About this listing
This beautiful room inside an elephant camp features a big balcony overlooks the river
The room features hard wood floors, large windows, a separate (private but located across the balcony) bathroom, and extra-large outdoor deck with seating area that overlooks the river and elephants passing by.
The Chai Lai Orchid is a nature retreat nestled in the mountains in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Spend your days interacting with elephants, rafting down the river, and picnicking on the rocks. Eat fresh fruit from the tree, swing in a hammock or hike the endless trails that lead to secret waterfalls, beautiful vistas and hidden spots unreachable by car. Escape to nature and hear the whisper of the mountain spirit. Unplug. Reconnect.
We are located in Mea Win Mea Wang, 1 hours drive from the city and airport pickup can be arranged in advance. Nearby attractions include several waterfalls, the Hill tribe villages, Buddhist temples, bamboo rafting, trekking, mountain biking, and of course the Doi Inthanon National Park with his highest peak of Thailand.
We believe that we can all change the world. Not just charities and nonprofits… but travelers and businesses too. The Chai Lai Orchid is more than a resort, we are a social business that works to serve the local community by providing educational and employment opportunities.
Training programs to help women
We have partnered with Daughters Rising, a nonprofit organization, to provide educational and paid vocational training opportunities to at-risk girls and young mothers. Women from the local underprivileged hill tribe community receive 6+ months of paid on-the-job hospitality training through our social program.
The women train in guest relations, food & beverage, front desk, and housekeeping. In addition to the paid training we offer free classes in business skills, ESL and chicken and frog farming. This program improves the quality of life of vulnerable local women through self sustaining economic integration.
Getting to know elephants
We seek to deepen the understanding and respect between you and elephants. The Chai Lai Orchid strives to educate guests about this this endangered species and inspire activism and fair and kind treatment. While some people may feel more comfortable simply riding in a chair on ones back, others crave more. At the Chai Lai Orchid we offer the unique experience to play freely with an elephant, swimming with them and feeding them throughout the day. This is a wonderful way to learn about elephants and their different personalities. We believe that this program is the most stimulating and fun way to meet elephants and also that it can bring about a positive shift in elephant tourism.
Protecting the culture and environment
We work to sustain, protect and improve local culture and the quality of life through economic growth, education, and dignified employment opportunities. We feature hill tribe crafts and performances as part of a community-based project that aims to conserve and celebrate the heritage of the Karen hill tribe of northern Thailand.
Interaction with Guests
I am here everyday running the training program for daughters rising and the Chai lai orchid and we also have a great staff of trainees from the Karen and Kayah hill tribes who welcome you and make you feel at home in the jungle.
Elephants are powerful wild animals. In the interest of safety please only approach an elephant when accompanied by a mahout.
Smoking: is allowed in outdoor spaces but not inside the rooms. We ask that you help take care of our little slice of paradise by placing trash in the proper receptacles and cigarettes in designated ashtrays.
The Chai Lai Orchid eco lodge is a beautiful and peaceful in the mountains about an hour's ride from the Chiang Mai railway station by songthaew taxi, in the hamlet of Mae Wang. Once you cross a rustic suspension footbridge over the river, you are greeted by one of the many folks that help keep Chai Lai Orchid and it's parent organization, the non-profit Daughters Rising, running - staff, trainees and volunteers. Reception and the wonderful on-site cafe are housed in a beautiful structure with a huge covered deck overlooking the river. You will NOT want to miss out on eating at Chail Lai Orchid. Some of the tastiest food I have ever enjoyed (and three friends in my party couldn't agree more.) You MUST order the whole fried fish with crispy garlic and chili sauce, the Karen vegetables (which is really a soup), the pork-lemongrass-ginger meatballs, and the Massaman chicken curry (in a coconut milk sauce!) Accommodations are rustic yet charming, and a room overlooking the river is a great treat. Listening to the river flow and the rain fall in the trees is a great way to leave the cares of the world behind. Our party also booked a rustic bamboo hut, which was located up the hill from the main part of the lodge, and afforded a unique but very pleasant couple of night's sleep! The Chia Lai Orchid shared land with an elephant camp which Alexa and the organization she founded are working to take over, so as to retire the older elephants and only offer more humane bare-back rides, as well river bathing and frolicking experiences with the younger pachyderms. The two young adults in our party really enjoyed their time with a "baby" elephant and their kind caretakers! Be aware that most of the accommodations at the lodge are up a hill, though the climb is gradual up a series of short flights of stairs and decks, and the staff is available to assist you with your luggage, even before you have time to ask! A yummy continental breakfast, with a couple of hot dishes (fried rice and mixed veggies), is filling and very tasty, but can be supplemented with other dishes ordered from the cafe'. I cannot wait to get back to The Chai Lai Orchid to decompress and detox. Lots of activities to choose from which can be booked through reception, but beware that many are an hour away in Chiang Mai! I say bring a book or two and just chill out! FYI: wifi is only at the cafe and dodgy because it's provided via satellite and affected by the weather etc. So just unplug and BE!
We had a really nice stay at the Chai Lai Orchid and then left for Karen Village. Both experiences were amazing. I highly recommend to do the full elephants experience and a day trekking in the jungle. The staff from the waiting team to the mahouts and the guide warmly welcomed us and made us feel at home. We will definitely come back! Thank you for everything.
My family of 3 with a 5yr old daughter had a wonderful 2 nights stay over at Chai Lai Orchid.
1. The staffs were very helpful, polite, and friendly. Some may not be able to speak English tat well but you can feel their eagerness to do a good job and to serve us well.
2. The room was simple, clean, great balcony space and great view overlooking the stream. Quite a bit of mosquitoes outside but I did not see any in the room. As room is close to elephant path, you can always smell it which my family were perfectly ok with it.
3. The food is quite nice and you feel much relax hanging around the restaurant but it would be perfect if can find a solution to reduce the flies
4. We had elephant bath, trekking and rafting activities arranged and we enjoyed it very much. Though some may comment the price is a bit high comparing with outside, i think it is well worth it as somehow i feel the extra attentions and services provided.
5. My daughter missed the cute young elephants and the super lovely friendly dogs around.
We were welcomed by Alexa and shown to our comfortable room which was just as shown in the photo. The location is ideal for interaction with the elephant camp.
My three year old son and I loved staying here for three nights. It was relaxing, and lovely to watch and hang around the elephants. My son thought that riding on an elephant was the bee's knees! The staff are very helpful and friendly, and there is always someone around if you have a question. The complimentary buffet at breakfast is great, as is the rest of the food.
My husband and I had a wonderful stay here. It was very relaxing and watching elephants being bathed in the river whilst having our breakfast was an incredible experience. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the food in the cafe was delicious. Would definitely recommend visiting.
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About the Host, Alexa
5 things i could not live without
Our style of hosting is to treat guests like family so they can explore the real amazing and beautiful Thailand, beyond the typical tourist experience.