Rafting in Asia

Asia is blessed with a huge range of rivers suitable for white water rafting, whether it be frigid waters of Northern China or Nepal or the steaming tropics of Thailand or Malaysia, there is something for all levels and ability when rafting in Asia. The mighty Himalayas are the source of many of the world’s most famous rivers, but also provide turbulent waters in literally thousands of tributaries, many of which are waiting to be explored. There is plenty of rafting to experience in other mountainous regions that are not fed by the Himalayas, in particular Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines which provides visitors with an adrenaline fuelled experience and a unique insight into the surrounding areas.

Rafting in Asia has evolved considerably over the years and is one of the more popular outdoor activities. There are varying degrees of safety standards so one should research other peoples experiences and establish what, if any certifications the company and guides have. That said, accidents are relatively rare and standards have risen considerably since the sport first evolved in the 1970’s.

Rafting difficulty can be classified into a number of grades, otherwise known as the International Scale of River Difficulty. These consist of grades between 1 and 6 representing very simple conditions, to very dangerous and life threatening.

  • Grade 1: Very basic with very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering.
  • Grade 2: Basic paddling skill with some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering.
  • Grade 3: This includes whitewater and small waves, with the possibility of a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering.
  • Grade 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed.
  • Grade 5: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering.
  • Grade 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous that they are effectively non-navigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment. Traversing a Class 6 rapid has a dramatically increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or death compared to lesser classes.

If you are interested in rafting in Asia you can contact us with any questions. Action Sport Asia also promotes on behalf of the leading rafting companies in the region.