GENERAL INFORMATION OF
MALAYSIA'S ADVENTURE OUTDOOR
Rafting in Malaysia
Rivers have long been the life blood of the indigenous
people of Malaysia. They have served as a means of
transport, a source of food and now, a resource for
eco-tourism. The native groups of Sabah have been using
rafts for centuries but white water rafting has only been a
recreational activity since the 1980s.
The two main rivers for rafting in Sabah are the Padas and
Kiulu rivers which are certified as Grade 3 and Grade 2
respectively in the international white water rafting
River Safaris and Cruises in Malaysia
River safaris and cruises are becoming increasingly popular
among visitors to Malaysia. Well organised and with expert
guides, they provide an interesting, exciting way to explore
the country's interior. River safaris and cruises are
available in Melaka, Kuala Berang in Terengganu and Taman
Negara and Lake Chini in Pahang and Sarawak, also offer
scenic river safaris and cruises.
Cave Exploring in Malaysia
There is a great network of caves in Malaysia for carving enthusiasts. it
has been found that most caves date back to the Stone Age
and some caves in Sarawak are 60 million years old. The
majority of caves are limestone and are above ground level.
These include Gua Kolam in Perlis, Gua Tempurung and Kundu
in Perak, Batu Caves in Selangor and Gua ikan in Kuala Krai,
Kelantan. The appearances of caves can change within months
as the humid Malaysian weather affects stalagmite and
Adventure caves like Drunken Forest Cave and Loagan's Cave
remain close to their natural state. Show caves such as Deer
Lang and Clear Water Caves in Mulu National Park, Sarawak,
are those which have been opened up for public viewing with
guides, lights and walkways.
Mountain Climbing and Abseiling in Malaysia
Mountain climbing is a wonderful way to discover the
diversity and uniqueness of Malaysia's natural
landscape ranging from the dense tropical rainforest in the
lowlands to the montane vegetation in the highlands, From
easy walks in the cool comfort of the Main Range of
Peninsular Malaysia to the more challenging mountains of
Sabah and Sarawak, there are mountains to tempt every class
of climber. Abseiling is also offered in certain locations.
Beginners can start with the well marked trials in Gunung
Jerai in Kedah, Gunung Korbu'in Perak and Gunung Tangsi in
Negeri Sembilan. For those wanting bigger challenges through
rainforest, rivers and mountain ridges, there is Gunung
Gagau in Taman Negara and Gunung Tahan, the highest point in
Peninsular Malaysia. Then there is Gunung Kinabalu in Sabah,
one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia at
Gopeng, Perak, a small town about 90 kilometres from
Kuala Lumpur, has many pre-war shop houses. This quiet and
unassuming place is the gateway to some of the most
adventurous outdoor activities in Peninsular Malaysia.
The most popular adrenaline pumping fun is whitewater
river rafting on the Kampar River. The scenic waterway is
created by the merging of three rivers, Geruntum River,
Geroh River and Pacat River in Perak. Rated as a Grade I to
III river, it offers a great combination of water ranging
from gentle flows to challenging and technical whitewater.
It is also perfect for beginners.
From Gopeng town, it takes about 15 minutes to reach the
starting point located at Kg. Ulu Geruntum. The journey
itself is a memorable experience as visitors will pass by
some of the most picturesque places in Gopeng with a whole
spectrum of landscapes. During the fruit season, you will be
looking with envy at the fruit orchards flanking both sides
of the narrow, winding road. You can also enjoy the beauty
and the tranquillity of the quaint traditional villages
along the way. A 100-year-old water pipe stretches from the
nearby mountains through the major settlements to the old
mining area and the villagers are still using the water
supply from it.
Upon reaching the Gopeng Nature Resort, a stone’s throw
away from the starting point of the whitewater river
rafting, you are given a liability form to sign before you
can proceed further. Your river guide will brief you about
paddling commands, safety measures and the do’s and don’t’s
of white water rafting. Then, armed with a life jacket,
helmet and paddle, you are all set to face the raging river
The number of passengers per raft depends on river
conditions and other factors but generally it ranges from
two to six people.
It helps to have a skillful and friendly whitewater river
rafting guide as he will calm you down with his jokes and
fascinate you with local anecdotes. In my case, a Riverbug
guide, Max, who sat at the back of the raft, helped us to
avoid rocks, kept us on the right path, cracked jokes and
made sure we had a great time. Riverbug is a whitewater
river rafting specialist operating in Sabah and Perak.
