The bamboo rafting experience in Mt Wuyi is one of the kind. Instead of rushing down rapids with lots of splashes, you find your self floating down a gentle river.
Have you ever seen an ant on a leaf floating very gently down a stream and wondered what it might feel like? Then this bamboo raft floating experience will probably satisfy your curiosity.
The raft is made by bamboo tied together with wires. 6 or 8 bamboo seats are placed for customers. They are not secured to the raft and if you have kids, make sure they behave and sit down. Some part of the rivers can be 30m deep!
This mode of transportation had been around since ancient time. It is very ecological and each raft can only last 3 years at most before they start to degenerate. As you step onto the bamboo raft, your weight will cause the raft to ‘sink’ a bit. You find yourselves standing in the water. If you don’t want your feet and shoes to get wet, it is advisable to wear rain shoes or boots. Once seated, you”ll find a leg rest in front of you. That will help keep your feet out of the water for the rest of the 9 km journey.
The journey starts when the boatman pushes the raft off the shore with long bamboo pole. The creaking bamboo straining under the weights of 8 adults was concerning at first. However, it soon blend in with the sound of nature.
Surrounded by mountain peaks of various shapes and sizes, I became entranced by the poetic scenery and forgot my worries of the raft falling apart.
If you take the first boat around 6am, you might experience mist and fog. Adding on to the picturesque & enchanting experience.
The raft move along slowly, pushed by the boatman using long bamboo poles. The clacking sound made by bamboo hitting against the riverbed create a hypnotic rhythm as we cruise along this meandering river.
Although you already paid for the boat ride when you purchase the ticket, many people recommended giving a tip to the boatman.
My group of travellers agreed to do so and each one of us contributed RMB20 each. For a party of 6, we gave 120 rmb as a token of appreciation. As advised by our tour guide, we gave the tips at the beginning of the ride.
For that, the boatman told stories, recommended where to look and what to look out for. (At certain angles, the stone formations resembles animals.) Adding some interest to the ride. Pun and jokes aplenty, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise with lots of laughter.
Unfortunately, the boatman only speaks Chinese. Even if you don’t speak chinese. The boatman made stops at specific scenic points when you tip them.
Otherwise, they will just take you from start to end point, without any stops. We noticed Japanese and Korean tour group zipping past our raft without stopping for pictures.
Standing up to take a picture on the bamboo raft is a bit of a challenge though. Imagine walking on a floating board in the pool. But its additional fun for me. I think it is quite safe.
- Travel light. There are no place to put your stuff.
- Hold on to your phone and camera carefully. Some part of the river is 30m deep and retrieving it should be quite impossible if you drop it there.
- wear boots if you can. Otherwise bring extra pair of shoes. Vendors at the main entrance sell “shoe cover” It resembles shower cap.Made of thin plastic material, you put it on before stepping onto the raft. It is supposed to prevent your shoe from getting wet.
- Tip the boatman if you want picture stops. In 2019, the expected tip is 20 RMB per pax.
- Fish feed can be purchased from street vendors at the main entrance. The little fishes will swim alongside, leaping out of the water with delight when you feed them.
May all be well and happy.