You’ll start your day nice and early – we’d recommend waking up at around 6:45am – before you are picked up at your doorstep between 8 – 8:30am and whisked away to the 8adventures complex in Mae Taeng.
A large breakfast is recommended as you won’t be eating again until around 1 o’clock, although bringing your own snacks is advised (as we learnt the hard way on the Mae Taeng River!) The one-and-a-half-hour drive to the complex is a great time to get to know your fellow thrill-seekers as you are likely to be spending the rest of your day with them.
Now, it’s time to prepare for the day’s activities. From the moment you take your first step on the 8adventure complex grounds you are made to feel extremely welcomed by the staff, who will lead you and your new comrades to designated seats.
It is here you will be briefed on the day’s activities, with free coffee and filtered water on standby. After being taken through a full safety briefing by two-time world champion kayaker and 8adventures CEO Eric Southwick, it’s time to drive 15-minutes upstream for the start of your white-water rafting adventure.
Here you will gear up with lifejackets, helmets and anoraks and introduced to your guide for the day, who will commandeer your raft. We had the pleasure of working with Dear, who is unmistakable for his curly shoulder length hair and infectious happy-go-lucky attitude. The guides will help you navigate the river by delivering clear instructions to you and your team.
The Mae Taeng River will be your home for the next three hours and can be broken down into three sections; the first of which will have you gawking at the stunning jungle backdrop whilst you get comfortable in your raft in what is the calmest section of the day.
Then it is time to crank up the temperature as you enter the middle section, which can only be described as non-stop action. Fast paced rapids weave through a minefield of rocks and it is here that teamwork is crucial. Your guide will lead the charge but working in unison with the others in the raft will help to ensure that no one falls into the river. Should that happen there is no need to fear; the banks are lined with staff who can help you out of any tight spot that you may find yourself in.
The third and final section of the river is a nice combination of sections one and two as you float past coffee farms, bamboo trees and elephants. Don’t get too caught up in the beauty around you though as there are more rapids to conquer before you head back to base camp.
The 8adventures staff will hand you complimentary towels for you to dry off with and you can take this opportunity to use the on-site showers should you feel the need to.
Being propelled through rapids for three hours can stir up quite the appetite so you will be relieved to know that it is now time for your complimentary lunch! We enjoyed a meal of chicken breast fried in breadcrumbs with rice and a salad, with a chicken soup on the side. Whilst you eat you can enjoy some action shots of your day, which are projected onto the screen above. These images are available to buy at the end for 500 baht and serve as the perfect souvenir for a memorable day out.
After lunch, it’s time for your secon activity of the day, which for us was the three-hour ATV tour. A trek through the jungle is also available for those who prefer to be on two feet rather than four wheels and, according to members of our group, was worthwhile for the stunning views alone.
For the ATV tour you will set off from the basecamp, where you will be suited-and-booted with protective gear that will have you feeling ready to participate in the X games (and provides a great opportunity for some pictures!). Long trousers and some form of eye protection (whether that be sunglasses or the available-to-rent goggles) are strongly advised as the ATVs kick up a LOT of dust on the off-road terrain.
Now it’s time to get to grips with the ATV. The on-sight training course is small but very useful in helping you to prepare for what lies ahead. Once the instructor feels you are comfortable enough to hit the road, it’s time to scale the mountain as you head towards the remote Huay Kub Kab village at its peak.
The road ahead really puts the ‘all terrain’ into ATV. You will pass over smooth tarmac streets, bumble through gravelly paths and viciously vibrate up and down jagged mountainous slopes. Your guides will schedule stops along the way so that you can appreciate the stunning views that only get better the higher up the mountain you go.
The prize for your thrilling ascent is some of the best views northern Thailand has to offer as you walk through the Huay Kub Kab village, saying hello to the locals and taking in the beautiful stretching landscape.
Your descent back down the mountain will provide a new challenge as the throttle becomes obsolete. Here, it is all about controlling your speed using the brakes and shifting your bodyweight so that you don’t topple over.
We then headed towards the Mae Taeng elephant camp, riding through farms and seeing tons of wildlife along the way. Your guides will put you through your paces with a fast-paced racecourse through the forest which will see you driving through lakes and sand.
Park your ATVs on the riverbank and observe the elephants bathing in the water for your final stop of the tour. This serves as a great opportunity to take some quick snaps and to reflect on the days activities before you drive back to basecamp for the final time.
Now it’s time to make use of the on-sight showers as you wash off the dirt collected from three hours of off-roading. The staff will provide you with plastic bags to put your dirty clothes in, before you change into your clean outfit and head back to your accommodation in the city.
Overall, the 8adventures white water rafting and ATV tour package succeeds in delivering adventure in the truest sense of the word. The facilities and staff are superb throughout and really elevate the experience, helping to make even novice adventurers feel comfortable in performing the day’s activities.
Each route is planned to perfection with a good mix of adrenaline pumping action and serene sights. You are accommodated every step of the way regardless of your experience level which goes a long way in helping you to fully enjoy each activity.
What to bring:
For white water rafting – Swimsuit, water shoes, sunscreen (towels and waterproof jackets are provided.)
For the ATV tour – Sunglasses, face covering, light full-length trousers, boots or trainers and a change of clothes (you WILL get dirty!)
Where to find 8adventures:
Telephone no.: 08 9000 7728
10km White water rafting + ATV tour: 5,900 Baht
8km White water rafting + ATV tour: 4,500 Baht
ATV passenger: 4,800 Baht
White water rafting only: 3,000 Baht
ATV tour only: 3,500 Baht