Whitewater Rafting @ Slim River 4/01/2014

Brief Information

Slim River has its historical significance in the defence of Malaya against Japanese invaders in 1943 of World War 2. The British forces suffered heavy casualties and were defeated in the Battle of Slim River which eventually ended hopes of defending Malaya…

If I have one word to describe my introduction, it’ll be “tragic”. Nevertheless, beyond the history of Slim River lies kilometres of river where recreational enthusiasts inflate rafts and paddle their way downstream through unforgiving rapids…

My Experience

WWR at Slim River boasts rapid grades between 1 – 3 and could go up to 4 after heavy rain. So what exactly do these grading mean? I spoke to the manager of the rafting company which I opted for and he mentioned that grades are essentially the height of the rapids. So in this case, the toughest rapid of grade 3 was equivalent to the height of 1 storey (Approximately 3 meters). There were a total of 24 rapids throughout a span of 2 to 2.5 hours journey downstream.

There are many rafting companies in Malaysia covering Slim River with barely any differentiation between them except for pricing, hence pick one you’re most comfortable with and recommend them to others if you liked their service. In most cases, a map and itenary is provided beforehand to detail the meeting point and what to expect throughout the trip. That much said, upon meeting with the manager, we were brought to an Orang Asli (Native) village where we geared up and prepared to be transferred to the insertion point via 4WD.

Rafting crew for the day
Rafting crew for the day
According to the manager, the 4WD ride is in itself a ride that’ll warm you up for the rafting later on. How rough could it be? True enough, those who are tall and/or do not have much meat on their ass may feel the discomfort as it was one hell of a bumpy ride.
According to the manager, the 4WD ride is in itself a ride that’ll warm you up for the rafting later on. How rough could it be? True enough, those who are tall and/or do not have much meat on their ass may feel the discomfort as it was one hell of a bumpy ride.
After reaching the insertion point, there’ll be a 20min briefing which covers everything from how to hold the paddle safely, transferring of weight, rescue, and how to paddle high 5!
After reaching the insertion point, there’ll be a 20 min briefing which covers everything from how to hold the paddle safely, transferring of weight, rescue, and how to paddle high 5!
All aboard!
All aboard!

The journey starts off promising with a fast flowing plunge enough to create some screams and a splash of icy water onto your face. From here, the rapids range from grade 1 to 2 which would feel like a bumpy cruise with occasional wetness depending on where you sit. And then comes the most epic rapid… Overlooking the view ahead, it’ll remind you of movies where the raft reaches the end of a cliff before plunging down a waterfall, then everyone would somehow grab onto a fallen tree trunk and make their way to safety. I’m obviously over exaggerating as this drop is only about a storey high but it gives you that impression nonetheless.

Check out the video (WWR @ Slim River – Epic Rapid) on: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=800173219998806&set=vb.750764898272972&type=2&theater

The big picture shows the epic rapid I was referring to, this was just one of the few big rapids in Slim River. Be sure to splash other rafts because you’re fun and have the right to. Try out body rafting too! But know that there’s a high chance of getting bruises.
The big picture shows the epic rapid I was referring to, this was just one of the few big rapids in Slim River. Be sure to splash other rafts because you’re fun and have the right to. Try out body rafting too! But know that there’s a high chance of getting bruises.

Check out the video (WWR @ Slim River – Body Rafting) on: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=800175123331949&set=vb.750764898272972&type=2&theater

This was actually my second time doing WWR; the first time was in Sabah back in 2009 which were up to grade 4. I also recalled the river being very wide and deep unlike Slim River which was quite narrow and at the time I went the river was drier than expected. This translated into a number of times where the boat got stuck at shallow rapids. Apart from that, Slim River was quite an experience; I reckon the whole journey could’ve been completed within 1.5 hours if not for the waiting time and getting stuck. There were quite a number of exciting rapids which were nicely spaced throughout to keep you on your toes. If you’ve experienced falling off on a rapid and surviving without severe injuries, you’ll know how thrilling and amazing it feels. It’s like a bonus than just having done WWR, but for safety reasons of course we should try to avoid falling off.

If you’ve never experienced surviving a capsized boat, do it here first at Slim River! Watch the video and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Check out the video (WWR @ Slim River – Capsized Boat) on: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=800184029997725&set=vb.750764898272972&type=2&theater

What to bring/wear?

Every company should provide a list of items to bring.

  • Waterproof action camera

Jo’s ratings (ratings are subjective and biased towards participants’ experience)

  1. Accessibility: 9/10 (It may be more than an hour’s drive with winding roads in between but generally there wasn’t any obstacle in reaching our destination)
  2. Difficulty: 3/10 (We passengers of the raft do not actually do much besides occasional paddling and shifting weight. Difficulty rating would increase if there were more vigorous rapids that’ll make you lose your balance easily, which was not really the case here)
  3. Rewarding Experience: 6/10 (Although the rapids weren’t as crazy as I experienced in Sabah, Slim River still have a few to offer. The waters are also safe for body rafting and were crystal clear)
  4. Overall Rating: 6/10 (WWR at Slim River is a great place for first timers seeking to try out the sport. It’s relatively easy and gives confidence and excitement to try out more challenging grades)

Additional Information

For more information on the historical significance of Slim River click on the links below:

http://www.far-eastern-heroes.org.uk/2nd_Lt_Robert_Hartley/html/slim_river.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slim_River

Getting there

A map should be provided hence it is subject to the company’s meeting point. However you will pass through this beautiful and natural hotspring spot.

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