Feel like a little thrill to change a bit from lazy days on the beaches of Phuket and wild nights of Bangla? Here is an activity that will give you a serious adrenaline rush! White water rafting on the Song Preak river in Phang Nga forest, followed by some elephant trek in the jungle. Of course nothing to compare with the Grand Canyon, but on the other hand you don’t need to be experienced or even fit to enjoy it. Even kids can join.
The river is located outside Phuket in Khaosok within Phang Nga province and a mini bus took us there. On arrival we were given our gear: a life jacket and a helmet as well as a short briefing about safety and paddling. In fact, a guide will do most of the work so if you have no idea how it works, just hang on to the ropes, scream and enjoy the ride.
Once everyone was ready, we boarded the rafts and gently started to drift away from the river bank, nice and easy, and just when we started to think “Oh this isn’t so bad! it’s a lot easier than I thought”, the water suddenly started to rush, lifting the raft and, taking us down the stream at full speed! The guides were experts at guiding the boats through the river passages and most passengers were too busy screaming and laughing to do much anyway.
After a short while which strangely felt very long for some, the boats finally reached calmer waters where we could swim and calm down from all the excitement.
The trick I found out later is a small dam holding the water on high grounds for several hours. Once the rafts start moving, the floodgates are opened, releasing a large amount of water at once, hence the sudden increase of speed. I found out about it as I was taking these photos: I stood on an isolated rock, just a step away from the bank, when I suddenly saw the water rising around me, and instead being 50 cm from me, the river bank was suddenly a meter away and it was just getting further by the second! That day, I broke the world record of ‘long jump with a camera’.
Back to the rafts, a truck took all wet passengers to a nearby small waterfall where we had a bit more time to play until it was time to get back the camp where nice thai lunch was served. The mood is pretty joyful and happy as the thrill gave way to a lot of totally unjustified bragging.
Later we had a short thirty minutes elephant ride through a light forest, crossing some small stream. A lot better than on Phuket island as the nature is a lot more dense. Time flew a lot faster than expected and we had to board the mini bus back to Phuket.