Ready to go rafting in Bali? Not sure whether you should choose the Telaga Waja vs Ayung River rafting?
You’ve come to the right place!
I’m all for adventure – you know, those heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping kind of activities!
And while Bali has the tranquil yoga hub of Ubud and the surfing hot spots of Uluwatu, it also has incredible rivers lined with lush green forests.
And these rivers make for the perfect adventure activity: White water rafting in Bali!
To answer all the questions I had, I compiled this guide to white water rafting in Bali, including which river to choose (Telaga Waja or Ayung River), what to expect, and other practical information for planning your Bali rafting adventure!
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Where to go White Water rafting in Bali
There are three main rivers where you can go rafting in Bali.
The most popular are the Telaga Waja River (near Sidemen) and the Ayung River (near Ubud).
Both are easily accessible from Ubud and require a half-day rafting tour to complete.
You can also go rafting along the Melangit River. However, this isn’t as popular as the other two.
After hours of research, I decided to book my rafting tour to the Telaga Waja River and spent my weekend exploring the nearby village of Sidemen.
I did not expect my Bali river rafting tour to be as epic as it was!
Pictures speak a thousand words, and I’m sure after reading this post, you’ll be adding white water rafting in Bali to your bucket list as well!
Telaga Waja or Ayung River: Which is the Best Rafting in Bali
After hours of weighing up the pros and cons of each, I finally decided to go with the Telaga Waja River instead of Ayung rafting.
Telaga Waja River rafting in Bali
- Pros: Longest course for river rafting in Bali
- Cons: Further from Ubud
- Course length: 16 km
- Best tour: Rafting by BTR
Telaga Waja River has the longest course for white water rafting in Bali, allowing you to raft over 16 km in 2.5 hours. It’s located towards the east of Bali, close to the picturesque village of Sidemen.
The rapids for Telaga Waja River rafting are class II-IV. They aren’t too hectic, but there’s a thrilling 4 m drop near the end of the course.
Getting to the Telaga Waja River starting point is easy. It’s a 3-minute walk through gorgeous rice fields, and the exit point is also a short distance from the river.
Overall, the Telaga Waja rafting is seen as the more “adventurous” of the two rivers to go rafting in Bali.
Ayung River Rafting, Bali
- Pros: Short drive from Ubud
- Cons: Not as thrilling as Telaga Waja River
- Course length: 10 km
- Best tour: Ayung Rafting
Ayung River is closer to Ubud, being just a short 20-minute drive away.
If you have limited time on your Bali itinerary and you’re looking to go white water rafting in Ubud, this may be the better option for you.
Whilst the Ayung River is the longest river in Bali, the rafting course is only 10 km in length. Your time on the water is just over 1h 30min.
The rapids are also calmer at Ayung River vs Telaga Waja, being an easy class II-III.
On the downside, to get to the Ayung River rafting departure point, you need to scale down 500 stairs.
Whilst I didn’t complete the Ayung River rafting course myself, I did read that it is not as thrilling as Telaga Waja River, and that’s why I chose Telaga Waja over Ayung River rafting in Bali.
Rafting in Bali: 8 Things You Need To Know
From scenery to safety, here is all you need to know if you’re considering going white water rafting in Bali.
1. The scenery
The scenery is one of the best things about rafting in Bali!
Cascading waterfalls, rice fields, and endless coconut trees.
It’s not only the rafting but the natural beauty along the Telaga Waja River.
Starting from the short walk through rice paddies to the towering cliffs alongside the river. We passed countless waterfalls, palm trees, and lush green forests. There’s so much greenery and endless beauty.
If you want to go off the beaten track in Bali, make sure you go white water rafting in Sidemen!
Throughout the course, you won’t see one resort and no high-end restaurants. Just a few local huts, and that’s it.
About halfway, there’s a rest stop where you can purchase refreshments, coconuts, or beers from a local vendor. This also gives you the chance to explore a bit or take pictures at one of the many waterfalls.
2. The Bali rafting rapids
The rapids on the Telaga Waja River are a class II-IV, but don’t let that scare you. They are super chilled and mostly class II!
The first section is the perfect introduction for all rafting newbies as it’s calm and relaxed. But as you make your way further along the river, the water gets rougher and flows faster.
You’ll smash into massive boulders and get sprayed by waterfalls, all whilst dodging the low-hanging trees.
There are a few parts where you’ll need to hop off your inflatable raft as it’s too shallow, but you’ll welcome this chance to stretch your legs for a bit.
As you near the end of your river rafting, there’s a big 4m drop. It appears scary, but it’s not as hectic as it looks, and certainly not dangerous (if you’re with an experienced guide).
Overall the rapids are calm and gentle, and nothing overly exciting. Also, we didn’t do much paddling – just in case you’re wondering how strenuous it is!
3. How dangerous is white water rafting in Bali
Don’t worry – rafting in Bali is not dangerous at all.
Not once during my Telaga Waja rafting tour did I feel unsafe or that we were at risk of tipping out of the raft.
The rapids are not that intense. I was actually hoping for something a bit more challenging and thrilling!
