Josh jumps onto his tube in the middle of a canyon with water bubbling past at an unknown speed. Before he gets comfortable he is up and over, one shoe flying through the air. He grabs the other, takes hold of his glasses and misses the opportunity to grab his boat. That soars away from him. We are all laughing so hard, mainly because the water is only waist deep on my giant of a husband, but also because his size 15 shoe sails silently past him, away on the rapids…
Last year Josh and I did a Quad Biking & Canyon Tubing tour. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life and I wanted to do it again. With my sister and her Wanneroo (tough as nails) husband coming for a visit we knew they would love it too.
It’s not cheap. It’s Western prices. They had a special on before 1st July ($148 each) and you get a 12.5% discount if you pay online ahead of time. So I organized the tour on Monday for Friday paying the $518 US for all 4 of us. You can do just one or the other, but we decided for a full day of fun.
For this price you get transfers, a 2 hour quad biking tour, buffet lunch followed by a 2 hour canyon tubing tour.
I rang the nanny agency we had used for the cooking class in Ubud and organized for Komang to come again, this time from 7am to 5pm. A very nervous thing for me to do, but once she arrived I knew my kids were in safe hands and they were very excited to spend the day with her again. At $50 for 10 hours, it was a bargain and the kids were happy as Larry when we returned. They’d been swimming twice, did potato stamping, reading, and colouring, had even be showered and dressed.
Anyway back to our tour. They picked us up at 7am and even let us do a quick stop at a bakery to grab some breakfast. Then it was a 2 hour drive to the location, which is north of Ubud.
Once we arrived and signed all the waivers and insurance paperwork we stored our stuff in the locker and each picked a bike. The boys on the semi-automatics and the girls on the automatic. Strapping on our helmets and shin guards we finished 4 laps of the training ground and were finally on the road.
It’s dirty stuff, quad biking, but it sure is fun. Pot holed dirt roads, pot holed paved roads, rice paddies, muddy banks, bamboo covered water and jungle, masses and masses of jungle. We traveled through barely beaten paths and sweet little villages with waving school children, past rice paddies and hard workers, over rough terrain and hardly ever over easy terrain.
We had a pit stop overlooking rice paddies and mountainside chatting to our guides. At $150 a pop these Balinese guys were earning $3 a day. They did the tour 3 times so at $1 a tour. It was, of course, only fair that we tipped them at the end of the day for the great job.
While the ride was absolutely fantastic towards the end I was ready for it to finish. My hands were filthy and sore from braking, accelerating, braking, accelerating and my bottom was starting to protest the many bumps and bruises.
After our ride we washed up and were presented with the buffet. We had worked up quite an appetite. There was a limited selection of food, but all of it was hand made and seemed to be lovingly prepared. Unfortunately it wasn’t too warm, but it still tasted great. There is a chicken soup, chicken curry, beef curry, rice, French fries, vegetables, cake and fruit. Juice, coffee and water are included, however you can buy a soft drink or beer for minimal price.
After completing a survey, mentioning the staff needed more money, we changed into our bathers (swimmers, togs, bathing suit, whatever you call it, wherever you are!)
Back on quads with drivers this time they drove us over bumpy dirt rides towards a cliff. Then it was time to walk down. Down, down, down. Climbing down a gorgeous wooden staircase right beside a waterfall. Quick photos, more helmets and life vests and we were on our way. Tramping over a fallen log and into our tubes.
Each person gets his or her own tube. There were 8 of us with 4 guides. Once you are in your boat you are always on the move. The water moves swiftly, rarely gently. There are dips and turns, rapids and waterfalls. The largest drop is 1 meter and it is very exciting. Some drops you’re backwards, but the big one the staff makes sure you are forward and leaning backwards.
My first time I fell out and cut my feet on the rocks since I decided not to wear shoes. Happy to say I didn’t fall out once this time. As mentioned previously my husband did fall out though. Luckily his shoe that went floating away was picked up further downstream by one of the tour guides who was way ahead.
In between the ride there are some areas, which are not accessible by tube so there are wooden pathways set up. The guides carry the tubes over these areas. Walking through this canyon is magical. Then you get to the flying fox. Bali standards makes you nervous, but you do it anyway, because it’s a thrill and exciting and soon you are jumping off a waterfall and flying through the air pass rapids, between 2 cliffs covered in greenery and landing smack bang on a net at the other end.
Finally the rapids ease and the rest of the journey is fairly tame. You can put your head back briefly and stare up at the small amount of blue sky you can just see peeking through the overgrown ceiling the canyon makes. The walls are covered in white lillies, green this and that and the occasional spider. I haven’t seen anything as breath taking. The water is loud in your ears, but that’s all you can hear. That and the outrageous laughter coming from your friends as they constantly play bumper boats in the rapids.
I remember just floating there, looking at the blue sky and thinking this is my life now. This is what I wanted and I’m living it. I’m really living a dream.
At the end of the ride we jump back on the quad bikes and ride up the canyon back towards the meeting place. We change and hop back in the car for the 2 hour journey back home.
If you do anything in Bali, make sure it’s canyon tubing. I will never forget this experience and I hope to do it again and again and again.