White water rafting was a major highlight of my Phuket trip, for the simple reason of it being one of the few adrenaline pumping activities that we partook during the three days. As I am not a true adrenaline junkie, white water rafting seemed to me as a milder choice as compared to say, cliff diving or other extreme sports.
After touring around Island Safari, our journey to the rafting camp took off from literally a middle of nowhere. Originating at a van, we were transferred onto the back of a truck, which brought us uphill in a terrifying speed.
Fifteen minutes later we vacated the truck and our tour leader escorted us into the camp. Each one of us was given a spacious locker to put our belongings, which include our clothings and slippers. Afterwards, we proceeded on for a safety briefing, conducted by the river. Instructors taught us how to position ourselves inside the raft, what to do with our dangling legs and where to hold during the ride. While we were briefed, guides began preparing rafts by throwing them off cliff easily. I was impressed by how they managed to stand tall despite navigating on a steep cliff with slippery rocks.
Once the guides were ready, we began boarding the raft. Each raft could hold a maximum of four people excluding two guides. Getting in the raft was not as challenging as I thought it would be because we kind of descended into it from the steps. We did not have to paddle during the ride because none of us knew how to, and we basically just sat on the side of the raft, going wherever the guides led us to, while clinging desperately onto a rope so as not to fall off the raft.
The most thrilling part was when the raft went down steep slope, or rapid current. It was exciting, but without falling feeling. More often than not, we flew off our seats and banged onto the person in front when the raft accelerated, or when the guides hit the rocks purposefully. After the 5 km mark, the ride grew increasingly exciting. Last 2 km of the ride was when the current became faster and the drop, steeper. We had loads of fun shouting and holding our butts in place.
I also particularly enjoyed the guides hospitality and lame sense of humour, that showed despite them not being able to communicate fluently in English.
Our white water rafting experience was also enhanced by the rain that day, which made the ride more thrilling, nerve wrecking, and provide a more holistic experience. Up until today, I can still remember the feeling of cold rain water on my face, coupled with the water from the river on my bums.
Ah, and writing this makes me miss Phuket a lot 🙂