Adventure is out there! Extreme sports activities in Malaysia for thrill-seekers


White water rafting in Sedim River, Kedah. — Photos: Tourism Malaysia

When you start to get tired of your daily routine, it’s time to take a break and explore the world. And if you aren’t able to take much time off from work to travel the globe, don’t worry because Malaysia has plenty of great attractions and fun activities – like extreme sports – to offer travellers.

In the past few years, sports tourism and adventure tourism have been gaining popularity in Malaysia, and the pandemic has helped to elevate this even further. Travellers these days prefer to spend their breaks being outdoors surrounded by nature, or doing physical activities like hiking or kayaking, for example.

And for some, extreme sports are the activities of choice. Perhaps this has something to do with the adrenaline rush one gets when participating in an extreme sport – once you’ve experienced this, it’s hard to resist doing more.

Of course, Malaysia offers a wide range of extreme sports activities for those seeking that particular thrill. From skydiving to parasailing to caving, here are some of extreme sports available around the country that you can check out while on a well-deserved break.

Paragliding in Jugra Hill, Selangor.  — FilepicParagliding in Jugra Hill, Selangor. — Filepic

Paragliding

Paragliding is a sport that allows one to “glide” through the air with the help of a parachute. It has similarities to skydiving but with paragliding, you don’t jump out of a plane. Instead, paragliders are “launched” from a high point, for example, at the top of a hill or building.

Malaysia is a good place for paragliding activities as there are plenty beautiful vistas to be seen. Currently, paragliding activities are available in Selangor (at KKB Park in Kuala Kubu Baru and Bukit Jugra in Banting), Terengganu (Bukit Bubus Paragliding Park at Dendong Beach), Sabah (Bukit Kokol in Menggatal and Bukit Lohan in Ranau), Negri Sembilan (Pedas Paragliding Park in Seremban) and Kedah (Pantai Merdeka in Kota Kuala Muda).

Most adventure tourism companies in Malaysia only offer tandem paragliding flights, in which a passenger “flies” with an instructor or guide. This is actually the best option for those who wish to film themselves while soaring through the sky.

Although there usually is no age limit to this sport, there is a maximum weight (120kg) that needs to be considered for safety reasons.

Some of the companies you can reach out to for more information include OXBOLD Extreme Sports Malaysia, Paragliders Malaysia, Prosky Adventure, Proglide Sports, Borneo Paragliding, Borneo Paragliders and 3A Adventures. All these companies are contactable via their social media pages (Facebook and Instagram) or their official websites.

Rock climbing

If you loved climbing trees as kids, then rock climbing may just be your thing now. Rock climbing is the act of climbing natural rock formations – or artificial rock walls – with the aid of some rope and other special equipment. While it may look unnerving, it is actually considered one of the safest extreme sports among thrill seekers, when done right of course.

Climbing rocks or wall surfaces is a full body workout too, as you would need both your arm and leg muscles, as well as your glutes, to ascend.

There are plenty of indoor climbing facilities and gyms that you can check out here, with some companies having a few outlets spread across the country. The Camp5 Climbing Gym, for example, has four outlets in the Klang Valley and one in Johor.

Several other popular climbing gyms include BUMP Bouldering and Escape Challenge Park in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, the Putrajaya Challenge Park, Sabah Indoor Climbing Centre in Kota Kinabalu, Altitude Climbing Company in Kuching, Sarawak and Project Rock in Penang.

For outdoor rock climbing options, you can check out Bukit Keteri in Perlis, said to be one of the most challenging climbs in Malaysia. This location is definitely more suitable for advanced climbers, so if you wish to visit, get in touch with the folks at Perlis Climbers (Facebook: @perlisclimbers), a climbing community group based in the northern state. The group may also be able to give you suggestions on other places in the state that you can climb, based on your level of expertise and experience.

Taman Etnobotani in Gua Musang, Kelantan.Taman Etnobotani in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

There’s also Taman Etnobotani in Gua Musang, Kelantan, which is managed by the South Kelantan Development Authority or KESEDAR. Entrance to this park is free, but you would need to get a permit from KESEDAR if you wish to do some rock climbing (or if you want to camp overnight). You can also rent climbing equipment from the park, although it is advisable to bring your own.

