One of the great attractions of Ubud is the lushness of the surrounding landscape, and there’s nowhere more verdant than the banks of the rivers and streams. Some of the hotels and restaurants have views onto gorges, or have little waterways flowing through them, but best of all you should go to the Ayung River, the longest river in Bali which has its source in the mountains of the north and provides irrigation to many of the island’s rice fields.
The river flows through a deep canyon in Sayan, creating many natural bathing places for the villagers, and provides a fantastic opportunity for some white-water rafting. The landscape you’ll see from your inflatable raft is the most breath-taking you’ll see in Bali. Don’t be put off by the touristy aspect of the rafting tours: the natural beauty more than makes up for it, and it’s one of the best things you can do while staying in Ubud.
Humorous, experienced guides will make sure you stay safe as your raft plunges eleven kilometres downstream. There are a few adrenalin-pumping moments, but most of the time the rafting is gentle enough for you to be able to happily take in the passing sights: exquisite rock carvings on the river banks, lush jungle, dramatic waterfalls, and beautiful birds such as the kingfisher.