Reena Hallberg heads up north to Chiang Rai for an unique opportunity to spend the night with Thailand’s a lot of stunning elephants at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.
Think of: you’re cocooned in nature under a canopy of stars, fireflies illuminating your surroundings, the sounds from nighttime critters supply a relaxing background rating and your companions are one of the world’s most splendid animals, elephants.
Instead of feeling out of location in their natural environment, I am totally at one with them and the environment– all while indulging in the lap of luxury in my extremely own “jungle bubble”. These transparent structures are ensconced within rich landscapes and set down on raised wooden decks that guarantee unobstructed views of the stunning environments and the magnificent mammals that live there. In case you’re questioning, I am not on a safari in the heart of Africa, but right here in Thailand at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort in Chiang Rai. The resort’s two identical domed suites sit on the fringe of the Kingdom’s serene northern jungle, which is both house to these tranquil pachyderms and the website of an elegant luxury retreat.
Bird’s -eye view of the resort entrance of the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort Quickly, it’s supper time for me and my brand-new elephant good friends. While mine shows up in a refined picnic basket, theirs is served in loads, stacked by their mahouts. For the next few hours, as I sat stargazing on my private deck, my three friendly buddies would each take turns coming close to my quarters, curious of their brand-new neighbour (after all I am on their grass). This experience is immersive, and as close-to-nature as it gets, given that the elephants are simply a few metres away– at a safe and comfy range surrounded with a wired fence.
I relaxed and watched the elephants at play, rubbing their mud-covered backs against big trees, and occasionally ripping out a lower hanging branch and tossing it among themselves. But for the lion’s share of the night they were almost always consuming sugarcane, which have actually been tactically positioned within a short distance of the bubbles.
The over night remain in this jungle bubble belongs to an extra activity provided by the resort, which indicates visitors staying here just need to pack light for their stay, and have the ability to leave the rest of their baggage back in their suite at the hotel, which is what I did.
A night in the Jungle Bubble is an immersive experience that allows you to get near to Thailand’s stunning mammals Previously that day, prior to sunset, I was driven in an al fresco 4 × 4 jeep through the resort, down a dirt road and taken to the location where the bubbles were, just a couple of minutes from the main home. From there, I took a short walk through lush rice paddies prior to finally settling into my bubble. The 2 transparent domes sit side by side, separated by bamboo partitions, therefore enabling their respective guests total privacy. Fortunately, for that specific night I was on my own that made the experience a lot more unique. After dinner, which consisted of a well-curated selection of bites I had pre-selected the day before, I pulled away into my domed residence. Regardless of its seemingly compact size of 22sqm, the area is well created and furnished with a luxurious king-size bed– with wrap-around curtains– a seating area with a coffee table and chairs, along with a non-transparent en
suite. Facilities consist of all the requisite luxury comforts, such as fluffy bathrobes and slippers, a well-stocked minibar, in-room dining service and exquisite bath products. These pressurised suites were custom developed by Eye In The Sky, utilizing a state-of-the-art polyester fabric that can stand up to unpredictable tropical weather condition. To combat high levels of humidity in the summertime, and lower temperatures during the cooler months, the bubbles are fitted with cooling, heaters and a dehumidifier. It was likewise quite intriguing to find an absence of television within the lodging, which alluded to the truth that the elephants were the real stars here. Dining By Style at Thida Camp Khao Soi with dressings Later on in the evening the clouds parted and the moon entered full view, shining directly above me; illuminating my little bubble and making the whole experience absolutely surreal. If the brilliant lights or the sounds of the snoring elephants get to be excessive– and they do snore rather loudly– eye masks and ear plugs are just a reach away, to make your sleep more comfortable. I, nevertheless, required neither, and had the ability to wander off conveniently in a deep sleep in what I consider was the crescendo of my stay here. The next morning, I woke at the first light to the loud chomping of the elephants as they dined on a fresh supply of sugarcane. They are early risers and just get in around 4 to 6 hours of sleep per night in their natural environment– simply among the lots of elephant-related truths I picked up during my stay there. Soon after, I had a chance to get even better to them on the Walking with Giants tour. I tracked on foot, following these stunning creatures as they made their method down dirty trails, through the jungle, and into the river where they bathed and splashed about with one another. We were accompanied by their mahouts, their veterinarian and a coterie of representatives from Anantara’s non-profit Golden
Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF ), who along the path offered me some insight into the work that the foundation has actually been doing considering that its beginning in 2006. At the time of my go to, the GTAEF was taking care of a little over two dozen elephants and their mahouts, in addition to their households. Most of the elephants in their care are rescued from the streets of Bangkok, where they had been made to ask for cash from travelers in exchange for pictures, while others arrive here from traveler trekking camps and logging sites from around the country. The organisation, through support from its
partner hotels under Minor Group, 4 Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, along with contributions from people, supports and rehabilitates these animals, much of whom have led tough lives prior to being saved. The GTAEF is likewise involved in many preservation tasks and numerous children’s charities throughout Thailand, such as the Thai Elephant-Assisted Treatment Task, which puts autistic children in an occupational therapy program with Thai elephants. Anantara Golden Triangle Suite Entrance Lobby Spa By Nature For my second night, I was relocated to a spacious suite within the resort’s property wing. Set down on a hill, these low-increase buildings contain 3 unique types of suites, all of which come with amazing views of the Golden Triangle area– the point where the 3 nations of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar satisfy. My hilltop hideaway is created in standard Thai design, with teak furnishings and indigenous artworks, as well as with all contemporary comforts that are considered hallmarks of Anantara. A specifically noteworthy function of my suite was the extensive double terrace, replete with large Thai-style daybeds that were ideal for taking in the views of
the rice paddies and valleys listed below, and the merging of the magnificent Mekong and Ruak rivers. This scene is particularly tranquil in the early morning when the sun rises through the mist between the range of mountains of Laos. On the F&B front, the resort’s three remarkable outlets, Sala Mae Nam, Baan Dhalia, and Elephant Bar and Opium Balcony, use a variety of cuisine that ranges from Thai comfort food to Italian, and then some. Of course, it would be remiss of me to be up north and not to try tasty Lanna offerings, which remains in itself a highlight of this area. A confluence of history, culture and geography have contributed greatly to the special salty and sour flavours that define Lanna cuisine, which takes its name after the Lanna Kingdom. The menu at Sala Mae Nam includes such traditional staple meals as Khao Soi (crispy egg noodles in a coconut cream based fiery curry with meat), Gaeng Hang Lay(an aromatic curry with
braised pork ), Nam Phrik(a relish made from dried chillies, minced pork, tomato, garlic and onion ), and numerous others. When not hanging out walking the grounds with elephants, or getting spoiled with bespoke health spa treatments, guests can partake in numerous leisurely pursuits such as excursion to the neighbouring nation of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Laos, longtail boat journeys through the Mekong, and even a two-night high-end cruise between the Golden Triangle and Luang Prabang in Laos, aboard a private thatched-roof rice barge. For me personally, a highlight here was an exciting ride I took around the countryside in a Royal Enfield Sidecar. Led by knowledgeable hotel personnel, I spent a gorgeous afternoon visiting the region, checking out Lanna temples and nearby towns in a sidecar connected to an Enfield Classic 500
. A truly stylish method to see the location! Let’s return During these attempting times, where tourist is at an all-time low, the elephants and their mahouts at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation(GTAEF)require support from individuals and organisations in order to endure. To donate or sponsor an elephant please visit helpingelephants.org.(All images: Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort)