Everything You Need to Know Before Kayaking Sepang River

Mangrove forest kayaking at Sepang River

Looking for all the essential information to plan and prepare for mangrove kayaking the Sepang River? You’ll find it in this post.

Mangrove kayaking at Sepang River is an experience which should inspire excitement, invoke a little bit of thrill, stoke feelings of wander in your soul, and ignite a sense of appreciation towards nature with an urge to protect and preserve it for future generations.

One of the most thrilling things to do in Sepang is kayaking the Sepang River or in Malay, Sungai Sepang – the sort of singular adventures for which we all travel. The kayaking activity itself, which allows you to witness the thriving mangrove forest on both sides of the river, also enables you to be in two states at the same time, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, all while taking in the sublime views of the brackish waters laid out like a shining carpet under clear skies, for all the wild animals to enjoy.

After my own kayaking, I wanted to share insights, advise and tips to help you plan and prepare for your own successful kayaking experience – all neatly whittled down into this short guide.

Whether you’re heading there in low or high season, and want to understand the accommodation situation, how to get there, have no idea what to pack or whether you need a guide or not, whether you’re fit enough or if it’s too late to book a spot on the tour, then this post will help you with all the necessary information and answers (and I hope, quite a bit of excitement and inspiration for the kayaking itself!)

Ready? Here’s everything you need to know before kayaking Sepang River.


Sepang River is located in the youngest district of the Selangor state, which is the Sepang District. Sepang River, is home to over 16 species of mangrove flora; all of which plays a critical role in the coastal ecosystem by providing an important habitat to a wide variety of marine and terrestrial species. The mangroves act as seaward barriers, protecting shorelines from coastal erosion, and storm damages while storing carbon in their soils.

Geographically speaking, Sepang River is literally behind the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In terms of distance from KLIA, it is a mere 29.4 km away from the airport, roughly a 29 minutes drive.

One of the most often talked about tourist attractions along Sepang River, is the ferry service in Kampung Baru Sungai Pelek; where ferries takes motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, hikers and village dwellers across the Sepang River to Bukit Pelanduk in the state of Negeri Sembilan. What would have been a 48 minute drive by road, is a journey time reduced to three minutes if you ever decide to go to Negeri Sembilan.

On my 10km mangrove kayaking tour, the Sungai Pelek Jetty marked at least 2-3 km worth of paddling from the Grovey Floating House

Read about my experience discovering the thriving mangrove forests at Sepang River here.


Sepang River is exceptionally easy to get to from various parts of the Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan state. But all tours run and organized by Outdoorgate starts at one point – Grovey Floating House (kayaking platform) which sits along the Sepang River near Kg Tanjung Mas. Here is the Google Map direction.

As for transportation, here are your best options:

Flight | The good news is Sepang River is just behind the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Keep in mind that Kuala Lumpur has three airports. One is in Subang with flight code SZB and two in Sepang (KLIA and KLIA 2), with both sharing the same flight code KUL.

The following airline flights will depart and arrive in KLIA 2 while airlines that are NOT in the list below will depart and arrive at either KLIA or Subang Airport.

  • AirAsia, Air Asia X, Thai AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, AirAsia Zest
  • Jetstar Asia
  • Scoot
  • Cebu Pacific Air

Once you arrive in KLIA or KLIA 2, you’ll need to hop on a Grab ride to reach the kayaking platform.

It’s also important to note that Subang Airport is NOT in Sepang or anywhere near KLIA or KLIA 2. It will take at least an hours drive to get to Grovey Floating House from the Subang Airport.

Car | If you have a car, getting to the Sepang River is a straight forward journey. Simply use Google Map for the direction to the Grovey Floating House.

Ordering a Grab ride is another alternative. Whether you are coming from KLIA or KLIA 2, ordering a Grab ride can take you to the kayaking platform in just 32 minutes.

Although I must warn that if you plan to head out and into Kuala Lumpur from the Grovey Floating House platform after kayaking, hailing a Grab ride may be difficult as the location is deep in Kg Tanjung Mas and there may not be much Grab rides in the area due to low demand. It’s recommended to make bookings for a Grab ride in advance instead of attempting to hail them right after you are done with kayaking.

Bus | If you are coming in from Kuala Lumpur, you can take the Transnational bus service from Puduraya bus terminal to Sungai Pelek. From Sungai Pelek you’ll have to take the Smart Sepang bus service to the Kg Tanjung Mas bus stop, and from there, continue walking for about 20 minutes to reach the Grovey Floating House. Taking the bus is without a doubt cheaper, however if affordability is not an issue, taking a Grab ride is a sensible option especially if you are coming in from the Kuala Lumpur city centre or from anywhere in the Klang Valley.


Is a kayaking permit required and do you need a guide?

Securing a permit is not necessary however, it’s best to kayak with an approved and experienced guide like Outdoorgate as it allows for proper safety and navigational briefing before setting out. This is, after all a river that has tidal surges that are caused by rising sea levels coming in from the Malacca Strait.

Personally, as a recreational kayaker with basic paddling skills and no knowledge of how tidal waves, rivers and the sea work, the guides are essential in my books. I believe it’s better to explore in an organised and structured tour (preferably in small groups) in order to keep the environment as-is and not expose it to destructive human behaviors that can disrupt the wildlife.

When there is a lack of supervision, that is when you start seeing food waste and rubbish being left lying around. A responsible guide ensures that that never happens.

Additionally, guided mangrove kayaking tours provide you with the opportunity to grasp the true value of the mangrove forest to the socio-economy of the area and the nation versus aimlessly kayaking and going home without learning anything.

