Unique Cultural Experiences With Anantara Hotels And Resorts In Cambodia And Thailand

Authenticity and an access to culture are among the experience that Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas want to give to its customers.

The Thai hotel chain recently launched two new products:
A new ‘Walking with Giants’ experience is proposed at
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. The resort is well known as it integrates an Elephant Camp, which offers guests an inspirational range of fun, interactive and educational experiences. In a natural extension of these ethical elephant activities, a new two hour Walking with Giants experience has been introduced offering a more personal and enriching encounter.

Walking with Giants has been devised as an optimum way of getting to know the elephants better and develop a deeper emotional connection. Much more than simply a walk, it enables guests to experience the natural joy of the elephants’ daily free roaming time, and also to gain enlightening insights from scientifically qualified experts about how these intelligent creatures think and behave.

Guests who sign up for Walking with Giants join the elephants on their daily stroll, accompanied by their mahout caregivers and either the Camp’s resident vet or biologist. After walking from the Elephant Camp out to the grasslands or forest, depending on the season, the antics of either river bath time or playtime in the mud illustrates just how cheeky these graceful animals can be.

Guests can help to prepare snacks for the elephants, as well as activities for their behavioural enrichment. Meandering back to the camp, the scientific expert explains about elephant biology and behaviour, and also reveals fascinating facts and insights about the past, present and hopeful future for all of Thailand’s elephants.

According to John Roberts, Anantara’s Director of Elephants and Conservation Efforts, “one of the most inspiring and heartwarming aspects of the camp is when we can give the elephants freedom to roam in their native jungle habitat, and creating this new activity provides guests with a prime opportunity to experience the pure joy of simply being with elephants as they socialise and behave completely naturally. It is also a fantastic experience for enthusiasts who are interested in learning about these majestic mammals from a scientific perspective.”

The award- winning Elephant Camp of Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort was set up in 2003 as a traditional mahout village and helped to date to rescue over 40 elephants.

The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation also cooperates with the Thai government and other organisations in bigger picture projects. It equipped the first elephant hospital in Krabi, southern Thailand, with an ATV, and has also donated to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampanga purpose built elephant ambulance and a gantry to help lame elephants stand. The foundation is also working with partners and the Cambodian Government to fund the protection of an 18,000 hectare elephant corridor of standing forest in the Cardamom Mountains and funding wild elephant preservation projects in Kui Buri, Thap Lan & Khao Yai National Parks in Thailand.

In Cambodia, the Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa in Siem Reap, Cambodia now houses the McDermott Gallery. The latter features a collection of Angkor monument images by the award-winning photographer John McDermott, who is also hosting guests for exclusive photography tours of the iconic UNESCO temple ruins.

Arrived in Angkor in 1995 to witness a total eclipse of the sun, the photographer has been inspired by the surreal light of the eclipse and spent over a decade creating a definitive artistic portrait of the ancient Khmer temples before the arrival of tourism. These magical images reveal a hidden realm of Angkor temples lost in the forest, conjuring a 19th century explorer’s dream.

John’s evocative Angkor photography can be seen in his fine art book Elegy: Reflections on Angkor and at his galleries in Siem Reap. His images are on display at the National Museum in Phnom Penh and have been published and exhibited worldwide. His photographs are held in private collections worldwide and have been printed in numerous books and publications.

Housed in a setting that is perfectly suited to viewing and appreciating the dramatic photography, The McDermott Gallery is located in an open air environment overlooking Anantara resort’s beautiful front courtyard. All artworks on display at the gallery are available for sale.

Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa is also delighted to offer once in a lifetime Angkor photography tours with John McDermott for guests who aspire to take direction from this leading photographer. The new bespoke tours are tailored to the personal interests and passions of each guest, whether they are amateur or a more serious photographer who would relish the opportunity to capture magnificent images of these ancient ruins. Half day photography tours are priced at USD $350 per couple and full day tours are charged at USD $600 per couple.