Grades of Whitewater
All whitewater is graded using an international system and can range from safe to life threatening. Whitewater rafting is not a day at the beach. Some of the more common injuries include getting hit by a paddle, dislocating a shoulder, breaking glasses on rocks, breaking a hand and cuts from hitting debris in the water. That is just a list of all the bad things that could go wrong, but mishaps can be avoided if you stay alert and listen to instructions and of course, choosing a lower class river.
Class 1 – no rapids, flat water
Class 2 – mild rapids, suitable for children and anyone seeking an enjoyable experience
Class 3 – larger rapids, requiring a little more skill but with little real danger
Class 4 – powerful rapids, needing more advanced techniques
Class 5 – heart-stopping rapids, for the brave only
Class 6 – Extreme
- The Selangor River, Kuala Kubu Bahru
Whitewater rafting in Selangor River is one of the most popular destinations. Selangor River is the most popular river for recreational whitewater rafting since the 90s. Located about 1 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, this location continues to provide outdoor enthusiasts an extreme wild whitewater ride until present day.
The implementation of the Selangor Dam construction in the late 90s until 2003 to provide fresh water to Kuala Lumpur required the Temiar tribes living in the jungles by the river to relocate themselves as well as putting a halt to the river sports. Visitors to this area dwindled and so did the ecology and economic conditions in the area.
However, since 2005, whitewater rafting and kayaking in the area saw a revival. Visitors are now flocking back every weekend to visit Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB) town enroute to nature destinations such as Chilling Waterfall, Frasers Hill, Raub, or just to view the peaceful Selangor Dam.
Image Sources: iemyes blog, flickr, cyclingaddicts blog, tourmalaysia.com.my
- The Slim River, Perak
A creeky river which runs through canyons and has rapids ranging from Class 1 to Class 4 is only 1.5 hours from Kuala Lumpur. However, you will have to drive another hour on a 4WD to the Put-In Point. Only suitable for kayaking.
Image Sources: adenue.com
- Sungai Itek / Sungai Kampar in Gopeng Perak
White Water Rafting at Kampar River in Gopeng is a very popular rafting in Peninsula Malaysia. Whitewater rafting on Sungai Kampar, only 15 minutes from Ipoh in Perak. The clear water of Kampar River (Class I-III) is suitable for anyone who is physically fit and those who crave for mild technical adventure whilst safely enjoy a rafting trip. From the excitement of tackling large rapids, to enjoying the serene beauty of a gentle paddle through lush rainforest, this will be an invigorating day spent at one with nature.
- Sungai Sedim, Kedah
Located near Karangan town and in the Gunung Inas Nature Reserve, Sedim Recreation Park/ Hutan Rekreasi Sungai Sedim is the only location for whitewater rafting and kayak enthusiasts located in the north-west states. There are as many as 24 rapids within a 16km run (full day rafting) so you can expect some major excitement and screams on this ride!
Another spectacular actitivity here is to walk the longest Tree Top Walk in the world (925m). Imagine yourself walking on this steel structure as high as 50m off the ground and amongst the tall lush rainforest canopy! During the walk amid the tree tops, lucky visitors may get to see various species of colourful birds while enjoying the sounds of gushing rapids and jungle creatures.
Image Sources: tourmalaysia.com.my, exploring-malaysia.com, sungaisedimadventure blog
- Singoh River – Gerik, Perak
Get ready for an exhilarating, adrenaline rushing ride in this Class 1-6 river. Experience the extreme challenge of white water rafting at Sungai Singor. Enjoy the rugged and unspoilt scenery as you conquer this wild and untamed river.
Image Sources: whoaadventures.com, pieroseswiftwater.wix.com
- Jeram Besu, Pahang
Jeram Besu (Besu Rapids) is located on Sungai Lipis at approximately 6 km before the town of Benta and about 2 1/2 hours drive from KL. Once considered un-runnable, this rapid has now attracted a lot of white water enthusiasts i.e. rafters, kayakers and canoeists from all over the country even as far as Singapore. Complemented by its easy accessibility the surrounding area has boomed from a nothing place to become a local youth center with facilities and several eating shops.
The former is just 30 kilometres from Raub while the latter is only about 3 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. Jeram Besu is fast gaining popularity as one of the most challenging white water-rafting areas in the country.
Image Sources: exclusiveoutdoor.com.sg, flickr, hotelreservationmy.wordpress.com
- Sungai Sungkai, Perak
Sungai Sungkai provides a safe but thrilling experience with rapids up to Grade 3+. This river is located approximately 2 hours drive north of Kuala Lumpur. The accessible stretch for kayaking only is about 12 km long with continuous relatively easy rapids. The riverbed is strewn with boulders and hence it is a relatively technical descent. The best season is from late September to middle of January although there is a fairly good flow all year around.
Image Sources: myadventurehost, radakadventure, thatsofarah
- Sungai Tembeling, Pahang
For rafters with more time and spirit of the outdoors, Sungai Tembeling offers a good choice. Located in Taman Negara, rafting here is combined with a short trek into the forest and camping out on the Sungai Tembeling sandbars.
- Sungai Telom, Pahang
This river has its tributaries in the Cameron Highlands of Pahang. Although it has been dammed at upper reaches, it drains a vast upland and soon gets enough water to kayak again. The river is a very challenging class 4 to 4+ river with an occasional class 5. It follows a beautiful river valley through mainly old secondary forest. The only access is via Cameron Highlands by 4-wheel drive and a 3 hours hike into the put-in point. The pull-out point is approximately 50 km further downstream and camping halfway through the excursion is necessary. The entire trip is a 4 days / 3 night’s stint and the best season is from February to September when the flow is relatively moderate.
Image Sources: thatsofarah
- Sungai Nenggiri, Kelantan
Sungai Nenggiri in Ulu Kelantan offers an exciting white water rafting in spectacular remote scenery. Some of Malaysia’s richest archaeological caves are to be found along the river : Gua Cha, Gua Chawan and Gua Java. The only way to see the caves is by river, and because there are no roads leading to them, the caves have been left relatively undisturbed. This Class 2+ ‘big water’ river is located in Gua Musang, about 4 hours drive north-east of Kuala Lumpur.
Image Sources: kosmo.com.my, flickr, yayasanalkhalifah