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“Amazing, once in a lifetime, experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle

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Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   P.O. Box 18, Chiang Saen Post Office, Chiang Saen 57150, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Chiang Saen
NY, NY
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing, once in a lifetime, experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

This is a place you MUST visit. From the second we arrived at the boating dock, we knew this was going to be an unforgettable experience. The whole team makes sure that your experience here feels as authentic as possible. From the car, you are taken by boat down the river until you reach the hotel. It honestly feels like there is no other way to get to the resort. Upon arrival the assistant manager of the hotel met us as well as the chef to discuss our dietary needs. The chef decided that meeting us each morning would be best to design the most perfect menus for us. We were then taken to our "tents." We have never visited Africa, but I'd assume safari hotels would be quite similar. The tents were amazing; spacious, decorated authentically and had a beautiful deck looking out over the river into Burma. We were given a personal itinerary that filled our days, but also gave us enough time to relax. Each night at sunset, the hotel guests (10 out of 15 tents were occupied) would meet at Burma Bar to watch the magnificent sunset. Every night either the assistant property manager or the property manager or both would meet and chit chat with the guests, which we found to be so hospitable. We also loved meeting the other guests and hearing about their travels. It really was a great way to end each day. The resort is so spread out and private that you could really go without seeing anyone except for at meals, but it was nice to gather together for drinks each night. The attention the staff here gives each person is beyond. I had a slight stomach issue one day, and each person there was there to offer help/tea suggestions or just check in to make sure I was feeling better (which I was!). The resort has a jeep that drives you around the resort if you don't feel like walking, but I could imagine that the many steps could be hard for older visitors or maybe some that are not in shape. We weren't sure if our parents could have visited due to the many steps. The food was great and designed for us each day/night. Every excursion was interesting from sight seeing at the Golden Triangle, Opium Museum, Chiang Rai market and one afternoon in Burma. Besides the above, the experience with the elephants was exceptional. We even got to see some hotel staff and guests playing elephant polo! They provide you with cute "mahout" (elephant trainers) outfits (new ones each day!). The elephant training and riding experience was unforgettable. Each guest had their own elephant and trainer as well as one of the hotel members running around and taking pictures along the way. We can't say enough about this hotel because it was so different than anywhere we have been. It is luxurious yet rustic. It tries to stay as authentic as possible making us question at times (esp when the elephants came to breakfast) if we were in Disney World ;) The spa was fine, very far off the beaten path, but relaxing nonetheless. I would recommend this hotel (and the other guests all were raving as well) to anyone who wants and can afford this type of experience.

Room Tip: All the tents are pretty much the same except some have jacuzzi's on the deck. Also, some tents...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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220 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Hong Kong, China
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

OK, let's firstly deal with some of the 'bad' things said such as it being like Disneyland, not remote, not authentic, expensive etc. My politically sensitive answer is that it's all subjective. My real answer is that none of those descriptions (except it being expensive) ring true for me. I booked a four seasons hotel as I wanted a four seasons experience. If I wanted authentic, I would have probably looked for a local brand name and tried that - and you drive past a number of them so there were plenty to choose from. Yes, they bring you the elephants to feed at breakfast which may seem Disney-like and for kids but every adult there enjoyed it to be honest so maybe it just struck the wrong chord with some. The baby elephants were very cute and it's rare to be able to get so close and I was happy to be able to feed them bananas/ sugar cane and stroke them. In terms of remoteness and taking the boat all being an illusion; fair enough, there is a road there so it's geographically not remote but when you are in the resort, it is quiet and peaceful and you feel like you are away from it all so I don't know what else people want when they complain about it not being remote - it absolutely FEELS as if it is and that's good enough for me.

My overall experience of this place was amazing. From the moment we arrived at the boat pier to have a small entourage greet us and take us on a local speedboat to our resort, we knew we were in for something special.

On arrival, we were greeted with fresh juices, checking in mid-afternoon in the bar/ restaurant overlooking the river. Lovely dark woods/ white cushions, thai sculptures and orange umbrellas was a very tasteful setting in which to have our first meal. As the price you pay includes all your food and wine and soft drinks, they even offered us a bite to eat on arrival. All very nice.

We then had to walk from the restaurant to the room and i must admit, that was a bit of a hike up and down small undulations and across what is, for my wife, a scary (height-wise) but very sturdy bridge. All in all, if you are a bit older, or are thinking of bringing your parents who are a bit older, i would double check with the hotel that they can come pick you up most times or get a tent close to the restaurant or bar, depending which you prefer :-). The distance between the bar and the restaurant is definitely significant and a bit of a pain if you are dressed up etc but it is a very relaxed place so no real need to bring the glitter/ heels!

