Thailand’s Khao Sok is a national park of great tropical splendour. It includes the largest rainforest in the south, large lakes lined with lush foliage, and dramatic mountains with a scaffolding of jungle. This is the perfect habitat for the Asian elephant, and a stunning setting for Elephant Hills Camp, a small collection of canvas tents, some tucked into romantic rainforest, a few floating on the lake. All are en suite, with hot showers and all are tailor made for comfort.
The main attraction however, is the chance to get up close and personal with the elephants. Their mahouts – or trainers – have strong bonds with their charges and are on hand to help with feeding and bathing them. Out of concern for their welfare, rides on elephants are not on offer, but guided treks through the forests are a great way to explore. Tracks wind through vibrant foliage and flowers, dense with birds and monkeys as well as shy deer. A leisurely canoe trip down the Sok river reveals similar riches, and the nearby villages are intriguing to visit.
Back at base, the decks outside the tents and the swimming pool are the perfect places to relax after adventurous days out. The food, including delicious jungle curries cooked over hot coals, is another treat in this tropical hideout.