White Water Rafting the Ayung Rapids, Feeding Monkeys at the Monkey Forest and Calling at Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia


Bali, Indonesia has heaps of attractions that are just waiting to be discovered. It takes a little time and effort in order to plan them out but it can be exceptionally worthwhile if you are organized enough to put it all together. In our day, we were able to put together a tour which took us white water rafting, a visit to the monkey forest, and a visit to Bali’s most famous sea side temple; Tanah Lot.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Bali and Singapore. This trip was redeemed through Lifemiles, AAdvantage and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: White Water Rafting the Ayung Rapids, Feeding the Monkey’s at the Monkey Forest and Calling at Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

“A spectacular combination day of experiences that took us through the best of what Bali has to offer”

Planning and Organizing Our Day:

Towards the end of our trip we also booked a full day tour through our hotel Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali, featuring “the Best of Bali”. It was advertised as a “seat in coach” but was actually a private van with a driver and an English speaking guide.

The tour involved an entry level Class 2 / 3 white water rafting adventure through the Ayung Rapids, a visit to the Monkey Forest and a top at Tanah Lot oceanside temple on the West Coast of Bali. My son was really stoked about this experience, much more so than his zip lining experience in Costa Rica. It took almost no convincing when I brought up this idea earlier in the week. The day would end up looking like this.

Rafting the Ayung River with Sobek’s Rafting:

On arrival to the rafting operator, we got suited up in our gear. The rafting operation was run by Sobek’s, and they were quite competent. They happened to allow cameras on the tour in a wet bag, so I packed my iPhone. I didn’t get to take any action shots, since it was in the wet bag during the rafting. My son was so into it, he pretty much disappeared down the stairs with his paddle at the word “go” when it was time to go to the put in. Our walk down to the put in was through a beautiful tropical forest.

WT73Jr leading the way to the put in
Heading Down to the Rafting Put In.

The Ayung River was a beautiful gorged canyon with natural waterfalls and the odd luxury resort property outlining its edges. It involved 25 easy Grade II rapids over 11 km. WT73Jr described it as the best experience ever. During our visit, the rapids were pretty easy to approach, and easy for any kids. We passed by several high end resorts in the canyon which were neat to see as you floated by. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any photographs.

The Rafting Put In

We had a mandated rest break halfway down the rapids and paused for a father son photograph. There were a few family run concession stands set up and my son was able to have his favourite: a Coke.

WT73 and WT73Jr taking a rest period
The End of the Rafting Area
A Small Climb Out of the Ayung River Raft Put Out

We had a great ride through the rapids and ended it with a small climb out at the other end. Showers were available at the end of the Sobek facility, as was lunch. My son really enjoyed the experience, and it was an opportunity to do something he wouldn’t get to do at home. Okay, sure. Vancouverites will know that there is white water rafting in the Fraser River and Chemakus Canyon near Whistler, but we never actually go! Besides, going in Bali makes for a better overall story. 


Visiting Bali’s Rice Fields:

After the rafting adventure, we headed over to a random rice field that was contracted by the tour company. When we were here, we got to do a potato sampling and had a demonstration on how the rice is cultivated from the rice fields. It wasn’t the prettiest of fields thanks to the stage of the rice. We didn’t stay too long. They must have guests that ask to see the rice fields up close. Frankly, some of the walks around Ubud are much nicer than where we went, but at least it was private without people approaching you and trying to sell you things over and over. There were some massive spiders in the area though!

Balinese Offering Station
Balinese Rice Fields
Indonesian Spiders that Terrified MrsWT73

A Kopi Luwak Coffee Tasting:

We then headed (or were directed) over to a plantation just outside of Ubud where they processed Kopi Luwak. For those that aren’t familiar with it, it’s coffee beans that are eaten by a civet monkey, passed through the gastrointestinal system of the civet, then roasted for a unique taste. I’ve tried it before and couldn’t really tell it apart given a “Pepsi Challenge” taste test. WT73Jr got the opportunity to get up close to one of these civets who were actually quite tame. It was a typical commercial operation – sample these 16 varietal cups of tea and coffee and you can purchase them at outrageous prices ($16+ USD for less than 1 lb of coffee). I had purchased some Bali Gold coffee in the supermarket in Nusa Dua for about 7$ a lb. Thankfully, we didn’t look the part of impulse shoppers similar to many Chinese tourists that may pass through the area. We ended up leaving without buying anything.

