Walking through the never-ending dense jungles, the winding 600 steps leading me to what I was looking forward to – rafting in Bali. The helmet fit snugly on my head as we walked through the green foliage, on the unexplored virgin path, excited to know what lay in store till I finally saw the gushing Ayung River flowing below us. The colourful rafts bobbed gently, disciplined into behaving by their owners before they got pushed into the free flow to take on a ride very much beyond their control. A ride determined and decided by the ever-flowing river, interspersed by the deep-rooted rocks.

A short and sweet instruction by our 20-year-old guide was – row front or backwards when I instruct, place the oars down when the river pushes itself and no matter what, don’t try to push too hard and displace yourself in case of emergency. The river loomed dark but inviting, trees and shrubs lining the sides as we set on. Four of us sat nervous but excited in the raft while our guide nonchalantly pushed the orange bubble into the water and told us to start rowing.  We began the row, front and back as he told us to till finally the current took charge and took us in its stride.

The raft wobbled up and down, both terrifying but managing to excite as we crashed against rocks, scraped against the rock walls, bumped into other rafts and even stopped to help another rafter who had toppled off. A 10-kilometre journey where sounds of fear were intermingling with laughter and giggles as rafts passed each other, people teasing and playing by splashing water on one another.  Nervousness soon gave way to confidence as now even without instruction, the mind knew just how to behave when rocks stopped the boat midway or the ripples took it zooming down the curve.   

“We have no clue what lies in store for us but we plan, and caution and try safeguarding our hearts and minds against all sorts of  obstacles or issues that we might encounter in our way “

The amazing ride got me thinking, isn’t it just like life. We have no clue what lies in store for us but we plan, and caution and try safeguarding our hearts and minds against all sorts of obstacles or issues that we might encounter in our way. Soon that fear overtakes the courage as we let our enthusiasm to experience newer things take a backseat convincing our minds that it’s better to stay sheltered in our cocoons cause flying out of the nest will only lead to complications. Just like that river, estimating that rocks will block our paths, we forget our potential and ability to face challenges.

Ayung River Rafting In Bali
Going down the Ayung River in Bali

The halfway mark came on after we crossed a huge waterfall which crashed like a mini cyclone in the water, looking dangerously but still invited us to get off the raft to let the raging water take us completely in its embrace as we experienced pure unadulterated joy. The story of Ramayana had been carved on the rock walls which we watched in amazement, wondering how the artists had managed this amazing feat. By now we had settled into the ever-changing rhythm of the river, which had enabled us to absorb the raw beauty around us. Isn’t that what happens when we allow our minds to stay calm which helps us take in from our environment which otherwise our aggressive and hurried brains refuse to acknowledge.

Cruising Down the Ayung River

The sounds of birds were prominent as were the gurgles and ripples of the flowing water and the occasional swoosh of the leaves. A fellow traveller started singing in native Chinese and even though it was foreign, the sound soothed the ears as her happy energy filled us all with the same feeling. 5 people in that raft who belonged to three unique countries and spoke different tongues but that moment unified and bonded as one team, out to complete this journey.

bali waterfall palm leaf
A waterfall in Bali

The boat ride of rafting in Bali ended and now began the journey of climbing up the 700 steps. The exhilaration and enthusiasm subsided, as the aches and pains started cropping up. Encouraging each other to push on, letting the oars help us, we heard our guide express his dreams of wanting to work on a cruise ship. Bali the place on the bucket list of many seemed to him the prison he wanted to escape from. 

Wet, tired, kind of limping, we finally reached our docking site where we placed our oars and helmets, and looking back at that amazing experience, the one thought that came to my mind is, let the days flow into their own rhythm, let the winds decide my course and keep my prayers going to let whatever destiny holds for my fate to flow freely to me without fears, apprehensions and doubts. This journey had been venturing into an unknown and explored zone but ended up leaving me thirsting for the more of that adrenaline rush. My river of dreams was waiting for me to step into the mystifying waters and let the journey unfold the mystery by itself.


  1. Beautiful Bali, ravenous river, bouncy boats, rocky rafting, adventurous accidents, wild waterfalls, mystic mythology, life lessons, well written.
    Cheers !

  2. “We have no clue what lies in store for us but we plan, and caution and try safeguarding our hearts and minds against all sorts of obstacles or issues that we might encounter in our way “ Loved it!!


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