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Sabah, Malaysia

Padas White Water Rafting

A great way to get some adrenaline pumping and bond with your old and new friends. Grade III and IV (at times even grade V!) rapids will have your heart racing. Even getting to the start of the river is an exciting ride - mingling with local commuters as you bounce along the Sabahan countryside in a 19th century diesel train.


The closest main transport hub to Padas River is Kota Kinabalu Airport (which can be reached overland within Borneo and from many major city airports in Asia). The Padas river is approx 3 hours' drive from Kota Kinabalu town. The providers will provide transport from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu to the river.

Grade III and IV rapids are no joke. You want someone there with a wealth of experience to monitor the fun.

You should be in pretty good physical shape for Padas - being able to take strenuous exercise for a couple of hours. You should also feel comfortable in quick moving waters with a life jacket on.

It's a good activity all year round, but river waters could get a little rough during monsoon season from November to March. Your guide will advise if it's too rough to go out on the water.

5:30am to 5pm on the same day (including transport time).

You may notice that some of the options include an IRF button. This means that the provider has been certified by the International Rafting Federation, which maintains and promotes development of rafting at all competition, commercial and recreational levels. IRF certification means that an instructor has high quality, internationally recognised qualifications to guide people safely down rapid water rivers. This training requires instructors to maintain CPR and first aid certification.

The typical schedule will include: an early morning pick up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu town, a meandering train journey across the countryside on the oldest train in Borneo, about an hour and a half to two hours of rafting on the river, followed by a lunch and relaxation at a camp on the river and set off back to Kota Kinabalu town

Change of clothes
Towel
Flip flops
Sunscreen
Dry bag or plastic bag
Swimwear
Bug repellent

You may also be wondering what rapid Grades (I-V) mean in practice. We hope that this is a helpful summary:

Grade I (Easy): Flat water with generally unobstructed passage.
Grade II (Novice): Small to medium sized waves and a few obstacles.
Grade III (Intermediate): Fairly high waves, and the passage may be difficult to recognize from on the river.
Grade IV (Advanced): High, powerful, irregular waves, with the passage often difficult to recognize and negotiate.
Grade V (Expert): Very difficult rapids, High-powerful-irregular waves, difficult to negotiate, the extreme for commercial operations.