Sabah is synonymous with beaches and watersports owing to its colossal coastline which is 1,743 km long. Sabah has hundreds of watersport centers dotted along the turquoise blue coastline, offering activities like parasailing, Jet Ski riding, sea kayaking, speed boat rides, catamaran sailing and whitewater rafting.
The first activity we engaged in was whitewater rafting on the Kadamaian River in Kota Belud. The Kadamaian River is a class I-II, meaning that it is suitable for beginners. I was quite nervous looking at the gushing water, but our guide from ‘Xtreme Paddlers’ reassured us with a safety briefing. Some photographs later we set out on our journey across the 10km stretch. The river had quite a few rapids and rocky curves that we had a hell of a lot of fun navigating through. A few bumps, falls and 2 hours later, our electrifying experience came to an end, or so we thought because an amazing lunch consisting of fried noodles and chicken wings awaited us at the ending point, a perfect end to an extremely delightful experience.
My next encounter with water sports was at the Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort and Spa in Tuaran. Our whole day was scheduled with water sports and activities. I started the day with a satisfying breakfast and set out to explore the hotel with my travel buddies. At about 11, we went to the beach to get the day started. We were greeted by Eric who arranged the activities for us. I was really pumped and a little nervous at the same time because it was the first time that I tried anything of the sort.
We took a collective decision that we all go sailing on a catamaran to start things off. A catamaran is a twin-hulled sailboat that is propelled by the wind. It is informally called a ‘cat’. The ride was motor-less and calm. The open sea and the wind blowing through my hair got me thinking about life and its greater meaning.
Me being a motorcycle enthusiast and a speed freak, I was very eagerly waiting to get my hands on a Jet Ski or also commonly called a water scooter or a boatercycle. This was my day, I excitedly hopped on a mean looking Yamaha Waverunner. The instructor gave me basic instructions and then let me take on the ocean by myself. I rode around slowly for a while till I was confident enough. Once I got the hang of it, I ripped off into the horizon, loving every second of it. My ride eventually ended and it was finally time for me to part with the mean machine and it was heartbreaking to see her leave with another man.
After such an exciting morning all I wanted was to eat. My hunger was satisfied with a steaming bowl of laksa, a Malaysian specialty and an ice cold salted caramel milkshake. The next scheduled activity was a kayak safari, it was perfect to burn all those vacation calories. We took a shuttle from the Rasa Ria to the jetty, where we were to start our kayaking ‘voyage’. The whole safari took about 3 hours to complete, fitness is key to be able to finish the journey. I picked my kayak, a bright yellow one that I had my eyes on from the time I got there. We then paddled away towards a close by island and the goal was to go around the island and finish at the jetty. A boat followed us, just in case someone got sick or tired, luckily none of us needed the services of the boat, we all completed the safari and ended it with a fruitful photo session that produced some Instagram worthy pictures. To put things in a coco’nut’ shell, if water excites you, Sabah is the place to be.