Phu Ruea guesthouse and yoga retreat centre, Thailand



Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Phu Ruea guesthouse and yoga retreat centre, Thailand


1. When we arrived on the land six years ago, we encountered a lychee monoculture orchard with dry earth and almost no wild animals. Since then, due to our efforts to diversify, the owls, bats, snakes, lizards, many birds, and small mammals are now making their home here. We notice a drastic increase of fauna even on a monthly basis as we continue to cultivate the land based on permaculture principles.

2. We compost 100% of the organic matter produced on the land. We use dry composting toilets without the use of fresh water, and have a slow, year-long compost rotation system that allows us to rebuild the top soil on the land. We use circles of banana trees as a grey water treatment system, and make our own biodegradable soap out of used cooking oil. We also have one of Thailand's biggest vermiculture structures (worm farm), which we feed by collecting food scraps from restaurants in town that would otherwise end up in the local landfill. The worms transform the old food into rich humus and "worm juice". These serve as organic fertilizer full of Nitrogen and bacterial flora to bring life back to the soil. We separate our minimal industrial garbage and bring plastics and glass to the recycling center in town. Through our "Cool Trash" project, we separate usable and unique garbage to be upcycled into new projects. We always go to "cool trash" as a source of material before buying more.

3. We live in a monsoon climate and harvest rain water to sustain our water needs through the dry season. We collect rainwater runoff from the roofs of our buildings, and have an interconnected system for storage and distribution of water. The pond at the bottom of the land is also a source of water. Our swale and berm system creates contours over the land that help to store water underground every rainy season. This prevents the rain from washing organic material from the topsoil and keeps our land most and nourished throughout the rest of the year. The lychee trees around the swales give us big, juicy, and sweet fruit, proving that this underground catchment is providing them good nourishment. We collect these and other fruits to be preserved in jams to share with the community.

5. We have beautiful examples of natural building, using techniques including rammed earth, strawbale, and brazillian "pau-a-pique" style, a kind of wattle and daub.


1. We give preference to local businesses when buying food and materials, and recommend local businesses to our guests. Almost all of our food comes from the outdoor market in town. We provide our guests with transport to our affiliate massage shop in town where local women are employed, as well as the local outdoor markets where farmers and artisans sell their wares. We take guests on excursions to a nearby Thai-owned pool facility as well as restaurants.

2. One of our most important projects in development is the Siddha School, a school based on a new paradigm of education which will be offered free of charge to Thai children vulnerable to human trafficking. Human trafficking is a huge issue in Thailand, especially in rural regions, and the Siddha School will help to address this directly.

3. We offer free weekly yoga classes to the Thai community, one at our center and two at local hospitals. We certified the first Thai woman to become an Adi-Yoga instructor. We hold a once-a-month family day free of charge where Thai families can bring their children to play on our playground, paint faces, have soccer games, and decorate and bake mini pizzas while parents are treated to free yoga. We also sponsor a local Thai soccer team.

4. We prioritize hiring local people for administration and labor at our center and pay them above average wages. We have over 15 Thai employees who all feel like members of the community. One worker and his family live on our land. Employees are invited to take part in our Saturday yoga class for free, which is held during working hours. We have paid for workers to take permaculture building courses and teach them sustainable methods of farming to use in place of conventional methods. We hire and train local women in massage to work at our affiliate shop in town.

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