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Heaven on earth is in the Thai jungle

Lili Marie Flax

Contributor

Deep in the Oriental jungle, hidden in thick masses of wild, an idillic vacation paradise awaits. Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort offers the chance to immerse yourself in nature with your very own ‘Jungle Bubble’. These transparent tents, set up in the heart of the jungle, let you spend a night in heaven on earth. The campsite is frequented by a herd of over 60 elephants, many rescued from the streets of Thailand. You are likely to get your morning wakeup call from a very big friend. Over and above this, the resort offers premium accommodation, fine dining, and a chance to explore three incredible cultures.

Your very own premium, luxury ‘jungle bubble’

Elephants are nature's most gentle giants. Their long memories are filled with divine wisdom that humans can scarcely imagine. Now, you have a chance to spend an entire night with these humbling, gigantic creatures, in your unique jungle bubble. The jungle bubble is a room enclosed in a transparent fabric, allowing you to observe the elephants, jungle, and the night sky all from your deluxe suite. The bubble is equipped with a wooden deck, king-sized bed, air-conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom. You will also have a delicious dinner basket, a fully-stocked mini-fridge, and twenty-four-hour room service to ensure you have the best all-round experience you could possibly imagine. When you arise from your dusk-to-dawn delight of observing elephants in their natural habitat, you can spend time exploring the awe-inspiring elephant camp.

Activities here include walking with the elephants through the forest and bathing the elephants, under supervision from their carers. You will be happy to know that the elephants are extremely well cared for. In fact, many of them have been rescued from harmful environments. There is a history of elephants being abused for logging and other harmful practices. As these practices become used less frequently, the elephants are often abandoned in areas that have become urbanised and cannot sustain them. Anantara has rescued many of these poor pachyderms from the streets in Thailand. 

Discover the rich culture and fascinating history of convergence

Anantara is Sanskrit for ‘borderless water’. The resort is set in an ancient forest with a view of both the Ruak and Mekong rivers and the border of Thailand with both Laos and Myanmar. The local people have long since believed that the site of crossing of these three countries and two rivers holds enormous good fortune. You not only have the opportunity to go into both Myanmar and Laos to explore these wonderful countries but will actually have a view of all three from your suite. You can even take a long tail boat trip down the Ruak River and experience the coming together of three nations. Explore the history of the region at the ruins of Wat Pa Sak and Wat Phra That Pu Khao, both are sites of great historical value. Perhaps take a day trip to the Hall of Opium Museum to discover the lurid past of the dark Opium trade and its effects on Thailand and its people.

Satisfy your inner ‘foodie’ at these exclusive eateries

Project, an NPO which teaches people from the Thai hill tribes agricultural techniques to help them earn an income and thus reduce illicit opium farming. The setting of Sala Mae Nam is a beautiful double-story, open pavilion with a stunning view of the valley. If you fancy an Italian diner, Baan Dahlia has you covered. This beautiful restaurant pairs hand-made pasta with fine wines from their bountiful cellar. The Elephant Bar and Opium Terrace offers an all-day indulgent lounging experience, accompanied by drinks and light meals. If you would prefer something more intimate, twenty-four-hour room service is available. Private, designer dining is available on request, whereby the culinary team will tailor-make the meal of a lifetime, served by your own private butler, in any location of your choosing. For those who fancy themselves chefs, the Spice Spoons offers hands-on, authentic Thai master classes. 

Blissful spa packages to amplify your relaxation

This incredible three-storey, open-air pavilion has three treatment suites, overlooking three countries, to offer you world-renowned spa treatments. The philosophy is to incorporate Northern wellness practices with indigenous practices and ingredients. There are many different treatments available, including a wide selection of Thai massages. The speciality massage offered is Yam Khang Therapy, during which the masseuse warms his/her feet on a hot ploughshare and proceeds to use them to work and relax the muscles of your back. If you wish to have a more active approach to your wellness, you can enjoy doing yoga in the beautiful rice paddy or the more adventurous Muay Thai kickboxing. 

Explore the eclectic town of Mae Sai

Mae Sai is the northernmost town in Thailand. Often, this treasure of a town is overlooked by travellers, as they make their way to the Myanmar border. Typical of most border locales, Mae Sai is alive with activity, with a roaring market offering everything from Myanmar jewels to Chinese antiques - a shopping excursion not to be missed. See the unbelievable Doi Nang Non, a mountain that has a silhouette that, when viewed from the right angle, is the shape of a reclining, long-haired woman. While you’re at it, you might take the chance to survey Tham Pum-Tham Pla, an amazing array of limestone caves, just a mere kilometre from this mountain range. You will truly connect with nature and culture in this tiny paradise. 

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