For travelers who want a taste of the wild while contributing to the welfare of the jungle and its inhabitants, Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle in Thailand provides a bonding memory that brings in the element of “never forgetting.”
The camp’s 15 inside/outside bungalows evoke the era of 19th century explorers but with amenities that range from wood-burning fireplaces, private terraces over the rainforest, rainshower outdoor showers and copper tubs for two, jungle walks through the cliffside resort expanse, jungle-shrouded side-by-side spa treatments, and a swimming pool overlooking the river.
But the camp offers something not found elsewhere – mahout lessons. The all-inclusive nature of this luxury camp extends to adopting an elephant and riding it, talking to it, feeding it and caring for it while visiting. Each elephant is a rescue elephant that was abandoned by loggers or farmers and left to wander to streets of Thailand’s cities with dim prospects for survival. A portion of each booking at the camp goes to an active elephant rescue foundation in Thailand.
“We get a lot of honeymooners here. It is a very romantic place. There is a lot of alone time as you are pretty isolated in this area at the border of Burma, Laos and Thailand with nothing but the sounds of birds and wildlife around you. But you are really not alone at all as you are out there exploring the jungle every day and forming a bond with the elephants,” says Maria Kuhn, spokesman for Four Seasons properties in Thailand.
A fairy tale wedding can be ordered up at the camp – but the knight in shining armor is actually a groom on an elephant. The sunset wedding ceremony takes place on the pachyderm’s back at the Camp’s summit with vantages of three countries. A white orchid campfire dinner for two culminates in the launching of traditional Thai lanterns into the night sky carrying the wishes of the newlyweds to the gods.
The camp can accommodate up to 30 guests total. An all-inclusive three- or four-night adventure package, which includes all meals and (house) libations plus arranged activities, mahout training and elephant excursions, one 90-minute spa treatment per guest and roundtrip air transfers from Chiang Rai International Airport runs around $1650 to $2,110 per night in a luxury tent through September and comes with a four or fifth night free.