Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Riverbug Sabah

Is whitewater rafting and kayaking considered dangerous sports?

No, whitewater rafting and kayaking can be enjoyed by beginners with the proper attitude and care. While there have been remote cases of fatalities in other parts of the world, the occurrence is much lower compared to other sports. It's important to note that most of these mishaps occurred due to carelessness or poor attitude. Before you begin your downstream rafting, please pay close attention to our safety precaution briefing to avoid any untoward incidents. Understanding this briefing is crucial for the safety of everyone in the raft, including yourself. For beginners in kayaking, we provide basic Kayaking technique classes to prepare you for the exciting and challenging courses. Remember, any activity can become dangerous without proper preparation.

Where are the most popular spots for whitewater rafting in Sabah?

The most popular spots for whitewater rafting in Sabah are the Kiulu River and Padas River. However, there are also other sites that cater to the needs of individuals or groups. For nature lovers, we can arrange calm water tours in Sukau, Kinabatangan, which allow for a closer look at the flora and fauna of Sabah's rivers or estuaries.

Where are safe yet exciting spots for whitewater rafting in West Malaysia?

Currently, the Kampar River is considered a safe and exciting river for whitewater rafting in West Malaysia. It is suitable for both beginners and advanced paddlers, with a river grading of I-III.

What is the difference between whitewater rafting and kayaking?

Whitewater rafting is a sport that involves using large inflatable rafts to navigate downstream on fast-flowing rivers. It can accommodate 6 to 10 people, depending on the raft size. Rafts are more cumbersome and difficult to maneuver compared to kayaks. On the other hand, kayaking is a more maneuverable watercraft that comes in various forms, including inflatable, rigid, foldable, and stowaways. Kayaking provides more challenges and freedom as it allows you to go against currents and eddies with skilled navigation.

When is the ideal time for rafting?

Since Sabah has sunny weather for most of the year, you can enjoy rafting activities year-round. However, during the Monsoon season, it is not advisable to undertake these activities due to rough water conditions and uncomfortable weather. To be sure, it's best to contact us well in advance of your tour to avoid any disappointment.

What do I need to bring for the tour?

You will need suitable water attire (expect lots of thrills and spills), a change of footwear if necessary, sunscreen, towels, and a waterproof camera. Avoid wearing or bringing jewelry, contact lenses, watches, earrings, or other valuable items that may get lost. The rafts, kayaks, equipment, mystical settings, and a sumptuous BBQ lunch (for Padas Rafting and Kiulu Rafting) are provided by us.

Is rafting dangerous?

Rafting is an exciting and fun water-based activity. Like all adventure sports, there is inherent risk involved. However, the risk is distributed among the people engaged in the activity, which is why many people love rafting. Guides are trained to minimize risk statistically. Statistics show that the injury rate for whitewater rafting is comparable to the injury rate for bowling. While there is still some risk involved, you will likely forget about it once you're on the raft. The most common injuries are sunburn, while other injuries often occur on land when climbing river banks or getting in and out of the boat.

I can't swim. Can I still go rafting?

Yes, all customers will be provided with a buoyancy vest or proper PFD (personal floatation device) instead of a jacket. The PFD will keep you afloat in the water if you find yourself in the river. It's important, however, that you are not afraid of the water. Non-swimmers should avoid Class V trips and instead opt for Class III and Class IV rivers.

How fit should I be to go rafting?

The level of fitness required depends on the type of rafting experience. For paddle boats, you should be reasonably healthy and able to fit into buoyancy vests. Paddling can be tiring, but guides will provide instructions on paddling techniques. For oar boats, where you are a passenger, fitness requirements are less demanding. If you have any doubts, it's advisable to check with your doctor before participating in rafting activities.

What should I wear on the river?

As a general guideline, it is recommended that you dress according to the water temperature rather than the air temperature since you will get wet. We suggest wearing shorts, T-shirts, and sandals with straps. You can apply sunscreen, but avoid applying it on your forehead and the back of your legs as it may run into your eyes or cause you to slip in the boat.

I have a family with young children. Who should I take?

Everyone can join! The minimum age requirements for rafting in Kiulu, Padas, and Kampar are 5, 12, and 10 years old, respectively. If children prefer not to participate, they can still follow the trip and be taken care of at the ending point, where you will meet them after rafting.

I am a senior citizen. Which trips do you recommend for me?

For fit and active seniors below 65, the Padas River or Kampar River would be suitable options. Alternatively, Kiulu River is also a wise choice. Rafting is enjoyed by active people of all ages around the world, including those in their 60s and 70s.

What happens on a typical trip?

On a typical trip, you will be picked up from your hotel or a designated location at the agreed-upon time. The guide will provide release forms and ensure that everyone is prepared for the river trip. A safety talk will be given by the river guide, and it's important to listen carefully. During the trip, you will encounter exciting rapids, and the guide will provide further instructions on how to navigate the boat.

What are my chances of falling out of the river, and what should I do if I do?

Believe it or not, many people enjoy falling out of the boat—it adds excitement to the experience. However, it can be disorienting and overwhelming at first. Some people have rafted multiple times without falling in the river, while others may fall on their first trip. If you follow your guide's instructions, your "swim" can become the best part of your trip.

It looks like rain. Will the trip still go on?

Most rafting trips go on rain or shine. However, certain circumstances beyond our control, such as high or low water levels, may lead to trip cancellations. We will close down operations during these times.

What is the cancellation policy?

If cancellation is made one day before the tour, 50% of the deposit will be forfeited. If you do not show up for the trip on the scheduled day, the full deposit will be forfeited.

Can I bring my camera or video camera?

While we do not recommend bringing cameras or video cameras, disposable waterproof cameras are suitable for rafting. Alternatively, we provide softcopy picture packages at a cost as per below :-

  • Padas White Water Rafting
    • RM125 for all photos ; 90-100 pieces
      [Or you may also purchase RM20 per pieces with minimum of 3 pieces

  • Kiulu White Water Rafting
    • RM55 for 10 - 15 pieces

Should I tip my guide?

Tipping is not expected but is certainly appreciated. It depends on your satisfaction with the trip and your guide's performance. Tipping is a way to show your appreciation, and some tourists even become friends with their guides after the trip.


Traverse Tours Sdn. Bhd.
Head Office (KKKP 3505)
Traverse Tours Building,
Unit No.132, Block S Alamesra Plaza Utama (Phase 3),
Sulaman Coastal Highway,
88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

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