Notes from Northern Thailand
Lightfoot Travel’s Ying Yi Ho visited Northern Thailand, and here is an excerpt from her travel diary:
The Golden Triangle is one of Northern Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations tourist destinations. Awash with jungles, temples, and alongside the river that separates it from Myanmar and Laos, brings to
mind thoughts of a by-gone era of opium traders and a peaceful, slow-paced existence. Nowadays, there’s something romantically exotic about floating on a tiny boat down a nondescript river, knowing you’re floating smack on the border of three countries. Of course, we recommend doing this the proper way and booking one of the organised Three Country excursions by Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa or Four Seasons Tented Camp. These include a morning stroll through a bustling border market in Myanmar, a spot of shopping in Laos, and an afternoon elephant trek in the lush tropical Thai forest.
Anantara and Four Seasons share the same elephant conservation camp, which sits between the two properties. This camp is the northern branch of the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC), set up by the Royal Thai Government.
I was told the centre rescues the elephants you come across on the city streets, and the mahouts that accompany them, who basically make a living by selling sugar cane to both tourists and locals to feed their elephant.
At first I was slightly dubious, as sugar cane sellers are a common sight, and asked where the elephants went during the day.
“They hide under bridge…very hot for elephant in day. And not good, mahout cannot find enough food for elephant, sometimes the elephant eat plastic bag, and fall sick,” my guide told me sadly.
He explained that the mahouts from a village group together and rent a huge truck to drive the elephants down to Bangkok to make their living and send money back north. The centre persuades these mahouts to return home, where they are given housing for their family and proper jobs teaching guests the tricks of the trade such as how to “drive” your own elephant. I was taught how to do this, and it really was quite simple – once I got over my slight vertigo.
Aside from mahout training, I also particularly enjoyed the authentic countryside experience that Lisu Lodge and Khum Lanna afforded an hour from Chiang Mai. At Lisu Lodge we had some very cute children from the Lisu village perform a dance for us after our private dinner.
At Khum Lanna we went for a dawn cycle through the rice fields and small towns, a picturesque sight with the rising red sun against the mountains. Most of all, I appreciated being away from Facebook for 2 nights, reading and relaxing in the quiet surrounds.
Alternatively, for those who want to be a stone’s throw away from the action, but desire some peace and quiet, Rachamankha is our top pick. Have breakfast in the courtyard listening to the chirping birds, browse and shop at the nearby Sunday market, visit the Old City’s most important and impressive temple, Wat Phra Singh, just in front of the hotel, and unwind with a-2 hour Thai massage at Oasis on the next street.
Get in touch with Lightfoot Travel to plan your escape into Northern Thailand – or if you like the sound of a freebie to this beautiful part of the country, read on!
Wine Guru is holding a Pink Elephant Party on November 29th in Singapore – an evening of free flow Pink Elephant Rosé and light canapés. Proceeds will go to the Elephant Family Foundation; Wine Guru proposes to match every donation from customers with a percentage from its Pink Elephant net revenue. To top off the evening, Lightfoot Travel is offering the chance to win a 2 night stay at the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa in an Anantara Suite, on a breakfast inclusive basis for two. The good people at Anantara have also kindly included a Mahout & Elephant Learning Experience for this good cause. It may not be quite the same foundation, but we’re all the same page when it comes to protecting these gentle giants.
Date: 29 November 2013, Friday
Venue: The Club Hotel Rooftop (Ying Yang), 28 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069708
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Price per ticket: $75
Includes free flow Pink Elephant wines and canapés, proceeds from every ticket sold goes towards the Elephant Family. You will also be automatically entered into the prize draw.
To book tickets please call Jo on: 97531312 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and mention you heard about it from Lightfoot Travel!