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White Water Adventures in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia

October 8th, 2010 by

There are quite a number of destinations in Asia where one can throw caution to the wind and experience the exhilaration of white water rafting.  Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia is no different.

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White water rafting is an adventure sport laced with high voltage thrills. It involves a small group of people who plot the course of a river on board a raft.  The label “white water” comes from the frothy white appearance of the rapids. These white water rafting tours are offered on a regular basis by tour groups usually in partnership with different hotels in Kota Kinabalu.

Padas River

The white water rafting at Padas is quite popular with locals and tourists alike. The Padas River is specifically located in the inner part of southwest Kota Kinabalu, which can only be reached by train. The river here is described as a Class III-IV in rafting terms and covers a considerable length of about 9 kilometres.

The tour group picks up the participants from their respective hotels.  On board a tour bus or small van, the group travels for about an hour and a half to Beaufort.  From Beaufort the group transfers to a train.  The train ride will take another hour and a half before reaching Padas River. The group members are given a complete set of accessories including life jackets, safety helmets, paddles and group rafts.  Once rafting equipment is distributed, the group is briefed by the guide regarding rules and safety reminders.

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For this particular tour, participants get to experience challenging rapids during the first few kilometres of the river.  Certain rapids have amusing names like Merry-Go-Round, Break Point, Headhunter, Scooby Doo, Cobra, and Washing Machine, just to name a few. There will also be instances in the tour when guides give the go signal to participants for them to try a bit of body rafting. The more daring ones tend to dive in the water in no time. Once done with the rapids, the group continues on to an outdoor picnic spot to enjoy a grilled lunch and conversation.  At the end of the day, participants enjoy the sunset on the way back to Kota Kinabalu.

Kiulu River

The rapids of the Kiulu River are Grades 1 to 3, which are perfect for first time rafters or tourists who simply want to give it a try to see how it feels.

The tour starts at around 8:30 a.m. when participants are picked up from their respective hotels. The road trip to Kiulu (town and river) takes about an hour and a half from Kota Kinabalu.

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The main Kiulu course is 7 kilometres and the trip take about two hours to complete. A break is given halfway to allow participants to do a bit of body rafting, swim in the river or simply take a breather from the adrenaline rush. Once done, the group makes the trip to the town of Kiulu for lunch before heading back to Kota Kinabalu. The guests are brought back to respective hotels by mid-afternoon.

White water rafting tours are priced differently by the various tour groups depending on the inclusions.  A package that is worth RM200 per person would normally include hotel pick up, rafting equipment, experienced guides, and certain meals.

Both of these tours can include a barbecue lunch and a spectacular view of the province during the return trip to Kota Kinabalu.  At the end of the tour, each participant is awarded a certification of achievement for surviving the rapids.

Whichever tour you decide to join for your white water adventure in Kota Kinabalu, you will certainly be in for a nerve-wracking adventure.  The roller coaster ride, with Sabah’s spectacular tropical forests as a backdrop, makes the experience truly unforgettable.

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