Words just really cannot do justice to the magnificence of this awe-inspiring paradise with unparalleled comforts of classically romanticized Safari Ambiance but we will do our best. Just because it is Safari does not mean it has to be in Africa. With only 15 jaw dropping luxurious tents that surpassed any expectation and any benchmark of world’s best safari lodges, Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle is not your average upscale camping ground. A maximum capacity of 30 guests pledged pure intimacy, privacy, exclusivity, and superb personalized service. Perched on the edge of the world bearing exotic allure of the precious golden land where three countries, Thailand, Laos, and Burma, seamlessly merged into one, pure romance and true beauty of a bygone age are undoubtedly a guarantee. The design of Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle is also meant to stretch the boundaries of what a tent can be by taking it to a complete next level. Being one of the world’s best luxury resorts, Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle has been long overdue on our bucket list. So what could be a better excuse than going there to celebrate our 5th Anniversary? Being there was just like traveling through time to the classic 1940’s era of Safari Fantasies with its majestic scenery of mountains and rivers looming dramatically as the backdrop (if you are extra luck you will also get to see a herd of wild buffalo joyfully splashing water and bathing in the river bank during sunset hour), one-of-a-kind handcrafted furniture ranging from vividly patterned tribal fabrics, to double mirror and sink for his-and-her-bathroom, to the hand-beaten copper bathtub made for two, to graceful wood furnishing and floor, to traditional thatched roofs, to King-Size Bed in exquisite white linen atop with fantastically stylish see-through white mosquito net, to rich Wooden Jacuzzi with hot bubbly water, luxury outdoor rain shower, and to the 19th century exploration decorations. Simply put, it was like we were on the movie set of Indiana Jones and The Jungle Book combined (crowned with sense of outré opulent). Here we also have the friendliest residents and our dearest friends (they are our Baloo and Bageera of The Jungle Book), The Elephants, who were rescued from being abused and mistreated and are now living happily under the protection of Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. Armed with compasses, zoom lenses, binoculars, and Moeva London Swimsuits we are going to see the world of mesmerizing nature at its rawest format.
Our luxe private limousine transfer begins with our chauffeur picking us up in Mercedes Benz’s brand new 2016 GLC which personalized to and decorated with Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle style. The new GLC storms on the scene with attractive Mercedes SUV style and elegant interior. It is definitely a classy affair with tablet-style screen showing navigation route so both chauffeur and passenger know exact where and what time they will arrive at the destination. Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle’s GLC is also equipped with WIFI, iPhone cables & chargers, Soft Drinks & Water & Fresh Cold Hand Towels, English Newspaper, Four Seasons Magazine, and A Wide Range of Music from Asian Lounge to Golden Triangle Experience to Jazz to Swing to Western Country Song. It was a smoothly swift one hour and a half ride. It is possible to go directly to the resort via car but we highly recommend you to take a mystic 10 minutes ride cruising down the Mekong River and be prepared to break your travel record by seeing three countries within 10 minutes via Four Seasons private motor boat (which looks like a glammed up version of Traditional Thai Long Tail Boat). The scenery is absolutely stunning so make sure you have your camera ready and snap away.
Upon our arrival we were warmly welcomed by the host of Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle. We then rang the Gong three times each as a custom for good luck before being accompanied to central viewing deck next to the main dining area- Nong Yao Restaurant and the beautiful free-form pool tucked away in between lush green forest and Ruak River (a tributary of Mekong River). We were offered an ultra refreshing welcome drinks of lemon grass juice served in hand crafted glass and straw made from the natural bamboo (how spectacular). In distance we could hear the sound of Elephants cheerfully trumpeting so we walked over to meet our new friend, Boun-Ma, it was morning snack time when guests can feed elephant with organic vegetables. Prior to the rescued Boun-Ma lived a hard life at the hands of her logging company owners, she was subjected to repeatedly beatings. Since young age she was forced to pushed and pull heavy logs that exceeded her capacity. She is still baring scars from those old horrible days on her forehead, you can see that her skull is disproportionate. Thanks to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, Boun-Ma is now living happily at Four Seasons Tent Camp Resort where she has regained human trusts and made many new friends (Elephants and Humans alike). After fun time with Boun-Ma we were transferred to our Deluxe Tent No. 5 which located next to the this credibly beautiful long hanging bridge (80 meters long and 22 meters high). A walk to our tent was on foot through The Bamboo Forest which was so serene, a perfect way to start the day. Just by taking a brief glance around we were being completely spell bounded by its wild unspoiled nature which can be seen as far as your eyes allow and its supremely deluxe atmosphere of this 80 acres haven. A truly amazing destination will also inspire you to dress the part, and Four Seasons Golden Triangle did just that, it pulls the luxury bohemian, tribal-chic, and lavish safari senses of styles out of you.