If you need some help or guidance with outdoor rock climbing, you can get in touch with these companies: Learning Adventures (they conduct climbing trips to Bukit Takun in Selangor), Nomad Adventures (for climbing excursions in Gopeng, Perak), and The Guide ProShop and Vertical (both companies set up climbing routes at Batu Caves, Selangor).

White water rafting

White water rafting is another thrilling sport that’s becoming more popular in Malaysia. This is a water sport in which participants go down white water rapids on a river in an inflatable raft. Each raft typically carries between four and eight people, although you can also go in pairs if the rapids allow for it.

There are varying levels of difficulty to this adventure sport based on the river’s currents, and other factors. If you can’t swim, you can still join this activity as you will be fitted with a life jacket and helmet. However, you may want to stick to the easier levels or have your guide join you in the raft.

Some of the best spots for white water rafting are at Kuala Kubu Baru in Selangor, Ulu Slim River and Sungai Kampar in Perak, Kiulu and Padas in Sabah, Sedim River in Kedah, Jeram Besu and Sungai Telom in Pahang, and Sungai Loh in Terengganu.

You can check out companies like Xventure Mind, OXBOLD, Riverbug, Nomad Adventure or any local tour agencies to get more information on adventure holiday packages.

Gua Tempurung in Perak.Gua Tempurung in Perak.

Caving

Caving is a recreational activity in which one explores wet or dry caves. But you can’t just explore a cave by walking into it, most times it also involves a bit of climbing and squeezing or crawling through narrow cave passages. You are likely to get wet while exploring a cave, as some passages cut through rivers or streams.

There are plenty of caves to explore in Malaysia, the most famous of which are, of course, the amazing Niah and Mulu Caves in Miri, Sarawak. Niah Caves, located within the Niah National Park, comprises one large cave (around 1km long and 0.5km wide!) and several smaller ones, said to be tens of thousands years old.

The Mulu Caves meanwhile are part of the Mulu National Park and comprises a series of “show caves” and adventure caves. One of the caves is Clearwater Cave, believed to be the largest interconnected cave system in the world in terms of volume, and eighth longest at 222km!

Other interesting caves to explore are the Bewah and Taat Caves at Kenyir Lake, Terengganu; Gua Kandu and Gua Tempurung in Gopeng, Perak; Batu Maloi at the Tampin Forest Reserve in Negri Sembilan; Gua Gomantong in Sabah; Gua Chiku 2 and Gua Ikan in Kelantan, and Gua Kelam in Perlis.

Some travel agencies offer nature tour packages that include cave excursions, but you can also request for one from your agent if there isn’t one on the itinerary. Otherwise, check out companies that specialise in eco-tourism like Bamboo Adventures, Jungle Adventure Travel, Borneo Adventure, Adventoro and more.

Ziplining

One of the easiest and fun extreme sports to try is ziplining or the flying fox. A zipline is a suspended cable with a sliding pulley that allows one to move from one point to another. They are designed to launch a person from a high point using gravity.

Lots of holiday spots around Malaysia offer this popular activity today. One of the most well-known company is Skytrex Adventures, which has three outlets: At Sungai Congkak in Hulu Langat, Selangor, in Melaka, and Langkawi, Kedah. Langkawi is also home to another famous zipline location, the Umgawa Langkawi Zipline Adventure.

Ziplining in Kiulu, Sabah.Ziplining in Kiulu, Sabah.

The longest flying fox trail in South-East Asia is located at Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. The trail stretches about 800m, and has a vertical drop of 87m.

In Sarawak, you can find the state’s longest zipline (161m) at the Sumiran Eco Park & Resort in Rantau Panjang, near Kuching, while at the ATV Kampung Jkin Extreme Park in Seremban, you can spend a whole day doing other extreme sports activities apart from ziplining, like riding the ATV and trying something called the “extreme swing”.

Other places that offer ziplining activities include the X-Park Sunway Iskandar in Johor, Xscape Tambun in Ipoh, Zip Borneo (The Adventure Centre) in Kiulu, Sabah, Jeram Mengaji Agro Resort in Pasir Puteh, Kelantan and Escape Theme Park in Penang.

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