A Unique Sleep: Jungle Bubble Lodge,
Anantara Golden Triangle [Review]

This Anantara Golden Triangle review by Australian travel writer John Borthwick will have you planning a visit to the luxurious and comfortable retreat quick smart. This elephant camp experience near Chiang Rai offers exceptional service and an unforgettable experience in a natural habitat that will leave you with warm smiles and a deep appreciation of these majestic creatures.

“Discover the elephant outside your room” goes the resort’s promo. And they’re not kidding. Your pillow talk at the Anantara Golden Triangle’s Jungle Bubble Lodge is unique — all about the elephants out front. 

Where is Anantara Golden Triangle Resort

You’re in Thailand’s cool(er), green north. The Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort sits not far from Mae Sot town, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet on the Mekong River.

Map – Anantara Golden Triangle resort

The Golden Triangle where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos converge
The Golden Triangle where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos converge

The Anantara resort is an easy 45-minute, 55-km drive from Chiang Rai, the nearest city and airport.

The Jungle Bubble Facilities

The Jungle Bubble Lodge consists of five self-supporting, transparent polyester domes on a raised platform. It sits at the end of a valley whose walls form a natural enclosure for several retired “rescue” elephants who, each night ramble and munch, rub trunks and sound off in the clearing in front of your accommodation.

The Lodge is entirely private and out of sight of the Anantara resort’s main buildings a few hundred metres away. 

The Jungle Bubbles sit just below the main resort
The Jungle Bubbles sit just below the main resort

The central bubble of the cluster of interconnected domes is flanked by two spacious, fully furnished bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. The three middle bubbles – central communal room and bedrooms — are transparent while their far-end bathrooms are opaque.

spectacular views in every direction

Jungle bells and whistles at this remarkable hotel include air-conditioning, hot showers, king-size beds, WiFi and a dedicated butler. And no television.

A large deck and small plunge pool sits outside your bubble
A large deck and small plunge pool sits outside your bubble

Step outside through the central airlock door and you’re on an 80 sq m metre deck with plunge pool and outdoor lounge-dining area.

And unique nocturnal neighbours, a pair of ever-grazing, sometimes trumpeting elephants. 


The Jungle Bubble experience is a casual, albeit thrilling dusk-to-dawn event, starting with evening drinks and dinner served on the Lodge deck. Meals are prepared by a private chef and served by your butler. With dinner completed, the butler disappears but remains in touch via direct-dial phone should you need anything.

Come morning, the first thing you might hear is the mahouts rounding up the elephants and the butler preparing coffee. Breakfast on the deck follows when you’re ready. 

Dining At Anantara Jungle Bubbles

You settle-in at late afternoon and the butler offers a choice of sundowners — wine, cocktails or perhaps a Chiang Mai Blossom Weizen beer. A parade of delicate canapés follows, including tiny pork pies and money bags, but proceed with restraint because there’s much more delicious food to come. Meanwhile, the elephants in the enclosure before you are enjoying their own afternoon snack, a light 50 kg of sugar cane. 

A Lanna-style feast at Jungle Bubble Lodge, Thailand
A Lanna-style feast at Jungle Bubble Lodge, Thailand

The resort chef arrives to unveil an expansive, Lanna-region feast. Entrée salads (chicken pomello or tuna), sea bass and freshwater prawns are followed by a favourite regional main course, crispy khao soy gai noodles.

Dessert, such as sweet sticky rice with mango tops it off. Out front, the peckish, four-tonne elephants are dining al fresco con gusto, so to speak, shredding tree branches into their version of a Caesar salad. 

Anantara Golden Triangle Spa & Fitness

On your deck a small heated plunge pool-spa burbles quietly to itself. Wander out there at midnight and simmer beneath stars while listening to the jungle sounds, including the elephants shuffling or snacking.

Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp main pool
Jungle Bubble guests can also access the large main resort pool

As you’re also a guest of the main resort you have access to the fitness center with its gym and spa, where the Thai deep tissue massage is recommended.

Gold Triangle Elephant Camp gym
If you must work out you will love the facilities here

But don’t miss the chance to blend a morning walk with an extended elephant experience by joining a guided excursion conducted by the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.

Ambling with a team of their elephants beside the Ruak River beats going nowhere on an indoor treadmill. Elephant rides were phased out at the Anantara’s Elephant Camp in mid-2020, so your excursion by shank’s pony, not rockin’ the howdah.

Ambience at Anantara Elephant Camp

The Jungle Bubble Lodge ambience is unique, to say the least, from your see-through igloo and up-close elephants to the starry, starry night above your private pool. When and where else might your music of the night be the sounds of elephants breathing, their bass belly rumbles and late-night snacking in a bamboo grove?

Elephants in front of the Jungle Bubble Lodge, Thailand
Elephants in front of the Jungle Bubble Lodge, Thailand

Rest assured, the Lodge sits on a sturdy, elevated deck, separated from your placid four-legged friends by an electrified perimeter fence. 

Our Verdict

A one-off experience, so rare that you don’t really want to sleep through it despite the creature comforts of your bubble domes. The Lodge is skilfully designed and constructed, and the food and service are five-star. The two-bedroom Lodge is booked as an exclusive occupancy — you won’t be sharing with strangers — and is ideal for a family or two couples.

The pachyderms at your front porch are well cared for by the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (helpingelephants.org) after a tough career of hauling logs or hefty tourists.

Mahout at Anantara Golden Triangle, Thailand
Mahout at Anantara Golden Triangle

Key facts – Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp

Guests at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort can book the two-bedroom Jungle Bubble Lodge as an overnight option. Rates start from $1650 a night, including dinner. Nearby (but out of sight) are one-room Jungle Bubble suites priced from $745 a night. See anantara.com

Note: The resort also boasts 40 rooms, 15 suites and 6 family suites

Need to know: The bubble stay is an add-on to your resort visit and can’t be booked separately. If you are planning a significant milestone holiday book early to avoid disappointment.

Things to do on site: Join a Thai cooking class, take a yoga class, work off some of the delicious food mountain biking or even help with native tree planting.

Nearby: While you are in the Golden Triangle area don’t miss a chance to enjoy the serene ambiance, take a longtail boat trip on the Mekong and explore the fascinating history of opium in Thailand at the Hall of Opium Museum a short drive away.

Author: Australian writer John Borthwick has covered Thailand for years, from Songkran to Loy Krathong, and is still finding new stories to write. Hill country, islands and khao niaow mamuang (mango sticky rice), he revels in almost everything about the country, with the possible exception of double pricing. And once walked across Thailand in half a day — true.  

The writer was a guest of Anantara Resorts.