Wednesday, February 21, 2007 Thailand Thailand

Quad biking and whitewater rafting

Finished white water rafting [Enlarge]

Our pick up arrived on schedule at 08:20 this morning to take us out to Mae Tang for our day of excitement. There were six other people on the hour-long MPV ride: a German couple of about our age who were going mountain biking in the morning, then joining us for the rafting in the afternoon, and a family from upstate New York who were on the same programme as us. We dropped the Germans, Cornie and Michael, at their biking location and carried on uphill.

Our first activity was All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) driving, otherwise known as quad biking. We got helmets, gloves and a mesh scarf to cover our nose and mouth, and the expedition leader gave us a briefing on how to use the ATV. It was a bigger and more sophisticated one than we thought it would be, with a 250cc engine and five-speed gearbox.

After a quick practice we hit the road. We had a forty kilometre route to cover through the jungle. The trail was very dry and rough, but it was pretty easy ground for the ATVs. We got back to base three hours later with dust in every place.

After a lunch of salad, chicken and fresh fruit, we were ready for some rafting action. Again we had an instruction briefing and then we got into groups of four. We teamed up with Cornie and Michael who had spent their morning mountain biking. We got in the raft and then our skipper ran through the instructions with us again. Once he was happy that we knew our right from our left, our forwards from our backwards and our 'get down' from our 'on the job' he pushed the raft into the flow and we set off.

Because Thailand is well into its dry season at the moment the water level was fairly low and the river was therefore not too violent. In the monsoon season the rapids can be up to grade 4+. But today they were probably only grade 3 in all honesty. Parts of the route were a gentle meander through beautiful scenery which our skipper made more interesting by having us declare war on another raft. He also made up for the fact that the rapids hadn't been rough enough to capsize us, by ordering us over to one side of the raft so that he could tip it over by himself. During the rough sections we had needed to move to one side a few times, and he was such a good skipper that we obediently complied when he suddenly shouted "over left!", even though we were now on a flat section. Duh!

Eventually we arrived at the end of the course, where we had started the ATV ride from earlier in the day. We lifted the raft up the bank. There were cubicles where we could have a wash and change our clothes, and cold drinks which were very welcome. The company had been videoing us from the bank as we ran the rapids and had the footage showing on a TV, with the option to buy the DVD for 300 baht. They said they would deliver it to each guest house the same evening so we decided to buy it. Dressed in clean, dry clothes we climbed back into the MPV to be driven back to Chiang Mai.

We had a fantastic day. Both activites were pitched just right for us: challenging enough and long enough to be exciting and a proper experience of each activity. In the UK we would have paid probably five times as much for a fifth the experience. We're pretty tired and we have an early start tomorrow, so we stayed in the guest house for dinner. In the morning we will head north to explore a little of rural Thailand before we visit our fifteenth country, Laos.

The DVD of the rafting was delivered to the guest house as promised but we can't persuade it to let us take screen grabs, so we're afraid there is no photographic evidence of the day apart from the photo above of the rafts after we had finished.


Jimmy K. said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoy your post.

Glenn Livett said...

Thanks Jimmy K! We are enjoying doing the stuff too :-)

rafting cagayan de oro said...

Thats a perfect adventure! ^_^. how much it cost for two person?im interested in that too.thanks.