Do you need to book the mangrove kayaking tour in advance?

In short, yes.

If you plan to do some kayaking at Sepang River on weekends, then you should be making reservations sooner rather than later (i.e. right now). However, if you have time on weekdays, a little more spontaneity is possible, unless you have specific dates in mind where it makes sense to get your bookings in sooner rather than later.

I did my mangrove kayaking tour with Outdoorgate, an ecotourism provider in Malaysia focused on sustainable small-group adventures with the aim of leading tours with environmental awareness through education. Inclusivity is also at the core of Outdoorgate tours where they believe that everyone, with various levels of abilities and backgrounds can join in their tours.

You can check out the 10km tour I did with them here.

Note that the tour I took is a couple of hours longer than their standard sunrise or sunset weekday and weekend tours. Alternatively, there is a Weekend Adventure tour which spans two nights with breakfast included. It’s excellent for those looking to escape the city for slightly longer than just a couple of hours over the weekend.

However, if you are only looking to escape the city for a short weekend getaway by the river without any kayaking tours, there are options for those too.

Are there age limits and health restrictions?

Children between the ages 3 and 10 years old are welcome to join the mangrove kayaking tour and will be paired with one parent or an adult in the kayak.

Note that this is a guideline and policy set by Outdoorgate.

If you are a little older in years and need some inspiration, know that Outdoorgate recorded their oldest participant to be 80 years old. As long as you exercise regularly, you are more than welcome to join tours offered by Outdoorgate.

If you are someone with a heart disease or back injuries, it’s not advisable to participate. Your safety is ultimately Outdoorgate’s priority.

How much does the mangrove kayaking cost?

The Outdoorgate Mangrove Kayaking tour I joined is the Explore Sepang River 10km Kayaking Journey. It is now RM 280 per person (early birds get RM 250 per person), and this included guided by experienced and expert instructors, lunch, outdoor sports insurance, kayaking equipment, briefing, a warm up session and lots of knowledge about the river, the mangrove forest and its wildlife inhabitants.

This 10km tour runs monthly on a specific date set by Outdoorgate. The dates are carefully observed and chosen by the team to ensure kayaking is done in the best and safest conditions possible. Look out for their next 10km kayaking journey date here.

Their shorter tours for Weekdays Sunrise and Sunset tour is RM 195 per person, while their Weekend Sunrise and Sunset tour is RM 165 per person.

A much longer tour than both tours I mentioned above is the Weekend Adventure tour which is RM 315 per person. This includes, snacks and meals during the kayaking tour, a two nights stay with breakfast, and outdoor sports insurance.

How fit do you need to be?

Although it wasn’t by any stretch the most physically challenging kayak I’ve done, the sun and distance of the kayaking provided enough of a task to make me feel like I’ve worked out my arms for the day. You do not need to be a vastly experienced kayaker, but acquiring a decent level of physical fitness prior to arriving for this kayak tour will make everything easier and much more enjoyable.

What do you need to pack for the mangrove kayaking tour?

Pack light, pack smart and pack for the hot temperature – that’s the key advice for anyone interested in joining a mangrove kayaking tour.

If you plan to bring extra clothes to change after, you can leave your backpack at the Grovey Floating House in a locker; only leave items that you need later and wouldn’t want them to get wet. You’ll be pleased to know that the Grovey Floating House has shower facilities if you ever need to freshen up before leaving.

If you don’t have a dry bag, you can rent one from Outdoorgate for RM 5. This dry bag is going to be where the majority of your items will be stored (i.e. phone, food, energy drink, sun block, mosquito repellent, wallet, or anything you might need during the excursion). Every Outdoorgate mangrove kayaking tour includes a guide or support staff that will carry your meal at the back of their own kayaks.

Here’s a list of what I packed:

  • Mountain Warehouse water bladder
  • Water shoes
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Extra t-shirt
  • Dry bag
  • Moment Everything Bag (to pack my mirrorless camera)
  • Bananas
  • Pocari Sweat energy drink

Can you buy snacks and drinks along the river?

Yes, you can buy drinks along the river where you can purchase energy drinks from Jetty Pak Lim which also sits beside the floating restaurant. However for snacks it’s recommended you bring and carry your own.

Do You Need a Special Outdoor Insurance?

I personally would never travel or join an activity without insurance. However, don’t despair because all Outdoorgate kayaking tours come with an outdoor insurance where premiums are already included.

It’s worth noting that even if you have an existing travel insurance, water activities such as kayaking may not be included in your plan. So, you’ll need to check your policy wording to be sure whether you’re covered for this type of activity. If your policy covers it, then all well and good.

What’s the toilet situation?

The worst part about kayaking a river is not the paddling bit, but rather the toilet options available. You would think that since you are on a river, it would be impossible to find any toilets. Thankfully there are toilets, yes. One being on the Grovey Floating House itself, which means you can go before you start kayaking, and the other is at Jetty Pak Lim, about 5km downstream and at the same place where you can purchase your drinks from. This is more for those who needs to go while kayaking.

If you’re thinking of going directly in the river, respectfully – DON’T. First off, swimming is not allowed in Sepang River, and secondly, if you go in the river, you’re polluting.

The toilet at Jetty Pak Lim is often rudimentary and wet, and with the jetty being so remote, cleanliness understandably isn’t the highest but decent enough to do your business.

Should I bring cash on this kayaking tour?

The vast majority of costs will be covered in the up-front price of your tour, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring extra cash to buy drinks along the river.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, then congratulations! I truly hope that most of your questions are answered. But if you have questions that were not answered, more frequently asked questions can be found here or simply contact Outdoorgate for further calarification.

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