Thailand...what a magical journey. After spending most of the past two years on Koh Lanta Yai and closing my chapter at AsaLanta, I decided to travel around and explore other areas of Thailand. And I certainly found some gems.
I started at Pun Pun, one of the biggest educational centers for permaculture and natural building in the country. I had been in contact with Peggy for awhile and was super excited to finally be able to visit. Along with her partner Jon Jandai, they started this Center for Self Reliance. They both believe in living simply and creating a lifestyle that is self sustaining and empowering. All of the structures built there utilize local, natural and abundant materials and I believe most were built through educational programs to teach these skills. They are now focusing more on seed saving but still take on occasional natural building projects and continue to host students. While I was visiting there was a group of over 35 Thai students learning for 3 weeks various skills in building, permaculture, health & well-being and so much more. Some of the students from my 3 month program came along and got to experience this with me. Such a magical place. http://www.punpunthailand.org/
Traveling by motorbike, it's easy to stumble upon some more magic. Here are some pictures of Maggie's Chiang Dao Roundhouses. Again, an amazing person going for her dream. Maggie utilized the local abundance of rice hulls to lead her building designs. The walls are made of bags full of rice hulls, not load bearing of course. The circle dome roofs gave her a bit of trouble but she now has it dialed in - lime plastered domes with bamboo roof structures above. It is a challenge to do natural materials on domes in this part of the world. I admire her work, very inspirational. Maggie is looking for volunteers to help on some structures there. Contact me if you are interested. Chiang Dao is beautiful! http://www.chiangdao-roundhouses.com/
Chiang Mai Life Construction - talk about inspiration! The things they are doing with bamboo is remarkable. I have no more words... the pictures don't do it justice. http://www.chiangmailifeconstruction.com/
Panyaden School in Chiang Mai: another Chiang Mai Life Construction project
Panya Project: I walked over from Pun Pun one afternoon and was again super excited to see all the work they have done. Their structures are extremely creative and really show the endless possibilities of building with clay. They also teach many different workshops on various empowering life skills. Check em out! http://www.panyaproject.org/
Earth Home Thailand (Maejo Baandin): P’Thongbai learned from Pun Pun years ago how to build utilizing natural materials and that is just what she did! This homestay is beautiful, another artistic example of what is possible with natural building. She also hosts workshops on various topics and yet another inspiration. http://www.earthhomethailand.com/
There are many amazing projects happening all over Thailand, these are just a few. I am so happy to have the opportunity to see the natural building movement in other countries. People coming together, learning together... creating together.