Going from the beautiful beaches of Koh Samui to the lush mountain region of Chiang Rai was a fantastic transition. Chiang Rai is in the so-called Golden Triangle, the area where Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Laos meet.
Our first stop was a visit to the Hill tribes. These women are Burmese refugees and there are four different tribes represented in the village (and I'll be darned if I can remember their names at the moment).
We paid a visit to a temple (need to find my notes for the name). It was rainy and foggy, which might sound like a bad thing, but it gave the temple a magical quality!
We stayed at the Anatara Golden Triangle, which is an absolutely beautiful hotel. The spa services there are amazing! I had a traditional Thai massage and it was bliss.
But arguably the best part of the Anatara is the elephant camp!
We only had an hour to spend, but you can spend a day (or several) with the elephants. You work with the mahouts (elephant trainers/guides) to learn how to command the elephants, feed, bathe, and ride them. We got to ride them and watch them have a bath. It was, without a doubt, the coolest part of the trip for me.
The last stop on our whirlwind journey was the Four Seasons tent camp. This property is as luxe as they get. Just to give you an idea, it's $2000/night with a 3 night minimum. I wish we could have stayed there! But we had to settle for a quick tour. I still have to edit and upload pics, but it's totally amazing!
After that, we hopped a flight to Bangkok and began the long journey home. It was a quick trip to be sure, but it was a good sample of what Thailand has to offer. I hope to be able to return some day and spend significantly more time there!