For lovers of the safari lodge experience, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort nails it on a Southeast Asian incarnation of a luxury safari experience. With 61 rooms and suites set amidst 160 acres of verdant jungle, you’ll immediately be transported to a place of serenity and peace. Add a fabulous spa, included journeys, wonderful cuisine, and spectacular sunsets to the mix for a truly memorable escape.
DESTINATION: GOLDEN TRIANGLE
Once infamous for its role in the opium trade, the Golden Triangle – marked by the border of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos – has seen its economic strengths shift dramatically in recent decades. Now the go-to destination for those in search of elephant-focused experiences, the region is home to a sizeable Asian elephant population, allowing guests to boost their wildlife education and have an opportunity to observe elephants in their natural habitat. The Hall of Opium is a museum worth visiting to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s history, and the resort-hosted adventure offerings will round out your trip with the best in destination immersion.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort offers a selection of rooms and suites, with suites offering roughly twice the space of the rooms. With sweeping views of the resort and jungle (and elephants!) below, they’re upping the ante on the concept of a room with a view. We enjoyed a Three Country View Suite, which offers the most spectacular vistas along with epic sunrises from our balcony. Rooms and suites go beyond the expected with beautiful touches like inspirational coffee table books and reusable water canteens to take home with you. All guests have access to a stunning infinity pool that overlooks the jungle, plus a fitness center and a Muay Thai boxing facility. For early risers, get out and enjoy a trail walk through the jungle where you’ll spot some elephants grazing with their mahouts in the early morning mist.
The pleasure of a stay at Anantara goes far beyond the room and grounds though so sharing glowing feedback about the suite alone does little to convey the jaw-dropping quality of the stay. Choosing the ‘Discovery’ package through the hotel provides an all-inclusive offering that encompasses not only food and drink (more on that below) but also a daily experience of your choice. If you’re the type of traveler who wants to try to pack in more than one experience per day, talk with the staff about adding on additional offerings for a fee. Experiences run the gamut, catering for a range of abilities and interests. Wondering which offering is right for you? Read about our experience on the Three Country Tour visiting Myanmar and our Elephant Learning Experience and ‘Walking with Giants’ tour.
I’ve written on the topic of all-inclusive hotels and how they’re not all created equal. Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is a perfect example of an all-inclusive done right. As is the case with remote lodges, the all-inclusive ‘Discovery’ package is the best choice for visitors, offering a package that includes meals and drinks, including a selection of wine, beer, and cocktails. The food is excellent from start to finish, with a breakfast spread that includes a hearty buffet and a la carte offerings that represent Western and local cuisine. For dinner, guests choose from Thai or Italian options, though we could never quite pull ourselves away from eating local while in the region. The menu is substantial, with a wide variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts, including well-marked options for vegetarians. I adored the Kao Soy, a Northern Thai specialty, while Scott raved about the Jin Som, a dish of sour pork and salty preserved eggs, which is a great option for the adventurous eaters in the bunch. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Thai wines, produced by Monsoon vineyards – they offer a rosé, a Sauvignon blanc-style white, and a Shiraz, all of which are surprisingly good.
Planning your getaway to the Golden Triangle in Thailand? Here’s some inspiration for your trip:
- Elephant Encounters with Anantara
- A Three Country Tour/Visit to Myanmar
- A Visit to the Hall of Opium Museum (Finding the Universe Blog)
- 36 Hours in the Golden Triangle (New York Times)
Number of Rooms: 61 rooms and suites
Cost Per Night: From $871/night all-inclusive
Must-Try Eats & Drinks: Koi Soy, a Northern Thai specialty; plus Thai wine and whiskey
Hotel Highlights: Wonderfully thoughtful elephant experiences, plus spectacular views
Worth the Investment? Yes, a magical experience that’s once-in-a-lifetime for many; worthy of the honeymoon list!