The Indigenous groups of Sabah have been using rafts for thousands of years, but white water rafting popularized since the 1980s.
Sabah has two main rivers for rafting, the Kiulu river and Padas which certified as Grade 2 and Grade 3 in the grading system of international white water rafting. Under normal weather conditions the two rivers are constant in depth and speed. However, heavy rains can cause the river to rise to Grade 4. During this time rafting be canceled temporarily.
Because it is now a popular sport adventure game, there are a raft operator for all the popular sites, providing the necessary equipment such as dressing rooms, showers, toilets, or campsite. Some operators also offer kayaking courses and modules rescue.
In Sabah, the raft operator will arrange transport from Kota Kinabalu to Padas Gorge where the Padas River flow place. Something new is to go by train from Pangi Railway Station where antique train takes you on picturesque journey through Padas Gorge. Then listen to the sound vibrating riding the rapids such as Headhunter, adrenaline flows and the Merry Go-Round.
Kiulu River is closer to Kota Kinabalu but less fun. In Padas, successful rafters will be presented with a certificate of achievement at the expiration of their adventures.
What do you need to prepare?
The best time for rafting is after rain because the water level has increase and there are some good rapids . However, in summer is a good time for rafting novices without having to turn the tide and can easily learn how to raft. Small rafts can be used in the dry season. In Sabah, the Padas River is recommended only during the dry months because the water level is too low for rafting in Kiulu River.
The rafting expeditions usually take between 45 minutes to two hours depending on the water level. Operators will ensure that each group is always accompanied by two professional, certified rafters. A minimum of three person is needed to stabilize a raft.
- Bring a change of clothes. A warm-up jacket is also a good idea.
- Wear secure, well-fitting shoes or diving booties
- Jewellery are not be allowed during rafting and cannot be secured firmly.
- For those who wear glasses should use an elastic sports holder to anchor their spectacles.
- Contact lens users are advised to wear glasses, to reduce the risk of lenses getting contaminated.