A boutique farm-stay destination in norther Thailand has provided a good example of how a business could involve the community every step of the way. It thrives on showing respect and fitting in with local ways of living. It’s secret: City and local people stand to gain from each other’s presence and coexist in peaceful harmony with nature.
/// Thailand ///
Story: Punchat /// Photography: Supakorn Srisakul, Sitthisak Namkham /// Owner & Designer: Jak Ladpli
An architect from Bangkok recently started the boutique farm-stay in Mae Rim District, a 15-minute drive from central Chiang Mai. In a unique way he adapted to be in sync with the new environment and still remained very much in vogue. How did they do it? The answer can be found at the wholesome destination called “Chic 39.”
Farm stay owner Jak “Joke” Ladpli said his was an interesting piece of architecture in the middle of a lush landscape. Chic 39 is offering guest accommodation and operating in conjunction with the surrounding community. It thrives on a simple concept — Make the space modern and keep decor local.
“Call it modern local if you will,” said Joke. “As newcomers, we respect the community, its people, and their ways of life. In our hearts we are modern, kind of like a man donning business attire. But such a formal outfit would be out of place here. The contrast would be too obvious. So we chose a modern cube-shaped design, and paired it with materials that represented local values and wisdom.”
“That’s the metaphor defining our design concept. Like a business outfit made of folk fabric known as “Mo Hom,” the hotel building offers textures and finishing touches crafted of materials that are readily available locally. They include bamboo, palm tree trunks, and old-fashioned corrugated sheets.”
The farm stay involves the community in its day-to-day operations. Joke said: “In this area 4-5 villages are actively engaged in flower farming. Having done it for several generations, the growers produce cut flowers for a wide variety of decorations, from shops to hotels to even food. Especially yellow chrysanthemums, they prefer to grow them during winter months.”
At night the weather is cold, and the flower farm is aglow with colorful neon lights. “If you don’t feel like going to bed early, just hang out and enjoy the views,” Joke said, adding, “In fact, the lights are left on for a good reason. Increased exposure to light helps flower stems grow longer before they are harvested the morning after. “If you are an early riser, put on a pair of boots and go help the planters harvest some flowers.”