Thursday, July 12, 2012

Boom-Boom White Water Rafting in Perak

White Water Rafting on the Kampar River

"Any questions about Boom-Boom?" asked the white water rafting guide. Because Boom-Boom is the the #1 thing to remember when maneuvering through the 9 rapids of Perak's Kampar River with Riverbug Asia leading the way. When your guide yells, "Boom-Boom!" that's your signal to drop down into the raft and GRAB HOLD OF EVERYTHING FOR DEAR LIFE BECAUSE THERE'S A HUGE DROP AHEAD!

Last February, hubby and my oldest son joined some friends for a day of rafting and tubing. The minimum age is 10 years, so I stayed home with the younger two kids. Plus, I'm a huge chicken and rafting anything harder than Grade I rapids isn't my style. They got an early start to drive to the meeting point, a North-South Expressway Toll Plaza halfway between Penang and Kuala Lumpur. When I asked my boy about his day, the first thing he mentioned was (in his own words)...

There was this car before we began that looked like it was burnt up by the side of the road near the Toll Plaza. The tires were gone. And the hood was dented. The only thing that worked were the door hinges. The only thing left from the back seat was the frame. There was a radio and a cassette player that didn't work,obviously. All 3 kids would have carried it home if the adults hadn't stopped them. There was a pool of water on the top of the car that had collected since there was a dent. The water was colored orange and silver-white. And it was in the middle of a field.

After the other groups showed up, the motorcycle-riding guide led the car caravan on dirt roads through the jungle to the Ulu River Lodge, owned and operated by Riverbug. People wanting more than just a daytrip can stay at these newly built accomodations.

Dine and sleep at the Ulu River Lodge

After yet another van ride, everyone was finally at the river put-in point, Ulu Gerentum. This is when the finer points of paddling, safety and Boom-Boom were covered. It turns out that the life jackets and helmets came in very handy further down the river when Boom-Boom does you absolutely no good.

It sounds like everyone had tons of fun and excitement traversing the Grade I-III rapids along the 7 kilometers of river.

Woo Hoo! This ain't so bad. They totally have this white water thing down.


Just keep hanging on until you get the all clear.

The raft with all our friends wasn't so lucky. They got stuck sideways, another raft hit them, and FLIP! Over went the raft. Kids and adults went flying into the water. Someone hit a rock. Someone lost a shoe. One oar got bent. The life jackets served their purpose. The excellent guides at Riverbug righted the raft and pulled everyone from the water. It was a little more action than they bargained for, but it makes for a great story.

After a few more rapids, it was time for a break.  Tree jumping followed by more rafting, then lunch. Riverbug served up a delicious, hot, homemade Malay meal accompanied by cold drinks. Just what you need after a morning paddling for your life.

My boy learned the hard way that belly flopping from 6 meters up really hurts.

Next came an afternoon of tubing. My son made sure to tell me, "There was a safety warning on the inner tubes that said they were for amusement parks only and for easy flowing water. I thought, 'We're about to go on white water rapids. Uh oh.' " 

River Tubing in Perak

The guides once again earned their pay, with one dude assigned to keeping track of all the kids. Eventually, he just lashed all their tubes together so he wouldn't have to keep chasing them down and bringing them back on course. After 2 kilometers of soaking their bums in the river, it was time to get out at Kampung Jahang for transport back to Ulu River Lodge. Everyone washed up, put on fresh clothes, and started the long drive home.

Riverbug Asia offers many other adventures in Perak — caving, jungle trekking, and waterfall abseiling. I loved that everyone received a CD of professional pictures at the end of the excursion. Don't forget your leach-proof socks!

This post is part of "Travel Photo Thursday" at Budget Travelers Sandbox, "Friday Daydreamin" at R We There Yet Mom and "Photo Friday" at Delicious Baby. Check them out for more around the world travel inspiration. 


  1. Sounds like quite an adventure but I would be absolutely terrified to go white water rafting!

  2. Haha! It would have been so handy to have a term like "boom-boom" on my last river trip, but the only thing coming out of everyone's mouths was "Holy Sh$#!" Good times. Your son sounds like a hoot! :-)

  3. I came close to white water rafting a couple years ago but chickened out at the last minute! Still looks like loads of fun.

  4. I love white water rafting, although I'll confess that I've never been thrown out of the boat like your friends were. That might have taken the shine off it for me just a little, although stories like that are priceless when it comes to telling travel tales.

  5. That looks like fun! I haven't been whitewater rafting in years and this adventure makes me want to plan a trip.

  6. I've never done this, but it does look like a great day of fun.

  7. River rafting is one of the best sport in vacation for your family. White-water rafting India is one of famous sport in India Rishikesh is one of suitable palce for white-water rafting there is many rivers like Ganga.

  8. Nice Article! Thanks for sharing with us.

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