language Amazing Thailand
คายัค แคนู

The original locals of the Americas, Canada, and Europe used canoes and kayaks for travel and lived their lives beside rivers and seas. Later canoes and kayaks were used in sports and tourism. Presently in Thailand, canoeing and kayaking are eco-adventure-tourism activities that are very popular among tourists because of the excitement and challenge in exploring and touring the scenery of coastal areas, islands, mangrove forests, bays, lakes, and rivers. They are also used in still waters; such as, at reservoirs and dams as well as cave exploration without causing pollution or environmental harm. Most of the accommodation providers have equipment and services for the guests to enjoy the nature because kayaks and canoes can be used in both the sea as well as rivers. These are either free of charge, or rented hourly or daily.

Types of Kayak-Canoe

In Thailand, most of the boats used by tourists are kayaks. There are two main types

 Sit-on-top Kayaks
They are new types of kayaks that have been developed for ease and convenience in paddling. It will not sink because it is a closed-body type and the passenger sits on top. The hull of the boat has holes for any water that has splashed in to drain out. It is used for close range trips, basic white-water, and regular rest and recreation. The boat sizes used range from one to three seats, with storage space for equipment. It is light-weight, suitable for use in the sea and it is safe.

It is the original kayak type where the passenger has to insert himself / herself into the boat. There is a canvas that closes up the top to prevent water from entering. It is suitable for long distance travel (touring) or white-water with a difficulty rating of 3–5.

It is the vehicle used by the American Indians to travel. The boat has an open structure. The top of the boat is open while the front and back are curved upward to cut through waves and minimise the amount of water that splashes into the boat. Because of the boat’s open design, the canoe can carry a large amount of supplies.

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Thailand Tourism Standard

Thailand Tourism Standards for Kayaking-Canoeing

To ensure the safety of tourists who choose to participate in Kayaking-Canoeing, the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, has issued the Thailand Tourism Standards for Kayaking-Canoeing operators and sites to provide guidelines on the sport with emphasis on safety for participants. For more information, visit

Kayaking and Canoeing Regulations and Advice

Before getting into a kayak / canoe, proper preparations should be made for the trip so that enjoyment as well as safety can be had without affecting the natural environment.

  • If planning your own trip, you must ask permission from the authorities responsible for the area; such as, the Royal Forest Department.
  • If choosing to use a tour operator, make sure to pick a company that is registered as such and check the itinerary and various agreements; such as, insurance, equipment, and other services.
  • Know your travel route and the direction of the waterway as well as the tides.
  • Always wear a helmet and life-vest when on a boat.
  • Bring only the necessities and prepare plastic bags or water-proof packs to put them in.
  • Follow the advice of the guide.
  • Be mentally prepared for possible obstacles and problems that may happen on your trip.

Recovery from Accidents and Emergency Situations

Because participation is under still-water conditions, recovery and rescue are simple when compared to participating in white-water activities. The priorities of water recovery in order of importance are people first, then boats, and finally supplies and equipment.
    Steps for rescuing people
  • The quickest way is extending your hand or paddle towards the person in need.
  • If the person is beyond your reach, you should toss a rope from either the shore or the boat while using the following 3 principles:
    - Communicate to the victim with hand signals as well as eye contact.
    - Find a suitable shore or bank to stage the rescue.
    - Toss or throw the rope accurately.
  • Take the boat towards the person in need.
  • Ask for a helicopter rescue.

Kayaking & Canoeing Routes in Thailand

  Place Province Season
To Visit
42 Kaeng Khutkhu
Loei Nov - Apr River
43 Ko Kut Trat-Ko Chang Nov - Apr Sea
44 Mu Ko Ang Thong Surat Thani Apr - Oct Sea
45 Rajjaprabha Dam Surat Thani Apr - Oct Dam
46 Mu Ko Thale Tai Nakhon Si
Apr - Oct Sea
47 Mu Ko Hong Krabi Nov - Apr Inland Sea
48 Ban Bo Tho Krabi Nov - Apr
49 Ao Tha Len Krabi Nov - Apr