Thailand’s jungle-clad mountains and palm-fringed islands make for brilliant backdrops for a camping adventure. And while many of its national parks offer campgrounds and basic bathroom facilities, roughing it in the jungle isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday. Glamping — which combines the thrill of sleeping under canvas with five-star creature comforts such as air-conditioning, plush mattresses, and bathrooms with all the bells and whistles — is the answer. Clearly.From bubble tents pitched inside elephant grazing grounds to hilltop camps with views over one of Thailand’s most dazzling ocean scenes, we’ve rounded up Thailand’s best luxury camps.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp
Nosy neighbors are the last thing you’d want scurrying around your tent after midnight, but for Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort that’s exactly the point. This luxurious lodge in northern Thailand’s wild border region with Laos and Myanmar has pitched a set of transparent ‘bubble tents’ near the grazing grounds of its resident elephants and allows guests to spend the night observing the after-dark affairs of these gentle giants. But there’s plenty going on during the day, too: activities range from trips around the countryside in a Royal Enfield sidecar, to guided jungle walks and mud-bathing sessions with the elephants — all of whom have been rescued from abusive owners and unethical camps around Thailand.
Getting there: Fly into Chiang Rai International Airport, then travel by land to the resort.
The journey to this dreamy island retreat on Southern Thailand’s Koh Kut is an adventure in itself: guests arrive via the resort’s eight-seater turboprop from Bangkok to an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Thailand, from where a speedboat whisks them to Soneva Kiri’s talcum-white private beach. Overnight options range from breezy, canvas-roofed villas with walls from bamboo and reclaimed wood, to five-bedroom estates with a treehouse bedroom for kids, open-air bathrooms, and a private pool with water slides. And despite the modern mod-cons, the resort keeps its environmental footprint admirably small: menus in the restaurants draw on local produce, the kids club has an extensive program of eco-educational activities, and 2% of room revenue goes to offsetting the carbon emissions of guests’ plane travel.