Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
Travel Blogs from Chiang Saen
... harsh!). We got back to the bus at the other end and were officially in Laos. We met up with our Travel Agent (from Laos) who took us in a tuk-tuk to his office where as a group, we sorted out who was going on what type of boat (we were the only ones in our group going on a Speedboat, everyone else was going on a slow boat). We had tags for the Speedboat (which takes 6-8 hours) whereas everyone else had tags for the slowboat ...
... went unoccupied and we helped our selves to double mattresses. Food is brought in by zipwire and was hot, delicious and healthy. There were also snacks and tea and coffee. We saw our money in action after hearing gunshots down in the valley two armed guards in camouflaged fatigues went running quickly down the hill towards the guilty sound. Once settled the guides left allowing free time or zip time as you wish. Aiden and i made the most of the diminishing light ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
- Free High-Speed Internet
- Swimming pool
- Room service
- Wheelchair accessibility
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Historical Traveler Reviews Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort Chiang Saen
The Anantara was one of the best places I have ever stayed. The authentically decorated Thai resort has everything-- gorgeous property, outstanding food, a wonderful staff, tons of activities, and superb service.
The elephant program was outstanding. The resort is focused on elephant conservation and the preservation of the forest. With that in mind, the elephant program is run with a naturalist framework and real mahouts provide you with elephant driving lessons and training. It is one of the most amazing programs that I have ever participated in. It appeals to adults and teens.
The Anantara is well worth the time it takes to get to this rather remote location.
My husband and I visited this hotel in June 2005. We stayed at the Anantara, Hua Hin the prevoius year and were not at all impressed. After reading the great reviews on this website we decided to book the Anantara, golden triangle and were hopeful of a much better experience.
Wow! This hotel is beautiful and in a completely different class to the Hua Hin Hotel. The public areas are spectacular, designed with amazing style and flair. Walking around the hotel at night was a beautiful experience, spine tingling tranquility and ambience.
Our room was lovely, had a wonderful view over the Mekong river, Myanmar and Laos. Truly a remarkable setting. The bath tub in the centre of the room was huge, you could almost swim in it!
We ate in both the hotel restaurants, the thai food was very good and the Italian fantastic. However when in Thailand we prefer not to eat in the hotels as you can have equally as good thai food on the street and in local restaurants for a fraction of the price. One downside of the hotels location is that it is difficult to get to the local village at night.
We felt the hotel were a little naughty as they were not forthcoming in advising on transport options and suggested that the food in the village may not be safe! They are certainly on a mission to encourage you to spend your Baht in the hotel and at times we felt we were being held captive! Wonderful surroundings to be held captive in though! We did manage to eat in Sop Ruak, the local village and as is always our experience in Thailand, the food was safe.
We recommend a boat trip on the Mekong. We found the Laos island stop to be a bit of a tourist trap but worth a brief visit. We also visited Mai Sai and crossed over into Myanmar. This was an interesting experience but be prepared for some begging and poverty.
Opposite the hotel is the Opium Exhibition Hall. This is the worlds leading exhibit on opiate use around the world. We strongly recommend a visit, I was expecting it to be boring, this is not the case. It is an extemely impressive, thought provoking experience and should not be missed in order to fully understand the golden triangle.
We have stayed in numerous 5 star hotels in Thailand, this hotel is certainly one of the most beautiful in style.
Overall, we had a wonderful time at this stunning hotel and wonderful experiences in this amazing region of Thailand.
We visited the Anantara in March 2005 and spent 3 nights in absolute luxury, the service was 1st class and the best we have encounted in Thailand or anywhere else for that matter. The staff are more than just efficient, they appear to be mind readers as well, they know what you want before you do. On entering the hotel you are met with a smile and a flower garland, along with refreshing tea to ease you into a relaxed few days. There are two restaurants both of which are very good, not expensive for the standard of food served, with a wide selection of dishes both Thai and western. Although the Italian was little used while we were there, our meal was very good. The rooms are immaculate with the most impressive bathtub in the centre of the room, you could easily get 4 people in them!
Well worth visiting is the market in Laos which can be reached by a longtail boat from the village, (passports not required). The hotel has an elephant sanctuary attached and various activities are available, from a couple of hours to full days. The infinity pool has great views across the Mekong and the pool staff had our towels and drinks ready every day without asking, unlike the previous reviewer...a smile goes a long way.
All in all the best hotel we've stayed in and well worth a visit.
