"White-Water Rafting" Kampong Padas Valley by syetan

Kampong Padas Valley Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 32 photos

Getting There

Getting to the start point takes some time. One can only get there by train from Beaufort, and the journey from KK to Beaufort is done by bus or minivan, as organised by the tour group. A rail upgrade is underway, at which time it should be possible to catch a train direct from Tanjung Aru in KK to the destination. It should be ready in a year or so.

You will be picked up at about 7-8am from your hotel or pre-arranged pick-up point. The bus journey takes well over an hour, getting you to Beaufort train station where depending on your arrival time, you have to wait around for 30-90 minutes. Visit the township by all means. The train station is very dilapidated, but there is a small outlet selling junk food and a public toilet is available for a 20 cents entry.

You will either ride with the locals or only with other rafters if the rafting groups get together to charter a train-this is as the normal service is highly unreliable-the trains look like they have been in use since the track was built early in the 20th century. The train moves very sowly indeed, and the view is nothing special given that you're on a narrow track surrounded by thick trees and hills but occasionally you get to see the river. The trip takes about an hour.

Just reverse the argument for your return journey.

Before & After the Rafting Trip

Once you've been dropped off you will follow your group to the change rooms. Leave everything here-it is safe. Just bring your slippers (no shoes, they'll get wet obviously) and slap on your sunblock now. Remember, that at this point everything on you is going on the raft.

Now you'll be put into a 'cage' where you'll be served with watermelons and bottled water while mosquitoes drink your blood and the organisers pump up the rafts. Then there's the safety talk-do take it seriously. The 1st time I did it, it was simple and basic, but the 2nd time, it was more serious. It's worth your while. At this time you'll also be issued with a helmet and lifejacket. If you're unsure get one of the organisers to strap in on properly. They'll happily do it for the girls, and grumble at the boys...Then you walk to the river and off you go!!

When you're done, you walk back to the place where you got changed and all your stuff is waiting for you as is lunch-don't be too slow getting to lunch. You'll be hungry and if you're late not much food will be left. At this point they'll be selling shots of the rafting trip and chances are you'll be in one picture-it's worth your while buying it I think. One per group and you can always scan copies later. Now you can also walk around taking pictures but don't venture too far away because it's not too long before you return back on the train.

The Rafting Itself

You'll end up in one of two rafts-the small one with 6 tourists and 2 guides and a larger one with 8 tourists and 2 guides. 2 guys are usually assigned to the front where most of the grunt is required. There are 5 rapids to negotiate of varying intensity and the guides will at some point chuck you out. If you can't swim (like me) don't panic!!! Just float and they will rescue you on kayaks if you get too far away. You will stop for a breather at some point and re-start again till the end.

The whole trip takes between 45-90 minutes depending on the water's ferocity, which in turn depends on rainfall. It is important to listen to instructions, otherwise you could fall off or have the boat capsize-it can then get quite dicey....

But above all, enjoy yourselves!!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fun trip
  • Cons:Dodgy toilets at Beaufort train station!!
  • In a nutshell:Just do it!!
  • Last visit to Kampong Padas Valley: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated May 15, 2007
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