To combat these stressful times how about getting back to nature?
Northern Thailand is as far from the flesh-pots of Pattaya and Bangkok as you can get, and is full of jungles, mist-topped mountains, exotic wildlife, and traditional tribes.
So for a real escape from the city bustle, embrace your inner pachyderm with 6 of the best eco-holidays in this picturesque part of the world.
For more than 20 years, the BMP Farm House has offered modest rooms for guests eager to help rehabilitate rescued elephants through its Elephant Care Project. The project provides food, nurturing, medical treatment, and lots of love to elephants rescued from exploitative conditions, and guests learn how to interact with Thailand’s sacred animal, helping them to adapt to their new environment. There are also options for arranging longer-term volunteer stays.
Step into the glamour of a 19th-century safari adventure, complete with leather furnishings, mosquito nettings, and hurricane lamps. After arriving by long-tail boat on the Ruak River a vintage military jeep will ferry you around the resort adding to the old-school romance.
There are 15 air-conditioned tents with full amenities including outdoor shower, and a complimentary minibar to mix your own cocktail while enjoying the view of Myanmar and the mountains of Laos from the outdoor viewing deck.
And let’s not forget the treetop spa.
The Lisu Lodge is run by Lisu tribal community, one of many ancient tribes that migrated south from China to escape oppression. It allows the tribe to find a way out of poverty while preserving their culture and traditions. The lodge is nestled in a lush, green valley, and helps the tribe to balance commerce with their rich heritage. You will be welcomed as a family member, get to enjoy the locally organically grown food and have time to explore, trek and reflect on life.
The Lanjia Lodge is a community-based tourism project, the result of a partnership between the village, a local NGO and Asian Oasis which runs several eco projects in Thailand.
This small lodge is located amongst the Hmong minority village on the banks of the Mekong River, close to the border with Laos. And you can fill your time with trekking, bike riding, birdwatching and handicraft lessons.
The hosts at Lanjia Lodge are the proud and hospitable Hmong and Lahu villagers who take care of all visitors and activities at Lanjia Lodge. Contributions from your stay will be used on community projects that improve the local living conditions, education, and healthcare programs.
As a retreat from modern life, this is ideal for those looking to get off the beaten track in Thailand, and as a stopping point for intrepid travellers heading overland into Laos.
Chiang Mai has a multitude of elephant sanctuaries just as many day trips on offer to spend time with the gentle giants. The Elephant Nature Park is unique in that they care not only for elephants but many other fauna that would not have survived on their own from cats and dogs all the way up to buffaloes. All profits go to https://www.saveelephant.org/
You will have the opportunity to hang out with an elephant herd, ambling with them as they lumber through the forest. You can even join them for a mudbath, although riding the elephants is no longer allowed as it stresses the animals and prevents them from roaming free.
There are also opportunities to volunteer to work at the sanctuary, taking care of all the animals for one day to up to a week.
Hand-built private adobe houses make for dreamy nights on this sustainably-driven property in the sleepy village of Baan Maejo. This is one of the main learning centres in the country promoting sustainable living and guests can take advantage of all the on-site workshops on subjects such as natural building, permaculture gardening, and personal wellness.
The on-site cafe and restaurant are supplied with organic delights from the property’s permaculture gardens, cooked by the Earth Home chefs.