Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Padas River White Water Rafting

Shd rename to yellow water rafting cz the water is muddy yellow and not white. And you know you had an overdose of the Padas river when you find yourself turning yellow like the Digi man after the raft. :p

2nd last part of KK. :)

I can still remember that day so clearly it was as tho it was just yesterday i was at KK anticipating my very 1st white water rafting.

Our legs were still suffering from post-Mt.K climb and we were worried if we had sufficient energy to raft and such. But our worries were overdue. It's like automatic. Once we were in the raft, once we were out in the rapids, there seemed to be this hidden energy that came from nowhere that got our hands muscles started working as though there wasnt any post-fatigueness. Perhaps it's our body reflex, you know 'fight or flight'. And since we can't possibly 'flight' in the open, vast rapids, we can only 'fight'.

Padas river is a grade III/ IV river, which means that it offers a more heart-pounding experience, one usually recommended for the more adventurous rafter. If you read articles over the net, it usually says that a grade I/II river will be recommended for beginners or first-timers, but believe me, if you are one who seeks the adrenaline rush, just go for the grade III/IV. Even III/IV didn't get our adrenaline pumping to the max. I think grade I/II is more for those faint-heart or those who cant swim and feels less confidence but still like to try out.

We took our package with the Borneo Wavehunters and the whole package includes transfer to Tenom and back, lunch, tea and 2 very friendly, funny and helpful guides. Actually only one of them is super talkative. He calls himself 'Spiderman' and to me, he is extremely funny even though he tells a lot of lame jokes but at least the whole 2 hours journey to Tenom was lively and entertaining.

It was very foggy for the first half of the journey. Visibility was so low that we could only see slightly ahead. Not to mention that it was really chilly too.

At a rest house for toilet break. Thick fogs surrounding us. The weather in KK was really like a woman having pms. One minute it's raining and it's like really cold and the next, the sun will be shining brighter than ever. The 2nd half of the journey was better and the countryside scenery was indeed breathtaking.

We reached Tenom about 11 am and we were brought to a chinese restaurant for a simple buffet lunch. Tenom is really a very small town and most of their residents are the indigenous ppl.

After lunch, we traveled for about another 15 minutes before the van stopped in front of a few wooden houses. After leaving all our valuables and basically everything else that is not necessary on the van, we got down from the van and the first thing i saw was railway tracks right in front of me but there's no train in sight at all. Apparently, the railway tracks had been closed and is undergoing some sort of renovations, therefore for the time being it is not accessible by trains. But we have to get through this stretch of tracks to get to the Pangi starting point.

I must say, the locals are really very creative ppl. They invented this thing called the 'flintstone /push cart trolley' which is really like the most amazing mode of transportation i had ever been on. A ride on the flintstone is a must. I strongly recommend that you all go try it out for yourself if ever you decides to go water rafting at Padas. Don't take the train from Beaufort to Pangi train station (which we could too) cz you will then skip the whole fun and experience of being on the flintstone.

The flintstone is basically made up of wood crates (strong enough to support the weight of at least 4 adults) attached to four small wheels at the four corners of the wood. To get the trolley moving or stopping, it will be manually controlled by the "driver" of each trolley who runs along the trolley as it moves and using a long stick to either brake or accelerate our trolley. In fact, the way they accelerates and brakes the trolley is similar to rowing a sampan.

I think we were only about 5cm above ground. Every little stone, pebbles, wild flowers or even ants can be seen as we passed them. As the trolley moves along the track, it actually gives off a pretty loud noise so that was a little disturbing. And some wild grass that grew too long was tickling our bottoms as we passed above them. Lucky for us tho, the weather was just nice at that time. Cz rain or shine, the flintstone does not have an overhead shade.

The whole journey was about an hour and we could see the mighty Padas river as we traveled along. It was definitely a very scenic ride, we were surrounded by lush greeneries and fresh air. Hmm well, maybe not at the part where construction was going on but well, it was definitely an enjoyable experience worth trying.

Going into the thick rainforest

And we soon realized, the flintstone is not just to ferry tourists or visitors, it is one of the mode of transportation for the locals to get to their home. Yes, in the midst of the thick jungle where im pretty sure there's no such thing as internet, there's actually houses! Like one house in the middle of totally nowhere. And they grow their own vegetables and rear their own poultries.

That's the train that fetches all the raw materials for reconstruction of the railway track. I know, trains are not suppose to run on the tracks right? I was equally surprised when i saw that but i was told that train only run a certain part of the track and not the entire track.

After an hour, finally reached the starting point.

Have some drinks and snacks while waiting for the safety briefing.

Group shot 2

After the safety briefing, we were divided into two groups since there were 9 of us and each raft can only fit a maximum of 6 rafters. (excluding the guide who will be at the back of the raft).

It was a 9km long river, the longest water rafting river in Borneo and the whole rafting took about 2 hours plus.

The guide was very helpful. In fact they made it so easy for us cz they gave us instruction on when to paddle and when not to. We were practically just following instructions.