The Four Seasons Tent Camp Host pulled the Duplicate Elephant Tusk Door Knop (That is right “Duplicate”, we do not live on the expense of others as we do not tolerate to any animal cruelty and thank you to Four Seasons for sharing the same belief <3) to reveal the true beauty that lies behind the closed door and said “Welcome Home”. Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle is definitely the most fashionable luxury resort we have ever been to (not to mention that is also our favorite) with their incomparable Très Chic décor and design by none other than the legendary (you guessed), Bill Bensley. Although it was a difficult task picking favorite part of the tent, we have found it – The Elephant-Inspired Ultra Elegant & Ultra Spacious (was it made for more than two people at the time?) Hand Hammed Copper Faux Ivory Clad Bathtub which located just in the middle of the tent. To be honest we have never seen a bathtub so beautifully made such as this one (And trust us, we have seen plenty of ultra upbeat and upscale ones). Can we take all of these furniture and furnishing home? Will you look at that, The Duplicate Rhino horns sink-valve and Brass Bath-tub Valve in the full shape of Elephant face, matching with its close-by customized Brass Stand-up Fan? Wow! Every aspect has been well thought of from endless nibbles, to a bottle of Proseco in elegant silver chiller with crafted elephant handles, and to binoculars were carefully placed for guests to take in all of the incredible view. If you are on a romantic getaway the option of “Deluxe Tent” is crucially an essential one, sipping champagne in this handcrafted 37 square meters Wooden Jacuzzi filled with hot water while enjoying the superb view from your balcony and cool breeze blowing away softly will add a perfect ending of your day. Only one thought came to our mind at this very moment in time, we wish that there is only checking-in and no checking-out because we have found our true “Northern Home Away From Home”.
Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle is the only property of Four Seasons in this world that offers an all-inclusive-once-in-a-life-time-holiday-getaway-experience. Which means, drum rolls please, all guests get the full board meals plan plus a 90-minute spa treatment at the venue of your choice either at your tent or at the spa which is tucked away in the unrealistically beautiful and extremely tranquil thick bamboo forest. We highly recommend you to do your treatment at the Spa, the journey to the spa itself is already quite rejuvenating and the venue is just absolutely serene and stunning. Try Doi Tung Rejuvenator Treatment, a 90-minute-Oriental Soothing Aromatic Oil Massage which combing kneading and stretching techniques resulting in body’s detoxify and re-energized. If you are seeking something more special, we highly recommend the romantic “Long Rak Chiang Rai (literally means falling in love with Chiang Rai in Thai) – Couple Connection Treatment”, infused with Jasmine and Ylang Ylang flowers. Starting with body salt scrub, followed by a massage on the water mattress, and ended with a bath filled with rose petals. Being called Kitchen of The World, Cuisine is an important Thai Art both refine and delicate with harmony as guiding principle of each dish. The must-try-dishes are Khao Soi Hor ***(My personal favorite and daily dose, Northern Egg Noodle Curry with Chicken in Rich & Creamy Coconut Milk Soup), Kaow Ram Fuen (Layered Shan Burmese Noodle with Minced Pork and Prawns, we guarantee that you won’t find this dish anywhere else!), Four Seasons Signature Caesar Salad (With Romaine Lettuce, Bacon Bits, Parmesan Cheese, Chicken, and Prawns – Something simply that can do you no wrong), and the homemade Bolognese Spaghetti (Something simply that can do you no wrong). Don’t miss out the daily dose of Sundowner Cocktails while Watching the Sunset Overlooking Burma at Burma Bar – An Open Air Thatched-Roof Chic Tribal Lounge, for gentlemen we recommend “Opium” (Rum Based Cocktail) and Cooling & Shooting for ladies (Gin Based Cocktail topped with Ginger-Ale and Sliced Fresh Gingers). Four Seasons is second to none when it comes to The Ideally Romantic Destination Dining Experiences by having Private Elephant Camp Peak Sunrise Breakfast and Private Elephant Camp Dinner as their best. What could be a better way to start the day than waking up with sunrise while dining privately from the highest peak of the resort overlooking three countries; Thailand, Laos, and Burma? Or if you are not an early bird, Try Private Elephant Camp Dinner – This All Candles Lit Up Al-Fresco Dining with your names handcrafted onto the candles and traditional thai live music will leave you and your loved one speechless. Couldn’t decide which option to take? Do them both, just like us :)
