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Four Seasons Tented Camp - site inspection

Four Seasons Tented Camp - site inspection

Old Oct 10, 14, 9:42 pm
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Four Seasons Tented Camp - site inspection

Four Seasons Tented Camp

Open just 9 years, FS Tented Camp is an all-inclusive resort in Northern Thailand, about 90 minutes from the Chiang Rai airport and near the village of Golden Triangle (the intersection of Thailand, Burma, and Laos). The brainchild of architect Bill Bensley who sold the idea to the resort’s owner, Four Seasons has been involved from the beginning in the planning and management of the property. The resort is open to adults and to teenagers age 12 and older.

Adjacent to an elephant sanctuary, Tented Camp is themed as an elephant camp situated in the jungle. Your experience begins as your limousine leaves you at a dock on the banks of the Ruak River. Donning life preservers and boarding a small boat, the sense of adventure begins with your short 5 minute boat ride down a stretch of river straddling the Thai-Burmese border. Arriving at the resort, guests are greeted with cold towels and a cold drink, undergo check-in formalities, and are then driven to their tent in a old rusty jeep that just screams "Indiana Jones." The theme of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” kept playing in my head!

Tented Camp consists of 15 large tents (581 square feet) on a bank overlooking the river. The main section of each tent is an open floor plan Suite, the bedroom at the left end of the tent (with a desk located behind the headboard of the King bed) and bathroom at the right end of the tent (two vanities, large soaking tub, and one zippered flap leading to a WC and another to a nice outdoor shower). Tents have both an indoor seating area and an outdoor deck overlooking the river with twin massage tables (or, in Luxury Tents, a private jacuzzi). We stayed in the Hill Tribe Tent (#12). Each tent has a different decorating scheme (Opium, Textiles, Silver, Beaded, etc.).

The Elephant Camp theme is executed with the same careful attention to detail and execution that you would expect in a Disney theme park. Guests have the opportunity to interact with the four rescued Asian elephants that FS has adopted. Two elephants have breakfast with guests at 8 a.m. every morning; there is a huge tray of bananas in front of the outdoor dining room that you can feed to the elephants. Each guest receives a 90 minute Mahout Training session during which you are taught the basic commands, learn three ways to get on and get off an elephant, and then ride an elephant along the length of the resort to the dining room. Guests staying 3 nights receive an additional 2 hour trekking expedition (trail ride).

We enjoyed wonderful Thai massages in the small outdoor spa (just two tables) with the sound of birds and crickets replacing the usual taped music you hear in most spas. Beyond the elephants, there is an extensive menu of cultural activities in the area. You can even visit all three countries in the Golden Triangle in a single day.

Not for everyone, Four Seasons Tented Camp would appeal to the following: (1) Adventure travelers. (2) People who love animals and welcome the opportunity to interact with them. (3) People who enjoy horseback riding? [Note: if riding a horse makes you nervous, you won’t want to ride bareback on an elephant.] (4) Anyone who seeks the adrenaline rush that comes from undertaking a new physical challenge.

Although the resort is all-inclusive, FSPP guests receive a $100 spa credit.
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Old Oct 11, 14, 1:02 pm
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This resort has long been on my "list".

I know kids have to be in their teens to participate in the elephant activities, but is there also an age requirement just to stay on property?
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Old Oct 11, 14, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Ericka View Post
This resort has long been on my "list".

I know kids have to be in their teens to participate in the elephant activities, but is there also an age requirement just to stay on property?
The don't accept children under 12 on property, unless you do a buy-out. The reason: lots of couples here, and having kids on property, in the pool, etc., detracts from that.
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Old Oct 11, 14, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
The reason: lots of couples here, and having kids on property, in the pool, etc., detracts from that.
Not to mention the uneven walkways between the tents and common areas
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Old Oct 11, 14, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by ABG View Post
Not to mention the uneven walkways between the tents and common areas
So do they then have an "upper boundary" on age restriction? The same point could be argued for those past middle age, right?
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Old Oct 11, 14, 2:04 pm
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David, two questions (I'll be here for 3 nights in April):

1) Is three nights 'enough'? Too much? Just right?

2) To visit Burma (or Burma + Laos), would you need more time than a 3 night stay? Is it even 'worth' it - or is it more of a you came/you saw situation?
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Old Oct 11, 14, 3:31 pm
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Originally Posted by pricesquire View Post
David, two questions (I'll be here for 3 nights in April):

1) Is three nights 'enough'? Too much? Just right?

2) To visit Burma (or Burma + Laos), would you need more time than a 3 night stay? Is it even 'worth' it - or is it more of a you came/you saw situation?

