A Walk on the Wild Side at Anantara Golden Triangle

Chenyu Huang

Club Points Owner Chenyu Huang and her family just spent a long weekend at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. Read more about their adventures in their Owner's Story! 

It has been said that a good resort can itself be considered a holiday destination. Chiang Rai’s Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is such a wonderful place that you can plan a journey with the resort as your sole destination. My husband Alan and my 3-year-old daughter Sylvia had a long weekend earlier this month. Since family time is so precious, we decided to venture far and away from the hustle and bustle of daily life on a holiday we could cherish. Our destination was Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, suffice to say it certainly lived up to all expectations.

The resort itself is very exotic. After driving through the main gate, the first thing that leapt to our attention was a water buffalo eating grass and wandering around the lake. Birds were singing and bouncing among the tree branches. We immediately felt more relaxed and connected to Mother Nature. When we arrived at the reception, we were told our room was not quite ready yet, so we were offered a chance to meet some of the resort’s famous elephants while we wait.

Soon, a jeep came to pick us up. We were all excited, Sylvia especially, as climbed in. We held on tight as the jeep bounced along the bumpy roads, making us feel as if we were embarking on a wild adventure. As we were driving, we noticed elephant droppings along the side of the road. As Sylvia is now in the stage of getting rid of diapers, I explained to her that sometimes it is OK to go without a diaper. I told her, “Look! Elephant’s poo is big and they do it without diapers!” Sylvia nodded in understanding. After we arrived, we joined a group of people feeding elephants. Sylvia was shy and afraid. She hid herself behind me. I could understand her feelings of being confrontation by a group of animals many times her size. No matter how much I encouraged her or demonstrated how to feed the beautiful creatures, Sylvia didn’t budge. But I believe everyone moves at their own pace, and that should be respected, so we didn’t pressure her.

The mahout started to teach the visitors how to interact with an elephant. Even a little boy at Sylvia’s age was right next to them. As she watched, her rigid body started to relax, as she seemed to understand it was safe to get close to these gentle giants. I felt that this first contact with the elephants was very necessary for her to prepare for the next day.

On the second morning, we arrived at the camp, and this time, we were able to feed the elephants ourselves. Sylvia showed a bit of hesitation while standing in front of them. We were very concerned that she may quit the activities later on. To our astonishment, she dared to interact with the elephant with Alan. Together Sylvia and her father fed the elephant, bathed with her, and walked a steep muddy uphill road with her. As it turns out, I was the weak one! Sylvia said to me, “Mummy please don’t cry.” after seeing my fearful face. At the end of the two hour mahout experience, Sylvia stood in front of her elephant, touched the trunk and emotionally said, “Elephant worked very hard. Goodbye elephant.”

We were touched by Sylvia’s transformation from being afraid to having her own strength to stand in front of her gentle giant. She went from being a stranger to understanding and connecting with her. I was also glad to see Sylvia appreciated the elephant’s work, understand that all creatures are equal, and had the good manners to properly say ‘Goodbye.’

The experiences we had at the resort went far beyond our expectations. It is really something you cannot get from simply visiting a school or a zoo. I would recommend, with no hesitation, that ALL of my friends and family take a trip to the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. It’s worth it!

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