“Gullibility is the key to all adventures. The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he who gets the most out of life.” ... G.K. Chesterton 1874 - 1936.
There are those who would spend their holiday lying on a beach. Some may cruise the oceans in a luxury liner. Then there are those who choose to push the envelope; to take life by the scruff of the neck, and accept nature’s challenge. In a bid to satisfy the needs of this last group of intrepid travellers, Danai Wongthongbang and his wife Rakdao founded “Chiangmai Adventure”, more than 10 years ago.
Chiangmai Adventure offers a series of programmes, tailor-made to fit each group of customers and guaranteed to meet the adrenalin rush demanded by those seeking to push the boat out, as it were. Whitewater rafting is not for the faint-hearted, but neither is it a dangerous sport when done in the company of well-trained and experienced people. Chiangmai Adventure has on its staff some of the most experienced raft captains and rescue teams in the country. Khun Danai insists that his team members undergo regular training at the hands of professionals from the Royal Thai Army, and a visiting expert in river rafting from New Zealand.
The management of Chiangmai Adventure are rightly proud of a track record which has earned them prestigious awards from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. While the company sets out to make your adventure holiday a memorable one, the emphasis is firmly on safety. From the moment you step aboard one of their air-conditioned vans in Chiang Mai to set out on your adventure trip, it becomes obvious that your safety is their prime concern.
Chiangmai Adventure offers a wide range of adventure programmes; some comprising whitewater rafting, All Terrain Vehicle rides, mountain biking, and elephant trekking as individual events. They also offer programmes involving two or more of these activities; each geared to suit the customers’ needs.
Whichever permutation you choose Chiangmai Adventure guarantee that you will have fun in safe hands.
Just one of the many programmes on offer is the one-day trip involving whitewater rafting on the Mae Taeng River, and riding an All Terrain Vehicle along a mountain trail in the Chiang Dao range. One of the company’s air-conditioned vans will transport you from your accommodation in Chiang Mai on a two-hour drive north to Sobkai village on the banks of the Mae Taeng where you will be given a briefing by your raft captain, followed by a chance to practise your skills paddling your rubber raft in calm water.
Practice session over, it’s time to don your lifejacket and crash helmet before heading downstream. The ten-kilometre course from Sobkai to the finishing point at another riverside village downstream takes about two, to two and a half hours, depending on river conditions. The journey is divided into three sections with the first and third being relatively calm, and the middle section containing the whitewater rapids. Children under 6 and adults over 72 are usually advised to avoid the middle section and to take the riverside trail with a guide before re-boarding the raft at the start of section three. That mid- section of the Mae Taeng contains some of the best whitewater rafting in all of Thailand, with turbulent water crashing and swirling around boulders as it sweeps your raft through deep gorges on its way to calmer waters downstream.
On reaching Mueng Kuad village, you disembark, wet, breathless, with adrenalin coursing through your body, and change into dry clothes before lunch. Included in the price of the day trip is a menu offering such items as fried chicken, spring rolls, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and water. Suitably fed and watered, it’s time for a brief introduction to your very own All Terrain Vehicle; a 250 cc, petrol-powered dune buggy for the 30 kilometre ride through some of Thailand’s most awe-inspiring scenery. The jungle trail takes you through the rich, green forests of the Chiang Dao range, stopping to visit Akha and Lisu hill tribe villages before rejoining Chiangmai Adventure’s air-conditioned van for the return trip to Chiang Mai, where you can vie for the bragging rights to tell fellow travellers of your adventure.
Chiangmai Adventure advise that you should pack a spare T-shirt and shorts to change into following your rafting trip, and say that it’s helpful to have some knowledge and skill in riding a motorcycle before taking on their All Terrain Vehicles. That said, expert guidance is on offer throughout the day.
Address : 23/1 Sripoom Rd., (north of Old City), Chiangmai Tel: 053-418197-8, 053-418534.
Copyright © 1995-2014 Welcome to Chiangmai and Chiangrai magazine All rights reserved.