Absolutely love this place. I live in Chiang Mai and heading to Mae Wang for a weekend of relaxation and elephants - Chai Lai Orchid is the perfect getaway. Also, its an excellent place to take visitors who can only spend a short time in the area, because it includes all the highlights Northern Thailand has to offer tied up into one feel-good package: elephants (new baby just born!), bamboo river rafting, hill tribe trekking, and excellent Thai food at their restaurant (the curries are some of the best I've had anywhere and the soft shell crab with garlic is to die for). Oh, and the beds are some of the comfiest I've slept on since arriving in Thailand 8 months ago (a comfy bed is hard to find around these parts)!
The eco-resort itself is serene, a lovely spot perched next to the river and surrounded by mountainous jungle, conveniently sharing property with the elephant camp next door so you get to see elephants roaming around all day long (and definitely don't miss out on the opportunity to bathe one of them - unforgettable experience)!
The best part of all is that when you stay at Chai Lai Orchid, your money is going toward a very important cause. Sex trafficking is a huge and heartbreaking issue in Thailand, and the owner of Chai Lai, Alexa (a delightful person), started the resort as a new social business model to fight it. Local girls at risk of sex trafficking can take on paid apprenticeships that will teach them the necessary skills for a career in Thailand's booming hospitality sector. Also, local children can come take English classes and empowerment workshops at the resort. As idyllic as Thailand is, I think it's important for visitors to learn more about the issues faced by the locals. By staying at Chai Lai Orchid, you will not only have an unforgettable experience, but you will also be making a small difference in the lives of the girls that work there. In other words, this is a place you can feel great about spending your money (and it's not even that expensive).
If you come to Thailand, don't miss this wonderful place!
P.S. We went in the middle of the supposed "worst" time of the burning season and found the air quality there to be just fine - way better than it is in Chiang Mai!
- Also Known As:
- The Chai Lai Orchid Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Chai Lai Orchid is a nature retreat nestled beside the river and surrounded by lush tropical forest. The resort has 8 individual bungalows. Here you can spend your days swimming in a fresh mountain water pond, lounging hammocks, tubing on the river, or interacting with the beautiful Asian elephants. Mountain biking and trekking paths traverse the surrounding tropical forest. ... more less
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