Roam+Board :: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle

FSTentedCampGoldenTriangle

[trip style = luxe + glamping + adventure + spa + sun]

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Editor's Note: This R+B is the final part in a series on my trip style = luxury jaunt to Asia. Earlier not-to-miss posts include: flying Cathay Pacific's business class, exploring Hong Kong, checking into the Four Seasons Hong Kong, and a trip into Thailand's Lanna Kingdom {land of a million rice fields} at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai
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What
From the lookout at the highest point of the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Thailand, I could see Myanmar and Laos in the distance. As if this scene in my Thai playbook wasn't exception enough, I had just come from meeting a herd of rescued elephants I would trek with the next day. In a state of geographic and animal awe, I stood in silence surveying the landscapeclutching a flute of Champagne {it is the Four Seasons after all}—wishing I had the power to freeze time.  

In the world of glamping, the Four Seasons Tented Camp crosses at the high point of luxury and experiential travel. As the ONLY all-inclusive Four Seasons, no service is spared, not even a trip to the tree house spa, open on two sides to the bamboo jungle below. 

Starting with a splash, your stay begins by boat. My captain picked me up an hour from the city of Chiang Rai and swished me along the Ruak River to camp in one of Thailand’s famous long-tail boats. 

Seven minutes later, over fresh papaya-guava smoothies served in handmade bamboo tumblers, I was greeted with three clangs of a gong {to health, happiness and prosperity}, and guided to my 581-square-foot tent perched over northern Thailand's lush plains. 

Each of the fifteen Bill Bensley-designed tents sit discretely scattered over a half-mile, hidden between palms and bamboo clusters. Inside, dark hardwood floors, elephant-inspired bathtub fittings and an outdoor shower make you feel as though you're a 19th century explorer on assignment for your kingdom.

Though, it was the bed that really beckoned me to take up permanent residence; positioned with a view of the roaming elephants below who would occasionally remind me of their presence by lifting their trunks and trumpeting their position.

When the sky turned from orange to ink, the camp custom I treasured most came in liquid form: Pre-dinner cocktails in the thatched-roof Burma Bar {not surprisingly, overlooking Burma (Myanmar) in the distance}. Here, over lemongrass martinis, I met other adventure-prone guests. Instead of discussing the weather or current eventstypical topics when you meet a new friendwe shared our trekking tales and the best way to mount an elephant.

During the day, moments meander between learning how to ride elephants bareback, to practicing serenity-now by the oasis-like pool. Then came my spa appointmentpart of the all-inclusive packagea 10-minute walk deep into camp for escape and privacy reasons. 

Inside the wooden-platform bungalow blending into the verdant valley like a chameleon, I changed into my spa robe in the open as if I was a Jane of the Jungle. The setting in and of itself was enough of a spa treatment, yet I welcomed my mahout recovery treatment {the perfect remedy after a day of trekking} with its au naturel soundtrack of chirping birds and wind-blown palms. And again, felt the urge to freeze time. 

Trip Styler approved.     

Where
At the northern tip of Thailand where the country meets Myanmar and Loas, about an hour from the Chiang Rai Airport {CEI}, a 75-min flight from Bangkok.

When
Weather in the Golden Triangle ranges from warm to hot year round. In this part of the world there are three seasons: hot {Mar - Jun}, rainy {July - Oct} and "cool" {Nov - Feb}. The cool season is the most popular due its lack of rain and average of 25-degree Celsius temperatures.   

Who/Why
Venturing "off the beaten path" is your middle name, but you like to do so with a dash of adventure and a spoonful of style.  

Cost
Rates start around $2400/night (for two people) and include Chiang Rai airport pick-up and drop-off, all meals and drinks, an elephant trek with mahout training and a spa treatment. Kids above the age of 12 are welcome.

Trip Styler Tip: I know this property comes with an haute couture price tag, but rest assured, in the realm of luxury trip styling, this experience is WELL worth the save-to-splurge investment.

Photos

Taking a long-tail boat to camp

Taking a long-tail boat to camp

The first sight I see when docking

The first sight I see when docking

Entering camp

Entering camp

Welcome drinks served in hand-carved bamboo tumblers

Welcome drinks served in hand-carved bamboo tumblers

My tent

My tent

My tent's rope-secured veranda

My tent's rope-secured veranda

Meeting a two-week-old elephant

Meeting a two-week-old elephant

Learning elephant-riding commands. Note the amazing denim getup: Traditional crop pants, a short-sleeve button-up shirt and a waist sash. If you spot Crocs on my feet, you're not mistaken. Each guest is given a pair to use while trekking. This is one of the ONLY instances wearing crocs is remotely acceptable in my trip stylin' lookbook. 

Learning elephant-riding commands. Note the amazing denim getup: Traditional crop pants, a short-sleeve button-up shirt and a waist sash. If you spot Crocs on my feet, you're not mistaken. Each guest is given a pair to use while trekking. This is one of the ONLY instances wearing crocs is remotely acceptable in my trip stylin' lookbook. 

My elephant and mahout

My elephant and mahout

Trekking

Trekking

Nearing the end of the trek

Nearing the end of the trek

The pool 

The pool 

The spa

The spa

Burma Bar

Burma Bar

Nong Yao, the camp's gorgeous restaurant

Nong Yao, the camp's gorgeous restaurant