Best Whitewater Rafting in Southeast Asia

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

If you’re looking for a fun adventure filled day while traveling Southeast Asia, whitewater rafting could be an easy foolproof way to ensure this. Although you don’t have extreme class V boulder dodging through meter high waves, the rapids in asia are still as fun and enjoyable. To help you out, here are a few of the best spots for white water rafting in Southeast Asia which you can keep in mind for your next adventure getaway.

Maykha River, Myanmar

Dubbed as the “Everest of Rivers”, the Maykha River is one of the most extreme rivers in Southeast Asia to paddle through. Exploration in this area only began in the last ten years so expect yourself to be paddling through untouched forests and some of the biggest rapids imaginable. You start off with easy Class III to Class IV rapids which will soon be tripled in volume as you enter the gorges which start pumping out Class V to VI rapids. Some gorges have only been paddled through 3 times to give you an idea. While this isn’t advisable for beginners, this is definitely one for extreme adventurers! Spanning out 238km long, you go on two week long expeditions battling through around 247 rapids along the way.

Read: Planning Your Dream Trip to Myanmarmaykha river rafting

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Pai River, Thailand

Generally speaking, Northern Thailand has great whitewater rafting conditions with Pai being the perfect example. Apart from lounging around hammocks in this small hippie town, you can also venture out to the Pai river which is close to the Myanmar border. From here, you can enjoy the stunning hot springs, waterfalls, and of course, the Class III to IV rapids which is spread over 50km. The rafting in Pai can be done all year round and is a pretty awesome way to spend the day. Between the lush greenery surrounding your rafting alongside with spotting various wildlife, this is definitely an epic trip to do. Some tour providers offer a combination of whitewater rafting, trekking and camping.

Read: Your Guide to Falling in Love with Paipai river thaiand

Telaga Waja River, Indonesia

Apart from the popular Ayung River, the Telaga Waja River is also a well known whitewater rafting spot which people go on day trips on. Paddle through Class III to III+ rapids with lots of exhilarating drops. The river flows below an active volcano called Mt. Agung. The Telaga Waja runs for around 14.5km which gives you approximately 2 hours of rafting time. Although the rapids aren’t huge, it’s still a fun mix of challenging and enjoyable.telagawaja river indonesia

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Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

This fun rafting destination is one of the only places in the Philippines where you can find good rapids. They have beginner courses which go through Class I-II rapids while the more advanced ones range from Class III-IV. Amidst the adrenaline pumping rapids, take the time to look around you and take in the beauty of the mountains and river. The picturesque setting will definitely make it worth it! cagayan de oro white water rafting

Alas River, Indonesia

In the mystical islands of Sumatra, you can find the Alas River located near the Ganung Leuser National Park where you can find various species of monkeys including the eluding Orangutans. Here, you can attempt to paddle through fun Class III-IV rapids through some of the most epic rainforests and jungles. With the river overflowing straight to the Indian Ocean, this river can be quite challenging yet is still enjoyable to do. alas white water rafting

Mae Taeng River, Thailand

The Mae Taeng River located in the province of Chiang Mai is a fun day activity which lasts about 2.5-3 hours. The first half of the trip consists of easy Class II to III rapids while the latter parts reach Class III-IV rapids. The best part about rafting through Chiang Mai is the beautiful wildlife and scenery you encounter along the way. Gibbons, snakes, and various birds. The total distance of this rafting experience is around 10km.

Read: 10 Crazy Extreme Adventures to Do in Thailand maetang southeast asia

Padas River, Malaysia

The Padas River in Sabah, Borneo is a fun place to go whitewater rafting if you go during the wet season (November-March). Here, you can experience epic Class III to IV rapids which the locals have amusingly named. Rapids like the Merry Go Round, Cobra, and Scooby-Doo are supposed to give off the feeling of what they were named after. Some rapids reach up to 2 meters high and is definitely an adventure in itself! Padas white water rafting

Ranoyapo River, Indonesia

The Ranoyapo River is the biggest and longest river in Sulawesi, spanning out 35km long. Not only are the rapids top notch but the breathtaking tropical rainforest and wildlife surrounding it completes the whole experience. The Ranoyapo rapids bring you around 60 Class II- IV rapids which span out through coconut and clove plantations. Trips out here often consist of two days of camping and rafting set on some of the most beautiful outdoor sceneries ever. Definitely a must for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking for easier rapids, you can head to the nearby Nimanga River which is 8km long with intermediate rapids along the way. ranoyapo indonesia

While there are loads of other fun whitewater adventures all over Southeast Asia, these are just a few of our top picks ranging from beginner rapids all the way to ‘oh-my-god-that-waves-is-as-tall-as-a-building’ type! Naturally, whitewater rafting is best enjoyed with friends, whether new or old ones! Wherever you decide to go whitewater rafting, don’t forget to bring your sense of adventure and you’re bound to have an amazing time.

Interested in more awesome outdoor activities in Asia? Check these other articles out

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Love whitewater rafting? Here are the best places to do it in Southeast Asia

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