Monday, October 19, 2009

2010 Building Tour in Thailand


CHIANG MAI AND LAMPANG BUILDING TOUR 2010 THAILAND

There are incredible historic post and beam buildings in northern Thailand and I as a timber framer and author of two books on North American barns was totally excited by what I discovered there. In 2008 and 2009 I was in Chiang Mai, Pai, Lampang, Lamphun, all located in northern Thailand in the foothills of the Himalayas, looking at and noting all the buildings that other timber frame and building enthusiasts would like to see.
These structures including wooden and stone temples, historically preserved buildings and wooden post row houses, are all between 1,000 and 100 years old. And what amazed me is that most of these buildings are of the post and beam type similar to what we have here in Eastern Canada and USA and also Europe. In fact the similarity is uncanny between European barns built 500 years ago in the post and beam style and temples in the Chiang Mai area also constructed 500 years ago. Who learned from whom or did they both originate organically? You can be the judge if you join the tour beginning on February 14, 2010 and continuing for a full week until February 20, 2010.
The tour includes all accommodation, ( Banthai Village) which will be 7 nights in Chiang Mai, a city of about 100,000 inhabitants and 1 night in Lampang, a small river town. As well lunch is included and supper as every night all tour participants will enjoy fantastic food at a Thai restaurant located in an architecturally interesting building. Everyone will also receive a cell phone and map of the city, for fun and to keep in touch.
Each morning to early afternoon we will tour a range of building types, including timber frames, 500 to 1,000-year old wooden and stone temples and historically preserved stilt houses.
On day 5 we will travel to the town of Lampang, via the Teak Tree Highway, a two lane paved road lined with hundreds and hundreds of stunning 100 foot teak trees. On the way we will visit an early Lanna stone temple in Lamphun and stay overnight in Lampang. This ancient, quiet town, which was a hub of the teak tree trade in the late 18th century, has a preserved downtown of wooden post row houses and elegant 19th century Chinese manor buildings by the river and an incredible stilt house museum.
During the afternoons participants will be free to wander Chiang Mai, a centre famous for tribal markets featuring silks, cottons, woodworking, paintings, gold and silver jewelry and an unbelievable variety of clothing. What most people also remember is the amazing variety of food available—from street vendors to 5 star restaurants—Chiang Mai is provided for with fresh vegetables, exotic just picked fruits, fresh water fish, meat and the famous noodle soups. It’s a cosmopolitan city and all the amenities are available such as internet cafes, money exchanges, Interac, Visa and MasterCard, and espresso cafes for coffee lovers.
Please join me and my wife Lillian, our Thai friend and interpreter, Ferne, our friendly 12-seat late model van driver and guides who will tell us more about the architecture and history of this fascinating country.
Our tour is being handled by Debbie at Laramie Travel, who has been to Chiang Mai and surrounding region many times and knows personally how the city works and what kind of accommodations to book. She can also book an extended trip for you since Chiang Mai is located in the Golden triangle—where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet and where China, Cambodia and Vietnam are all within an hour’s flight away. deb@laramietravel.com
Fees for the tour will be $2,150, plus air fare, hope to see you in Chiang Mai in 2010.
Accommodations: We've found a wonderful small hotel in Chiang Mai, the Banthai Village. It opened two years ago, is beautiful and calm, located in a laneway behind a temple (Wat Bupparam) and only a five minute walk from the apartments where Lillian and I will be staying.
There is also an incredible cooking/food tour in Chiang Mai two weeks before mine, beginning January 24 to February 1, 2010. Look it up at immersethrough.com, it’s amazing!

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