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Forget shopping in the fancy malls or dining in popular restaurants, go ditch the city for the raging, white waters of Probolinggo in East Java , south of Surabaya. Stunning, natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping action make for the perfect escape from the daily doldrums, not to mention providing an excuse to scream your lungs out.
Rafting in Probolinggo takes you down the Pekalen River, through the simple Ranu Gedang village and up to majestic, cascading waterfalls. Rafting has been popular in Indonesia since the 90s, and contrary to popular opinion, it can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of skill or experience. Even those who don’t know how to swim can join in this adventure without fear, but of course following the correct safety requirements.
As with any adventure sport, rafting does have its own risks, but that is what adds to the excitement of the experience, after all. There are, however, a few important things that can be done to minimize those risks. First, your rafting guide or skipper is experienced and knowledgeable both in technique and the specific bends and currents of the river. Next, each person aboard will wear a life jacket to keep you afloat even in the case of being thrown overboard, as well as a helmet to protect your head. Lastly, high-quality inflatable rafts reduce the impact of collision with any rocks or other obstructions within the river.
The Upper Pekalen River measures about 12 kilometers, the Central Pekalen River is 7 kilometers, and the Lower Pekalen River flows about 10 kilometers. Thelevel of difficulty of the river starts at about class 2 or class 3. If you are feeling up to the challenge and want to up the scale of intensity, try for the class 4 section of the river. Before embarking on this task, the guides will train you in the arts of rowing and rescue. Finally, there is the class 5. To join this one, visitors must first complete class 4 rafting.
Pekalen River is located about 25 kilometers from the city of Probolinggo, between the districts of Tiris, Maron and Gading.
Patrons of rafting services should adhere to a certain level of health and fitness. If you are unsure of your ability, you can attend a health check before joining the rafting event.
Follow all instructions given for what to do while rafting on the river. In the event that you are thrown out of the boat, stay calm.
It is not advisable to bring a camera unless it is waterproof and fit for outdoor activities. Most rafting operators are equipped with skilled photographers strategically placed to capture the exciting moments of your adventure. These photos can be purchased after the trip.
If you don’t know how to swim, it is not advisable to join the class 4 or 5 rapids. You will, however, be perfectly safe in difficulty level of class 2 or 3.
Don’t wear sandals, as they provide no protection, and make it difficult to swim. Instead, wear running shoes, aqua shoes, or shoes with rubber soles.
Avoid wearing cotton clothing when rafting in chilly weather, during which time, a wetsuit would be recommended. If the weather is warm, sports clothing or swim wear would be ideal.
For more information, you can visit the following websites of the local rafting operators.
The Pekalen Rafting tours are located in the village of Ranu Gedang, Tiris District, Probolinggo. The best way in by air is through Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. (www.juanda-airport.com/)
Probolinggo is approximately 2.5 hours from Surabaya by bus. You could also travel by railway or hire a car.