Jungle Trekking and River Rafting, Ubud

Doug and I made a new friend named Andy

We were treated early this morning to breakfast on our private terrace consisting of banana pancakes with caramel and honey, homemade yogurt, and fresh fruit. The excursion we booked today consisted first of white water rafting, followed by an elephant safari through the jungle. We were first shuttled to the Ayung River, which ran through Ubud and was surrounded by the jungle, where we would embark on our white water rafting trip. Having never done anything like this before, I have to admit I was both excited and terrified, but up for the challenge. The rapids were listed as class 2 and 3, so anything greater than 1 sounded challenging for us novices. Thankfully, we were a foursome accompanied by a guide who sat directly behind me and therefore could be within close saving distance should I fall out (at least this was my thought process). We walked down what seemed like ten flights of stairs down to the river canyon, where we all got a quick 5 minute training and then it was off we went. The total 7 km journey was to take 2 hours, and we enjoyed every minute of it, cruising through numerous rapids while nearly falling out a few times, getting stuck on some rocks, rolling down backwards, enjoying the jungle around us, and even going under several waterfalls along the way. We stopped briefly by an area with these intricate stone carvings, which was a really cool discovery. By the end, I was completely comfortable with being in the boat, but this was also due to the fact that our guide was doing the majority of the work for us, with our occasional paddling.

Caramel Banana Pancakes
Breakfast on the patio consisted of caramel and banana pancakes. Not sure why they were green, but they sure were good!
Fruit & Yogurt
And some fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, and honey…mmmm
Rafting helmets
Helmets, check. Life jackets, check. Nothing to be nervous about, right??
Rafting break
For obvious reasons, we were very limited in action shots taken while in the raft, but got a shot while we “pulled over.” Nobody wanted to share a raft with the man in the blue speedo…
Stone carvings
Along the way, we saw some pretty cool reliefs carved into the stone, covered by moss and small waterfalls
And then we pulled over for a “Balinese shower” – brrr!!

When we finished, we were shuttled down the street to a restaurant where we could enjoy their buffet, so we tried chicken sate, mie goreng, nasi goreng, corn fritters, chicken on toast, fruit, banana fritters, apple cake, and crepes. Sounds like a lot of food but we just sampled, I swear!

After lunch, we were once again shuttled to the Elephant Safari Park, where we waited quite a while before getting called to our elephant. The park was very nice to walk through though, with koi ponds and gardens and an elephant petting area. Here, we got to feed the elephants sugar cane, which they snatched from us with their trunks and shoveled into their mouths, and watched them perform a few tricks like putting a wreath of flowers around people’s necks. Once we were finally aboard our elephant, whose name was Tia, we rode through the park for about half an hour with a guide. Once the guides found out we were American, they listed in this order, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Barack Obama (the universal answer from previous experiences as everyone worships him here). Glad to know we are primarily associated with Gaga…then they broke out into Bieber’s “Baby Baby” and “I like to move it move it” which was a pretty funny rendition. Afterwards, we stuck around for an elephant talent show with two adults and a baby, where they dunked basketballs, walked on a balance beam, performed addition, kicked a goal, hulahooped, and painted.

Elephant Safari Park
Some elephants roaming around the safari park outside of Ubud
Elephant Feeding
Andy loves sugar cane, and wasted not a minute grabbing the bunch out of my hand and shoving it into his mouth
Elephant riding
Bath time atop our elephant, Tia
Baby elephant
Hanging out with a Jenny-sized elephant…
Basketball Elephant
Slam dunk, elephant style…I wonder if ol’ Roy will recruit him now?

By the time we were dropped off at Murni’s, it was already 4:30 so we took the rest of the evening to walk around town, shop for gifts, and relax a bit. After trying our hand at bargaining with some local vendors, we ended up getting dinner at our hostess’ restaurant, Murni’s Warung. Here, we enjoyed chicken sate, a traditional Balinese chicken dish stewed with spices, Gado Gado on the side, and some grilled kebabs.

Ubud wasn’t known for their nightlife, but we gave the bar scene a try by stopping by Arys Warung, where of course they were closing. We managed to get one order in though of mojitos, but as they closed at 10:30, we headed out shortly after.

Chicken satay
Chicken satay with our own mini grill at Murni’s Warung
Balinese chicken
My dinner, Balinese chicken in a sauce made of a number of different spices

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