Bamboo Rafting, Chiang Mai
Bamboo rafting is not as easy as i thought, or maybe i'm just too lousy, enjoyed myself though, wet all over. So, the 1 day trip got us elephant ride, trek to waterfall, bamboo rafting, and visit to the Hmong and Karen tribe villages. Good way to spend a day, if you're a keen trekker, take up the 3 days package, basically similar, but more walking, thats what i heard.
Among the activities that we did for the day, I enjoyed river rafting the most. The activity lasted for about an hour. The small raft traversed through a shallow stream with the help of a raftman (^o^ is this correct?...assumed it is as we are riding a raft instead of a boat). The place is tranquil and not very touristy so the ride was very relaxing. Along the way, we saw the beauty of nature...dragonflies, colorful birds, butterflies, unusual-looking insects and even water snake! At the end of it are dozens of huts with lots of locals having their picnic.
Please do not miss this one as some people do. My mother passed this one up because she thought it would be a rough ride. She got very tired from the initial hike that we did.
It would be nice if you could bring a waterproof camera...so many photo opportunities for those lovely creatures. The guide kept our camera for us because there is a big tendency that it will get wet.
Some people will call this bamboo rafting, but in my opinion, it is actually more of a ride on a bamboo raft since most of the time, all you have to do is sit.
This is also a rather environmental unfriendly activity to do because the operators apparently just throw away the bamboo raft after just one use!
What happens is that there are 2 rafters on the same raft as you who will be doing the actual rafting. The passengers basically just sit and well, enjoy the nice scenary. I did tried taking over for a while, but seriously, bamboo rafting is really much harder than it looks. ;-)
More information about this excursion can be found here.
At many of the elephant camps-you can go elephant riding, but also do some rafting. This isn't white water rafting-even though they do have that in Chiang Mai. This rafting is quite peaceful. You cruise down one of Chiang Mai' s small rivers/creeks on a bamboo raft. If you know Mark Twain's writings-think Huck Finn.
We went to the one at Maetamann
They also have ox cart rides
The last step of our trek-day was a rafting. The problem was that it was very, very low water and things got very congested. Instead of being really funny we ended up leaving the raft and walking the last bit.
Oh...and the pole you use to push/shove/steer with hit my eyebrow when it hit a low branch so that I began bleeding heavily. It all went well though.
Nevertheless it was a fun experience and a nice way to end the trek-day!