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Rafting is fast gaining popularity among the young and young-at-heart. The mountainous regions of the North are the natural venue for whitewater rafting, especially after the rains from June to October when the rivers swell with floodwater. But first-class rafting is also to be found in the northern reaches of the central region.

Mae Nam Pai river originates at Thanon Thongchai and Daen Lao mountain ranges. The river runs for 180 kilometres and passes several districts in Mae Hong Son province.

The raft trip starts at Ban Nam Kong, 65 kilometres from Pai district, passing waterfalls, a hot spring and fifteen sets of rapids. The journey takes about five hours. This location can be reached through Mae Hong Son province by air and road. Contact Thai Adventure, 150 Moo 4, Wiang Tai sub-district, Pai district, Mae Hong Son province on telephone (053) 699-222.

Mae Nam Wa is a tributary of the Nan river, originat- ing at Kbao Chom Pi Pan Nam mountain range at the Thai-Lao border. This river is considered ideal for rafters looking for fun. The river has many rapids and the journey takes between four and five hours. The location can be reached through Nan province by air or road via Mae Charin National Park on highway 1168 continuing on to Ban Rom Klao. For more details please contact Nature Traveller, 3476/5 Lat Phrao Soi 138, Lat Phrao Road, Bangkok 10240, telephone 375- 2062, 375-2412 or by facsimile 377-7959.

Mae Klong - Ti Lo Su Waterfal, the river runs through a mountain range in Tak province at Umphang district passing through high cliffs and forests. Rafts pass waterfalls, hot springs and rapids. Riders may break their journeys at Ti Lo Su Waterfall after a three-to- four hour ride, or continue the voyage to Sop Mae Lamung which takes around the same time. You can get there by air or road on the Bangkok-Mae Sot highway connecting to Umphang district. For more information call TAT Northern Office : Region 4 Tel. : (055) 514341- 3 Fax: (055) 514344.

Mae Klong-Ti Lo Re Waterfall is the lower part of the Mae Klong river from Ban Palata to Ti Lo Re Waterfall before it flows into Thung Yai Naresuan in Kanchanaburi province to become the Kwae Yai river and then the Mae Klong river. This is one of the most scenic rafting routes. The journey starts at Ban Palata in smooth waters for a few hours which then become quite rough with large rapids more suited for rubberboat than bamboo rafts.

This spot can be reached by road to Umphang district then on a further 27 kilometres to Ban Palata. The river ride takes six to seven hours to Huai Ka Chao Chi Ta, north of Ti Lo Re Waterfall. The return trip is by elephant taking eight hours to Ban Palata. For further details call TAT Northern Office Region 4 Tel. : (055) 514341-3 Fax: (055) 514344.

Mae Nam Sai Yai river originates in the Khao Kampang mountain range in Khao Yai forest, at Na Di district Prachin Buri province. The river passes Wang Heo to go on to Pa Yai. The river trip starts at Kaeng Hin Poeng where there is a strong whirlpool that requires quite an effort by skilful oarsmen to clear the hazard. The trip takes one hour through major rapids before running into smooth water about two hours towards the end of the journey. Raft riding is possible here during the rainy season from June to October.

This area can be reached by road around 135 kilometres along the Bangkok-Prachin Buri highway, taking the Naresuan turning on highway 33 and motoring another 80 kilometres. The journey has three more turns to the Khao Yai National Park before you reach Kaeng Hin Poeng. For more details contact TAT Central Office : Region 8 Tel. (037) 312 282,312284 Fax. (037) 312286.

Mae Nam Phetchaburi - the Phetchaburi river originates in the Tanao Sri mountain range in the Kaeng Krachan national park and the journey by raft takes some six hours, passing rapids and several smaller rivers.

This location is 123 kilometres up the Bangkok-Phetchaburi highway and then a further 20 kilometres to Tha Yang district finally turning to Kaeng Krachan on a rather rough road for another 47 kilometres to the start of the river ride. More details can be obtained from TAT Central Office: Region 2 Tel. (032) 471005 Fax. (032) 417502.

Nakhon Nayok river, originates in the Khao Yai national park and has several tributaries. The river flows into the Bangpakong river and raft riding starts at one of the tributaries at Khlong Wang Takrai in the coffee plantation. The journey is undertaken by kayak and canoe because the waterway is quite narrow. The river is smooth, without rapids, but has many twists and turns offering a fun day canoeing or kayaking.

This location can be reached by road some 107 kilometres along the Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok highway from Bangkok and another 16 kilometres to Wang Takrai.

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