On our recent trip to Sabah with our American friends, we conquered Sungai Padas together .... we took up water rafting on the rapids of Class III - IV.
We booked a package from RIverbug online for Rm940.00 (US294) for 4 persons and that package covered return coach transfer from our hotel in Kota Kinabalu to Beaufort train station, a return train ride on an antique train to Pangi, the water rafting, insurance coverage, a licensed guide and lunch.
The White Water Rafting of Sungai Padas was a feeling of excitement and nerve tingling experience of battling the awesome rapids which were so intense that some rowers were thrown twice into the gushing waters and had to be rescued by professional canoeists who were on standby in case of emergency. We were in 3 separate rafts and each one had a 2 professional rafters on board to steer and assist the rafters who were foreign tourists.
They picked us up at 5.35am and we arrived in Beaufort about 7.30am. The guide gave us our train tickets and advised us to board early to ensure we had seating on the 3 small coaches. We hopped onto an old rackety World War II train with amuse and it left at 7.50am for Pangi. The fare of the return train ride was only Rm2.20 per person and it was indeed an unusual ride with no proper seats and at times we had to sit on the floor of the coach mingling with the locals who brought fresh river fishes on board to sell to the commuters and also motorbikers who used to ferry their vehicles to their villages in the dense jungle. Due to insufficient seating or standing space, some of the passengers had to make do by seating at the edge of the train daggling their legs out to be chopped off by the sides of the mountain! The train was the only means of transport for the local indigenuos folks who had their settlements alongside the railroad tracks. We had to interchange train at Saliwangan midway to get to Rayoh station where we had to keep our personal belongings and changed into our rafting gears. The entire train ride was hot and humid and a good 1 hour and 45 minutes!
We arrived at Pangi at 10.30am, we were given light refreshments (bottled waters and sweet sliced watermelons). Safety briefing was conducted by the Riverbug guide and the "do's and don'ts" were emphasised!
Then the fun began! We were grouped to form a team and names of the professional rafters to accompany the rafters (the tourisits) were assigned. On reaching our respective rafts, we were then assigned our seating positions and once we were ready, the adrenalin rush begins......
It was an awesome 2 hours experience with mixed emotions from start to finish. The 10km rafting included 8 points of rapids ranging from mild to really intense ones and the rapids had interesting names to identify itself....Head Hunter, Lambada, Cobra, Scooby Doo, Washing Machine, Mary Go Round, Snake House and BBQ Rapids! The identification names spoke for itself and even if you have not raft before, you'll know what it was like over the speedy currents!!!!!
We reached Rayoh our ending point at 12.35pm, waded over huge river rocks to climb over a small slope to flat land where we had to turn in our rafting gears before we headed to the restaurant to have our sumptuous lunch.
After our meal, we hopped back on the same train ride back to Beaufort town and were transferred safely to Ming Garden where we were staying. It was truly a great memorable experience!!!!
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