Responsible travel: Luxury villa nr Ban Chiang UNESCO site in Thailand
We harvest rainwater at Rice Paddy Villa using the traditional method of collecting run-off from the roof in large rain jars - the red or green oversized jars you will see around almost every house in the region. This is particularly important at Rice Paddy Villa where there is no mains water supply. In addition, we use water-sparing fittings throughout the property (shower heads, dual-flush WCs etc).
Rice Paddy Villa highlights the dying arts of local craftsmen, reigniting a passion for traditional design and artisan skills. The terracotta roof tiles are entirely natural and assist in cooling the villa; the old wooden pillars in the cloister are reclaimed house pillars from old houses that were demolished by their owners in favour of concrete structures, and the hardwood floorboards were also reclaimed from these demolished properties, re-sanded, re-waxed and relaid. The silks in the property were handwoven from locally reared cocoons on hand operated looms, contributing to preserving indigenous skills.
The vast majority of the produce used in our fresh Thai cuisine is either grown directly and organically on site, or is sourced from local villagers.
We recycle and reuse wherever possible, again in conjunction with the village's local "saleng" who are able to earn an income from the collection of waste that would otherwise go to landfill.
We have reforested 10 rai of disused rice paddy with native species and constantly encourage other villagers to join us in planting trees over cash crops on grounds that are infertile or subject to drought, where poor rains will lead crop farmers into debt as opposed to sustaining indigenous wildlife and ecosystems.
Rice Paddy Villas was constructed, from start to finish, solely by craftsmen and workers from the surrounding villages, creating employment locally, and out of the rice planting season when work is scarce.
We employ only local villagers, and additional services (such as Thai massage, local boat trips, etc) are provided by villagers from the immediate vicinity.
By creating permanent employment we do all we can to reduce the strains of economic migration, where villagers have traditionally remained at home only for the rice planting and rice harvesting periods, and then eking out menial, non-permanent labour in the capital or elsewhere for the remainder of the year.
Guests are encouraged to visit the local primary school. Visitors are often keen to be of direct assistance to the school having visited it themselves and interacted with the local teachers and children. In particular we support Nam Thieng school with donations varying from notebooks to blankets in the cool, season or free meals at lunch time.
We aim to preserve and promote local craftsmanship and skills. Guests are always keen to 'go the source" for products such as traditionally woven Thai silks, and to see sericulture in action. As villagers realize that they are able to cut out the middleman, they are all the more keen to preserve traditions that have been dying out due to mass commercialization.