Rafting - a fun way to beat the heat

by Han Aran, 19/08/2008


Rafting is probably the most exciting of summer leisure sports.

Rushing down river valleys in rubber boats gives the feeling of eternal freedom – replica watches and plenty of excitement. Many thrill seekers enjoy whitewater rafting for its adventure, but there is also quiet rafting and gentle river rides to be enjoyed.

The epicenter of Korea's whitewater rafting action is in Gangwon-do (province), east of Seoul.
There are three popular destinations for river rafting in the mountainous province: Donggang (Dong River) in Yeongwol-gun, Naerincheon (Naerin Stream) in Inje-gun, and Hantangang in Cheolwon-gun, all located in Gangwon-do Province

The three fast-flowing, clear-water rivers boast great volumes of water and dynamic currents.

Donggang
Yeongwol's Donggang River runs 72 kilometers through Yeongwol-gun, Jeongseon-gun, and Pyeongchang-gun in Gangwon-do. The area around the river is largely untouched and the scenery picturesque. Rafting can be enjoyed on many parts of the river, from its upper reaches at Jeongseon to the lower ones at Yeongwol. The river is especially popular with beginners and families, as it is relatively wide and the currents are slow and calm. One of the best rafting courses to head for in the region is the Arayeon Valley. The place is not only the best place to go rafting but also a good place to observe the country's unspoiled wildlife.

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Naerincheon
The Naerincheon starts near from Mt. Odae valley and continues on for about 60 km. Flowing down the forested mountainside of Gangwon-do, the waters are clean and clear, offering a balance of high, rough rapids and smooth, gentle rapids.

Recognized for its unique beauty with many interesting-looking rocks above the river as well as a number of different possible rafting routes, Naerincheon draws more than a million people every summer for adventures in the valleys. The 16-kilometer course between Gungdong Resort in Inje and Bamgol is one of the best spots for enjoying rapid streams, since it is an S-shaped valley with many vertical drops.

Hantangang Located around 90 minutes from Seoul, the river is renowned for its clarity and depth, as well as unusual rock formations, such as the Giamgoeseok rocks on the Hantangang riverbed. The Hantangang River has such beautiful scenery and mysterious valleys that it's often called the Grand Canyon of Korea. The river is surrounded by steep cliffs, with eight stretches of rapids of various sizes. As you raft downriver, you will enjoy beautiful scenery -- especially the waterfalls. In addition, the river's proximity to the border with North Korea offers an ideal opportunity for sightseeing the DMZ.

If Gangwon-do seems too far to travel because you live on the other side of the country, the Gyeonghogang (Gyeongho River), running along the eastern edge of Mt. Jiri National Park, and the stretch of river around the Sancheong area are also good places for rafting.

The following is a list of some of the companies that cater to rafting on Korea's whitewater rivers. The sites are only in Korean, though.
⊙ Donggang: www.orayon.co.kr
⊙ Naerincheon: www.raftingland.com
⊙ Hantangang: www.raftingkorea.co.kr
⊙ Gyeonghogang: www.mslc.co.kr

NOTE: You can contact 02-1330 for help getting information from these site. For other rafting companies and other things to do in Korea, click here or go to Korea4Expats Living in Korea / Things to Do

Author Han Aran is a Korea.net Staff Writer

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