Besides the guide, a safety kayaker cum photographer will
follow rafters throughout the journey to ensure their safety
and capture images of their ride.
One of the most important things a rafter has to do
before continuing his or her journey down the breathtaking
twists, turns and drops of the white water course is the
water confidence activity. Depending on the level of the
water, there is a possibility of you being thrown out of the
raft. The water confidence activity helps you prepare for
the worst. It requires you to do body rafting along a short
stretch. Your guide will steer you into the current and then
he will let you go. If your water confidence is low, the
three-minute body rafting will feel like ages and you will
end up swallowing a lot of water. This is definitely not an
activity for the self-conscious. However, the most important
thing is to have faith in your guide and not panic.
After your water confidence has
been tested, it is time for you to try your first rapid.
Whitewater river rafting is an exhilarating activity that
provides you with the ultimate adrenaline rush. Cascading
down the rapids is only part of the fun. The whole journey
is not one huge “liquid chaos” as it provides scenic and
relaxing experiences. There are also flat sections in the
river for you to take a breather after conquering tough
Kampar River has been a popular spot for whitewater river
rafting since 2003. A trip on this river is a two-hour,
adrenaline-fuelled journey along a seven or nine kilometres
stretch depending on the water level. There are 10 prominent
rapids along the stretch and every rapid has a tale to tell.
The first rapid was named Broken Ledge to reflect the
concrete ruins of a dam at the river that was once built for
the tin mining industry in the Gopeng area.
One of the toughest rapids in the river is called Easy
Drop as rafters including the river guide have the tendency
to be thrown overboard. Basically, the rapid has two drops
of approximately three meters high. Upon reaching this
rapid, the river guide will shout the word “Boom! Boom!” to
indicate that everyone has to sit in the center of the raft
to avoid falling into the river. It is very exhilarating as
your raft is thrown through the rapid and you are left to
the mercy of the powerful water.
Rajah Corner is the longest rapid in Kampar River. It is
aptly named after the big colony of Rajah Brooke butterflies
swarming over the rocks along the area, especially in the
Whenever a raft passes through the Hyside rapid, it has
to be in a 30 degree angle so that it can get through the
rapid without capsizing. Everyone must move to the “high”
side of the raft so that the raft will be in a slightly
Slide rapid is a little tricky and slightly technical as
it requires the raft to go through most of the right side
before sliding to the middle. A raft can easily get stuck in
this rapid, especially when the water level is low. If it
happens, rafters must shift to the front or the back of the
raft depending on the situation and in the meantime, the
whitewater river rafting guide will push the raft back into
the main current. It requires skillful maneuvering because
of frequent obstructions.
One rapid called Paddle Breaker marks the site where a
guide had his paddle broken in half while going down it.
Snake rapid got its name simply because the curve of the
river looks like a snake. Your raft will go through a zigzag
pattern to clear out of this rapid.
Enders Rapid refers to a skillful trick river kayakers
love to do at this rapid. The play maneuver involves nosing
the boat’s bow down and deep and the stern up resulting in
the kayak popping vertically upward.
Seeing a flock of chickens running around the area during
their first recce, the guides decided to name one rapid
Chicken Run. Another is called Eddy Point, the white water
terminology for an area where two currents from the opposite
direction met to create a circular or spiral motion in the
All these rapids offer different kinds of thrills to
rafters. You can never run a river the same way twice as the
variety caused by the changes of the water flows makes each
During the journey, you will find yourself resting
between rapids, relaxing and listening to your guide talking
about the river. There are several rest stops at some areas
The whitewater river rafting journey ends at Kampung
Jahang where you will be transported back to the Gopeng
Nature Resort for a quick shower and a change of clothes.
Your guide will then take you to a nearby restaurant for a
hearty meal after all the hard work and excitement.
No one ever walks away from whitewater river rafting
experience in Kampar River untouched. You will either get
addicted to this extreme activity or fall in love with the
sheer beauty of the river area or both. Either way, you will
want to return to this unique place again and again.
If whitewater river rafting is not challenging enough for
you, there are other extreme activities that you can try
such as water abseiling from the top of a three-storey high
waterfall, advanced-level kayaking, mountain biking, jungle
trekking and caving.