We all had our fair share of muddy river water that day. We started off some 1 km before we entered the rapids and we were all encouraged to tried body rafting. Although the idea of being thrown into the muddy yellowish river doesnt sound inviting at all, body rafting in the calm water was actually quite a feel-good sensation.

The other raft heading straight towards a high rapid.

This was quite common throughout our whole rafting. There were times when we felt like our raft nearly capsized but luckily we paddled and paddled and we managed to stablilized our raft.

At one point, their raft must had been hit pretty bad and all the guys (except the guide of course) on the raft lost balanced and was thrown into the water. That really got us all kan-cheong and anxious like crazy cz our raft was in front of theirs and we did not realized that they had been thrown into the water until we saw CW body rafting beside our raft. Even then, we thought he was only practicing until we heard Spiderman shouting from behind and told us to pulled CW up into our raft. Then we realized it was real. Then AP pula nowhere in sight. Damn anxious wei.

But the locals must be really trained in this. Out of nowhere also, another guy jumped into the river and was also in search of AP and we finally spotted his blue helmet and told him to body raft towards us. Then only we felt relieved. Really for ten gd minutes, the blood circulation throughout our heart must had quadruapled.

There was also times when our raft went 90 degree.

Paddling in synchronization. Row row row a boat gently down a stream. Ok, this is definitely not a gentle stream.

The guide told us that there were no crocodiles which kept us at peace too. :p

Thats why we all smelled like mud at the end of the day.

The rapids were so strong it nearly capsized us again. But our raft did not capsized at all throughout the whole raft. yay :)

There was one part during the whole raft that they allowed one rafter to sit right in front of the raft while the other rafters paddled on. They called this the 'radio'. Everyone on my raft was nice enough to let me be the 'radio' and it was definitely a 100 times more thrilling to be sitting right in front of the raft, having more muddy water splashing at your face and having to hold on really tight cz it was so much easier to lose balance. But definitely worth the try.

The two guys on our raft was also thrown into the water. However, at a grade II! haha. I think cz everyone thought it was already at grade II and started relaxing, suddenly a huge rapid caught us by surprised and threw the both of them into the water.

That was the 2nd time we became anxious but in less than 5 minutes, they were back on our raft safe and sound.

We posing happily to the cameramen who was following us throughout our whole rafting from above while the other 2 looked on at us posing. I think they did not realized where the camera was and was wondering who we were posing to. hehe

Oars-5. :)

Got quite a shock when Suze's oar suddenly came down straight in front of me.

Then we all started laughing really hard.

We finally reached the ending point after about 3 hours of exciting rafting. As they transport us through this sampan to the Rayoh station, the sun was setting just beautifully beside us and it was a most tranquil feeling.

On the train from Rayoh station to Beaufort. There's no aircon in the train, it was really one of the oldest type of train, almost like the one i took in Bangkok to Mahachai.

The train ride was another 45 minutes with very tranquil and pretty countryside scenery and of course, the Padas river reflecting the last rays of the sun.

At Beaufort train station

After a quick change of clothes. No time for shower. Only got 3 changing/shower room in the toilet and there were like sooooo many ppl wanting to shower or change.

The back of the train. So old school.

In our van on the way back. The whole van smelled like mud cz we all smelled like mud after being in the muddy river the whole noon. hehe.

It was another 2 hours ride back to KK and it was dinner time by the time we got back.

I definitely enjoyed my whole 'muddy' white water rafting and flintstone experience. It was not much of maximum adrenaline-rush other than the kan-cheong moments we had but we all had a blast definitely. And i realized we girls were better than the boys that day cz none of us girls were thrown into the river and all the boys were thrown in. haha. Girls power yeah :)

Any other white water rafting fan? :p

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11 fondue dips :

waahh..adventurous & scary too!~~

Wow, looks like fun and dangerous!

Happy New Year! Nanged and NN clicked!

nizaa : its really not that scary! hehe

dc : thanks for clicking. Happy New Year too. And it was definitely a lot of fun ;)

I love white water rafting XD
*excited* hehe

yes.. its exciting! hehe.. lets go wwr one day! :)

yes.. its exciting! hehe.. lets go wwr one day! :)

i surely adore your own posting way, very charming.
don't quit and keep posting for the simple reason that it just simply nicely to read it,
impatient to browse through far more of your current posts, good bye :)

I like the content of your blog ^_^.. i want to ride on that rail vehicle too. lol..hmmm keep on have a nice blog..two thumbs up.

Anony : thank u. Im reali happy to know that you enjoy reading my blog. I will cont to work hard on it.

Rafting: hope u don mind me shortening your name :) Thank you and im glad too that you love the posts. Hope u get to try that rail someday. Its really fun n enjoy the rest of my posts.:)

like the old school train..i was in KK last year twice but didnt though of the old school/old KK-Beufort trail.......also adding it to my wishList next time i come to KK :)


pilothans : Yea its a fun experience. Have fun with it :)