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Take a Bamboo Raft down the Jungle River

February 9th, 2012 • by Sandy Zimmerman

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Take a Bamboo Raft down the Jungle River


















(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

The schedule included a ride on a bamboo raft. I looked forward to visiting the Mai Taeng Elephant Camp, near Chiang Mai,   because it offered several attractions in one place. This was a real elephant camp where the elephants live and an authentic representation of village life in the jungle. Described as an all-in-one experience, visitors spend the day participating in a variety of interactive soft eco-adventures Thai-style.

Spend time at the elephant show, take a ride on an elephant, try a bamboo raft down the Mai Taeng River in the jungle, ride the ox cart in the rural countryside, eat at their buffet restaurant, see their handicrafts and elephant painting, and more.

It is a thrill to have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the Thai culture. I walked down to the small bamboo raft pier to watch the Boat and Pole Men prepare for the tour.

Each of the bamboo rafts were composed of around 20 bamboo poles placed together measuring around 16-19 feet long, tied together with jungle twine or flat bamboo ties. Seat benches were placed wide apart to accommodate the travelers.

The Pole Man stands near the tip of the long deck using a bamboo pole to guide the bamboo raft sometimes pushing them forward when the rivers became shallow.

It was a calm relaxing cruise with time to view the activities along the river. The elephants were moving down the small hill to join us in the river.

The Mai Taeng Elephant Camp would be a great place for a party for all ages!  Today people are searching for unique settings for weddings and theme weddings. What could top having the bride sitting on one bamboo raft while the groom and wedding party ride on other rafts being brought to a special bamboo raft for the ceremony?

These bamboo rafts were the traditional way their ancestors traveled across the rivers in ancient times when elephants weren?t available before cars. The rivers were very important for commerce to sell their goods. There are many different types of water craft.

In the villages, bamboo is used for their stilt houses, bridges, rafts, and in many other ways.

I compare the elephant camp to our Disneyland, all the rides for one price and in Thailand it is reasonable! The Mai Taeng Elephant Camp, called ?The Gateway to Adventure?, is located just 30 miles north of Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.


The roof of Thailand: Doi Inthanon National Park. With a maximum altitude of 8,415 feet above the sea level, Doi Inthanon reigns as the highest peak in the Kingdom.  This wonderful national park boasts many types of forest, and over 360 bird species, spectacular butterflies, wildlife, orchids and other distinct flora vie for the hiker's attention.