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Bamboo rafting/ Chiang Mai

  • mago2

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2013
    Posts: 9

    When we booked our trip to SEA the person recommended us doing a bamboo rafting experience as it's a 2-3 days journey with tribes from Chiang Mai, has anyone done it?
    Also we worry a bit as we will be there during late July / beginning of August so during the monsoon time, is it worth doing it then? We will be travelling from Laos, from LP and then we were thinking about the Gibbon Experience and tree houses (although it seems to be a bit pricey... is there anything in Thailand, similar to that?)

    Would much appreciate any further advice and tips! We are 3 students so rather tight on a budget, but once we are in SEA we want to make the most of it!

    #1 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 07:50

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  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2010
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 545
    Places visited:
    At least 9

    Change "bamboo rafting" to "white water rafting" and I'd be interested.

    If you idea of fun is to sit on a bamboo raft watching the scenery pass by slowly, than go ahead.

    #2 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 18:16

  • mago2

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2013
    Posts: 9

    Usually what works for me is to give me water and I can have fun. Although I imagine bamboo rafting as something clearly more exciting I see there are other options as well - i did white water rafting several times in US and Australia, but Thailand sounds just about right. Could you tell me more about it then?

    #3 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 18:27

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Floating down a river on a raft is a pleasant experience as is visiting from villages. Pretty hard to predict weather, even the pros get it wrong a lot. August can be wet but that might make the rivers more exciting.

    #4 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 19:54

  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2010
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 545
    Places visited:
    At least 9

    I wish I could tell you more about white water rafting in Thailand but it totally skipped my mind to do it when I was in Thailand. But googling for "White water rafting Chiang mai" should produce enough leads for you. Usually white water rafting in SEA is done in the jungle areas so it can be a fantastic way to see the tropical rainforest.


    The bamboo rafting trip with the tribes people might be what you and your friends are looking for. As for me, I'd rather go white water rafting or kayaking. Different strokes for different folks.

    #5 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 21:36

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1645

    "When we booked our trip to SEA the person recommended us doing a bamboo rafting experience as it's a 2-3 days journey with tribes from Chiang Mai "

    Pretty much every group-based 2-3 day trek includes an hour or so of bamboo rafting, usually at the end of the last day before returning to Chiang Mai. It's a fairly unchallenging but novel experience for most travelers, just floating down the lower reaches of the river, not much "white water" involved although sometimes they throw in one little rapid at the end to get your heart going.

    Avoid pre-booking this from abroad or even in Bangkok. You'll inevitably pay too much and miss the opportunity to compare prices/experiences closer to the source. Price-wise a 2-3 day group trek (you plus 10 or so others) usually goes for around 1200-1500THB (USD40-50) per person and it's never a problem booking last-minute, despite the usual BS stories that "trekking all full unless you book now with me, blah blah blah". Hint: If you're staying at a cheap guesthouse in Chiang Mai this is a good place to check for trekking options, as they will usually store your big backpack and keep a room for you while you go trekking. It's not unusual to find rooms "full" if you booked the trek elsewhere. Just saying.

    "Also we worry a bit as we will be there during late July / beginning of August so during the monsoon time, is it worth doing it then?"

    Of course it can be rainy, and for trekking wear sturdy shoes with good grip, not flipflops which do badly on slippery muddy hills. But it can also be sunny and hot (then you'll welcome the next evening rain no doubt). The jungle will be lush and green with croaking happy frogs at night, really pleasant once you get past the mud. Also the rivers will be running high, or even too high so check conditions if you go white water rafting as it can be kinda crazy then.

    Coming through northern Laos, if you're taking buses allow extra time for landslides which are not uncommon in wet season and can block roads for hours or more. From LP take the Mekong slow boat to Huay Xai and if you book the GibbonX make sure you're at the office 5pm the day before (allow time for boat/bus arriving late). Laos time is slow time. Enjoy!

    #6 Posted: 26/2/2013 - 00:57

  • mago2

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2013
    Posts: 9

    This helps a lot! Thank you very much. I think we would rather go for the white water!

    Captain_Bob, yes, we were originally thinking about staying be Huay Xai to do the Gibbon experience, but we are put off by prices...And reading most of reviews the chances of seeing a gibbon are very small. We found some similar activities (tree house, gibbon flight) in Chiang Mai area anyway, so we might just extend our stay there. Can we get from LP directly to Chiang Mai? Thanks about the tip about timing in Laos, I will have to lower up my temper about 'we should be there by now' ;)

    #7 Posted: 26/2/2013 - 01:50

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1645

    "Can we get from LP directly to Chiang Mai?"

    The only "direct" way is Lao Airlines one-hour flight, for around $150-180 depending on when/where/who you book with. Otherwise you're looking at a 14+ hour overnight bus ride or two days slow boat or one-day speed boat to Huay Xai, then cross to Thailand (Chiang Khong border open 8am-6pm) then 6/7-hour bus or minivan to Chiang Mai. Minivans drivers often wait at the Thai side or get a Green Bus next morning to CM.

    There are several (increasingly competitive) treetop zipline outfits in the Chiang Mai area for around 1500-3000 baht, but actual Gibbon sightings are extremely rare, except for maybe in a cage. It can still be a nice adrenaline rush daytrip. Here's a partial list:

    http://www.treetopasia.com
    http://www.jungleflightchiangmai.com
    http://eagletrackchiangmai.com
    http://www.treetopflight.com
    http://skyjunglechiangmai.blogspot.com

    "I think we would rather go for the white water!"

    Then check out Siam Rivers
    http://www.siamrivers.com
    Or The Peak
    http://www.thepeakadventure.com

    But also river check conditions in peak rainy season. Sometimes after flash floods white water becomes brown water.

    #8 Posted: 26/2/2013 - 11:46

  • Alexandre81-
    00

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd August, 2013
    Posts: 5

    I am also rafting lover. Me and my wife also looking forward the right place in this regard. I read out interesting and informative ideas. This will be helpful for me. thanks everyone...

    #9 Posted: 22/8/2013 - 12:49

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