The island of Bali, measuring 144 km from east to west and 90 km from north to south, is blessed with incredible nature. Impressive mountains and volcanoes influence a landscape that is home to an extraordinary array of flora and fauna.
White Water Rafting
To experience nature in its most pristine and unspoiled form, Hpaper went on a white water rafting trip with Bali Adventure Tours, the island’s oldest and one of the most reliable outfitters offering water rafting tours on the breathtakingly scenic Ayung River north of Ubud. Whether you are five or 65, this is an unforgettable way to discover some of the most untouched parts of the island paradise.
The trip to Bali Adventure Tours’ impressive Ubud Adventure Centre (where we would deposit our belongings) began with a pick up from Hard Rock Hotel Bali. The journey was scenic, as we drove along quaint, winding roads, past local villages and padi fields painted a magnificent shade of emerald. In the distance, soft morning rays lent a calming presence, stilling our excited, but slightly nervous, hearts.
After registering at the Ubud Adventure Centre, a shuttle bus took us to the rafting centre, where we collected our life jackets, helmets, and paddles. Our adventure had officially begun! First, we had to descend more than 600 metres to reach the starting point. The little trek took us past towering trees and giant ferns. Unbeknownst to us, nature was simply giving us a peek as to what was to come.
Once on board the raft, our guide Agus, a stout, sturdy man hailing from Ubud itself, gave us a quick demonstration of what to do, and then off we went. He told us that our two-hour journey would take us nine kilometres down the river. There would be rapids and waterfalls and even wild animals like monkeys, but what Agus didn’t foretell was the stunning nature we would encounter.
A white water rafting adventure is a beguiling experience. At times exhilarating, with unexpected rapids and challenging obstacles to surpass; and at times supremely quiet. It is during these quiet moments that one is in complete awe of nature and her breath-taking splendour. It’s hard not to be really, when you’re rafting through magnificent gorges, past intriguing plant forms and majestic cliffs that seem to rise to the heavens.
As our adventure came to an end, we asked Agus what he has learnt from navigating the waters for over 20 years. “Always listen to nature,” he replied. We too, learned that nature, at once nurturing and indomitable, should always be revered.
Our next adventure took us to Bali Safari, where we came face to face with hundreds of animals originating from over 60 fascinating wildlife species. The award-winning Bali Safari is the first and only safari park on the island and covers over 40 hectares of beautifully landscaped habitat.
We were first treated to a spectacular theatrical performance called Bali Agung—The Legend of Balinese Goddesses. This extravaganza, boasting over 180 dancers and performers with dozens of live animals, chronicles how Bali’s mesmerising beauty and charm came to captivate the world some 900 years ago. Ancient folklore is brought to life through traditional arts like shadow puppets, intricate costumes, and modern lighting and sound design. At points during the show, there were even elephants, camels, a python and a tiger on stage. Bali Agung is definitely a show not to be missed.
Naturally, a visit to a safari wouldn’t be complete without getting up close and personal with the animals. And up close and personal did we get with the most magnificent of beasts—shielded by just the window panes of our safari bus. We were led through the rugged terrains of Indonesia, India, and Africa, where we were greeted by enigmatic Sumatran elephants (which we were told eat up to 200 kg of carrots, grass, nuts, bamboo, and banana every day—and that’s just one elephant), tigers, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, deers, ostriches, and the king of them all, the very regal-looking lions. Our guide, Windayani, astounded us with the fact that each of these majestic cats eats up to 7 kg of meat every day, and can mate more than 20 times a day when they are in heat. Her favourite animal in the safari though, is the eagle owl, which she admires for its beauty and strength.
Perhaps such is the allure of nature, and especially, the nature of Bali—that it holds beauty we aspire to and strength we hope to emulate. Our day in wild Bali couldn’t have ended on a more pleasing note.
Both Bali Adventure Tours and Bali Safari & Marine Park can arrange for direct pick-up at Hard Rock Hotel Bali. For details, please visit their website or call to enquire. Bali Adventure Tours also has a tour desk conveniently located at Hard Rock Hotel Bali.
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