The room - wow, what a surprise. Lovely decor and the tent was the most luxuriously decorated tent i have ever seen. I would definitely expect the same on a super luxurious safari in Kenya or Tanzania or somewhere like that. Everything about it was great; the huge bath, the outdoor shower, the balcony (with evening lamps outside), the lovely bed, the stocked fridge. I really cannot fault it. It even had air-con and a nice ceiling fan. If anything, the walls were thin, it being a tent and all, so noise travels but it's nice to hear the cicadas outside and the weird noises of the geckos (not birds in case you are mistaken as we were).

The Restaurant and Burma bar were very nice too. Good reliable four seasons quality at the restaurant if a little underwhelming in terms of adventure and great cocktails at the Burma bar. Service was excellent as always.

In terms of activities, this for me was the most disappointing. The mahout training was one of the most fun things I have ever done and the guys helping us were amazing. My wife nearly was so panicked on our first trip, she had to come off and just follow us around on foot. However, they then took some time off later in the afternoon, when they had finished work, to try again with her and she proudly steered Phuang Phet bravely round the training ground. She had tears in her eyes at the end because she couldn't believe she had done it given how scared she was. However, that was about it. The hall of opium for me was an eye opener, and very good, as i didn't realise how much the drug contributed to China's downfall; read the stories, watch the films, immensely enjoyable if you like history and know little about the Opium wars. However, that was it. The trip to the Golden Triangle was a little underwhelming as you sit on the same boat in the Mekong and see all of Thailand, Laos and Burma; there was little to identify where you were and even less of a history lesson to educate you. There are trips to see hill tribes, waterfalls, hot springs and even a trip to go to Burma. Having been on the hill tribes tour I suspect it would just be as disappointing. I have no say on the waterfalls/ springs but a guy we know who did it whilst we were there and he said there was actually a lot of driving so that isn't particularly fun. We did do the trip to Burma and that was nothing special. You drive to the border in a very nice van, then you hop off into a tuk tuk, you hold US$70,000 (from a local money changer) in your hand and take a photo, you go around a local food market and then you head back. Not so sure I would waste the US$300-350 to do this if i was given the choice again. Should have just stayed in the resort and had a nice lunch. One thing I did do was the early morning stretching and the jungle gym (although it was just a walk up to the hill) so it doesn't take too long if you are relatively fit. I outpaced my guy and waited for him.......

One thing we did pay for which was amazing was the elephant camp dinner. Costly but well worth it as you are remote and away from everyone, you have your own kitchen staff, personal waiter and Thai musicians playing for you. I won't spoil it but they have a lovely gesture at the end which you will love.

My one gripe about this place is the price. It is extraordinarily expensive (and I think this drives a lot of the negative comments) because if you think that you can spend between $200-$300 for most 5 star hotels, you are paying between 6-10 times the price of one night anywhere else. It is all inclusive but still.

In the end, no regrets. It was a wonderful experience and one with lots of very nice memories. I would recommend anyone to save up and spend a couple nights there. Enjoy.

Room Tip: We were in tent 12 (the hill tribe tent) and we had great views across the river. I think 13 or 14...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cologne
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

Luxury tents, overlooking natural forest with grazing elephants, or with far reaching views over Burma. A high staff to guest ratio ensuring perfect and personal service. This is not camping -- this is pure luxury.

All inclusive here really means that. From the well stocked mini bar (including 20cl bottles of Bacardi, Whiskey, Gin and Vodka) to the three regular meals, sundowner cocktails and so on, this is all-inclusive at its best. There is no way you can eat and drink everything they offer you!

Fortunately, it is a 10-15 minute walk from one end of the resort to the other (from the Sundowners at the Burma bar to the main restaurant). This allows you to burn off at least a few of the calories. However, there is also a land-rover shuttle service if this suits you better. Walk along the lower road if you want to see the grazing elephants, and the high path for losing more calories.

On arrival, we received a personalised itinerary. Changes to suit our needs were easily and efficiently accommodated (we chose more hiking, less Spa time). Ask, and you shall receive, appears to be the motto. Some guests appeared to be choosing more time with elephants, and others appeared to be avoiding the elephants almost completely.