3 nights is good. There's an entire menu of possible activities.

We were just there for 30 hours, way too short, but it was all the time we had at the end of our Asia trip. FS would not normally do a one-night stay (which is not an adequate amount of time), but the primary purpose of this trip was a site inspection.
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Old Oct 11, 14, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
3 nights is good. There's an entire menu of possible activities.

We were just there for 30 hours, way too short, but it was all the time we had at the end of our Asia trip. FS would not normally do a one-night stay (which is not an adequate amount of time), but the primary purpose of this trip was a site inspection.
I have the list of activities. When I made the rez, they send me a million and one things to do - menus - activities. Already impressed w the responsiveness of their team.

Thanks for the quick response!
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Old Oct 12, 14, 7:51 am
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
3 nights is good. There's an entire menu of possible activities.

We were just there for 30 hours, way too short, but it was all the time we had at the end of our Asia trip. FS would not normally do a one-night stay (which is not an adequate amount of time), but the primary purpose of this trip was a site inspection.
I have been, loved it (we are animal lovers) but would not spend more than 3 nights. A completely unique experience.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by speedbird001 View Post
I have been, loved it (we are animal lovers) but would not spend more than 3 nights. A completely unique experience.
Did you partake in any of the off-site activities?

I want to do the Burma tour, but my wife thinks we're pushing it - (turning something relaxing into a list of to-do's). Thoughts?
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Old Oct 12, 14, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by pricesquire View Post
Did you partake in any of the off-site activities?

I want to do the Burma tour, but my wife thinks we're pushing it - (turning something relaxing into a list of to-do's). Thoughts?
Yes, we did the Burma tour and a visit to the local town and market. All very relaxing, not stressful at all. Also, visited the local museum on the drug trade.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by pricesquire View Post
Did you partake in any of the off-site activities?

I want to do the Burma tour, but my wife thinks we're pushing it - (turning something relaxing into a list of to-do's). Thoughts?
It depends how many nights you have. You need at least three to do the basic mahout training and to enjoy the camp itself. If you stay for four nights or more, I think there is time for a day trip such as the one into Myanmar. Doi Tung, the mountain where HRH the Princess Mother's royal villa is located, as well as other nearby temples also make for a wonderful day of sightseeing. I plan to stay for five nights next time (especially if they offer promotional rates for longer stays, as they sometimes do).

Last edited by MikeFromTokyo; Oct 12, 14 at 1:25 pm
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Old Oct 12, 14, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
[B]
The Elephant Camp theme is executed with the same careful attention to detail and execution that you would expect in a Disney theme park.
Is this remark intended as a recommendation or a deterrent? I veer towards the latter and, until the dread day that elephants are exterminated, I prefer to see elephants in the WILD.

I'm not sure why, but whenever I see the word 'Disney' I instinctively run in the opposite direction.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
Is this remark intended as a recommendation or a deterrent? I veer towards the latter and, until the dread day that elephants are exterminated, I prefer to see elephants in the WILD.

I'm not sure why, but whenever I see the word 'Disney' I instinctively run in the opposite direction.
The elephants for the most part were living in the streets of Bangkok begging with their mahout. The hotel and its related charity bring them and their masters and their families and give them proper homes and take care of the elephants properly. They could not survive in the wild.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
Is this remark intended as a recommendation or a deterrent? I veer towards the latter and, until the dread day that elephants are exterminated, I prefer to see elephants in the WILD.

I'm not sure why, but whenever I see the word 'Disney' I instinctively run in the opposite direction.
I think what he meant was: attention to detail + they really take care of the animals.

Say what you will about Disney (I personally hate it), but it's the theme park version of the phrase "the trains run on time"...walk around the place you won't find a single lightbulb out, a single planter with dead flowers, etc.

Originally Posted by speedbird001
Yes, we did the Burma tour and a visit to the local town and market. All very relaxing, not stressful at all. Also, visited the local museum on the drug trade.
Thanks!

Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo
It depends how many nights you have. You need at least three to do the basic mahout training and to enjoy the camp itself. If you stay for four nights or more, I think there is time for a day trip such as the one into Myanmar. Doi Tung, the mountain where HRH the Princess Mother's royal villa is located, as well as other nearby temples also make for a wonderful day of sightseeing. I plan to stay for five nights next time (especially if they offer promotional rates for longer stays, as they sometimes do).

According to the Four Seasons own website, the Burma tour is the shortest of all off-site tours available @ 4 hours...and mahout training is only 3 hours. So, for 3 nights and about 4 days of down time, I think there's room for at least one off-site tour.

http://www.fourseasons.com/goldentri...ng_chiang_rai/
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