Whitewater Rafting & Elephant Trekking
Three-in-one Nature Tour in Phang Nga0
The three-in-a-day trip to Phang Nga Province combines elephant trekking, river rafting, and a waterfall excursion in green mountain forests, where there’s not a beach umbrella in sight. Beaches are fine but there’s a whole lot more to do in Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi provinces.
The Phuket-to-Phang Nga trip is only 90 minutes, but the wise make use of a convenience store to stock up on munchies, water, and maybe a coffee for the road. But even without coffee the drive is a scenic, all-natural stimulant; you’re guaranteed to be wide awake on arrival.
And what an arrival it is. The minibus turns off the cliff-lined highway and makes its way down the narrow road, winding around green hills, over rivers, and past grazing cattle before finally arriving at base camp. Complimentary coffee, tea, soda and water are always available in the open air, riverside dining hall; lockers are provided so you can safely leave gear you don’t need before each activity.
- Phi Phi Island Speedboat Excursion
- Ao Phang Nga National Park Kayak Adventure
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Introduction to City Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Morning Sino Heritage Walk
- Koh Yao Noi Full-Day Bike Tour
Guests are divided up for the sake of crowd management and our group starts the day with an elephant ride. The mahout, casually sitting side-saddle on the elephant’s head with guests riding on a seat behind him, chatted softly to his charge while we rumbled along the trail, worn to a deep trench.
The elephants know where they’re going and require food, lots of it, so the jungle is a feast for these easily-distracted eating machines. And, while the ride was interesting, feeding them bananas afterwards was even better.
Back at headquarters, all the groups meet up for our trip downstream. The peak tourist season is also the peak dry season, and faced with a river full of too-dry boulders, it’s hard to imagine anything larger than a leaf being able to float these waters.
Luckily, the tin mining operations of the past left reservoirs; open the dam and the river shows a different side. The helmets, life vests, and thorough (while funny) safety briefing are starting to make sense. “If you fall in the water, remain calm and raise your hand like this.”
Each raft shuttles four passengers and two guides down the river. Today’s flotilla consists of at least 10 dinghies. Nobody stays dry for long. When the rapids come, all oars get to work. During the monsoons, every set of rapids is a chance to be thrown into the water. The dry season removes their fangs, but they’re a rush nonetheless. Forty-five minutes later the guides are heaving the rafts into the back of trailer and we’re being shuttled back to camp. It’s time to eat.
The massive teakwood picnic tables are already set when we return. With a salad bar for starters, loads of tasty Thai food – soup, omelettes, cashew nut chicken, deep-fried fish, vegetables, rice – as the main course, and a bounty of fresh pineapple and watermelon for dessert, nobody leaves hungry. The staff is attentive and quick to supply chillies or refill the rice bowl.
Refueled and rested, six of us pile in the back of a truck for the five-minute drive, followed by a five-minute mini-hike, to the waterfall. The water is cold and invigorating and guests wade in the shallow pool, stand under nature’s shower like actors in a shampoo commercial, and cheer the guide who executes a back flip into the water from the cliff above.
Just like a stroll through Old Phuket Town, this trip offers a glimpse of Thailand that can’t be purchased in glossy postcard form. In distance, it’s not too far away. But in experience, it’s a whole new world.
Phuket ATV Tour
- Tel: +66 (0)76 617 747
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