But, my view could also be a result of having an incredible guide, Wayan. he gave us a thorough safety briefing and was in total control of the raft the entire time.
He led from the back, paddled, steered, and warned us when to duck, hold on, or lean to the side.
4. How much is it to go white water rafting in Bali
I booked my Telaga Waja rafting tour with BTR – Bali Tubing & Rafting.
For 550 000 IDR ($35), they provide you with return transportation, all your rafting equipment (life jacket, helmet, paddle), and a delicious Indonesian buffet lunch.
I highly recommend BTR and chose them after reading so many positive reviews about the company, its guides, and its safety standards.
5. Best time to go white river rafting in Bali
You can go rafting in Bali all year round. However, your experience will differ based on the season.
During the wet season in Bali (December to March), the water level will be higher. This results in more water, so you’ll be moving a lot faster. While it is still safe to go rafting in Bali during this time, the rapids are more extreme.
The dry season (May to August) brings with it calmer waters.
6. What to wear rafting in Bali
You’ll get soaking wet while white water rafting in Bali. Come dressed in your bathing suit, a pair of shorts, and a shirt.
There’s no need for shoes. I brought a pair of flip-flops that I wore when walking to the starting point. But they immediately came off when I got into the raft, and I was barefoot the rest of the time.
Here are a few other things to pack for your Bali trip.
7. What to pack for your Bali rafting tour
There are no lockers available at the departure points. This means that everything you bring will either go into the raft or must be left in your taxi or scooter.
Most Bali white water rafting tours will give you a wet bag to keep your valuables inside.
I suggest you pack a small bag with a change of clothes and some cash and put this inside the waterproof bag that you’ll be given.
Don’t forget these:
- Waterproof camera
- Wet bag (if you have one)
- Change of clothes (there are showers at the finish point)
- Towel (BTR provides towels and body wash to shower after)
- Money for refreshments at the halfway stop
- Bottle of water
8. Where is the Telaga Waja River, and how to get there
The Telaga Waja River is located east of Bali island. It’s about 40km northeast of Ubud and 10km north of Sidemen.
The starting point of the Telaga Waja River is close to the incredibly scenic village of Sidemen.
I spent two days here, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Bali (probably on par with Munduk – which I loved – so that’s saying a lot!)
You can either book a Bali water rafting tour that includes transportation (as most tours do). Or if you’ve rented a scooter in Bali, it’s best to just book a standalone tour with no transportation, as I did.
This way, you can make your way to the starting point on your own, which allows you to explore a bit more of the region before or after your rafting trip.
But what do you do with your scooter or car afterward?
If you choose the latter and go to Telaga Waja independently, you’ll need to get your car or scooter to the endpoint, which is 16km away.
Most rafting operators provide a drop-off service and will drive your scooter to the finish point for a small fee (25 000 IDR).
Where to stay near the Telaga Waja River rafting
Many travelers base themselves in Ubud as it’s close to many attractions as well as both rivers where you can go rating in Bali.
But the east of Bali is breathtakingly beautiful, and I highly recommend that you spend a night or two in Sidemen, which is only a 15-minute drive from the Telaga Waja River.
- Budget: If you’re traveling on a tight budget, Kanda Homestay is the most affordable place to stay in Sidemen. It’s centrally located in the heart of the village and includes a hearty breakfast.
- Mid-range: Gladak di Ume is located just outside of Sidemen, and offers private cottages in the middle of the rice fields. If you’re looking for peace and serenity, you’ll find it here.
- Luxury: It doesn’t get better than Wapa di Ume Sidemen. Seriously though, everything about this resort is outstanding. From the breathtaking views to the tastefully decorated rooms and the sparkling infinity pools. If you’re looking for a luxurious escape in the mountains, this is the place for you!
Is it safe to go white water rafting in Bali?
Yes, river rafting in Bali is safe. The rapids are not intense at all.
During the dry season, the water is very calm and not overly exciting. But this is the best time to go rafting in Bali with kids. Some operators require a minimum age of 7 years to participate.
READ MORE: WHERE TO STAY IN ULUWATU
What is the longest river rafting in Bali?
The Telega Waja River has the longest course for white water rafting in Bali. The route is 16km long and takes 2.5 hours to complete.
Where is the best white water rafting in Bali?
The Telaga Waja River is the best river rafting in Bali. It has the longest course and the most extreme rapids.
Final thoughts on Bali River Rafting
My highlight of white river rafting in Bali was definitely the scenery!
It’s the best way to see the natural beauty of Bali, away from the tourists and crowds.
If you’re looking for nail-biting kind of rafting, this isn’t for you. But overall, it’s a great activity and one of the best things I’ve done since arriving in Bali.
Psst… Planning your trip to Indonesia? Check out my other posts!
- The Ultimate Bali Accommodation Guide: Where to Stay
- 9 Awesome Things to do in Munduk, Bali
- Balangan Beach in Bali: The Ultimate Insider Guide
- 19 Things I Discovered From Backpacking Indonesia
- Exploring Balian Beach: Bali’s Hidden Gem