White water rafting or simply rafting is one of the thrilling water activities for the adventurous ones. Curious for the exciting experience like any other first timers, our group tried rafting at Kiulu River located in the northern part of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Kiulu and Padas River

There are two popular white rafting sites in Malaysia, Kiulu and Padas River. For novice rafters, Kiulu River offers an introductory rafting challenge with Grade I and Grade II rapids. Such difficulty levels are safe even for kids.

Riverbug’s Kiulu Rafting Package

We obtained our Kiulu Rafting package from Riverbug that included food and transportation.

Starting early, we were picked up by our service bus at around 8:30AM. We traveled to Kiulu River for almost 2 hours. During our ride, we were asked by our guide to accomplish a Liability Release form.

Equipment Preparation and Briefing

At the starting point, guests can still opt to change clothes suitable for a rough activity. Once ready, we were asked to get the equipment we needed including helmet, paddle, and life vest. It is important to choose a helmet with the right size for safety purposes and to avoid discomfort.

After getting the equipment, a professional river guide led a safety briefing. We learned the basics of rafting. The following were explained and demonstrated to us: how to sit in the inflatable raft that will prevent you from falling, how to hold the paddle, and how to properly paddle in the waters.

Maximum of 6 persons plus one guide can ride in the raft. Drinking water was provided. As we were instructed, the guide will not jump off the waters to rescue anyone who will fall from the raft. Those who will fall will only be pulled up from the waters.

Navigating Kiulu River

We navigated Kiulu River for almost two hours covering 15KM. Most of the time, the water was still. But there were few rough parts of the river that can make you scream. For those wanting an extreme adventure, Grade I – II rapids may be a little boring.

We were allowed to swim in one shallow part of the river where current was not that strong. Water was really very cold. Riverbed was made of stones. While allowing ourselves to float and go with the flow of the water, some of us hit their bottom with the stones underneath which was a bit painful. Nevertheless, we had fun swimming in the river.

While paddling, take time to appreciate the nature surrounding you – the trees and the mountains. At the end point, there were shower/changing facilities and an eating hall. You can also get to see your pictures – yes, there were photographers waiting at different parts of the river taking some shots. Photos were compiled in CD and can be bought for MYR50.


Two-hour rafting at Kiulu River can be really tiring but it was definitely fun. Some of us were a bit nervous at the beginning, especially since all of us were first timers. Somehow, we did not get the extreme adventure we were expecting. For most beginners who do not know what to expect and would want to play safe, Grade I – II difficulty level of Kiulu River can be a good introduction. It can also be a good bonding activity for the whole family since the roughness of the water is really safe even for kids. For a more challenging white water rafting, try Padas River with Grade III – IV difficulty level.

Travel Tips

  • At the ending point, you can choose to take a shower first while other guests are eating to avoid waiting later on.
  • Wear comfortable clothing or swimwear, preferably not white in color.
  • Wear sandals with straps or sports/aqua shoes.
  • Bring extra clothes, you will really get wet.
  • Bring toiletries and towel.
  • Apply sun block and insect repellent.
  • Bring extra money, souvenirs were being sold at the lunch area and also the souvenir photos compiled in CD (MYR 50). Other food and drinks can also be bought.
  • You can leave your things in the bus. Don’t bring valuable items in the raft.
  • You can bring a waterproof camera and take your own photos. Just be careful not to drop it.
  • Trim your fingernails and toenails.
  • Do not wear jewelries.
  • Children 4 years old and above are allowed to participate.

Kiulu Rafting Package

We availed our Kiulu Rafting with a combination of Mari-mari Cultural Village Tour at Riverbug for MYR280 (Children – MYR 235). For White Water Rafting alone, fee is MYR185 (Children – MYR 140).

Visit Riverbug’s website for updated rates.


Contact Nos.: +6 088 260 501 / +6 088 260 502
Address: Lot 227 – 229, 2nd Floor, Wisma Sabah, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Website: https://www.riverbug.asia/
E-mail: tours@riverbug.asia