| Everyday Luxury Travel Asia Thailand

Our heavenly holiday to Thailand – Chiang Rai, The Golden Triangle and an Elephant Experience

After a four hour drive, we arrived at our next destination, the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in the Chiang Rai province. The Golden Triangle is where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet and where the Ruak River flows into the Mekong. As we were to find out more about later the area is, along with Afghanistan, one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia. The hotel that we were about to stay in promised to be a once in a lifetime experience. An all-inclusive, luxury tented camp where we would interact with elephants whilst staying in the lush jungle of Northern Thailand.

The drive was relatively uneventful but we did enjoy a rest stop at the rather fabulously named Cabbages and Condoms.
 After the long drive our car stopped at a jetty. Mr Silver and I were a little confused as there was no hotel in sight. However, seconds later a hotel manager met us and whisked us into a Long Tail Boat on the Mekong River and we were on our way!
The arrival point of the hotel was quite spectacular and we were able to enjoy the view here while we were quickly checked in and presented with our three day itinerary. Another fantastic touch was meeting the chef himself to discuss our likes and dislikes with us to ensure everything suited our personal tastes.
The arrival pavillion
The hotel surroundings:
After a tour we were spirited into a four-by-four and driven to ourroom. A good five minutes drive from reception but fortunately right by the Burma
Bar! Our room, or more accurately tent, was beyond fabulous. See you yourself:
Mr Silver takes the photos; I check out the mini bar
And the Four Seasons had rather kindly upgraded us to a room with our own hot tub! The all-inclusive hotel had also furnished us with a bottle of sparkling wine which they replenished daily. Clearly now was the time to crack this open!
 Best of all, our room over-looked the lake where the elephants were given their morning bath!
Dining at the hotel was wonderful! Most meals take place at the Nong Yao restaurant but your evening begins at the Burma bar with Sun Down cocktails and canapés.

Next you are led into the a cheese and wine room where you sample divine French cheeses and select your bottle of wine to go with your meal.

Dinner offers the choice of a set Western or Thai menu that has been tailored especially towards your tastes after your introductory chat with the chef. We ate at the Nong Yao Restaurant twice and both times chose to experience the Thai menu. Here are some highlights:
Even breakfast at camp is a once in a lifetime experience as the elephants join you and you are given to the opportunity to feed them their breakfast!
Our best dining experience was our last private dinner right in the elephant camp! The all-inclusive package does not cover this but I would urge anyone who visits the hotel to partake as it is incredible. When we arrived at the Elephant Camp we were greeted by two of the hotel’s resident gentle giants and were able to feed them sugar cane sticks.
Our dining table was beautifully set up with lanterns and a small fire surrounding an otherwise very dark secluded dining area.
A further touch to the already incredibly atmospheric surroundings was live music! Two Thai musicians playing a traditional Thai khim, which is a bit like a xylophone with strings:
 A private waiter and chef served us a delicious five course Thai meal including sea bass smoked on our camp fire.
 Next it was time to make a wish again and let off Lanterns into the sky!
 And finally, though we were pretty stuffed, our waiter suggesting toasting marshmallows by the fire and making s’mores. Well, we couldn’t say no…
After a truly fantastic night and a lot of wine! We were happy to head back to our room in anticipation of the rest of our stay at this magical hotel.
The Four Seasons Golden Triangle offers a full program of activities and excursions. As part of our package weenjoyed a drive into the town of Chiang Saen and a chance to explore local markets and temples.  We also spent an educational morning at the Hall of Opium, an interactive museum which traces the
history of opium’s first use 5,000 years as well as educating people on the dangers of drug abuse and addiction. It was stirring stuff and I do recommend that you dedicate a couple of hours to seeing the museum if you are in Northern Thailand.
The package all included a 90 minute spa treatment, and Mr S and I chose a relaxing message which took place in the highly therapeutic open-air treatment rooms which is located in the middle of the forest. The signature experience offered at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle is the elephant trek. On arrival at camp, guests receive a traditional mahout oufit:
It’s a rather fetching double denim number with matching clogs…perhaps not my finest sartorial moment but I certainly felt the part. We were introduced to the four elephants that reside at the Four Season’s all of which have been rescued from a less happy life else where in Asia and transported to live in the luxury environs of the Four Seasons. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty terrified of the forthcoming coming elephant trek, those animals were HUGE!!
Wearily, I mounted my steed, bareback I might add, gripping on tight with my thighs!! And we were led into the heart of the jungle, once at a clearing. We were taught three different ways to mount and dismount as well as various vocal commands.

Then it was no turning back and it was off into the jungle for an hour long trek! As my nerves subsided and I relaxed into the ride I did have a remarkable experience. The funniest (and most scary!) part being when we were led through the lake and Mr Silver’s elephant gave him a
soaking.

I just kept repeating to myself ‘nothing bad can happen to you at the Four Seasons!’ Our trek finished with a final feeding of the elephants and then we dismounted and headed back up to the hotel bar for a well-deserved fruit platter and some water!! Afterwards I was so
proud I had got over my fear and ridden the elephant and my thighs certainly didn’t let me forget for the next few days!!