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This adventure began with a 6:30am departure from KL for our transfer to Sungai Itek which is in Kampar, Perak. We breakfasted at Tanjung Malim which is about 1 hour north of KL.
On arrival at the Tempurung Cave car park we changed into our bathers at the nearby change rooms.
Michael, the owner of MM Adventure Services, promised that our adventure begins here as we jumped onto the small truck with our raft tied to the back. And as we were driving along a narrow village track leading to the nearby Kampar River while bouncing on top of the raft I certainly had to agree with him.
On reaching the river we stopped and started applying our sunscreen lotion under a durian tree which was heavily in fruit. While my son was off chasing a monitor lizard into the jungle when I heard my daughter scream.
I quickly went to investigate and in the short time that it had taken for her to apply some lotion, a couple of leeches found their way up her leg. Not having much experience with removing these bloodthirsty critters I called for Michael's help.
But since the leeches were still marching up her legs, the only that was needed was a quick flick with a thumbnail to remove them. It's only when they stop and latch on that they become very difficult to remove. Then some suggested tactics were using either a cigarette ligher or some tobacco leaf to get them off.
We didn't need to employ either of these suggestions so I don't really know how effective they would have been. We then donned our helmets and were fitted with life jackets.
The first thing that our captain Mickey wanted to know was how well we could swim so we were ran into the river and were soon sucked into the fast flowing water and swam to a small sandy beach on the opposite bank. All my kids have been through an extensive swimming program down under so we all passed with flying colours.
With our captain satisfied in our swimming abilities, we then had a 10 minute safety briefing which covered paddling commands and techniques plus a man overboard and river rescue procedure.
From here it was into the rapids for our 8km or so river adventure. We rode through about a dozen rapids including the 'Double Decker' which consisted of two quick descents. Before entering this spot Mickey said we had a 50/50 chance of capsizing.
Luckily we negotiated this stretch by finishing on top of our raft and not under it. But I do think that we nearly bounced off it on the way down!
There are also long, calm sections of river where you will need to paddle. The Kampar River runs through a very deep valley surrounded by steep slopes covered in lush tropical jungle and is one of the most scenic parts of Malaysia that I have seen.
The Kampar River is fed from the 2,000m peaks of the Cameron Highlands so the waters are quite cool but certainly not cold. I can guarantee that you will get wet and you will end up in the river whether you want to or not. Watch out for Mickey, he has a mischievous streak of fun in him!
You will also get stretches of river where you can test your swimming skills with body rafting. This involves jumping into the river and being taken downstream with the current. All you need to do really is to steer yourself between the rocks which suck you in between their gaps and shoot you out the bottom. It's best to go feet first!
The total cost for this trip came to RM1,020 for three persons and included transfers from our KL accommodation, rafting, caving, Kellie's Castle side trip, meals and refreshments.
Updated Aug 8, 2008
At roughly the halfway point of our white water rafting adventure, the captain steered us to a small sandy beach along the river for a short stop.
He invited us to go for a swim and showed us a tree along the bank of the river which promised to be an excellent platform for jumping off.
All the kids, big and little, needed no further encouragement so I clambered up the opposite bank and climbed along the branch overhanging the river below. A young voice behind me yelled "you gotta jump sometime Dad!".
I was trying my best not to slip off and hopefully fall with some sort of style into the fast flowing waters. So I leapt into the river and anyone within reach was covered in the big splash from 'bombing' into the water.
After several jumps we were called to jump in our raft and man the oars for our final leg of this adventure.
Updated Aug 7, 2008
When I first booked our white water rafting adventure I asked add the abseiling as our second adventure option. This would have involved rappeling down a waterfall but it required a minimum of eight participants to make this adventure viable. But unfortunately there were only the three of us so we had to make another choice.
The fall back option was to go caving instead of abseiling and as I had never done this before I agreed to it. Michael, the owner of MM Adventure Services, is an enthusiastic and dedicated caver with many years of experience.
Our caving adventure included learning about calcites, flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, straws and columns. There was also plenty of fauna in the cave including thousands of bats and the odd False Scorpion Spider as well as various insects, worms and mites.
