Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wicked Whitewater Rafting @ Wadi Adventure, Al-Ain

always wanted to try whitewater rafting. who, me? NAAH! I’m talking about mr. khairul the adventurous, outdoorsy half of syigim-khairul. haha. we headed on to ‘wadi adventure’ al-ain. it’s situated in the foothills of the majestic jabel hafeet in al ain, abu dhabi as you can see what surrounds the spacious waterpark.

wadi adventure has the world’s longest man-made whitewater channels; with 3 channels of different levels. awesome!

wadi adventure basically has 1) this big wave pool where you can surf, 2) a pretty nice wall climbing spot, 3) an ‘airpark’ where you can climb, balance on walking planks, do flying fox and stuff. there’s also a 4) mediocre, unimaginative ‘family pool’ and 5) a sad excuse for a kids’ pool called ‘splash pool’. I’ll explain more later.

‘wadi adventure’ is not really a water theme park as it doesn’t have any water rides and slides – but there are many activities you can indulge in – the most popular would be the whitewater rafting and kayaking.




entrance fee + extra payment for activities!

and you have to know that the entrance fee of aed50 for adult and aed25 for kids give you access to ONLY the surf pool beach area (which is also closed to others if someone is surfing- according to the lifeguards), family and splash pool, and the low ropes course. the OTHER attractions that I mentioned above? you have to pay EXTRA.

for white water rafting, we pay an extra aed100 for 1.5 hours.

for khaleef to do his favorite wall-climbing – aed40 for 20 minutes!

there’s pros and cons to this arrangement : first, for someone who wants to do ALL the activities offered would have to pay much more; it would be better to include all activities in an appropriate one-time entrance fee.


like for me who only accompany my boys at the pool, and to just take videos of mr. khairul on a raft shouldn’t need to pay so much than others who wanna do more activities. so in that sense, it’s good that I’m not paying for activities that I’m not gonna do anyway.


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the boys played at this little obstacle course run next to the ‘airpark’. it’s a decent one, but cammon – wadi adventure in ABU DHABI? I expected more. look at the kids obstacle course in ‘escape adventure’ teluk bahang in penang, malaysia and you’ll know what I mean by MORE.


airpark & zip lines

this is similar to what we did in penang a few years back. it’s basically walking while balancing of various items – planks, ropes, circular discs – while hanging by a zip line. it might be so adventurous and fun for a first-timer, but look at what my boys did in ‘escape adventure’ penang – and you’ll know that you ain’t seen nothing yet!

click here to read about this awesome place in teluk bahang penang!






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khaleef tried his favorite wall-climbing. we had to pay an extra aed40 on top of khaleef’s entrance fee for him to do this. for 20 minutes. there was only one other guy waiting for his turn so there was practically no queue.

khaleef went up, and got strapped up in his safety harness.



the dude in blue was the wall-climbing instructor. he motivated khaleef all the way; and I like that he addressed khaleef by name which personalized the experience.



my khaleef all set to climb!




pretty long way up, but khaleef was not hesitant at all to climb all the way! go khaleef go!


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whitewater rafting

boasting the world’s longest man-made whitewater rafting channels, mr. khairul was particularly excited to do this activity. it’s said in many sites that it’s important to make prior booking for this activity to avoid disappointment because it’s so popular (also kayaking) but funny thing was, there was hardly ANY crowd when we went eventhough it was a weekend.

it looks nothing like the waterparks that we’ve been to. NO crowd! just a few people here, and one family there, and another group scattered around. we were walk-ins and easily got a slot for whitewater rafting.

scroll through our pictures – do you see anyone walking around the park in our shots? it was like it was just us! haha.

(mr. khairul paid an extra aed100 for this 1.5-hour activity).



there were 3 channels altogether with different levels. here is mr. khairul and his ‘raft-mates’ about to go on the first course – a mild, uneventful one just to get a feel of navigating through the channel. in each raft there would be 4 people, and 1 instructor sitting at the back.



the boys tired from running and rolling on the kids obstacle course, watching their dad doing the whitewater rafting. you can see the ‘airpark’ at a distance. looks smaller and unattractive compared to the one in penang! click here to see.



look at that view! what a fantastic sight of the foothills of jebel hafeet al-ain as they paddle away in that yellow raft. click the picture below for full view of the 1st and 2nd whitewater rafting channels.




here is the final course to whitewater raft in wadi adventure – it’s the roughest among the three. it was funny (but looks dangerous!) when mr. khairul and his raft-mates were asked to ‘drown’ themselves neck-high in the surging waters and just let themselves float to the much calmer part of the channel. this was part of the training, to let them have a feel of swimming through the strong current.




whitewater rafting has obvious risks when done in nature with sharp turns and hard rocks – so wadi adventure provides a safe, controlled environment where mr. khairul can still experience the exhilarating whitewater rafting with minimized risk!

mr. khairul enjoyed it so much and said THIS is what wadi adventure is all about (which basically translate to ‘this is one activity worth paying for!) in fact, amazing race has once made this course one of its challenges!


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splash pool

“where’s the kids’ pool?” I asked the lifeguards. no, this can’t be IT. but yes, this is IT. this was what I meant by ‘sad excuse for a kids’ pool’ at wadi adventure. calling it a pool would be an insult to awesome pools everywhere.

this is a puddle. you should call it ‘splash puddle’. my youngest kazim stood in the so-called ‘pool’, and it’s practically ankle-high!

my younger boys who can’t do wall-climbing like my eldest can ONLY enjoy THIS ‘pool’ when they come to wadi adventure so it was very sad to see that THIS was what they came all the way for.

cammon wadi adventure, give us our money’s worth and build a PROPER pool for the kids – with slides at least!



in singapore, when we stayed at festive hotel in sentosa island, there was a ‘pool’ similar to this, only ankle-high but there were arches across the pool with water showering out, and big huge squirt guns around the splash pool so my boys had so much fun and not just ‘splashing around’. be creative lah wadi adventure! ni kat dubai marina pun ade! free!




family pool

now THIS is what they call ‘family pool’ and I was very surprise to know that this was THE pool in the whole wadi adventure.

first, I was very disappointed that wadi adventure took no imagination AT ALL in building the pool. it’s just a boring rectangular-shaped pool with no design whatsoever. the pool in my current apartment has more imagination than this!

also, it’s quite small considering that it’s a FAMILY pool – assuming every single family visiting wadi adventure would want a dip in this pool.

also, it’s a FAMILY pool but it’s deep so my younger sons could not join their dad and elder brother in the pool. sure there’s complimentary floats but I would want a pool with differing depths so my sons can all swim safely.




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it was getting SO cold towards the end of the day!



the surf pool behind the boys




I suggest going to wadi adventure if you really wanna try the whitewater rafting because that was really awesome; especially navigating through the world’s longest man-made whitewater rafting channel.

kayaking is also a hot activity, and if you wanna surf in a safe environment, this is a place to be too. but if you’re a family with young kids? you had better spend your dirham at yas island waterpark ‘yas waterworld’ for a more money-worth time. they have the most fantabulous kids’ pool!

(click here for our time at yas waterworld, abu dhabi)

that said, wadi adventure is truly an oasis in the desert; beautiful place to raft and surf!

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