Asia, the world’s largest continent, has some of the biggest and best rafting on the planet. Home to great rapids, an array of landscapes and ancient cultures Asia rafting holidays are as varied as the continent itself. From the Himalayas of Nepal to the jungles of Borneo and frozen tundra of Russia, the scale of Asia is incredible.
From the Great Slang Brahmaptura River in India to the mighty Yangtze in China, there are rafting holidays in Asia covering a range of experiences. From high-grade rapids to more leisurely voyages of exploration through jungle landscapes, the adrenaline and scenery combine to create unique rafting holidays in Asia.
Asia in two paragraphs
Trying to describe all of Asia in one or two paragraphs is not easy. This huge continent is home to every kind of landscape you can imagine. The snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, the flat plains of the Ganges and the colossal deserts of China make it hard to pin down.
However, the combination of the world’s highest mountains and heavy seasonal rainfall mean there are some excellent rafting opportunities across the continent. With each river completely distinct from the next, the only hard part is picking just one to explore.
The Karnali River in India is a true wilderness rafting experience. This very remote corner of the Himalayas has only recently been opened to foreigners. Access to the river is via chartered plane and a two-day trek. But you’ll be rewarded with huge gorges, thick jungle and remote villages. This is a rafting experience few get the chance to enjoy, complete with class IV and V rapids.
Also in India is the Kali River, suitable for rafting during monsoon season. Forming the border between India and Nepal, this is wild rafting with amazing wildlife spotting opportunities, including your chance to see leopards and bears. Still in the Himalayas raft the Paro Chhu in alluring kingdom of Bhutan.
In China the vast Yangtze has sections like the Great Bend that run through canyons twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Two-mile high walls and ancient villages overlook challenging rapids.
The more tropical places like Thailand and Borneo also offer white water rafting opportunities. The Padas in Malaysian Borneo has some staggering rapids with waves reaching two metres high. Pai is regarded as one of the most relaxed places in South East Asia by those in the know, and if you’re looking for a more relaxed Asia rafting holiday, the Pai will take you deep into the Me Hong Son province of Thailand.
Possibly the daddy of all destinations for rafting in Asia is Nepal. The Tamur, Karnali, Marsyandi, Trisuli and Sun Kosi rivers all have grade IV+ rapids and are suitable for multi day expeditions into the Himalayan wilderness. Flow varies throughout the year but October or November are typically a good time for Nepal rafting holidays.
Asia rafting holidays: What you need to know
With so many different rafting opportunities, Asia rafting holidays do require a bit of research. It’s best to think about what kind of rafting experience you’re looking for to help narrow your search. You could even pick countries that interest you and look for rafting options there.
Due to the seasonal nature of rainfall, some rafting is very time specific in Asia, so find out the best times of year to visit. During and immediately after monsoon season is usually best.
With rafting options in Japan, the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam and more, as well as the options listed above, Asia is very much a rafters’ paradise.