During the Malayan Emergency period between 1948 and 1960 saw the cave being used by the communists as their hideout. There is still grafitti on some walls as evidence of their occupation of the cave.
There is an underground river that runs for about 1.6km's through the cave and it is called Sungai Gua Tempurung. Part of the caving tour involved crawling on our hands and knees through this river with very little head clearance above.
It must have been raining outside because the water was flowing quite strongly and seemed to be increasing in volume. My suspicion was confirmed when Michael called out to us with a sense of urgency that "I need a little speed here guys!".
I encouraged my kids to faster and greater effort so we all sped off on all fours through the cold water with only a matter of a few inches clearance above our bobbing heads. With grazed knees we were very glad to be out of that tunnel and standing in broad daylight again.
I have always considered myself to be an outdoors type of person and my caving experience has certainly cemented that self belief. It was still raining as we left for our next destination and about an hour later Michael commented that the tunnels shouls be filled with water by now.
I couldn't take any pics while crawling through the tunnels but this link will take you to the MM Adventure Services photo album.
Updated Aug 7, 2008
Warung Kak Zizi is a small restaurant located next to some souvenir shops just outside the Tempurung Cave car park.
The food is simple and tasty with dishes including fried rice, fried chicken, spicy chicken and a delicious omelette. The food here is completely halal and no alcohol is served.
Our meal was included as a part of the white water rafting tour and was served after the rafting and just before the caving tour.
Updated Aug 6, 2008
Michael, the owner of MM Adventure Services, promised that the adventure begins with jumping onto the rubber raft resting on the back of a small truck. And as we were driving along a narrow village track to the nearby river while bouncing on top of the raft I certainly had to agree with him.
The ten minute drive had us all doing various acrobatics attempting to stay onboard the boat which was bouncing us with every bump, ducking under low hanging branches to avoid decapitation, holding up the progress of a small motor bike overladen with freshly cut banana leaves and trying to identify various fruit trees along the way.
On finally reaching the river in one piece, we manhandled the raft off the back of the truck and ran it down to the rapids below in preparation for our much anticipated white water rafting adventure.
Updated Aug 7, 2008
There are a few ways to get to Kampong Sungai Itek which includes buses and taxis that leave regularly from KL's Puduraya bus station.
Our transport came as a part of a package deal, departing from our KL accommodation, with MM Adventures on the White Water Rafting @ Kampar River Tour.
Because there was only myself and my two teenage kids we travelled there in Mike's gold Mercedes. Michael is the owner of MM Adventures and will use either a mini van or his own Merc depending on the tour numbers.
Written Aug 5, 2008
Favorite thing: Not far from the white water rafting starting point I noticed a large-ish tree with some spiky fruit hanging from a single twig holding it to the main branch.
This was the tree bearing the famous king of fruit, the durian, much beloved for its by locals for its pungent taste.
The durian will fall of its own accord when it is ripe so they are never picked. Not unless the grower artificially ripen them. But connoisseurs claim to be able to taste the difference between the tree and gas ripened fruit.
Updated Aug 8, 2008
Favorite thing: Sitting in the back of a small truck on the return trip from white water rafting I ducked under some low hanging branches when Michael, the owner of MM Adventures, yelled for the driver to stop and back up.
When we had reversed all the way back to the tree that I had dived under, Michael said that it was a rambutan tree in fruit.
He broke of some branches laden with the red 'hairy' fruits and tossed them into the rubber raft that we were sitting (bouncing) on.
The truck began to roll forward again and we peeled the skin from the fresh fruit and happilysavoured the sweet succulent flesh that it held within.
Updated Aug 6, 2008
Favorite thing: You will get very wet while white water rafting and definitely dirty down in the cave so do bring along a change of clean clothing.
There are well maintained change rooms and toilets provided near the Tempurung Cave car park where for a small fee you can get out of your wet and soiled gear into something dry and clean.
The toilets are Asian style but clean so rest assured that your fee is put to good use.
Updated Aug 6, 2008