The Natural Wonders of Superb Luxury
Escape to the natural wonders of Northern Thailand this winter as temperatures drop just enough to warrant a light cashmere shawl in the evenings. Just south of Burma and west of Laos, the unique tented camp experience offered at the Four Seasons in the unforgettable Golden Triangle region, is an adventure of a lifetime and includes trekking by elephant through lush jungle and spectacular mountain trails while you bask in dramatic views of the river and Burma beyond. Much more than just a luxury experience, guests are invited to truly touch cultural diversity in the heart of Asia’s unspoiled countryside.
From the moment you land in Chiang Mai, prepare to be whisked away on a magical journey as a Four Seasons guide greets you with chilled face towels and cold mineral water. An air-conditioned vehicle provides the ultimate comfort as you experience one of the most scenic drives in Thailand, passing dozens of unique hill-tribe villages. From Chiang Rai International Airport, your journey encompasses everything from a stunningly beautiful landscape through rice fields to a captivating 10-minute boat ride downriver while lounging on cushions in a traditional long tail boat. Of course, if you just can’t wait to arrive at your destination, book the resort’s private helicopter that will pick you up just two minutes from the Four Seasons Chiang Mai in Mae Rim Village. During an exhilerating one-hour journey, you will discover awe-inspiring views of the northern Thai countryside.
Located on elevated grounds along a hillside, the Camp commands majestic views of the Thai jungle, Burma across the Ruak River and mountains of Laos in the northeast. When you arrive, an exotic refreshment awaits to accompany you on a stroll where you are led to discover your home away from home located along a verdant, fern-abundant pathway. Elephant-tusk styled door handles lead you into an elegant sanctuary of ivory candles, gauzy mosquito netting, oval mirrors hand crafted from dark, tropical woods, glowing lanterns, bamboo accents and views that might just possibly leave you speechless. Each tent is named after local hill tribes, fauna and flora, and all uniquely decorated in an individual color scheme with coordinated furnishings. Here you can enjoy an exceptional night’s sleep in a luxurious king size bed after a relaxing dip in your custom-made, wooden hot tub. Get lost in a cozy world of snuggling into thick terry bathrobes, down pillows and adult tranquility, as children under 12-years-old are only welcome to the resort if their group contracts the entire property. For the ultimate jungle experience, stay in a Superior Tent, complete with heating, air-conditioning, and high-speed Internet in addition to all of the Deluxe amenities. In an effort to protect the sounds of nature and the forest environment, televisions, DVD players and radios are not provided, leaving you comfortably in peace and quiet.
Share your dining experiences with a small; close-knit community of fellow adventurers in various venues throughout the Camp. Dine under an open-air thatched-roof pavilion with rustic hardwood floors at the Nong Yao Restaurant, offering Thai, Laotian, Burmese and Western cuisine. What should one expect from a jungle dining experience? The best of Four Seasons style, of course: local stoneware and silver cutlery are used for serving while white linens with simple, elegant porcelain dishes and complementary glassware perfectly appoint each table. At breakfast and lunch, tables are decorated with local hill-tribe artifacts as a double-sided fireplace sets the mood in the middle of the restaurant. Hurricane lamps dot the public areas, leading you to the adjacent open fire pit where you can relax and enjoy a drink.
If you just want to sip a cocktail and watch the sun go down, stop by the Burma Bar, overlooking Burma and the Ruak River, with a perfect view of the sunset. The Bar is decorated with trekking and navigation equipment, including maps, books, and tribal antiques. Its casual atmosphere makes it a hub for quiet, contemplative moments in which to enjoy the tranquility of the environment. Curl up on one of the overstuffed leather couches next to the white stone fireplace where you can read a book while trying some of the chef’s local delicacies.
For a spectacular finish to the day, ask a Camp host to help you book a very special romantic dinner, small celebration or private party in the outdoor dining venue at Elephant Camp or book a private party at the rustic Wine Cellar, which stores an impressive collection of international and Thai wines. For the ambitious, master chefs offer intimate cooking classes that will teach you the secrets of traditional Thai, Laotian and Burmese cooking. Learn how to use local fresh ingredients combined with distinctive regional flavors to create dishes with unique northern Thai appeal.
To work up an appetite, there are plenty of adventurous activities to choose from. Go on a self-guided nature trek or let a local expert lead you on mysterious mountain trails through a haven of exotic fauna and flora. Let local guides train you to drive and trek an elephant through the tropical jungles. Take an excursion in a long-tail boat cruising the Mekong River, passing villages and temples or visit the town of Chiang Saen by car, where you can explore a local market, stop by a temple, or do some shopping. If you prefer to stay close to Camp, spend an afternoon learning basket weaving, cloth weaving and pottery from local craftsmen. Cool off in the Camp’s free-form swimming pool or soothe your aching muscles in a therapeutic swirling whirlpool.
Nestled amidst the bamboo, you are in the land of the traditional Thai massage after all, so treat yourself to an authentic experience with the holistic spa’s innovative rituals enhanced with the healing power of mountain botanicals and local warming spices. According to legend, Thai massage was created by Buddha’s physician and practiced in temples in the second and third centuries. By combining Oriental pressure point stimulation and stretching with gentle rocking, it helps to improve circulation and flexibility to invigorate the nervous system, resulting in a feeling of relaxation and overall well being. After a day of trekking, relax muscles with the Mahout Recovery Treatment as large poultices filled with camphor, lime and lemongrass are used to massage the body and are placed under the legs to release lactic acid. For a meditative experience, the Mekong Meditation allows your body and mind to unwind, through tender manipulations coupled with circular motions that restore balance. Thai herbal oils release therapeutic properties into the skin to dissolve muscle tension while your mind drifts away.