Anantara Golden Triangle Camp
PRICE: Punchy but doesn’t blow the budget
The Anantara, sitting on the Thailand side of the Golden Triangle, is very much as you would expect a super luxurious experiential hotel to be. The A-list residents walk around the camp as if they own it. They go for an afternoon dip and are pampered by the devoted staff. But we are talking about the elephants that live in the traditional mahout village within the Anantara’s grounds. For two-legged Yonderers, life has a few extra perks thrown in.
To give it it’s full name, the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort, has been a firm Yonder favorite for years. The elevated setting is spectacular, with views over the fertile flood plains towards the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers and the verdant Burmese and Lao mountains beyond. Its location in the beating heart of the Golden Triangle cannot be trumped (sorry!).
Amid all the excitement of this ethical elephant camp, the rooms are super elegant and derive much of their inspiration from the ancient Lanna kingdom. Raw Thai silks are laid across the crisp beds with their down duvets, the teak wood floors shine, bathed in natural light from the balcony doors and the terrazzo bathtubs, made for two, are a real treat. This is stylish living at the edge one of the world’s most legendary frontiers.
Staying here is multifaceted experiential travel at its very best. And your tastebuds will be tickled at every turn. The food is sublime and you’ll go into sensory overdrive with the creations from the Sala Mae Nam restaurant kitchens. And there is Italian fare whipped up in the romantic environs of the Baan Dhalia. Finally, retire to the Elephant Bar and Opium Terrace to be tantalized by the resident mixologists – it’s the ultimate way to cap a day as a mahout.
Take a left field experience and have a Thai cooking class. It is the best we have experienced and you’ll master the delicate art of balancing intense Thai flavours as well as visiting local markets to select your ingredients.
On your doorstep
The Hall of Opium is just outside the gates. It is a brilliantly engaging museum which will engender some thought provoking moments as you discover the origins, secrets and effects of the opium trade.