Best Places to go Whitewater Rafting

10 Aug Best Places to go Whitewater Rafting

Got a thirst for adventure? We have compiled a list of some of the best place around the world to go whitewater rafting. You will find them conveniently organized by region. If you think we have missed any please let us know in the comments section below.


1. GANGA RIVER, Rishikesh – India

The river features some calm waters but is sure to be an adventurous race. It is one of the best places for whitewater rafting in Asia. Rafting while enjoying the beautiful scenes of India is an added bonus to rafter lovers the world over.

Ganga River rafting

2. CHIANG MAI – Thailand

Whitewater rafting is relatively new to Thailand but it has been a big hit already. Some of the already well-known river is the Chiang Mai and those that can be found North of Thailand. There are unique jungle homestay, trekking excursions, elephant treks and even full moon rafting. This is truly unique and can only be found in Thailand.

Pink raft


Rising near the border with Tibet, among the world’s highest peaks, the Sun Koshi offers a trip of Himalayan majesty on its way to join the Ganges on the plains below. Class V rapids abound as it thunders through narrow gorges and forested canyons. The final stretch takes you through dense tropical jungle where monkeys chatter from the trees.

Getting ready to raft Nepal’s Koshi


grg logo

GRG Adventure Kayaking

Class: III – V
Duration: 8 days
Best Season: September – November or end of April – June
Approximate Cost: from $600


Flowing below Mt. Agung, river trips on the Telaga Waja offer class II-III rapids. Expect to see both tropical and open valley environments on a short half-day trip.

Rafting on the Telaga Waja River


The Grand Canyon of the Himalayas is one of the most spectacular navigable gorges in the world. You’ll begin at 14,000 feet above sea level and pass through some of the world’s most dazzling geological formations.

Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers


The Drigung Chu is situated in an exquisite alpine valley about 2 hours from Lhasa. Continuous class III rapids are interspersed with incredible granite gorges and challenging class IV rapids. Include this on your way to Everest base camp.

Rafting Tibet

7. ALAS RIVER – Indonesia

On the magical island of Sumatra, the lush Alas drops from the highlands and across 186 miles (299 kilometers) of Gunung Leuser National Park. Monkeys, lemurs, and orangutans are on hand to watch you attempt the class III-IV rapids.

Whitewater rafting on the Alas River


Selangor River is the most popular river for recreational whitewater rafting since the 90s. Located about 1 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, this location continues to provide outdoor enthusiasts an extreme wild whitewater ride until present day. The river is highly dependent on the water release from Selangor Dam and the rapids range from class II-IV.

Whitewater rafting on the Sungai Selangor


9. RHINE RIVER – Switzerland

Whitewater rafting in this river’s light aqua blue water that contrasts nicely against the thick evergreen trees will undoubtedly be one of the greatest rafting adventure one will ever have. The extra advantage of whitewater rafting in Switzerland is the beautiful Swiss Alps.

Rhine river rafting

10. ÇORUH RIVER – Turkey

Located in north-east Turkey, the river is recognized as one of the top ten white water rivers in the world. Being one of those rivers with high volume rapids, this river is not for the faint of heart.

Flying down the Çoruh river

11. NOCE RIVER – Italy

The only European river that National Geographic have included in their top 10 rivers for white water rafting. It has gigantic waves that will makes the ride more exciting, thrilling and exhilarating for those who have tried rafting in this river.

Paddling down the Noce river

12. CETINA RIVER – Croatia

Rivers like the Cetina are graded one through to six for their level of difficulty. With a grade one being classified a fast moving river with small rapids and few obstructions to the death-defying grade six rivers which are tsunami’s being forced through giant boulders. Let’s just say a grade 6 is for an expert with many years experiences. Fortunately for us the Cetina is a grade 2-3 depending on the state of the river and is safe for a novice.

It looks rather relaxing

13. KATUN RIVER – Siberia

The Atai mountain range in Russia’s Siberia region is home to the class III-IV rapids of the Katun River. The run is lined with rolling pools and drops stops get you up close and personal with the people and cultures of Siberia.

Rafting on the Katun

14. SJOA RIVER – Norway

The Sjoa is by far one of Scandinavia’s best rivers. With class II-V rapids, canyons, chutes, and access to numerous other adventure activities are among the highlights. Camp on a beach in the Norwegian wilderness as you plot your route down this incredible river.