One guest was obviously concerned about the Geckos, Snakes and other wildlife. However, we found that the patter of tiny gecko feet on the roof of the tent ceased once we switched off the lights. The call of the Toko Geckos confused us until we found out what was causing the unique noise. We certainly had no unwelcome visitors inside the tent itself.

The tents are far enough apart to be fully private. Only once did we hear a loud American guest passing our tent. It does pay to remember that sound carries a distance here, with no traffic noise and only the call of insects in the forest.

There was a small intermittent problem with the water supply during our stay, and for one day you had to catch the right time to take a shower. The management apologised profusely, but to be honest I cannot say that it negatively affected our experience, even if we did once have to bail water out of the jacuzzi to flush the toilet!

Don't expect discos and fitness rooms here. Expect peace, quiet, nature, elephants --- and one of the best luxury resorts in the world!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ali M, Camp Manager at Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, responded to this review, April 8, 2013
Thank you for such thoughtful and detailded review of our magical tented Camp ! We truly appreciate you taking the time to share such great review with everyone.

First, I would like to once again apologize for the water supply issue that briefly occurred during your stay, and I do offer my sincerest apologies to any discomfort you may have had to endure.

On a brighter note, I am thrilled to know that you did enjoy what our Camp offers and the inclusion of your package; as well I am glad that we were able to customize your stay up to your liking and come up with very personalized itinerary for you.

Once again, thank you for the great review, and we are all looking forward to welcoming you back to our jungle in the near future.

Best Regards,

Ali Mohammed
Camp Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

If you want to do something unlike anything else, this is the place. From the boat ride into the hotel, to elephants eating breakfast with you to the snake infused rice whiskey...FS Tented Camp is one place I have told everyone they must go to at one point in their life.

One recommendation for the hotel is they can hopefully expand their services, as the elephant trek was the highlight of the trip and the other activities are a bit lack luster. If there could be a more expanded package with the elephants it would make it all that much more incredible.

The food is second to none Thai cuisine and rooms are exceptional.

Any doubts you have on price push aside and Go.

Room Tip: Try to get one of the first tents with best view of the river.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerset, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

What an amazing place. Breakfast for you - and for you to give some your elephants. Then elephant trekking, swimming and amazing views of the golden triangle. Mynamar is a stones through from your tent, literally over the river. Great Bar, wonderful food and truly brilliant and accommodating staff. We have travelled a fair bit and this takes some beating. The tents are amazing, loads of room, great facilities, wonderful spa tent - I could go on

Room Tip: 14 is one of the furthest from restaurant which was a great for walking off meals. Nearest the Burma...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ali M, Camp Manager at Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Thank you so much for such a passionate review and I appreciate the very thoughtful description of our Magical Camp.
I am thrilled to know that you have loved the Camp, the tent, the food, and most importantly, our team.
It was a complete privilege having you with us, and we are all looking forward to welcoming you back to our Magical Jungle in the near future.

Best Regards,

Ali Mohammed
Camp Manager
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Ottawa, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

Stayed here February 11 - 14. Stayed in Tent # 12, which is a bit of a trek from the lobby, but very close to Burma bar at the far end. One can easily grab a car that will take you back to the lobby and vice versa. Felt sorry for the tents in the middle ( 6 - 10) which are equal distnace from the lobby or the Burma bar. They have no choice but to walk in the hot humdity either way. The tent was nice but did have 2 gecko incidents due to holes in the roof of the tent. They did fix the holes once they were advsied of them but would suggest that they do more inspections to avoid small animals from entering then tent.

The elephants are definitley the reason to come here, our Mahout training was awesome. We did our training in the afternoon so it was a bit hotter. We arrived at the elephant camp and were able to feed all of the elephants sugar cane before our training started. The showed us the basics of getting on and how to sit. they then took us on our elephants, while the trainers walked along side to a large clearing. here we learned all the commands, different ways to get on and off. After 20 minutes of practice, we went on a long 2 hour trek through the jungle, again with the trainers walking alongside and letting us command the elephants. Our guide, Somkid was holding on to our camera and must have taken over 400 pics of us during the trek. In addition to riding the elephants, you can feed smaller baby elephants in the morning. We found that many guests did not seem interested in this so we were able to get a lot of quality time and great pics with the elephants. We did go into the river and got a bit wet but were not fully submerged. My wife got soaked as her elephant tended to throw water over her back while mine did not.

