If you’ve never sat on an elephant, here is your chance: The Anantara Golden Triangle Resort and Spa features elephants as its main attraction. So pack your garment bags, and hop on board to explore the surrounding bamboo jungle of Thailand while sitting on one of these magnificent creatures.
The Royal Thai Government established the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre to act as a central body for the conservation of elephants and the communities that depend on them for their livelihood. By supporting Anantara’s efforts, the government demonstrates its commitment to elephant protection.
The resort sits on a ridge overlooking the hills of Myanmar and Laos, where visitors can take an elephant driving class. You won’t be a skilled mahout–who can guide his elephant through its working day with approximately 70 soft commands, light touches behind the ear and years of understanding between master and elephant–but you can certainly learn basic commands that will allow you to command and communicate with your elephant.
A trek through the surrounding rainforest will give you a glimpse of several different habitats, from thick bamboo to flood plains, along with many species of birds and small mammals. You also can simply enjoy observing the elephants as they engage in bathing routines or roam about the Elephant Camp–or partake in a rousing game of elephant polo.
Each room of the resort features beautifully detailed Thai décor, with a view of elephants grazing in the distance and the sounds of gentle birdsong over the Mekong and Ruak rivers. Anantara’s signature oversized terrazzo bathtubs, Thai textiles, teak furniture and artwork from local artisans provide a feeling of luxury and serenity within the walls of each suite. You’ll also enjoy fine dining of northern Thai and international cuisine. There’s even an on-site cooking school where you can learn to duplicate authentic Lanna dishes–along with the world-renowned Anantara Spa, where you can relax and rejuvenate after a long day of elephant riding.
If you’re seeking a wedding destination, the resort offers a unique experience, as couples can begin their ceremony to the rhythm of a traditional drum in a choreographed elephant procession–and complete the ceremony by riding into the sunset on the back of an elephant. Whether you’d like a stylish indoor wedding or an intimate outdoor environment, Anantara provides a luxurious, one-of-a-kind setting for your wedding and honeymoon.
It’s easy enough to get to the resort, with Chiang Rai Mae Fah Luang International Airport located 70 km from the resort and serviced by Thai Airways, Air Asia, 1-2-3 Go and SGA Air. Limousine services to the resort are available by calling +66-0-5378-4084. For the true royal treatment, take advantage of the resort’s Royal Arrival package, which includes a limousine ride to the Mekong River, where you will board a longtail boat before making the final trek to the resort by elephant.
Interview with Director of Elephants, John Roberts