At the end of the day we are all animals so the reason anyone could or would hurt any of our animal friend has always been and will always be beyond me. Many travelers coming to Asia or Africa with their fantasy of riding an elephant, there is nothing wrong with that but such fantasy sometimes unknowingly comes with a big unaffordable cause – Animal Cruelty. Many researches have shown that riding elephant on his back (not to even mention putting heavy metal chair on top of that) causes severe and sometimes permanent damage to Elephant’s spine. In fact, Elephant’s strongest part is the neck not the back. Elephant’s circus tricks also do not come easy as they involve brutal forms of unimaginable torture. While these problems are common in Thailand a better outlook emerged as people are better informed, better educated, and proactively saying “No More!”. A Big Thank you to “Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation” and “Four Seasons Tent Camp Golden Triangle” for making a difference by rescuing our dear animal friends from these gruesome nightmares, treating them right, and most importantly giving them a lovely and a happy home filled with best friends (elephants and humans alike), 100% organic food, fun job with great holiday package (as they only work half day for every other day), and full access to any doctor or medical care they might need. Riding an elephant can be an ethical and a safe activity to both you and the elephant if it is done properly. Therefore, you don’t have to cross out riding elephant off your bucket list just do your research and be selective. Here at Four Seasons you would have to complete The Mahout Training Program which involves feeding, walking & trekking & bathing with elephants, learning how to communicate with Elephant, and earning her trust before you can ride an elephant on her bare neck into the forest.
Because of Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, we have had an opportunity of a life time to really get to know these gentle giants whom we have made best friends with (Yuki – our Baloo and Phang Phet – our Baheera). Just like us Yuki and Phang Phet are real life BFF. Yuki (meaning Snow in Japanese) born a superstar as she was sold and shipped to Japan as a calf starring in Coca Cola Commercial Ad. As she was not able to cope with Winter, Yuki was soon shipped back to Thailand where she worked in strip bar and took part in cabaret shows in Pattaya before being rescued. Her highly intellectual and witty personality often gets her into trouble as she can often be seen eating away neighbor’s banana plantation. Phuang Phet (meaning handful of diamonds in Thailand) had been living on the six-wheel-truck with her owner roaming around North of Thailand selling sugarcane until her owner can no longer afford to feed or keep her. The story goes that during the first three days at Four Seasons Tent Camp Phuang Phet did not stop eating (her favorite) sugarcanes as she was testing when her food resources of sugarcane will come to an end and she later concluded her experimental as never ending. Phuang Phet is known as one of the slowest elephants in the herd when walking together with Yuki we often see Yuki pushing Phang Phet’s bum with her forehead which made us burst out into tears and laugh every single time. Bizarrely enough I (a girl who is 1.55 m. tall and weight 43 kgs) got the opportunity to ride our dear friend “Yuki” who is one of the tallest and biggest elephants in the foundation (Height of 3 m. tall and weight of 1,900 kgs) and Patrick got to ride our dear friend Phaung Phet. Yuki and Phaung Phet love nothing more than spraying water at guest when they are in the river so be prepared, Songkran is coming earlier this year! We couldn’t end our story without mentioning that Yuki has earned a permanent place in my heart the very moment when she not only let me ride on her bare neck into the jungle but also (out of nowhere without being told or asked or what-so-ever) when Yuki picked a white daisy flower on the ground and delivered that to me with her trunk!!! This is more than a perfect example showing that all animals too have beautiful souls and beautiful minds. I would like to tell Yuki “Yuki, my new best friend, thank you so very much for the flower and thank you for letting me be a Chihuahua on your neck! I can not wait to see you again! Please take a wonderful care of yourself until we meet again. Much love to you and all of our friends at Four Seasons Tent Camp.”