Food wise, we did 3 private dinners. The first and probably the best location was the elephant camp. We arrived to the elephant camp to be greeted by two elephants who we were able to feed, then we were led to an eclosed area that was decorated with many candles, a private table for two and a fire to keep us warm. Just behind us was the kitchen and 2 thai musicians. The food was great and they are more than happy to accomodate your menu. At the end of the meal we were given 5 floating lanterns to release in the air. Our waiter was San and he was excellent in every way. The second night was the cellar. This is more intimate as there is no one else around except the wait staff who comes and goes with your food. This is also air conditioned. We also were given 5 floating lanterns to light and release into the night after dinner. The final meal was at elephant peak after we did a blessing wedding ceremony. This was a very special event for us as we had a blessing by a village elder and did a traditional thai string tying ceremony with the help of several camp employees, Tak the food manager and Ali the hotel manager. Dinner was excellent and this was followed by the release of 10 floating lanterns. This location had a better view but also more bugs as it is more in the open, also the washroom is more "rustic" with no running water. Out of the three locations, I would say Elephant camp is more romantic, if you have to pick one, I would recommend Elephant camp as it has the best ambience. Taksani was the food manager and I must thank him for helping me arrange all the meals and our wedding ceremony and dealing with my numerous emails and queries.

If one is just coming here for the mahout training then I would suggest that you can do this in 2 nights. Our first day was sort of boring, as we were left to just relax. We did the tour on the morning of our 2nd day and then mahout training in the afternoon. The third day was a massage in the the morning and then nothing for the afternoon and then our ceremony in the early evening. If we were not here for our wedding then I would say that you could get away with everything in 2 nights versus 3 nights. But otherwise, this is definitely the experience of a lifteime and if you can afford it then I would definitely say do it, you will not regret it.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ali M, Camp Manager at Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on your wedding ! I am very happy that you have decided to spend such a very special occasion with us, and we all have taken great deal of pleasure sharing this special day with you.

Thank you for taking the time to write such great and detailed review, and I am very happy to know that you have enjoyed your stay with us, specially your interaction with our gentle giants.
As well, would like to take this opportunity to once again apologize for the inconvenience caused by having 2 of our nature friends walked into your tent, and while I am saddened to know that you have been troubled by Geckos, I am glad that the team have responded swiftly to your concern of having 2 Geckos inside your tent.

We all have enjoyed reading your review and we truly appreciate your feedback and comments.
Once again, congratulation on your recent wedding, and I am hoping to have you back with us may be for your first Wedding Anniversary.

Best Regards,
Ali Mohammed
Camp Manager
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

The best part about this hotel experience is that it is truly an experience where everything is scheduled for you, maybe a bit too scheduled. You do have a choice to opt out or adjust the schedule of those activities which have been pre-arranged for you; however, it is clear that there are other guests who have also been scheduled and the hotel is not large enough to accomodate activities such as elephant riding whenever you would like to do it. In fact, it is important to know that although we opted for the 3 night package (there is also a 2 night option), we only had 3 hours in total during the entire visit where we learned about, were trained on, rode and bathed (literally in the river!) the elephants. We had expected more riding although the other activities which had been pre-arranged for us, such as a visit to the Golden Triangle and the Opium Museum, were unexpected and very worthwhile. We had pre-booked a special dinner just for the 4 of us who were traveling together to celebrate two 50th birthdays and this was held at the Elephant Camp so an unusual and intimate setting. We paid extra for this which was worthwhile to be able to dine on our own with a lot of privacy. The tents are very spread out and the steps and walkways require a reasonable level of fitness, although the hotel provides rides on their 4 wheel drive vehicle for those who would prefer not to walk. All in all, I would say that if you want to experience something unusual, love or are open to learning about and experiencing elephants, and want to do this with a Four Seasons level of comfort, luxury and cost, then this is worth a visit. However, note that the cost will mean it is one of the most expensive per day experiences you are likely to have anywhere on earth.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle

Address: P.O. Box 18, Chiang Saen Post Office, Chiang Saen 57150, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Chiang Rai Province > Chiang Saen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Chiang Saen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle 5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Escape to the natural wonders of Northern Thailand, just south of Burma, west of Laos, for an unforgettable experience. On our unique min 2 nights stay excursions, you'll have the adventure of a lifetime trekking elephants through lush jungle and spectacular mountain trails. Unwind in our superb luxury tented accommodations, which feature stunning views and Four Seasons luxury. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
4 Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Hotel Chiang Saen
Four Seasons Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Four Seasons
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Chiang Rai Province, Thailand - Chiang Saen

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