Tubing and rafting

Tubing and rafting

A good way to relax

More on Pai

The picturesque Pai River presents contrasting scenes, ranging from bucolic views as it winds its way past the farms, paddy and chalet resorts of the Pai Valley, to spectacular jungle-clad mountains as it slices through limestone hills beyond.

Travelfish says:
Ground zero. Photo by: Mark Ord.
Ground zero. Photo: Mark Ord

Tubing is the simplest and cheapest of the above and can be done most months of the year. This means it's inevitably the most popular things to do, with advertisements for tubing trips ubiquitous in Pai guesthouses and travel agents. Average price is 250 baht per person, which includes a transfer by tuk tuk or pick-up upriver a few kilometres (exactly how far will depend upon water levels), from where you float back downstream into town. Trips usually last an hour, though depending upon current and water levels, slightly shorter or longer options may be available for a few baht more or less.

Take care during rainy season, as the flow can be very strong—there will be monsoon period days when tubing activities are suspended—but mind your bum on the bottom during dry season! Do be sure to wear suitable attire—if you wear a bikini or go topless on the river, you’ll end up walking back through town in the same, which is not respectful of the locals. It’s a good idea to pack some spare dry clothes to leave at the agent’s office, along with your phone and wallet.

Another relaxing means to experience the Pai River and local countryside, bamboo rafting takes you at a slow pace downriver on long thin rafts made of lashed-together bamboo trunks. Between two and four passengers travel with a boatman, who punts the raft along with a long pole. Even without splashing, it’s highly likely that you will get wet, so luggage should again be left behind, and any valuables you do take, securely sealed up in ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 800 words.)

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Reviewed by

Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.

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