Hidden Canyon: Quite an adventure near Ubud, Bali

Way down to the canyon (it's actually a gorge)
Way down to Hidden Canyon (it’s actually a gorge)

There were two local guides in the water helping visitors cross a narrow and waist-deep part of the river. It had been raining and the current was very strong — practically impossible for anyone to cross the stretch without help, especially when you have bags with you. The four of us stood there and wished we had hired a guide at the entrance.

The previous evening, I had met Meri at 9 Angels in Ubud, Bali,  and it was she who told me about Hidden Canyon.

“I went there this morning with people from my hostel and it was great fun. Because of the rain over the past few days. parts of it were deep waist-deep and we had to swim through. It was so exciting,” she had said.

I asked her how to find this hidden canyon.

“It’s not so hidden really,” she laughed. “You can find it on Google Maps.”

And so I did. The next morning, I hired a scooter and set off to find this canyon. The place is situated around fifteen kilometres from the centre of Ubud and not at all hard to find.

Once you reach the place, some people there directed me to the parking space for scooters.

“At the ticket counter (IDR15,000), I met Leva from Latvia, and Else and Anouk from the Netherlands.

“Do you want to hire a guide because a friend who was here yesterday said at some places the water is deep and you need to swim,” I said.

“Did your friend take a guide?” one of them asked and I said no, but they had groups with guide in front and behind them and they could manage.

The three girls decided not to take a guide and I followed suit.

Big mistake.

Figuring out the way without a guide could be a problem
Figuring out the way without a guide could be a problem

We walked down some steps and came to a stream. It had rained the night before and we could see the current was quite strong. And we couldn’t figure out which way to go. Someone walked down the same steps as us and pointed us in the direction that we were supposed to go — upstream.

We had bags with us that had phones, cameras and passports inside and in five minutes we realised a guide would probably have been a good idea. We stood their stuffing everything we had on our persons into our bags and tried walking ahead into the water. But we didn’t know where the shallow parts were and there was always the chance of the current getting us off our feet.

Wading though a shallow part of the river. Picture by Leva
Wading though a shallow part of the river. Picture by Leva

Luckily for us, a guide came along with a group at this moment and crossed the stream through a shallow area, some ten metres from where we were trying to cross. We swiftly followed them. But after five minutes we realised it was kind of hard to keep up without help and another group (with a guide) came up behind us and we let them pass.

There were places we had to cross holding a rope. I crossed first of the four of us (after nearly falling) and tried to inspire the others they could do it. One by one they came across. But a little ahead we reached the stretch where it was absolutely impossible to reach the next dry rock without help and without wetting our bags.

The four of us held a meeting and decided we needed to hire a guide now. Of course, we were not in a position to negotiate when they asked for IDR125,000.

The guides co-ordinated among themselves and threw our bags from one dry rock to another for someone to catch (while we held our breaths with our cameras and passports inside).

Right at the end of the hike/swim, there was a not-so-narrow stretch where we had to cross. We stood sideways holding the rocks so that the water didn’t push us off our feet. It was damn difficult. In the end, you just jumped towards the other side the best you could. But you practically just end up in the strongest part of the current — but only for a a few seconds because a guide standing on the other side, pulls you over.

That was IDR125,000 well spent.

Check out my Hidden Canyon video below!


2 thoughts on “Hidden Canyon: Quite an adventure near Ubud, Bali

  1. Nice to hear about your experiences. It’s good see some new places from Ubud apart from usual stuffs. Keep traveling.

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