Full address: Baan Um Jaan, A. Prjak Sinlaphakom, Udon Thani, 41110 Thailand
Contact name: Got Daeng
The Thai Villa
Located in rural Northeast Thailand, in Udon Thani province, Gecko Villa is a spacious holiday villa, with a private swimming pool that overlooks the adjoining rice paddies and plantations. A local Thai family living in a nearby village meets and greets guests at arrival to transfer them to the property and look after them during their stay, allowing immediate and direct interaction between guests and indigenous villagers.
The villa itself comprises three king bedded bedrooms, a large living and dining room, a fully equipped kitchen, a walled garden, ample wooden decking and a private pool with uninterrupted views of rice paddies, sugar cane plantations, woodlands and meadows. Holidays at Gecko Villa are fully catered, with delicious, freshly prepared Thai and Isan food prepared using locally sourced ingredients – many from the property itself, where mango, lemongrass, basil, pea eggplants, rice, chili, mint, spring onions, banana, limes and more are grown organically. There is no additional charge for meals and drinks at the villa, and guests may also learn how to cook some of the local specialties themselves.
The hosts are happy to involve guests fully in the local way of life and to show them the area, or should guests be looking to simply relax and unwind, they will be left to enjoy the property in complete privacy. Activities such as Thai cooking classes, visits to local schools and temples, tours of the listed wetlands of Nong Han, of the stunning local lotus lake, or excursions to the museum of Ban Chiang may all be made free of charge.
At Gecko Villa, rainwater is collected and used extensively. As there is no mains supply of water at the property, an environmentally aware and sustainable approach to water conservation is applied de facto.
The swimming pool is salt based to avoid the use of chlorine.
Waste is recycled wherever possible, and a particular effort is made to encourage the local community to avoid littering and environmentally unfriendly waste disposal practices.
Electricity is metred and we encourage guests to minimize the use of air-conditioning. Power efficient, energy saving fittings and equipment are used.
The wood used in the construction of Gecko Villa is local “Pradoo”. It is heavier than teak and twice as hard and is resistant to termites, grows rapidly, and is well suited to the soil of the Northeast. Most importantly, it is a local and sustainable tree that has the advantages of teak without the environmental implications.
The roof of the building and its extensive balconies are raised and sheltered in the typical architectural style that is designed to ensure maximum cooling breezes and ventilation, & shelter from the tropical sun. Whilst the appeal of modernity has encouraged many Thais to choose a western styled home set on the ground, Gecko Villa believes that such a tendency is merely one of fashion and does not match the construction design with local requirements – ventilation, flood avoidance, termite risk reduction, etc. Gecko Villa aims to show that inherited architectural traditions can be usefully and attractively preserved.
Gecko Villa has a deliberate policy of countering deforestation. To date, this has involved acquiring 20 rai (8 acres) of adjoining mature woodland originally destined for felling and conversion into rice paddies, in order to help maintain the eco-system and natural wildlife. This acquisition was directly funded with revenues from the operation. A further 20 rai site of unproductive rice paddy adjoining the property has been totally replanted with trees. Reforestation is crucial in the Northeast of Thailand, historically a vast area covered with thick forests that were originally felled for the wood and then for conversion into rice paddies, upsetting not only the local habitat of indigenous flora and fauna, but also placing an enormous strain on water requirement in this drought prone region. Whilst it is considered that the methane production of rice paddies has been overstated, the need for reforestation is clear.
The locals have traditionally lived off the land, rather than simply on it, and local villagers are employed to show guests traditional hunting and food gathering techniques, and how these can be preserved only if the natural balance is maintained and pollution avoided.
Gecko Villa favours the supply of local food. They have their own organic fruit and vegetable orchards, as well as an organic herb gardens. These are supplemented through the purchase of locally grown produce. The rice served to clients is quite literally from their doorstep, and has not passed through the hands of the city traders.
Guests may also be introduced to the copious supply of local alternative sources of traditional sustainable protein such as insects, snails and frogs if interested!
Gecko Villa aims to protect and preserve local traditions. An interesting example is the use of banana leaves as a food wrapper – whilst modernization has led to a dramatic and unbridled use of plastic bags in the kingdom, traditionally food has been wrapped, cooked and served in banana leaves. These are of course totally biodegradable and there is a constant supply.
Responsible, Sustainable Tourism
All revenues generated at Gecko Villa are retained by the local villagers participating in its operation. As such, these families are direct stakeholders rather than employees. They are all from the surrounding villages and have enhanced access to medical care thanks to the operation. Revenues from Gecko Villa have been used to provide a better education for 4 children to date.
One of Gecko Villa’s main achievements has been preventing the typical separation of families and the migration of parents to Bangkok or further afield in seeking unskilled employment far from home. Traditionally, young children are left with aging grandparents, as parents seek temporary work in the capital, returning only for the rice harvests. Gecko Villa has enabled several families to stay together, promoting stability and a secure, local and individually empowering source of employment.
Gecko Villa is rented on a “whole Villa, all-inclusive” basis. Thus whether you are a couple or a family of six, visitors are assured of the entire property to themselves. Rates include free airport transfers, all meals daily at the property (cooked by the hosts), drinks, laundry, and local trips.
1-2 guests: THB 6,800 / night
3-4 guests: THB 7,900
5-6 guests: THB 8,900
The minimum stay is only 2 nights.