If you want to try the most adventures rafting that Amazing Borneo can arrange for you Padas River is the place. The rafting is a grade 3-4 but can under some circumstances get up till 6, but then it’s too dangerous to do rafting. The only way to get to the starting point for rafting at Padas river is a 2 hour drive to Beaufort and from there to take a train for almost 90 minutes.
We got picked up at 5:30 just near our apartment and the driver and also our guide Moos told us that we had to speed up to not miss the train. In our car there was a family of 4 from the Philippines, a couple from China and three guys from Hong Kong. A good mixture!
It was nice to drive thru the landscape and see the sunrise over Mount Kinabalu. To see people wake up and start their days. And to know that we are going on an adventure. Luckily for us we made it in time for the train. It was a lot of people on the train and not seats for everyone. The standard on the train is a little bit different than what we are used to in Sweden. To start with, the trains in Sweden go on time, not 20 minutes late. And there will be air-condition or heat on the trains in Sweden. But this is the charm with traveling, that things are not what we are used to. It’s fascinated to go by train in the jungle and see small houses in the middle of nowhere. You started to image how their life looks like and what they do for a living, and how your own life would look like if you were born in that family.
We reach the point when the train stopped for 10 min and everyone got out to change and leave our things. This was the finish line for the rafting then the train continued for another 20 minutes. Finally we arrived to the starting point after a long morning. We got some watermelon as refreshments then it was time to pick a lifejacket and a helmet. The guide told us that it was low tide and therefor the currents and waves won’t be as high and strong as it could be. We were both relieved to hear it since both of us been a little bit nervous about the rafting. Or more nervous about falling of the boat and hurting ourselves. The guide gave us some safety information like the one on the first rafting. How to hold your paddle, when to paddle, what you should do if the boat capsized. It’s good to get all of the information, you get more confident and you trust the guide more.
Now it was action time. We were 11 people in our boat, with the guide. The first 2 km of the river was for warming up, to get to know the rhythm of paddling. But then no more cuddling.
“This is the first current which is a level 3 grade. Paddle when I tell you to paddle and hold on to the rope when I say so. And don’t forget to smile to the cameraman on the right side!”
There was a thrilling feeling to fell the power of the water and know that you only chance to stay in the boat is just go with the flow. It’s so much fun when you reach the calm water and you feel like “YES! I’m made it, the water can’t beat me!”
We ride through 8 big rapids and sometimes it was really close that someone fell out of the boat and you get a lot of water on you when you going through the waves. Two of the rapids where a little bit calmer so one of the girls in our boat had the chance to sit on the front of the boat and ride it like a horse. We rest of us where in the back to help the boat rise. It was probably more fun for us to watch then for her.
There was one small calmed rapid left when it happened, from nowhere a wave hit the boat and in the blink of an eye Hanna was in the water. We made it through all the tough rapids but the last one was apparently the hardest one for Hanna. After fishing her up in the boat we cruised the last bit till the finish line. We got the chance to shower and put on some dry clothes. And then it was time for a lunch buffet. It was a little bit stressing because the train only leaves once in the afternoon and the train is the only way to get home.
On the way home the whole group was really tired and we all slept the entire way home to Kota Kinabalu. It had been a long day, from 5:30 in the morning and we were home at 4 pm.