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Rice has been the most valuable staple in Siam and the Lanna Kingdom since ancient times. The Lanna people, who mostly live in the 8 Northern provinces of the country, have a similar rice culture. They grow a glutinous type of rice with entire families helping in planting, harvesting, and loading the rice on to oxcarts to be stored in their home rice storage sheds called "Lhong-Khao" or "Rice Barn".
"Lhong Khao" or "Rice Barn"
The rice barn is widely known among Lanna people for it's many uses. It has become one of the famous architectural styles which have evolved to serve the Lanna's people lifestyle. There are various forms of rice barn depending on the locality. Most importantly, the rice barn was designed to show the wealth and economic stability of the owners. Size was determined by the number of people in each house. Smaller families owned smaller rice fields and therefore had a smaller rice barn of 4 to 6 support columns. The bigger rice barns might have as many as 8 to12 columns.
In the past farmers hired daily workers to harvest the crops which were then sold in big lots to agents who would transport and resell the rice. The farmer would retain enough rice to last the family throughout the following year. This surplus was stored in the rice barn. Now the role of the rice barn to store the grain has disappeared. Farmers sell their entire crops to agents and buy rice as they need it. Many rice barns have been demolished or sold for scrap lumber as they were no longer used by the farmers. Sadly, the "Lhong Khao" is disappearing in the Lanna Kingdom and Chiang Mai. Fern Paradise is proud to be able to preserve examples of this unique architectural heritage.
The fern is one of the oldest plants having survived for over 405 million years. People all over the world grow ferns and there are many organizations and associations set up to study ferns. There are numerous websites which present articles about ferns. People who like or grow ferns exchange experiences and knowledge about ferns regularly. In addition, there are exhibitions and fern competitions at the local, national, and international levels.
With a strong attachment to both the "rice barn" and the "fern", as well as a desire to preserve and to popularize both, Baan Suan San Sai has united the two into one place. Hopefully this combination will pass on the spirit of Lanna architecture and the beauty of the fern from Thailand to our international visitors. With a visit to "Baan Suan San Sai" they can share ideas, buy or trade ferns, and relax in the comfort of our restored "rice barns" knowing that they are connected with the timeless traditions of the past.
River Barn : The ground floor is a reception. The upper floor has internet connections for guests.
River Sitting Area : The place is on open area for having breakfast and dinner. It is by a stream where you can enjoy boat padding.
Fern House : A big house of 14 x 20 meters exhibits all kinds of ferns.
Green House : A house of 4.50 x 9 meters for growing young ferns from spores.
Parking : A paved road at the front part of the compound is a 20 car parking lot under the big mango tree.
Compound Road : A paved road which can be used as a morning , evening jogging or walk with the length of 500 meters.
Connecting Walking : The walkway is literate and gravels. Different types of ferns are decorated through this walkway.
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