My house of the rainforest

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Located in Nichada Thani, the property was designed to blend with the surrounding tropical environment.

By David Lyman

I was fortunate to have been brought to Thailand as a child back in May 1949 by my parents, who took up the practice of law here. In July 1951 they purchased the law firm of Tilleke & Gibbins. After completing law school in San Francisco, California, and learning the basics of the practice for two years in neighboring Oakland, I returned to Thailand in August 1967 to join my parents at Tilleke & Gibbins, where I have remained ever since.

Having decided to make Thailand my home and having lived in rented homes for many years after my return, in the mid-1980s I decided it was time to build my own home on the land that is now Nichada Thani.

DSC_0259From the beginning, the house was conceived to look as if it had been dropped into the middle of a rainforest in this tropical paradise. The house was to exude the feel of a lived-in, comfortable, inviting, relaxing home for our family, guests and pets, blending with a natural tropical environment. It is a large, open residence. This design both gives the impression of spaciousness and is meant to encourage airflow. The house is built around a central atrium garden and set in a tropical rainforest that surrounds it on all sides and is viewable from all rooms. More than 200 species of trees, shrubs, and plants are represented in the rainforest. The house was designed to be inviting for entertaining on a large scale, to be cool and environmentally friendly, and to require low maintenance while using as little as possible of endangered species as building materials.

The sound of running water can be heard cascading down small waterfalls flowing across nine ponds meandering through the rainforest outside (our great, gray-green Limpopo River), and three more ponds on the floor of the indoor atrium. Our house of the rainforest is indeed a respite from the concrete jungle of urban life in Bangkok.

DSC02521My house of the rainforest is far and above my favorite place in the entire world. I love to sit on the veranda in the mornings and just gaze at the green life of the trees and plants, listen to the birdsong and the rushing water of the stream, and watch the squirrels and lizards scampering through the trees and among the plants while enjoying the company of our dogs. Yes, being a rainforest we are visited by the occasional snake, but they do not linger, and our elephants come down from Ayutthaya once a year in January to visit with our guests at our annual garden party.

Tips for Traveling in Thailand

Must-do:
Get out and see what Thailand has to offer

Don’t do:
Don’t harbor a closed mind

Must-see:
What is left of the great forests and natural flora and fauna beauty of Thailand

Eat and drink at:
Fantastic restaurants that abound for all palates and pocketbooks—from street food and open markets, to plain and fancy restaurants serving cuisines from around the world.

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