Perched on a hill overlooking the Mekong and Ruak rivers, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp And Resort is located within 160 acres of lush jungle, bamboo forest, rice paddies, hill-tribe culture and an elephant camp. The property is located in northern Thailand, within sight of where the country’s border converges with that of Laos and Myanmar – the fabled Golden Triangle.
Guests can arrive at the resort via Chiang Rai Airport, and then take a one-hour drive by luxury limousine to the resort. Alternatively, guests can also fly to Chiang Mai, which is four hours by road. By opting for the VIP Regal Elephant Arrival, guests can make their arrival at the resort itself an extraordinary experience.
It begins with collection from the airport, and then taking a traditional longtail boat on the Mekong River, before venturing down the Ruak River to dock at Anantara’s private jetty. The concluding leg of the journey is an elephant trek along jungle paths with astonishing views, and ends at the hotel lobby.
Designed in royal Thai Lanna style, the resort offers 63 rooms and suites. These include five ‘Three Country View’ family suites. Each of these suites can be expanded by interconnecting them with an adjoining Deluxe Three Country View Room.
All rooms and suites feature a spacious balcony with a built-in sofa overlooking the misty hills of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Interiors showcase the elegance of Thai culture with silks, textiles and teakwood furniture complemented by a host of modern amenities. The terrazzo bathtub for two features retractable doors that can be opened for a view of the lush surroundings.
The standout accommodations at the resort are the one and two-bedroom Jungle Bubbles. Located in the midst of lush vegetation on the banks of the Ruak River, each of these fully transparent accommodations is perched on a raised wooden deck, and offers uninterrupted views of the elephants during the day, and stars at night.
Constructed with high-tech polyester fabric, the well-appointed bubble accommodation is fully air-conditioned. The bedrooms – with a king bed and premium bedding – and the seating area with lounge furnishings are under transparent roofs, while the enclosed suite shower and vanity are non-transparent.
The wooden deck offers ample space for al fresco lounging and dining, along with a plunge pool. The Jungle Bubble experience is an optional activity in which the guests spend the night, from dusk till dawn, at the Bubble, returning to their regular accommodation in the morning. The package includes a dinner basket and 24-hour in-room dining service.
All guests at the resort stay on a Discovery Experience package, which combines luxury accommodation with unique all-inclusive benefits. In this package, for each night stayed, guests choose one activity from four categories. The most popular of these is Walking with Giants, where guests join the elephants as they roam free and splash in the water, accompanied by their mahouts and the resident vet or biologist.
The second all-inclusive signature experience category offers pampering at Anantara Spa, with a choice of two 90-minute rituals. Guests can tailor their ideal experience from a selection of scrubs, wraps, massages, facials, manicures and pedicure treatments, or indulge in one treatment from a choice of signature facials and massages.
Anantara’s Spice Spoons Thai cooking school offers the third all-inclusive activity option. Richly interactive, the experience begins with a chef-guided market tour and coffee with the locals in the nearby former Lanna Kingdom capital city of Chiang Saen. This is followed by a temple offering and breakfast picnic on the temple grounds. Back at the resort, students tour the herb garden before donning aprons for the step-by-step cooking class, learning how to recreate Thai cuisine’s unique four-flavour balance with a master chef.
The fourth all-inclusive activity involves exploring the unique character and traditions of Thailand and Myanmar, with the option of adding a Laos experience. The cultural trip incorporates market, temple and ancient Lanna experiences, travel by private car, tuk tuk and longtail boat. The adventure is led by an experienced guide who takes care of immigration formalities, provides language assistance and narrates insightful facts and stories about the region.
Gourmet all-day dining at the resort starts with an international buffet breakfast on a terrace with misty Golden Triangle views. Lunch and dinner may be enjoyed at authentic Thai and Italian restaurants, or at the international colonial-style bar and lounge. Free-flowing beverages offer freshly squeezed exotic juices, mocktails, classic cocktails, local beers, imported spirits, and international house wines selected by the resort’s ‘Wine Guru.’
In terms of activities, the resort’s facilities and its surroundings leave guests spoilt for choice. Nature lovers can go bird watching, walk or jog along beautiful trails and contribute to Anantara’s conservation work with a native tree planting activity. Nearby, ancient Lanna kingdom ruins, tea plantations, hill tribe villages, palaces, flower gardens and the famous White Temple all beckon exploration.
Anantara Golden Triangle is the only resort in Thailand to offer its guests the opportunity to explore the surrounding area on two Royal Enfield Classic 500s sidecars. Guests can explore the Thailand portion of the Golden Triangle and its historical landmarks, or take a ride to the nearby Doi Tung, the highest point of the Doi Nang Non mountains, revered for its ancient stupa and the Royal Villa – the final residence of Thailand’s Royal Grandmother.
The resort offers an exceptional setting for weddings, events and business meetings. The Rim Khong room can host 24 delegates, and for larger gatherings, there is the Mae Khong room. It can host 144 people indoors, and an additional 150 on its terrace. Business events can be combined with unique team-building activities such as elephant polo.
The resort’s enchanting landscapes offer an abundance of picturesque settings for fairytale weddings, each tailored to the couple’s needs. For instance, the solemn ceremony could be set on a secluded hilltop overlooking the Mekong River or amidst verdant rice paddies. Newlyweds may ride off atop a majestic elephant. Distinctive evening dining celebrations include a Khantoke sunset dinner on a private hilltop, with traditional local delicacies served for guests to share as they recline on Thai triangular pillows in a Lanna-decorated sala.
Anantara Golden Triangle’s greatest accolade is its elephant camp, which works in conjunction with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF). Both were set up primarily to help domesticated elephants that have suffered abuse or those that are unable to earn an income to support themselves and their mahouts. The resort helps the elephant caretakers to raise the funds they need to look after the gentle giants, and to give them a natural environment where they can enjoy life with their peer group.