The What’s Up Guide to the Best Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking Experiences in Chiang Mai

The hilly regions around Chiang Mai offer a treasure trove of choices for visitors looking for something different. Tourists will find they can enjoy the thrill of surging through rapids on whitewater rafting voyages or a more sedate kayaking journey. More than a few Chiang Mai travel shops and reservations agents offer whitewater rafting and kayaking experiences.

The Mae Taeng River offers some of the best stretches of water for whitewater rafting. Companies such as Chiang Mai Adventures operate rafting tours here. Less fast-flowing rivers including the Nam Wah and the Pai plus Mae Ngat Reservoir in Sri Lanna National Park are on the kayaking packages provided by Active Thailand.

Package trips for both kayaking and whitewater rafting generally include transportation from Chiang Mai to the activity venues and back again, lunch and soft drinks, and sometimes even towels. Most tours are one-day ones, but there are also a few multi-day options and some firms will create custom itineraries if asked. Our recommended providers for whitewater rafting and Kayaking adventures in Chiang Mai are listed below.

Last Updated: June 2019

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 Top 5 Chiang Mai Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking Operators: 
8 Adventures | Active Thailand | Chiang Mai Kayaking | Chiang Mai AdventureSiam River Adventure | Further Reading
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Siam River is a specialist activity tours operator offering everything from interactive elephant experiences and trekking to whitewater kayaking and rafting. Siam River’s own homestay in the jungle close to Mae Taeng’s Sop Kai Village is the base for many of the activities. The company’s adventure programmes include kayaking for novices, a five-day river kayaking excursion and one-day Mae Taeng River rapids whitewater rafting. Buffet lunches, drinking water, accommodation and transportation are included in the cost of the Siam River tours.
Siam River Adventures: #17, Ratchawitee Rd., T. Sri Phum, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Tours: Whitewater Rafting 1,800-4,000 B, Kayaking 2,250-4,800 B | Tel: +66 89 515 1917, +66 81 473 6839 | Website | Facebook | E-mail


8 Adventures is another premium activity trip operator and offers both whitewater rafting and kayaking in the Mae Taeng area. Qualified guides lead all trips. There are two rafting options. The first is an exhilarating 10km ride across Class III and IV rapids against the backdrop of unspoilt jungle. The shorter 5km trip takes rafters past Mae Taeng’s elephant camps. 8 Adventures also runs 15km kayaking journeys through the pristine forested regions of the upper Mae Tang. 8 Adventures’ guides are first aid trained and tours come with safety certified lifejackets and helmets plus transport and soft drinks.
8 Adventures: #159, M. 1, T. Kuet Chang, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-20:00 (Daily) | Tours: Whitewater Rafting 2,500-3,000 B, Kayaking 2,500-5,000 B | Tel: +66 89 000 7728 | Website | Facebook | E-mail

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Active Thailand provides lake kayaking for beginners at the likes of the Mae Ngat Reservoir and has a mixed fleet of Ocean-Kayak and Feelfree kayaks. The deluxe tour is a two-day one with overnight accommodation on a Mae Ngat floating raft. This comes with transfers in a songthaew taxi, four meals and the use of bicycles to explore the locality. Active Thailand also has two and three day whitewater rafting expeditions on the Pai and Mae Taeng Rivers.
Active Thailand: #54/5, M. 2, Soi 14, T. Tasala, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Monday-Saturday) | Tours: Whitewater Rafting 3,000-15,000 B, Kayaking 4,500-13,600 B | Tel: +66 53 850 160, +66 89 759 1010 | Fax: +66 53 850 166 | Website | Facebook | E-mail


One of Chiangmai Adventure’s most popular tours, this company’s two-hour whitewater rafting trip traverses Class II to IV rapids along a 10km stretch of the Mae Taeng River down as far as Muang Kued. There are long, wide stretches of slower moving river between the approximate 20 rapids en route for rafters to get their breath back. At the end of the journey, meals and drinks at a riverside camp are a fitting finale to this adventure. Chiangmai Adventure tours provide transport, food, drink and insurance.
Chiangmai Adventure: #21, Sripingmuang Rd., T. Chang Klan, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100 | Open: 09:00-18:00 (Daily) | Tours: Whitewater Rafting 1,900 B, Whitewater Rafting+Mountain Biking 2,200 B | Tel: +66 53 283 695, +66 89 952 1000 | Facebook


Offering both river and lake trips, Chiang Mai Kayaking is the operator of choice for unique paddling voyages. They recommend novice and family groups opt for the more relaxed lake kayaking packages while hardier individuals and those with previous experience are ready to take on the fast-flowing currents of the Ping River or the waterways of Chiang Dao. The company’s brochure notes that kayakers wishing to shoot the rapids need to visit in the rainy or winter seasons as the water is not strong during the February to May dry season.
Chiang Mai Kayaking: #92/1-2, Sri Don Chai Rd., T. Chang Klan, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100 | Open: 07:00-22:00 (Daily) | Tours: River Jungle Kayaking 2,100-2,300 B, Adventure White Water Kayaking 2,700 B | Tel: +66 53 814 207, +66 81 024 7046 | Website | Facebook | E-mail