Sjoa Rafting

15. LUTSCHINE RIVER – Switzerland

The Lütschine river offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the Swiss Alps. Starting below the Eiger North Face, you will face class III-IV rapids surging down from the mountains and out into the Interlaken valley and the Lake of Brienz. It is an exhilarating rush from start to finish.

Rafting on the Lütschine River

North America

16. MAGPIE RIVER – Canada

This park is located 375 miles northeast of Montreal. It is one of the greatest whitewater rafting destinations in the world due to its dramatic scenery, unspoiled wilderness, exceptional fishing, spectacular camps and numerous class 3 and 4 rapids. There are a lot of things to do including rafting, inflatable kayaking and hiking with many sights and wildlife for your eyes to feast on in the place. The best part in this park is that you can drink directly from its water.

Magpie River best rafting in Quebec


A 104-mile long river in Central Idaho in the northwestern United States, Middle Fork lies in the middle of the Frank Church River. The river offers a variety of activities that families can enjoy not only rafting but kayaking and hiking as well. Camping, fishing and picnics are also other great activities to be enjoyed. The great thing about this place is that boasts of hot springs for that relaxing soak. Caves with Indian pictographs can also be seen here.

Running Left at Velvet Falls


The Grand Canyon is one of the most incredible geological wonderlands on earth. While the canyon is mostly known for its grandeur, many didn’t even know that it is a great place for whitewater rafting. Combining whitewater rafting with hikes for exploring the canyon, it offers opportunity to discover waterfalls and other hidden delights.

Boating down the Colorado River


The park is located in the extreme northwestern corner of British Columbia continuing on to the neighboring parks in the Yukon and Alaska. It is an open park year-round with no formal methods of registration although a permit is needed. Access to the park depends on weather and snow conditions. It has different class range ranging from Class I to VI. Among the main attractions of this park are the glaciers, icebergs, mountains and wilderness on the borders of Alaska and Canada. The park is pretty remote so this should be taken into consideration when preparing for a trip and of course, with regards to safety.

Raft in the mist

20. GREEN RIVER – United States

Whitewater rafting and hiking is just a few of the adventures one gets to enjoyed in this river. A perfect place to spend as a family while having the utmost fun of the river’s most exciting and famous rapids like Upper and Lower Disaster Falls.

Green River Raft Launch Near Flaming Gorge Dam

21. NENANA RIVER, ALASKA – United States

The river’s rapids range from beginners to class IV ratings means that even kids as young as 11 years old can enjoy the experience. There are sections wherein the guests join in the paddling and then some sections where guests get to sit back and enjoy the scenery the place has to offer.

We were the best rafters

22. CHATTOOGA RIVER – United States

Dubbed as the Southeast’s premier whitewater rafting adventure, it delivers breathtaking scenery and treasured whitewater in a wilderness setting. This and a lot more makes it one of the most popular river trips in the country with something for everyone.

Chattooga River Section III


A hidden gem of Montana with awesome scenic landscape, excellent fishing and excellent wildlife viewing. The river rafting ranges from peaceful float trips to Class III whitewater adventures making it ideal for those who just wants to enjoy an idyllic rafting experience.

South Fork Flathead River


Another river that is widely popular as well as beautiful, Deerfield River is a Connecticut River tributary. Here guests can enjoy whitewater rafting, boating, fishing, and swimming with sections varying from mellow to class IV thrillers.

Crabapple Whitewater


It is said to be one of California’s finest whitewater rivers. Many who have enjoyed their rafting adventure here comes back year after year. It is also a popular hiking and backpacking destination.

Vlad’s boat entering Evangelist

South & Central America

26. RÍO UPANO – Ecuador

A river in Ecuador, the Upano River runs from the sierra to the depths of the Amazon. Although the river is mainly used locally for fishing, rafting and kayaking is also offered out of Macas. A river known for its fossils, sandy beaches and many hot springs, we should not forget to include its spectacular whitewater, incredible scenery, amazing hiking trails and beautiful riverside camps. With the country’s rich cultural history, this is one trip that most will surely enjoy.

Rio Upano


Rafting in this river is sure to be an amazing experience. Amongst the many adventure you will get to experience here are rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking and camping. Visitors can also rent one of the numerous cabins in the area with really friendly and accommodating cabin owners and guides. The river is magical with its literal translation of “painted by gods” which is to say it mildy, aptly named.

