Part II of our #ChooseMyThailand journey with Tourism Authority of Thailand was by far one of my favorites with its rural and peaceful setting. But let’s be honest, the elephants made the entire trip. Where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet, the Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai was the perfect place to call home for a couple of days.
Welcomed with tea and a warm towel
View of the Golden Triangle, rice paddies and elephants from the room, pretty epic I must say.
Lovely visitors in the lobby!
Chicken Pad Thai from one of the hotel’s Sala Mae Nam. One of the greatest Pad Thai dishes I’ve ever had.
We spent the afternoon Walking with Giants, journeying through the jungle with Momma BooChan and Baby Suki. It was a beautiful experience being with the elephants as they were unchained and free to roam with us. We ended the walk by bathing and pampering them. Being an elephant is hard work! These elephants are saved and protected from many harmful conditions such as captivity, circuses, overworked conditions.
The hotel’s elephant camp is supported by The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) to help elephants that cannot help themselves, they rescue elephants left to beg on the streets and in the wild, in distress.
The elephants work no more than 2 hours per day and are free to enjoy the 160 acres of land right in the heart of the Golden Triangle. All of the elephants are well rested, and not overworked. They are given adequate food, shelter and vet checks and the Mahouts and their families are well taken care of as well.
Anantara also offers an the E.L.E. experience which allows guests to observe elephant behavior and learn about the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation’s scientific research projects.
Spice Spoons – Anantara cooking school
We spent the following day learning how to cook signature Thai dishes. My favorite part was making a trip to the local market to hand pick fresh ingredients for the afternoon class with our wonderful chef and teacher. We cooked Green Curry and Shrimp Pad Thai!
The setting for the cooking class
The end result was yummy.
The Spa at Anantara: home to the dreamiest bed in the world!
Dining by Design
Offers a private dining experience in the most relaxing atmosphere. Before dinner, three elephants and Mahouts greeted us. It was magical.
We wrapped up the wonderful dinner by sending lanterns along with our dreams and wishes off into the night sky.
One of the most unique sights in Thailand has to be Wat Rong Khun, Thailand’s White Temple. Built in 1997 by Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple is unconventional and full of surprises, modern twists and funky elements. A short distance outside of Chiang Rai, the temple can be reached by public bus, motorbike or tour bus.
For a more authentic coffee experience, walk across the street outside of the temple area to find the GreenHut coffee shop. I highly recommend this spot for a quick break from the sights over touristy shops inside the temple area.
Rice paddy fields along the way.
A drastic contract from the modern Wat Rong Khun, we visited Wat Pa Sak, a stunning ancient temple built in 1340. The temple is located just outside of Chiang Saen town. Wat Pa Sak, meaning the Temple in the Teak Forest, lies among ruins in a very peaceful park where hours can easily be spent in pure tranquility.
And that wraps up my adventure in Chiang Rai. Although most people visit Chiang Mai, I highly recommend a trip to Chiang Rai as well. The peace and beauty that exists in this rural piece of the world is awe-inspiring and our stay at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort.
Also, if you’re into tours, I highly recommend Destination Asia for tours in Bangkok, Chiang Rai and Koh Samui. Excellent service and amazing tour guides.
All opinions are my own.