Exciting White Water Rafting Down The Pekalen River, Probolinggo

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 90’s, 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.

The Pekalen river, Probolinggo
The Pekalen river, Probolinggo (Source : pinterest.com/lovelyastuty)

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.

Pekalen rafting, Probolinggo
Pekalen rafting, Probolinggo (Source : xplorea.com)

The Upper Pekalen River measures about 12 kilometers, the Central Pekalen River is 7 kilometers, and the Lower Pekalen River flows about 10 kilometers. The level 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.


Aside from the tasty meal provided after rafting, there are several culinary treats that should be sampled during your visit to Probolinggo. One of which is sego mbledos, a dish that exists only in Probolinggo. Sego Mbledos is prepared in the shape of Mount Bromo, an active volcano and national icon. A scoop of white rice is formed into a cone, with chili sauce and other red sauces that come from its peak. At the base of the cone are vegetables and a variety of other side dishes.

Probolinggo is famous for its fashion handbags; stylish and suitable for use in any occasion. The price is also affordable for any woman, old or young. These can be purchased at Handicraft Incoming Collection on Jalan Lumajang, Gg. Melati 69.

For lovers of ceramics, a variety of these can be found, designed in both natural and contemporary styles. These can be found at Keramik Kinasih on Jalan Cangkring, Probolinggo.

For some tasty treats to bring home, a range of refined products including dried fish, fish crackers and crab crackers can be purchased from those skilled in the trade. These are found at Krupuk Tengiri on Jl. KH. Mansyur Probolinggo and Camilan Tonali on Jl. Bengawan Solo.

Here are a few of the available accommodations in Probolinggo.

  • Hotel Bromo View, Jl. Bromo Km 5, Probolinggo
  • Hotel Ratna, Jl Raya Panglima Sudirman 16, Probolinggo
  • Hotel Paramita, Jl Siaman 7, Probolinggo
  • Hotel Bromo Permai, Jl Raya Panglima Sudirman 237, Probolinggo
  • Hotel Tampiarto, Jl Suroyo 15, Probolinggo
  • Hotel Tentrem, Jl Raya Panglima Sudirman 15, Probolinggo

Increase your heart rate, use your lungs, and enhance the strength and endurance of your shoulder and stomach muscles. River rafting can be exhausting, but that exhaustion won’t even be noticeable amidst the thrill of the moment. But you will feel fitter, and happier, and satisfied when the moment is over.

Before the setting out downstream, your team leader and crew will travel by road to the starting point. Each boat holds between 6-8 people, including a guide. On the way to your starting point, your guide will provide important information about safety on the river. Once you have arrived, you’ll be taught how to hold your paddle, various rowing techniques, as well as what instructions to follow while rafting. Last but not least, jump into your raft and enjoy the thrilling adventures from start to finish.

The class 2 – 3 rafting path covers 12 kilometers and takes about 3,5 hours to complete. Those 12 kilometers will take you on an unforgettable journey over 50 different rapids, including the unique “Inul Rapids,” where you must rock back and forth in order to pass. If you are thrown from your raft, don’t panic! You may actually enjoy it! Keep calm, and wait for the guide to help you back on board, or simply relish your moments amidst the crisp, cool waters.

Aside from the rough rapids, you’ll also travel through gorgeous landscapes of natural rock formations, alongside seven splendorous waterfalls, and through dark, mysterious bat caves. You’ll also come across numerous species of creatures living in the wild including eagles, orioles, monkeys, otters, squirrels and monitor lizards.

Rafting on Pekalen river in Probolinggo
Rafting on Pekalen river in Probolinggo (Source : indonesia-tourism.com)

There are several spots where the waters are calm and you can get out to swim and enjoy the cool, fresh water. One such spot also includes a ledge, about 5 meters up. Jump off, if you dare!

Finally, upon return to basecamp, you’ll have some time to change clothes and freshen up, after which, you’ll be greeted with a delightful spread of tempting, local delicacies, ready to satisfy your stomach after a tiring adventure.

The 12 kilometer Pekalen Rafting package costs about 220,000 rupiah and includes insurance, welcome drink, standard rafting equipment, transport, guide, rescue team, snacks, beverages, and lunch. The 10 kilometer trip offers a similar package and costs about 190.000 rupiah.

Some operators offer family packages, which can even include children as young as 6 years old. Each operator follows their own minimum age requirement which should be confirmed before booking.

Aside from rafting, there are a range of other outbound training activities to improve self-motivation, courage, confidence, creative thinking, responsibility, cooperation and mutual trust.


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.

Probolinggo is approximately 2.5 hours from Surabaya by bus. You could also travel by railway or hire a car.


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.

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