Welcome To ”Chateau Orientale“!
We are very happy that you are interested in our resort and activities.
Let me introcduce myself: My name is Markus Peschke, the founder of Chateau Orientale.
Please let me give you a short introduction of the history of our company and let me explain what drove me to build this outstanding resort from the ground up, and also to invest my money into activities that are at the forefront of ethical and sustainable tourism in Luang Prabang.
There is a special bond between a mahout and his elephant which often spans over a lifetime.
This tradition has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries.
Once an elephant has been domesticated its life depens etirely on the care given to it by humans.
There would no way for it to survive on its own in the jungle.
‘Chateau Orientale’ gives former working elephants a loving home and endeavors to keep the tradition of bonding with domesticated animals alive.
Working With Elephants
I fell in love with elephants and started to take them from the logging industry to work with tourists in 2002 with my former company Tiger Trail.
During this time, many local business people would not give me a chance. There had been others who started before me and had ordered private rides at the Tad Kuang Si waterfall, however they had to stop because of lack of tourists.
What made my idea different, was that I established a camp in the beautiful landscape of Ban Xieng Lom on the riverbanks of the Nam Khan river, and I sold the rides in combination with bicycle & Kayak tours.
This was the key to its success.
Please Note: During this time, (over 15 years ago just as Laos was opening to tourism), ordering Elephant rides was the only to get tourists interested and therefore the only way to get elephants out of the logging industry.
It was and still is, extremely cost intensive to look after elephants and so money had to be raised so that we could support their new lives in comfort.
Nowadays the situation has changed for the better and elephant rides are not attractive any more.
Luckily, many travelers are now much more interested in supporting businesses with an ethical background.
Therefore, it was a logical move that I, after Elephant Village where we sold in this time only rides, started with an entirely no riding concept with a new project and under another name.
Who We Are
Frustrated with the complacency of working a government job in Germany, Markus Peschke could not ignore his inner voice any longer.
That voice was screaming “Adventure!” A holiday trip to Laos in 1998 was all he needed to make the decision to radically change his life.
Markus fell in love wit this tiny landlocked country in Southeast Asia that was still grounded in its century-old traditions. He also realized its huge potential for eco-adventure tourism.
Braving the tangles of red tape, he opened the Indochina Spirit Restaurant in Luang Phabang in 1999.
The restaurant since has become a landmark in downtown Luang Phabang for tourists and locals alike . In the following years, Markus has set up several other businesses, including Tiger Trail Outdoor Adventures, the Lao Spirit Resort, Elephant Village, Shangri Lao, and the MandaLao.
In his latest creation, the ‘Chateau Orientale’, Markus used antique building materials that he collected all over India and then imported to Laos.
Markus has created several unique eco-adventure tours that are specifically designed for the ‘Chateau Orientale’.
They involve elephant-care, e-biking, coffee plantation trekking, kayaking and stand up board paddling.
All these tours primarily involving the local community, respecting sustainable and ecological principles in a sustainable and ecological way.
What Makes Us Different?
While the market has shifted towards a pure “no riding” philosophy, I have seen the effect on the local culture that this is having.
I noticed that the bond and traditions between mahout (elephant rider) and elephant, was slowly disappearing.
In my “Chateau Orientale” project I have decided to go in a different direction.
Instead of banning our mahouts from riding their elephants, we are comfortable to let them continue their traditional ways.
Whilst we still ban tourist rides, the use of the bull hook and any physical forms of control, we believe that riding creates a strong bond.
We hope that this can filter down to newer generations of mahout to create a much more gentle form of elephant ownership that can last for generations.
To be 100% clear: We do not, nor will we ever have riding as a tour, but we will always allow our mahouts to keep their connection with their elephants.
I can say without any doubt: After 20 years working with elephants in the tourism industry in Luang Phabang; the team of “Chateau Oriental” can call itself not only the first, but also the most experienced company in this field.
There is a special bond between a mahout and his elephant which often spans over a lifetime. This tradition has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries. Once an elephant has been domesticated its life depends entirely on the care given to it by humans. There would no way for it to survive on its own in the jungle. ‘Chateau Orientale’ gives former working elephants a loving home and endeavors to keep the tradition of bonding with domesticated animals alive.
By giving you as our guest an in-depth introduction into elephant behavior and characteristics, you‘ll be prepared to meet our elephant friends. Use your new knowledge to study the body language and reactions to the surroundings of your new elephant friend during a 30 min trek down a jungle path to a hidden and rarely seen waterfall.
Through our gentle and playful methods we‘ll guarantee the meaningful connection you have established by the end of the day will change both – the elephant and you – and will be the base of a lifelong love for the Asian Elephant!
Why Chateau Orientale?
The name Orient was most used in the 1920’s, from the perspective of now a romantic period, not yet “over-discovered” with some space for unexplored areas and species and with this the dream of an unspoiled Paradies somewhere out there in the world. By entering the property of “Château Orientale” you can feel the spirit of this period.
Let the light brise from the river which blow through the arches and curtains transfer your mind & soul far away from daily worries to a land of dreams & carefree.
Where We Are