With the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in Malaysia taking effect since 10 June 2020, schools nationwide have reopened in July 2020. At the same time more than 65% of Malaysia’s workforce have returned to work. The mundane routine of 9-to-5 commuting in the urban fast paced lifestyle with endless traffic jam has kicked in. It is important to recharge the soul with some fun and thrilling activities with family or friends. We should spend every weekend to reconnect with nature. Since I love being in the water, I wanted to do something I have never done before, WATER TUBING!
What Is Water Tubing?
All this while I have only been watching online about water tubing. According to a recent study the effect of being in water leads to an improved sense of physical health and well-being. It could be the ocean, lake, river or even in the swimming pool. Studies have also shown that looking at water-related photos soothes the mind.
Water tubing is an activity when a person is supported atop the water surface using a float. The shape of the float is like an oversized rubber doughnut. You just sit on the tube and let the natural current take you down the stream. There are also other water tubing activities whereby you attach your doughnut to a speed boat.
Prepping For My First Water Tubing Adventure
My online searches have yielded a considerable amount of helpful tips to prepare me and my family for our first ever water tubing adventure :-
- Wear thin material clothes which can dry easily such as sports and gym attire because you will be wet and your body will sweat.
- For footwear, it is best to wear lightweight waterproof shoes because the river bed consists of pebbles and rocks. Their rough edges might injure your feet if you’re barefooted.
- Apply a generous amount of sunblock onto face and body. Preferably SPF30 and above to avoid sun burns.
- Contrary to old wives’ tale that you shouldn’t eat before you swim, do eat some food. Water tubing usually takes several hours and might require some hiking/climbing. Boost your energy with high-energy snacks i.e. dried fruits and nuts.
Water Tubing At Kuala Kubu Bharu
This was my second time going to Kuala Kubu Bharu or KKB for short. It is located in Hulu Selangor so I was familiar with the area. I planned my day early and left at 9am on a Sunday morning. Since it takes an hour to reach KKB, we agreed to meet our guide near the KKB bridge at 10am. Water tubing in KKB is safe for kids aged seven and above. Since water tubing is a family-oriented activity, I decided to bring my sons, Rayyan aged twelve and Riyadh nine. I also invited my brother, Hakimin to join in the fun.
Getting Familiar With Water Tubing
We had to prepare ourselves and wear life jackets and a helmet. At 10.30am, we boarded a Toyota Hilux 4×4 pickup truck, and the guide drove us to the location of the river bank which was 15 minutes away from Rentas Adventures base camp. When we arrived, we had to pick a doughnut each and then the guide would brief us on the safety precautions.
Our guide, Shafiq, informed us that we should just lay our bodies on the doughnut. If the current gets stronger, there will be possibilities that we might hit a rock on the river bed below. Therefore, it is important to lift up our buttocks slightly. I keep hearing this a lot, if anything happens such as you falling off your doughnut, do not panic. Just stay calm and try to float! The guides are there to rescue you in case anything happens.
We Only Had One Guide With Us! Did We Manage?
Shafiq told us that we had to hike down the river bank with our doughnuts, and going down the river bank was kind of steep. I was more worried about my kids than myself at this point. As we approached the river bank, Shafiq threw all the doughnuts into the river. Since Shafiq noticed that I was worried about my nine-year-old son, he tied our tubes together with a rope. In this way, I could watch over my son. By then, we all excitedly laid on our doughnuts. When Shafiq gave us all one strong push towards the middle of the river, we all shrieked in excitement!
Don’t Be Fooled, The Current Was Quite Strong
I was expecting the water to be calm but to my surprise the current was quite fast. As my doughnut was spinning around naturally with the current, I made sure my younger son clung onto my arm tightly. I reminded my brother to look after my elder son. I would scan with my eyes from time to time and noticed that my elder son was way ahead of us. But safe and still in one piece!
Shafiq was correct, our buttocks did hit the rocks below! We just needed to be mindful, alert and look in front of us for any rocks slightly protruding at the surface. It was extremely difficult since the current and the wind were spinning our doughnuts around.
Recalling My Fall From Previous River Rafting Experience
While we were all having fun on the tube, to my horror I noticed a small rapid going down a slope. My heart sank because I recalled my scary experience while white water rafting weeks before! My doughnut was linked to my son’s doughnut and both of us got stuck against a huge rock which was blocking our way.
I was too paranoid to follow the current downstream. Instead I got out of my doughnut and also asked my son to slowly walk down a trail of big rocks in the middle of the river. Shafiq then came to our rescue and he comforted me because I was clearly worried for our safety. He coaxed me to go ahead alone and he will accompany my son down the rapid. In case anyone will be swept away, the guide is there to rescue you.
Much to our relief, we reached the river bank safely. While waiting for the rest of the participants to arrive, we witnessed directly ahead of us a participant jumping off the KKB bridge. The participant was doing the ‘Jump Rope Swing’ activity. It all lasted a few seconds before her body started swinging like a pendulum. That was an exciting moment to watch.
Hiking Up The Hill Was Like Torture
We have been tubing for nearly two hours now. Shafiq told us to leave the tubes near the river bank and hike up the steep hill. For a moment I was in utter disbelief, I felt like I just used up all my energy during water tubing. Now I had to hike back up?! There were cables and ropes for us to trail back to Rentas Adventures base camp. Little did I know this was going to be another challenge.
The hike took around 20 minutes and it felt like extreme cardio in boot camp that I was not at all prepared for. Finally we got on to higher ground and reached the camp. Despite feeling like I just lost 20kg, I totally felt energised when some participants invited me to visit Chilling Waterfalls which was about 15 minutes drive from our current location.
Ending The Day Splashing At Chilling Waterfalls
By the time we arrived at the Chilling Waterfalls it was already 1pm. We were overwhelmed to see so many people flocking the site. Some were picnicking with their families and the rest was just enjoying the view. The waterfalls were wide and the current was strong. The moment our feet touched the water it felt ice cold. I just had to force myself and dipped my whole body underwater. The moment I went farther into the deep end, my nerves started shaking. I recalled the earlier water tubing incident when I was concerned for my children’s safety.
As I inched towards the waterfalls, my anxiety gradually subsided. It was now time to relax and enjoy splashing and soaking in the river. Time flies when you’re having fun and soon it was already 2pm. We were all starving since we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. Obviously, we burnt up all our energy during water tubing, hiking and splashing in the river. It was time to head home for lunch.
A Fun And Memorable Outing For The Family
According to Mohd Shafiq Azmi, the owner of Rentas Adventures, for children to join water tubing, the minimum age is seven years old. I however would like to caution parents to monitor their children closely. The water at the KKB River can be fast flowing. It is of course better if the children are able to swim even though all participants must adhere to wearing life jackets.
Just to give a heads up to all readers, my body was aching the following day after water tubing. Even though I was in pain, I highly recommend you to try this fun activity with your loved ones! Currently the price for doing water tubing has been reduced from MYR80 (USD20) to MYR60 (USD15). Prices may differ in future therefore check their Instagram, Facebook and contact them a day ahead to verify the rates.
If water tubing is too easygoing and you want something more thrilling, click this link for a more extreme and thrilling activity. White water rafting! In my next episode of discovering Selangor, I will be trying something for the first time up in the air!