Turquoise water and beautiful scenery

28. RIO PACUARE – Costa Rica

It is easily Costa Rica’s premier whitewater rafting river. The National Geographic even called it one of the world’s top 10 river trips in the world because of its stunning scenery. As with most tropical country, the country has numerous rainfalls but it will not even dampen the experience for you. Expect to see a lot of beautiful rain and tropical forest with towering waterfalls and of course, diverse wildlife.

Oars up


On Peru’s Apurímac River, you can raft beneath steep canyon walls until you reach pastoral valleys and a tropical rainfor-est. Expect lots of Class III and IV rapids, and an occasional Class V. These trips usually last about 4 days. If you can escape for 12 days, raft on the Tambopata River, which runs through the Tambopata-Candamo National Park.

Under water

30. MENDOZA – Argentina

Some of the best class IV-V rapids in Argentine can be found on the Mendoza River as it snakes its way from the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. The best part – at the end of your paddle you can sit back and enjoy the world-famous wine from this region.

Muddy waters


31. ZAMBEZI RIVER – Zimbabwe

The Zambezi River means the “Great River” in the local Tonga dialect. Most of the exciting activities in the river are done in the Victoria Falls. Activities ranges from kayaking, canoe trips, river cruises and daily floats on both the Zimbabwe and Zambian sides. While whitewater rafting takes place through gorges of basalt rock below the falls.

Hold on tight


This river flows from vast Lake Victoria, and has both wild and mild stretches. Float past untouched woodlands or rock and roll in rapids reaching Class V. Here, you’ll find some of the most outstanding technical rafting through sustained rapids in the world. Don’t be surprised if you flip, race over waterfalls, or high-side on huge rocks. You’ll lunch at islands in the middle of the river, and camp where there is African music and dancing. A trip down this part of the Nile should only be part of a trip to Uganda.

Takeoff in Uganda

33. MANGOKY RIVER – Madagascar

If you are looking for a calm, multi-day rafting ride with only minimal whitewater this is the trip for you. On this journey you will pass baobab trees, colonies of lemurs, remote villages, and other wild scenery. Truly a trip you will not forget.

Rafting with baobabs

34. ORANGE RIVER – South Africa

Not too far from Johannesburg, the Orange river is the most popular river in South Africa. Catering to all levels of ability from beginner runs, such as the section above the Augrabies Falls, to expert runs, like those near the Gorge.

Orange river rafting

35. AHANSAL RIVER – Morocco

The Cascade D’Ouzoud, a phenomenal waterfall near Marrakech, is the starting point for these fantastic light to intermediate rapids. The High Atlas run passes gorges, around bends, and beside isolated Berber villages.

Rafting Morocco

Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific

36. NORTH QUEENSLAND – Australia

There are several options for whitewater rafting in tropical north Queensland. The most famous rapids are on the North Johnston River in the World Heritage rainforests of Palmerston National Park. Rafting usually begin into the heart of the rainforest and is a 4 to 6 day journey. The Tully and Baron rivers are much more accessible and provide a nice day trip from Cairns.

Tully River

37. FRANKLIN RIVER – Australia

Tasmania’s Franklin River is a must for experienced rafters and can take up to ten days for those willing to take on the entire 77 miles (124 kilometers). Don’t worry, it’s worth the effort as you take in Tasmania’s most beautiful World Heritage areas.

Franklin River, Tasmania


In the Fijian highlands of Viti Levu you will find a truly remote whitewater run. Thes Upper Navau River is an intermediate grade rapid. Expect to be wowed as you take on lush, fern-shrouded waterfalls as you make your way through a pristine tropical rainforest.

lunch break

39. THE SHOTOVER RIVER – New Zealand

The Shotover river is the epicenter of the world’s action sports. Here you will find bungee jumping, jetboating, skiing and of course whitewater rafting. The giant canyon walls will make you realize just how insignificant you are on this planet while you navigate some of the sweetest rapids in New Zealand.

Shotover river

40. ROTORUA – New Zealand

Rafting on the Kaituna River in Rotorua is truly an amazing experience. Steeped in Maori history the gorge of the Kaituna is also home to the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world – Tutea Falls. Warm water, outstanding scenery, heart pumping rapids and world class guides, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Rafting the Kaituna
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Michael Glass

Michael is the founder of Backpacker Travel. He also runs walking tours in San Francisco and is a freelance travel writer. Michael is extremely passionate about travel and loves to explore festivals around the world.

  • AlamAmazing
    Posted at 18:09h, 18 July Reply

    Amazing article about white water river rafting around the world. In Bali we have Ayung river and Telaga Waja river to do white water rafting and it is so fun.

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