Chiang Rai, Thailand
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
Elephant camp in Northern Thailand
What it is
A remote resort and elephant reserve in Thailand’s Golden Triangle.
What it isn't
Close to a city (the closest, Chiang Rai, is 40 miles away). All activities off of resort grounds are tour-based.
What we think
The Golden Triangle area of Northern Thailand is famous for its elephant camps, some of which offer overnight accommodations. However, not all camps are created equal, and some are geared more toward profit than preservation. Anantara Golden Triangle is one of the best, thanks to the program’s leader and founder John Roberts, who has dedicated his career to improving life for Asian elephants born in captivity. The resort’s pachyderm residents—around 25 in all, many of them former street entertainers or field laborers—are the focus here. After a breakfast of fresh tropical fruit (rambutan, papaya, pineapple) and chili-filled omelets, travelers might head out to the camp for an elephant ride and training session with the mahouts (guide-trainers). You can also join in on an elephant health check-up. While not recently updated, the 63 earth-toned rooms are fresh and comfortable, thanks to spacious seating areas and balconies overlooking the jungle grounds. Keep an eye out for white storks swopping through fields of teak, bamboo and lychee trees.
You're here because
You're interested in learning about Asian elephants in a respectful environment and exploring this history-filled corner of Southeast Asia.
An Asian elephant greets you at the edge of the resort’s jungle. After sipping the milk out of a coconut and feeding the shells to the gentle giant—she pops them like a handful of almonds—you notice the howdah, or saddle, on her back: She’s your ride to the resort’s front door.
Restaurants & Bars
Sala Mae Nam - Traditional Thai and Northern Thai
Baan Dhalia - Italian/Mediterranean
Dining by Design - Your choice
Elephant Bar and Opium Terrace - Cocktails beside the fireplace
A 160-acre reserve in Thailand’s Golden Triangle, near the border with Laos and Myanmar. The drive from the international airport in Chiang Rai take about an hour (or you can do a combo of helicopter or boat and elephant).