Although many people think of white water rafting as something you do in Colorado, there are a number of exciting river adventures available in northern Thailand. The Wa River is located in the Bo Klua County of Nan approximately 668 kilometers from Bangkok. June and July are some of the best months of the year to hit the rapids.
The Wa River runs about 300 kilometers in total from its source somewhere deep in the Phi Pannam Mountains to it’s confluence with the Nan River in Wiang Sa County. Whether your boat is rushing down serious rapids or meandering through quiet shallows, the scenery beside the water is sure to be spectacular with steep cliff walls rising from the river banks in some sections and shadowy deciduous forests leaning over the waters in other areas.
The upper part of the river is closed for tourists because of the large number of dangerous rapids on the river. Rapids are classed on a scale of 1-6, with class 6 rapids considered to be completely beyond human navigation. The upper Wa rapids are generally classified as between class 3 to 5.
The middle Wa River is the most popular area for tourists as the rapids can be wild and exciting and offer to challenges to experienced rafters or small and easily runnable for beginners.
A number of tour companies offer rafts on the rapids. It is important to verify that the company has a TAT license before making a booking. Also check the company’s insurance and safety equipment. You may also want to talk with the guide before making your decision. Always wear a life jacked out on the water and listen carefully to your guide.
Flights from Bangkok are available from either Don Muang Airport or Suvarnabhumi five days a week. Buses from the northern bus station also head north several times a day with air conditioned service.