Anantara Resorts is on quite a tear this year, opening and acquiring several properties, including its first urban hotel in its hometown of Bangkok. The frenzy of the Thai capital, though, is miles away from the green bliss of Anantara Golden Triangle, located at the very tip of Thailand where the country meets Myanmar and Laos on the Mekong River. Under the congenial leadership of New Zealander General Manager Chris Adams, Anantara’s Gold Triangle property offers unique experiences to travellers of the world. From the stylish rooms to the elephant trainer’s training sessions and the on-site cooking school, this is one property that makes an indelible impression.
The large, open-air lobby sets the tone for the resort’s immersion into Nature, abundant on the property’s 300 acres of riverfront land. Greenery abounds, especially in the rainy season when short bursts of precipitation nourish the vegetation. The rainy season is often perceived as the wrong time of year to visit Thailand, but the relative lack of crowds and the abundant plant life make this time of year very enjoyable. Lower room rates at this time of year are extremely reasonable compared to similar-class properties in other parts of the world.
For couples engaged in finding just the right venue for their impending nuptials, weddings at Anantara Golden Triangle offer a memorable place for marriage ceremonies conducted outdoors, indoors, or in a pavilion on the edge of both a tributary of the river and a rice paddy. The pavilion can also be reserved for special dinners in total privacy in which the attentive staff will attend to your every need without prompting; they know what you need before you do. In fact, the staff throughout the resort, from the affable Chris to the front-desk staff, porters, and drivers, are all unfailingly polite and genuinely friendly.
The big drawcard at Anantara Golden Triangle is its Elephant Camp. Not an exploitation of wild animals but rather a way for animals and their trainers to get off the streets of the city and enjoy the security of a steady income in pastoral surroundings, Anantara is very mindful of the animals’ welfare; this is not the “hey, let’s ride an elephant!” kind of place. An in-house elephant trainer is currently accompanied by an animal psychologist researching elephant behaviour. Anantara’s program is called mahout training and allows guests to understand the interaction of humans and elephants before mounting the pachyderm of the day for an experience of interspecies communication. Across the way from the resort is the surprisingly engaging Hall Of Opium, which gives a fascinating look at the history of opium in Asia and the trade of opium between Asian nations and European powers intent on turning a profit any way possible. Anantara has a free shuttle. Allow a good two hours to see everything unrushed.
Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa
229 Moo 1
Chiang Rai 57150
tel: 66 53 784 084