Garlands of Fresh Flowers
WT73Jr and the Civet Monkeys
WT73Jr Enjoying his first civet monkey on his shoulder

Visiting the Monkey Forest at Taman Ayun:

We left the plantation and headed over to the Monkey Forest. Our tour guides ended up bypassing the Sacred Monkey Forest at Ubud and headed over to another version at Taman Ayun. I was initially a little disappointed to be going to the second rate attraction, but it actually worked out a little better. The monkeys at the place that we visited were far less aggressive than on my last visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. I was able to walk through Taman Ayun without having monkey’s attack my pockets nor rip sunglasses or hats off my head. I think this probably meant a better experience for my son as he was able to have monkeys crawl all over him as he fed them, instead of the aggressive rip and run that I experienced the last time we visited Ubud. Last time I visited, I had monkey’s attack me for a bottle of water that I was carrying and on another occasion, some hand crafted soap that I had purchased earlier that I was carrying in my cargo shorts.

It’s one thing to experience seeing Monkey’s in a wild setting. It’s another thing to look at the thrill on your son’s face when he actually has monkey’s run all over him eating bananas.

Feeding some new friends

There weren’t any spectacular features to this area, just monkey’s galore! My son thoroughly enjoyed the time with them.

Hanging Out at Taman Ayun
WT73 Jr getting into this environment
WT73 Jr checking out the scene

The monkey’s are neat to watch since they engage in self care for one another. It’s neat to watch them groom each other in a reciprocal manner.

A Parent and Sibiling
Climbing Local Towers
Intense Looks from the Locals

Calling at Tanah Lot:

We then continued on to Tanah Lot temple on the west coast of Bali. The Tanah Lot temple is one of the most important sea temples for Bali. It’s completely surrounded by water and some other smaller temples that make up the approach to the area. It’s really photogenic. It was apparently re-constructed by the Japanese, so there a bit of an aura of artificiality to it.

Walkways Down to the Beach at Tanah Lot
Temples Surrounding Tanah Lot
The Coast Near Tanah Lot
Temples Along the Ocean Front near Tanah Lot
Coastal Outcroppings with Temples

After passing by the smaller temples, we arrived to the main event: Tanah Lot. It was a neat place to clamber around when you were up close. We stood there for a while with the waves whipping through our small standing area. Non Balinese were not able to climb or enter the temple itself. I think that’s okay otherwise the place would be overrun.

Tanah Lot
The Visitors to Tanah Lot
Spectacular Ocean front Balinese Temples at Tanah Lot

My son found some manufactured airplanes here from a vendor that he really took a liking too. We picked some up for 30,000 Rupiah ($3 USD). They didn’t quite survive the 3 plane rides back to Canada but it’s the thought that counts.

The Balinese Gates of Tanah Lot
Ground Level Views of Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot

We headed back to the hotel after a terrific day. It was surely one of the days that as a parent and child, that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives. That’s not to mention seeing a dog on a scooter getting around town! Not so surprising anymore but still neat to see when you get the opportunity.

My thoughts on our day Touring Around Bali:

It’s not all that often in life that you actually get to tick off an item on your bucket list that has deep meaning. It’s easy to say to yourself that you’ll travel with your kids one day. When it actually comes time, and there are other things to worry about, it is easy to say that you’ll do it next year, or at some other time. For me, it was really important to give my son an experience that he will remember. The problem is if you don’t make time for it today, that time will pass you by. I think I was able to do that today, with a bunch of experiences that he’ll likely not forget for a while.

If you’ve visited the Ayung River, the Monkey Forest or Tanah Lot, did you enjoy your experience?

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