Bamboo Rafting in Chiang Mai

I’ve always wanted to experience riding an elephant, so I went to Chiang Mai to relax and ask about trips available.

After examining the different combinations I decided to go on an elephant excursion. The next step was a visit to a few hill tribes. Then, I rode an ox raft that was made of bamboo through the river.

The next day, at 8.30 I made it into the lobby of my hotel to meet my guide who was waiting to meet me. We exchanged greetings and I was ushered in the van. We picked up four other curious travelers from various accommodation options located in Chiang Mai. I was the first one to be taken away.

After about an hour of travel, we finally reached the camp of elephants. We got from the people carriers and crossed a rope bridge. The next vehicle we saw was enjoying a meal of palm leaves. After a brief introduction and a talk from our guide we were ready to leave.

It was simple to get onto the elephant as the platform was made of wood that we could sit on at elephant’s high point. Visit:-

It took us around an hour to travel through the forest. It didn’t appear to be following any specific path. We simply fell across the forest. I always thought that the elephant ride should be more comfortable. But, it was more like a fair-ground ride. It could be because of the steep slope or perhaps the nature of my elephant being in a rush to devour everything it saw instead of following the Mahout’s directions.

The most difficult aspect was getting off the elephant. The Dutch couple was the first to try to get off the elephant, but this time on the wooden platform. But, when the lady got onto that platform her elephant began to wander away. One of the tour guides tried to hold it , but she lost control and fell 10 feet down to the floor of the forest. I don’t know what happened however, it is possible that she was an Acrobat.

The incident made me feel content. I was able to access the platform with no issues.

After leaving the elephants, we hopped back on the people carriers and drove 30 minutes to visit the Hmong Village which is an indigenous hill tribe which has women who weave using the traditional method that has been handed over generations over hundreds of years. Local children were given the chance to steal from unsuspecting tourists, and earn some cash.

After my time in the village, I was captivated by the massive animals that were tied to the homes. Then we walked through the forest to the waterfall, where we could all bath and cool off. The guide led us for a stroll through the lush, green jungle that was one of the most stunning I’ve ever witnessed. Then we entered the village of White Karens, and could observe their lives as they lived. It was humbling to observe the basic life these people lead. Also, I was amazed by the level of contentment these people were in comparison to us with all the modern conveniences.

We had the opportunity to relax under the shade and enjoy an informal chat with our hosts as they cooked the lunch. The meal was basic rice and vegetable meal, topped and an egg omelette.

Following lunch, we went to Bamboo Rafting. I thought they would be tiny boats, however they were really bamboo poles connected. There were 3 people in the raft. We were equally spaced across the length of the rafts. Our driver was at the front, and utilized a thin, long pole to propel us along. It was a peaceful and slow cruise along the river. We were sometimes interrupted by kids diving into the river out of the banks. It was one of my favourite parts of the day, just floating down the river and listening to the sounds of birds and insects.

It was a wonderful experience when I had to remove the pole and stand. It was like I was back to the past. The “poleman” behind me believed it would be amusing to throw his pole right in front of me, to make me nervous. However, I am blessed with my sea legs, so I could just smile with him and maintain my equilibrium.


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