Bamboo rafting along one of the rivers in the hills around Chiang Mai is an adventure countless visitors have enjoyed over the past few decades. Bamboo rafting was incorporated into the adventure treks pioneer tour companies set up in the 1970s. The same treks and bamboo rafting in the Mae Taeng area are still available, but there also lots more choices for people to embark on this unique Northern Thailand voyage.
The rafts are just bamboo poles lashed securely together. The buoyancy of the bamboo ensures the crafts float easily. A guide is usually on board to pole and steer the rafts through sections of river where the current is slow. Most of the rivers are shallow and lifebelts are not usually mandatory, but they are available for those who wish to put them on.
Tour agencies in Chiang Mai offer bamboo rafting along the Mae Wang River in Mae Win and in the region between Mae Taeng and Chiang Dao. The bulk combine bamboo rafting with adventure tours which typically feature trekking or elephant riding. Most are more than happy to arrange rafting only tours if needed.
Trekkers have the choice of joining group tours or asking trek operators for tailor-made ones. There are scores of trekking agencies in the central areas of Chiang Mai. Many hotels and guesthouses have their own sightseeing and trekking tour desks too. The What’s Up have picked out some recommended agencies offering trekking tours from Chiang Mai.
Recommended Tour Agencies for Bamboo Rafting Tours:
Amazing Trekking | Mae Taeng Elephant Park | Next Step | Travel Hub | My Chiang Mai | Udomporn | Further Reading
*Note: Prices do change, we recommend you to check with the tour agencies before making reservations.
AMAZING TREKKING TOUR
Headquartered in Mae Taeng District, Amazing Trekking Tour offers bespoke adventures with departures from Chiang Mai. A one-day outing features trekking and about two hours on bamboo rafts plus stops at Lahu and Akha hilltribe villages and Mok Fa Waterfall. Three-day trips also go to Pong Dued hot springs and come with overnight stays in hilltribe houses. Packages are fully inclusive and meals, accommodation costs, entry fees and accident insurance are provided. Amazing Trekking Tour: #195, Phadeng Village, Mae Malai-Pai Rd., T. Pha Pae, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 05:00-19:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: 1 Day = 1,800-2,000 B / 2 Days = 3,000-4,000 B *price depends on group size* | Tel: +66 84 808 7663 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
MAE TAENG ELEPHANT PARK
Mae Taeng Elephant Park is roughly 50kms north of Chiang Mai and boasts a range of activities and experiences to suit all tastes. A one-day package visit gives the chance of elephant riding and a trip in an ox-cart with bamboo-rafting as an optional add-on. The camp’s boat operators say they know every inch of the Mae Taeng River and all their passengers need to do is sit back and enjoy the journey. Packages are available with transport included, or without. Mae Taeng Elephant Park: – T. Kud Chang, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-16:00 (Daily) | Park Packages: Adult US$54 / Child US$27 | Tel: +66 53 206 047 | Website | E-mail | Map
NEXT STEP THAILAND
Next Step Thailand is a leading operator of bespoke adventure tours. One of the company’s most popular bookings is a combo trekking, elephant-back riding and bamboo rafting trip to the Mae Taeng area. The raft section is an enjoyable jaunt through a sparsely populated forested region which takes those on the rafts back to nature as it should be. Next Step’s Mae Taeng options are between two and seven days long and include round-trip transfers, overnight accommodation, meals and stops at Lahu or Karen hilltribe villages and waterfalls. Next Step Thailand: #The Urbana 4, #345/172, M. 4, T. Mae Hia, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 501000 | Open: 07:00-20:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: 2 Days = US$230-400 / 3 Days = US$250-500 *price depends on group size* | Tel: +66 89 264 3738 | Website | Facebook | Map
Travel Hub is a Chiang Mai based activity and sightseeing tour operator with an office just 20 metres from Thapae Gate. Travel Hub’s one-day Mae Wang special is a great way of taking in bamboo rafting, elephant riding, a short jungle trek and visits to a Karen hilltribe village and a waterfall for those on limited schedules. This excursion includes transport and lunch.
Travel Hub: #2, Chaiyaphum Rd., T. Chang Moi, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: 1 Day = 1,000-1,800 B / 2 Days = 1,300-2,000 B *price depends on group size* | Tel: +66 53 232 931 | Fax: +66 53 232 932 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
MY CHIANG MAI TOUR
My Chiang Mai Tour is another one-stop location for activities ranging from golf and cooking courses to trekking with bamboo rafting and elephant rides. The trekking tours are typically one to three days long, although custom ones are an option, to Mae Wang or Mae Taeng. The rafting portion of the trip is long enough to get a feeling for the activity. Transport from hotels in Chiang Mai, accommodation and meals are all included. My Chiang Mai Tour’s office is on Ratchaphakhinai Road in the Old City. My Chiang Mai Tour: #67, Ratchapakinai Rd., T. Phra Singh, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: 1 Day = 900-1,500 B / 2 Days = 1,200-1,900 B *price depends on group size* | Tel: +66 53 271 631, +66 88 434 3199 | Fax: +66 53 271 631 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
Udomporn Tour offers combined trekking and adventure expeditions which have bamboo rafting trips built into them. This Chiang Mai Land Village based company does one-day Sanpatong-Mae Win tours in addition to multi-day ones to Chiang Dao, Mae Taeng, Pai and Mae Hong Son. Depending on the route, they take in the likes of Mok Fah Waterfall, Pong Dued Hot Springs, Lod Cave and Shan or Karen hill tribe villages plus elephant rides. The tours include insurance, transportation, accommodation meals and any applicable national park entry fees.
Udomporn Tour: #330/12, Chiangmailand Village, Chang Klan Rd., A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: N/A | Tel: +66 53 204 718 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map