On The Road

Day 117-118 Rafting into Mae Hong Son

We’ve just spend 2 days off the bicycle rafting into Mueang Mae Hong Son from amphur Pai, the river was medium level the ride was fun not scary. It was maybe 12 hours on the water over two days, and stayed in very simple camp on the banks of the river.

We choose Thai Adventure Rafting because of the 23 years experience in the region, the great reviews in guide books and on the web and the fact they are the only company to take tours down the Pai river from Pai valley to the Mae Hong Son valley.

Since we’ll be cycling back to Pai it means that we will still cycle one way for the whole way, saving us some hills and making the whole trip a great experience.

We where lucky enough to have Mike he’s been working on Pai river for over 15 years with Thai Adventure Rafting and new every corner of the river with expert knowledge his English skill where strong and he sense of humor was great. He made for an exceptions guide.

The rafting was not that hard work, the currents where strong enough to do most of the work for us, with our group of 4 people (including the guide) putting in bursts of paddling for 6-8 strokes to maneuver our raft into the correct positioning to make it thru the rapids.

The tour boasts 60 rapids over the 60 kms, and honestly I have no idea how many we went over, but I can tell you it was plenty, between boughs of regular rapids to the long strengths of calm river we could swim in, we had plenty of time to enjoy all aspects of the ride.

Along the way we enjoyed seeing many different types of bird life, snakes in the trees, white faced gibbons (not so far some camp) plus amazing scenery and views. Overall I was happy the group was some just 4 people in our boat with one else for many miles, at time we all sat in the quiet just watching nature float by.

We stopped at a small natural water slide, hot springs bubbling from the bank of the river, playing in the crystal clear streams that flowed into the Pai river. The had plenty of short breaks to make sure you arms where up the task of paddling for a whole day, but not enough to become bored.

Floating down river in our vest made for great fun, just alongside the raft it was great way to cool off and gave the rafting trip another dimension. Not only on the water but also in it.

During the last few hours our guide gave us some extra fun by ‘surfing’ some waves in the raft, and playing around the safe deep rapids. We overturned once flipping the boat and flying out into the river, Natt was filing and we have it on video. It was just…

I lost my paddle but the other managed to keep hold, our guide must have eagle like eyes because once we’d all landed on the shore, we disappear up the bank and came back minutes later with it in his hand. He was a great help with everything.

Although the base camp was very basic, and wild, it was run, but most importantly there was plenty of awesomely cooked farang-friendly Thai food for us to eat, making sure we didn’t go hungry.

The camp became dark quickly and the fireflies came out, everywhere we look was flashing lights of these little bugs it made for some entertainment after that we sat around the candles and chatted until we went to bed. It was pretty early but we’d have a great day.

In the morning breakfast awaited us, then we repacked and headed off into the torrent of water. A great way to start the day, you can tell Mike loved his job as a guide and the water felt like his natural home, making us feel very relaxing and able to enjoy our day.

We will take today off in Mae Hong Son to find the bicycle shop, visit the post office and also the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Then we cycle back to Pai over 2 or 3 days depending on how bad the hills are.

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