Incredible Taste of Thailand
Fantastic resort, nice rooms, and lots of really interesting activities available in the area. We rate it as only Above Average because the service, while good, was not outstanding. We booked the Taste of Thailand package -- a five day package including an adventure every day: Three countries in one day was fun, though not everyone will have the please of seeing the Miss Kopki beauty pagent in Laos! Our guide Toy was really good, customising the day to include places we wanted to go. Cooking School was fun and tasty; Good thing we ate breakfast very early that morning as the lunch we cooked was enormous. Mahout training at the Anantara Elephant Camp exceeded our expectations. In the morning we learned how to get on the elephant, and how to guide the elephant though simple voice and body commands. In the afternoon, we went for a long ride through the hillside, ending in an afternoon bath for the elephant. Any rider willing to bathe the elephant was welcome to join the fun in the river. We expected our boat trip down the Mekong to be the least exciting event; we were really surprised by the beauty and peacefulness of the river. Also included were a visit to the Opium Museum and a foot massage/bath for two in the room. Even though all of the above activites were pre-arranged, we had to always query a day in advance -- where will we meet, what time will we meet, should we eat breakfast first? The package was awesome, but the hotel's delivery left a little to be desired.
While the resort public areas were spectacular and the food was good, service was just a bit off (we realise we're probably being a bit picky here, but that's what distinguishes a five star hotel from a four star hotel). We had to go to the bar to order drinks (instead of the bar staff making rounds asking guests if they wanted anything to drink). If you asked, the bar staff would dress your pool chair -- but only if you asked. Some nights we didn't get turndown service in the room. And we always seemed to have to ask for towels.
We have already recommended this hotel to others, and we would stay here again were we to re-visit the Golden Triangle.
Gorgeous, relaxing, great food, stunning grounds, fabulous ambience, excellent activities. Feels really Thai in a way that many Thai resorts do not. We also loved the elephant bathing, the morning monk offering, the excellent Thai food, the local treks, or the Opium museum.
Now we know how the Golden Triangle got its name!!
The Anantara clearly puts the 'gold' in the Golden Triangle. What an oasis.....wonderfully warm and welcoming staff...nothing was too much for them and everything possible was done to make our stay special. The rooms are delightful, we stayed in both a deluxe and a suite......the suite was fabulous but both rooms had baths and views to die for. The Thai food was so good we never quite managed to try the Italian menu. The ONLY areas for consideration are that the gorgeous pool was just too cold even when it was really hot and the spa is pricey (London prices) but very good!! This place is truly amazing and the moment you arrive you breathe a sigh of relief. A personal thank you to Caroline and Narongrat for making our stay so wonderful but all the staff are lovely. Dont mistake the slightly slower pace for anything other than that.....this is 5 star service Northern Thai style......NOT Bangkok style........it may be a touch slower but what is guaranteed is that everyone will offer you 110% in attitude, willingness, personal attention and genuine warmth and in a rare and beautiful setting...what more could you want.
Highly recommend, as this was the highlight of our 2 weeks in Thailand staying at all 5 star resorts! The facilities and service are both top notch! When you arrive they greet you with a fresh flower lei and refreshing tea. The spa services were fantastic, although pretty pricey- nice as a splurge. Beware of the unheated pool- it was pretty cool, even during the day, but we didn't mind. We thought both restaurants were very good- we particularly liked the lunch menu and the Italian restaurant (once again a bit pricey for Northern Thailand). Take advantage of watching the elephants bathe in the river, it's free and it only takes about 15-20 minutes- It's usually at 2:45pm, but check with the front desk. The Opium Museum across the street is very interesting and worth the trip (although it won't take the 3 hours that they say)- it is surprisingly sophisticated and well done. This resort is definitely worth a trip. We can only hope to return, perhaps for our honeymoon!
A lovely resort with superb service in an excellent location. We were upgraded to a suite, so can only comment on that very large and excellent room with balcony and good view of the Mekong River and Myanmar and Laos on the other side. The food in the two restaurants was only fair but that is a minor detraction.
We took two very nice, long drives into the Hill Country and a super two-hour long-tailed boat trip down the Mekong to Chiang Khong. All recommended.
PEACE AND QUIET - BUT CHILLY...
Stayed for 4 nights over New Year - very nice accommodation with large balcony overlooking the Mekong river, and rice paddies in the gardens below the hotel. Delightful staff, and pleased to see you. It was very cold in the evening and early morning, and despite requests the restaurant staff were reluctant to close all the glass panelling, so some people were sitting in sweaters and coats! There was thick mist over the Mekong, which magically cleared mid-morning, and the temperature went up to hot sunshine. The hotel's Elephant Camp is a must - you should prebook a Mahout training day, and be up at 6.30 to collect your elephant from the surrounding woods, and learn to control it single-handedly (well almost!). Also an excellent spa, great fun choosing the various lotions and potions.
It is worth the visit
The hotel has been recently redone and it is an absolute oasis. If you want tranquility in an exotic setting, than it is a place to go to. From your first entry into the temple entryway to the infinity pool, you can not believe that you are right on the Mekong River looking over Laos and Myramar. The rooms are heaven with a double bathtub in the centre of the room, allowing you to look out at the scenery while you are soaking in lemongrass bath oils. There are often specials, so the price is very reasonable. There are good restaurants driving towards Chiang Saen after you pass the touristy part of the Golden Triangle area.