The White Elephant House in the News
July 2018 - THAIPUAN - The Community Magazine. Copyright THAIPUAN.
WHY NOT TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
YOU CAN BE A HOUSEGUEST IN A SUMPTUOUS VILLA IN KANTHARALAK
By Alan S. Brown
OK. You’ve been to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and most of the other tourist spots that the Land of Smiles has to offer. However, I bet you never considered being a paying houseguest in a private home. The particular villa I’m referring to is The White Elephant House, located in a small village in the Kantharalak district, in the province of Si Saket in northeastern Thailand (Isaan). Edward G.L. Carter (Ted), his partner, Tan and Tan’s adorable 13-year-old son, Opaul, love hosting guests in their home, pool and the charming village where they are located. I recently spent two nights and days at The White Elephant House and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My friend and I took the eight- hour drive from Pattaya. The roads were good and the Google Maps app got us there flawlessly. You can also fly to Ubon Ratchathani Airport or take a luxury coach to Kantharalak.
When we arrived, Ted and Tan greeted us with some liquid refreshments and showed us around. All food, including three daily, delicious meals, alcoholic beverages and refrigerator privileges are included. Tan is an excellent Thai chef and Ted prepares tasty western food. You’ll get to sample a variety of both during your stay. Breakfast is usually served by the spacious, outdoor swimming pool. We had dinner in the dining area of the ‘great hall’; and lunch maybe by the pool or at Tan’s new restaurant, Somtum Inter Garden Restaurant, which is also a B&B. As The White Elephant House is not a hotel or guest house in the traditional sense, there is no menu per se; but such a variety of dishes are served that you won’t want for something that appeals to you and you will definitely not leave the table unsatisfied. One of the dinners included tom ka gai (coconut-based soup with chicken). Tom ka gai happens to be one of my favorite Thai dishes and I can honestly state that this version was the most delicious I have ever eaten. As it happened to be Opaul’s birthday, Tan also prepared a lovely chocolate, blackout cake for the occasion. I guess in my long-winded way, I’m trying to convey that you’ll feel like part of this lovely family when you stay at The White Elephant House.
As a guest, you’ll have the run of the house, which includes the great hall, the study (‘business center”) and the spacious bedroom which also has a walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom. The bedroom has a king-size bed, sitting area, desk and satellite TV with a zillion channels. The house is filled with antiques and beautiful art. In his former life, Ted owned a Manhattan photography gallery and is, himself, an accomplished photographer. You’re free to use the large pool, which has a pool sala, changing room and shower. In addition to lodging and meals, your stay at The White Elephant House includes field trips and licensed massage. They’re located in a charming, typical Isaan village with long vistas of rice paddies and a view of the distant mountains. It’s a short ride to Khao Phra Wihan National Park which is near the Cambodian border. The park contains ruins from the ancient Khmer Empire. With binoculars, you can view Prasat Preah Vihear Temple, on the Cambodian side of the border, At present, you can’t access the temple from here. Incidentally, if you are driving to The White Elephant House, when you go through Buriram, you’ll pass the Muang Tam Khmer-style temple complex, well worth a stop.
A stay at The White Elephant House is a great opportunity to grab your main squeeze and have a relaxing two or three days (or more) chilling out, eating fine food and imbibing as much as you like. You can swim and sun at the spacious pool and even have a Thai or oil massage on the pool deck. Sightseeing opportunities also abound. A stroll through the village is quite pleasant. Make sure you visit the temple and bargain at the market. Check out the nearby lake where long-tailed boating is available. Don’t miss the aforementioned Khao Phra Wilhan National Park. Also, don’t miss Wat Lan Khuat, the Million Bottle Temple. The temple was built by monks from over 1/1/2 million glass, beer bottles. That’s a lot of Singh!
Ted Carter is a retired university professor who, back in the 1980s, founded The Point in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. The Point pioneered the concept of the paying guest at a private/home resort in the United States and is still considered one of the finest boutique hotels in the world. Now, here in northeast Thailand, Ted and Tan are replicating the concept with The White Elephant House. They also built the nearby, Somtum Inter-Garden Cottage & Restaurant. The restaurant has outdoor seating, as well as, an attractive indoor dining room. You can order a sumptuous lunch or dinner for a pittance and get to meet the locals too. The separate cottage features air conditioning, a queen size bed, sitting area with desk, Wi-Fi and an ensuite bathroom. Free use of the White Elephant swimming pool is included. There are also a cool patio and beautiful garden for relaxing. This is a wonderful accommodation for a very reasonable price.
A stay at The White Elephant House as a paying houseguest is definitely recommended. You not only get all the facilities and accommodations, but also Ted and his beautiful family; Tan and Opaul. It’s a bit like staying in a luxury hotel and also with your favorite Uncle. You’ll definitely enjoy the experience.
Booking at The White Elephant House is available on several platforms, including Airbnb, Agoda, and Booking.com. Just put The White Elephant House Kantharalak in the search and you will find it.
Phone: Ted (English) 0871039916
If you’d like to learn more about Ted’s amazing life, check out his blog/book at https://www.theamazinglifeandtimesofedwardcarter-uniqueentrepreneur.com/about.html
END OF MAGAZINE ARTICLE
Our "sister" property in Sisaket,
Somtum Inter Garden Cottage and Restaurant, is rated all "10s" by both Agoda.com and Booking.com