My Experince Rafting with 8Adventures

First hand account of the 10 Km rafting tour.

One activity that I was determined not to miss whilst travelling in Thailand was White Water Rafting and I was fortunate enough to get the experience I was hoping for. I had planned most of my trip prior to leaving home and research led me to a Chiang Mai tour operator with rave reviews, 8Adventures. From the outset it was clear that these guys were the real deal, the rafting was amazing and at no point did it feel risky or unsafe.

On the journey from my hotel to the rafting base camp we watched a safety video that gave pointers on rafting technique and was a good introduction to the commands and how to help not capsize the raft! This briefing was just the start, as before we jumped in the boats a thorough training exercise took place, with drills for ‘over right’ which involved diving to the opposite side of the boat and tips on the correct way to hold the paddle, swim in the water and get rescued effectively. It did leave me wondering about the size of the rapids and the likelihood of capsizing but after the adrenaline rush of the first section of whitewater I forgot my worries and begun to fully enjoy the experience. 

 

After the safety talk, our life jackets and helmets were checked and tightened by the guides before we were allowed in the boats. The first few minutes on the water were spent co-ordinating strokes with fellow paddlers and checking we understood the commands. In my boat were two sisters from Taiwan and our guide made sure they were confident with the instructions before we drifted under a bridge and into our first bit of white water. The sound of rushing water and command to ‘get down!’ was exhilarating and after making it through the small rapids we stopped for a breather and high five of paddles. The skill of the boat captain to steer us through the rocks and spin us into the fast flowing channels was remarkable and gave me confidence for the upcoming rapids.

Next was a quiet section of river and after a water fight with the other rafts we jumped in the water to swim as we drifted down stream. The flow of the water was quite powerful and the guides reminded me to get me feet up and facing forward to avoid getting caught on any rocks or debris in the water. The Taiwanese girls didn’t swim as they were wearing contact lenses, something I would try to avoid. We didn’t capsize on the day I went out, but on the bigger rapids the water soaked us and I would imagine it would be impossible to avoid getting water in your eyes

After swimming in the river, the guide pulled me back into the boat by the straps of the lifejacket as demonstrated in the safety talk. At this point an 8Adventures safety kayaker came along to give us a briefing that we were about to go into the hardest section of the river. He checked that the guides had retightened our helmets and life jackets and told all the boats that it was really important to obey the commands. This attention to detail and focus on everyone’s safety was commendable. 

It was with much anticipation that we entered the first of several big rapids. There had been rain the evening before and the river level was quite high. I was happy to see a safety team stationed on the riverbank with ropes and safety kayakers. During the next few rapids everything was an exciting blur with some steep drops and sometimes we went through backwards. There were a few screams and a moment when our raft was balancing on a rock and it seemed as if it would capsize, but with everyone working together (over left!) we made it through safely.

It was with much anticipation that we entered the first of several big rapids. There had been rain the evening before and the river level was quite high. I was happy to see a safety team stationed on the riverbank with ropes and safety kayakers. During the next few rapids everything was an exciting blur with some steep drops and sometimes we went through backwards. There were a few screams and a moment when our raft was balancing on a rock and it seemed as if it would capsize, but with everyone working together (over left!) we made it through safely. 

The screams soon became cheers, we paddled hard and felt a sense of achievement as we became more confident after each rapid. Going through the rapids one raft at a time we were able to watch other people and see the look of excitement on their faces. We completed the ‘hard’ section and after a brief shower the sun came out and the remaining few kilometres were spent enjoying the scenery.

Arriving back at camp we had a hot shower and viewed the photos from our trip. I would definitely recommend 10KM whitewater and if your worried about the hard rapids they have a 8 km section skipping the hard parts. This is great because if your our with a group that is split on the difficulty both trips start together and finish together but there is van to take you around the most difficult part. rafting in Chiang Mai. It’s reassuring when a company prioritizes safety and spares no expenses on equipment. The guides were experienced and made the trip into a fun experience. Overall, 8Adventures had a feeling of responsibility and positivity and next time I’m in Thailand I’ll come back again!