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Whitewater Kayaking – Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

Nakhon Nayak River, Thailand

Nakhon Nayok is quickly becoming our favorite place in Thailand! Only 105 kilometers from Bangkok (2 hours), it is a quick, easy destination for a multitude of outdoor adventures.

We were very excited to find out that the Nakhon Nayok River, the site of the 2008 Asia Canoe Slalom Championships and the annual Thailand Canoe Slalom Championship, has an artificial class 2-3 whitewater course that can be paddled year round. We decided to go on a scouting trip and check out the river to see if the purchase of a couple of whitewater kayaks is in our future. We miss whitewater kayaking!

The put-in is on the Klong Tha Dan just below the Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam at the Tha Dan Bridge.

Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam (Khlong Tha Dan Dam), Thailand

Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam (Khlong Tha Dan Dam) is the biggest dam in Thailand and is also the largest and longest roller compacted concrete dam in the world.

Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam (Khlong Tha Dan Dam), Thailand

The views from the top are spectacular. I highly recommend heading to the top after you finish your river trip.

Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam (Khlong Tha Dan Dam), Thailand

Very little English is spoken in Nakhon Nayok, so planning, researching, and booking in advance is difficult. We drove around looking for rafting companies that had kayaks on display. Just before giving up and going on a rafting trip, we spotted inflatable kayaks at a shop located by the put-in.

The cost for guided inflatable kayaking is 350 baht (10 USD) each. We handed over our money, and five minutes later, we had helmets and life-jackets and were getting ready to launch!

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

The kayaks that they have are inflatable kayaks and they initially wanted to put both of us in one kayak with a guide in the back of the boat. John and the guide would paddle; I would relax in the middle. So much for my exercise! After about 10 minutes of confusion and sign language, they finally understood that we wanted to be in our own kayak.

They were very accommodating, and we soon set off with John and me in one kayak and our two guides in another. That is great trip organizing – exactly what we would do. If at any time during the trip we had trouble or had exaggerated our abilities, they had two guides available and could have split us up and safely guided us down the river. A++ for organization, safety, and trip planning!

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

The river was fantastic! The water was high, but no so high that the rapids had no definition. There are great eddy lines for practicing eddy turns and ferries. It’s a great river to get out and knock some of the rust off.

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

After the whitewater section, the river relaxes, and there is time to swim and enjoy the scenery.

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

It is a beautiful river and is close enough to Bangkok to really consider buying those kayaks! We will head back at different water levels to see how it is at lower flows.

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

After about two and a half hours we reached the takeout and they shuttled us back to our car.

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

I grabbed a business card of the company that we used before we left. If you speak Thai or have a Thai speaking friend, you can call ahead for details and reservations. We have found that just showing up often works best. Worst case scenario, you have to go rafting with another company instead…

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

This is a great, inexpensive way to get out of the city, get some exercise, and connect with nature. The most expensive part of this trip is the car rental (28 USD) and fuel (18 USD) for the day.

Trip Details

  • Time of Year: September 2015
  • Length of Stay: 1 Day
  • Total Trip Cost – 2 People: 88 USD*
  • Cost Per Day / Per Person: 44 USD*
  • Visa Information: Thai Embassy, U.S. citizens carrying a tourist passport and in possession of an onward or return airline ticket do not require a visa to enter Thailand. The passport must have at least six months validity remaining to be allowed entry.

*Excluded from the cost analysis:

  • International Airfare – International airfare is not included because fares vary depending on your starting location.
  • Travel Health Insurance – Travel health insurance is not included because we have health insurance valid in Thailand.

Directions:

305 east to 3049 north. 12 km out of Nakhon Nayok the road forks and you need to go right; follow the signs toward the dam. Drive another 6 km and you will reach a right hand turn; follow the signs toward the dam. When you reach the traffic circle with the elephant fountain in the middle, go all the way around the circle, drive across the bridge, and turn right at the first place that you can (where the median ends) onto a dirt road that goes into the parking lot. GPS is very helpful!

Nakhon Nayok River, Thailand

GPS Coordinates:

Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam – Khlong Tha Dan Dam @ 14.309584,101.320327
Kayak Center Outpost @ 14.311601,101.314701

You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.

*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.