Rainy season is the most boring period of the year, someone might think like this. “I don’t wanna get wet, I don’t wanna stuck somewhere because of raining”, “I don’t want to tramp in the mud” bla bla bla. I suggest you delete these ideas in your head because there are a lot of activities and places that you can do or visit in rainy seasons especially Thailand a country with a tropical climate.
I have experienced in rafting couple times in Thailand one in south of Thailand and the latest one in Chiang Mai province. Today I will review only rafting in Chiang Mai province because it impressed me quite a lot.
In the south of Chiang Mai, Mae Wang is a quiet place of the traditional Thailand where everyone can enjoy elephant riding, trekking in the forest with visit of hill tribe villages, and bamboo rafting in a crystal-clear(but sometime it’s not that clear due to flooding) stream.Mae Wang river is a very popular rafting places ,the best time is during rainy season(june-early october).
A visit of the Doi Inthanon National Park is also well worth at any season, as everyone will appreciate cooler temperatures on the highest summit in Thailand and escape for a time the heat of the low lands.You can also have elephant riding as well but mostly it come in a packaged. I used to ask the operator about fee for 50 minutes elephant riding it would cost you around 450-500THB for children and 800-1,000THB for adult (price may varied and negotiable).
How to get there?
You can go by car,motorcycle,yellow track taxi,or even hitchhiker! ,the distance is about 50 kilometre away from Chiang Mai Old Town.Use highway 108(Chiang Mai-Hod District),drive for about 21km. then turn right to Mae Wang District by use Ror Por Chor Road number 12039 and 10240(Maewin-Maekaew) drive further 36 km. will get to National Park Headquarter.
Is it expensive?
I would say no, instead that’s quite cheap. It costs 250THB/raft(around $10), food and beverage you can bring by your own or you can stop by along the stream which there are some cottages where foods,snacks,beverage available, the price would be a little more expensive than convenience store. Some cottage seems to be quite high from stream but don’t be worry they use cable to delivering.
One float bamboo raft would be suitable for 4-5 members,you can do rafting by your own or 50THB more for experienced driver. Mostly renting time for bamboo raft is unlimited(may ask the operator for confirmation),you can raft and stop anywhere you like normally rafting down stream might take 3-4 hours depends on your stop.
Is it suitable for everyone?
Hmmmm I think so,because of the stream is not that deep (average 80-100cm) but some part of stream may fast-flow,better choose the strongest one to heads the raft and wear helmet and life jacket all the time.
Where can we get a raft?
When you drive along the road to the stream you will find many homey restaurant, ask them and they will guide where you can rent bamboo raft. Some cottage may have sign which sometime written in english. Then there will have a truck pick you up to the floating site and you guys can start float downstream to where you park the car.
Mostly at the beginning of rafting the operators will drop you at the area which stream is not that fast-flow to let you guys have some practice and know how to work as a team. Water way is sometime smooth and calm but sometime is adrenaline rushed. There will be warning red sign along stream if there are fast-flow or bit difficult.
Tips and tricks for rafting
Stream at the beginning is more clean and clear than the lower one,if you want to swim you better swim here.
Ride the raft is not that easy but it is very fun, don’t expect that you will never get wet after rafting. Dry clothes should be prepared in your backpack.
Take a bamboo stick bar (use for pushing while rafting) with you all the time when you stop along stream, it can be lost sometime somewhere but don’t be worry if you loose it there will be no further surcharge. You can bring your camera/video recorder together with you but makes sure they have water proof housing and recommended to find small rope to tie your equipment with the raft, I was quite sure that you do not want to stand on your raft and look at your gadgets flow quickly ahead of you and say good bye to them.
Some homey restaurant along stream may have Thais’s local menu (papaya salad,roasted pork for example)makes sure that you can eat them without any complications because there might be bad day for you.
At some part of stream might be very narrow caused the water fast-flow stand low and tight ,the raft might hit the rocks you and your members could fall in to the water this could be the most fun part of rafting and the most dangerous part at the same time don’t forget to wear helmet!. You don’t need to worry about bamboo raft because it used same slogan with Titanic Ship “unsinkable”.
Avoid Thailand’s long weekend which you might experience raft jams!
After read this article do you feel like want to get up from comfy sofa ,stop watching soap-opera and do some fun activities in this boring rainy season together!
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