama from the main street of Ubud to the other end will often allow you to discover by yourself new and interesting cafes to eat. Down the bottom of that street turn left to find one of my favourites, Locavore To Go.
If you would prefer we can substitute this for a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest instead. You will just need to let your driver know on the day.
Itinerary 1: White Water Rafting + Real Bali Swing
It’s not that far from the Ayung River rafting tour to the Real Bali Swing, and while it’s not the cheapest swings around, in my opinion, they are the best value and the safest. We don’t resell tickets to this, but my driver will call ahead and make a booking. Ticket prices for entry to the swing park are USD$35 or IDR 500k per person.
I have a deal with them where passengers can gain entry but not use the swings for USD$10, so that way some of your group can be adventurous on the swings and the chickens can stand back and watch! 🙂
The reason I like to leave the Bali Swing until later in the afternoon is that it is much less busy than earlier, especially up to around 3 pm. While it will still be busy-ish around then it is much less so than earlier.
You can also hire costumes, particularly long flowing dresses which make for extraordinary photographs.
It’s also a much quicker route back to South Bali, as there is a back way through the ricefields that I like to take with much less traffic than coming directly out of Ubud. Peak hour leaving Ubud is not a pretty sight.
Itinerary 2: White Water Rafting + Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Instead of heading to the Real Bali Swing, an alternative is to head over the other side of Ubud after having lunch and visiting the Art Market and Royal Palace to Tegalalang Rice Terraces, which are always worth a visit.
There are also opportunities to go on some of the swings in that area. Tegalalang Rice Terraces themselves have a couple of swing operations with spectacular views over the valley and ricefields. You can see them from the roadside beside the valley. They have expanded recently and there are now swings on the far side of the valley looking back towards the road.
Remember these ricefields are privately owned by different individuals, so if you get hit up by locals looking to impose a tax for passing through their property, please remain polite and be generous (to a point). You make a lot more than they ever will, and it is their land after all. IDR 10-20k ($1-2) tends to smooth things along.
Along the entry road, there is also the Terrace River Swings (also known as Alas Harum Bali). I haven’t been on the swings in this park personally, as I generally direct my customers to the swings at the rice terraces.
Itinerary 2: White Water Rafting + Tegalalang Rice Terraces Tour Map
This is just an example leaving from Seminyak. Your pick-up may be from somewhere else in South Bali, like Canggu, Legian, Kuta or Nusa Dua.
8:00 am – Pick-up from Hotel or Villa
Make sure you have breakfast before you leave – it’s going to be a wild day!
9:00 am – White Water Rafting on Ayung River
33 kms from Seminyak, around 1.5 hours.
12:00 pm – Ubud Art Market and Village
10 km from White Water Rafting, around 45 minutes.
3:00 pm – Real Bali Swing OR Tegalalang Rice Terraces
13 km from Ubud, around 40 minutes for Real Bali Swing, 10 km and 35 minutes for Tegalalang Rice Terraces.
6:00 pm – Drop-off at Hotel or Villa
30 km from Ubud, around 1.5 hours at this time of the evening.
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