Harry and Hattie are a couple of the cutest Pigmy Hedgehogs you could ever wish to hug…with the greatest of care, of course! Hedgehogs sleep a lot but become a little more active, like to get-up to nibble on an apple, at night-time.
Hattie is still very shy and difficult to photograph but Harry is quite the lad!
These two 7 week old Hedgies have made Thung Dong their home and we welcome them with open arms, so long as you are wearing protective clothing, if you get the point!!
""We contacted the farm via their web page and communication with the farm owner Khun Ae was reliable, detailed and effective. Khun Ae speaks and writes good English, a major plus for any Non-Thai speaker considering a stay in a fairly remote area on a farm.
He organised a smooth and very friendly transfer with a Thai driver, Khun James. We were welcomed at the airport by an English speaker, who took us to the driver and answered any questions we had before leaving for the farm. The last kilometres of the drive over the winding road are beautiful, leading through lush, hilly and varying landscape. Finally you drive off the main road down a simple road to a small stream. Khun Ae will pick you up here with a four-wheel drive to cross this little stream situated about 100 meters down from the farm. However, you might simply want to walk over the great little bamboo bridge and approach the farm on foot as part of your starting holiday adventure.
The landscape is exceptionally beautiful. The farmhouse is sitting atop gently sloping pastures, whereas the extensive farm area itself stretches out in front and past the farm house on a kind of open hollow, partly landscaped with gravel paths, small lakes and natural pastures towards the rows of green banana trees in the back. The farm area is partly surrounded by hills with jungle-like vegetation, set against the background of higher mountain of the region. In October, everything was lush and green.
After many years in Bangkok and after losing the illusion that a stay in the Thai countryside is a guarantee for quiet, we are on the run from noise (and other) -pollution: music, phone ringing, people shouting, villagers or religious institutions waking up their fellow neighbours before sunrise, a disco bass in a distance since the early evening, noisy pumps, electric devices etc. None of this here. Here, for the first time in years, we heard the gentle falling of rain on leaves.
Khun Ae is in charge of the farm, helped by several people. Work on the farm is demanding and time consuming, yet Khun Ae is very personable, will answer your questions, and he and his colleagues will make you feel very welcome. Time allowing, he will join in activities himself.
You will be greeted by animals co-existing with each other, the smaller ones roaming freely over the farm: ducks, geese, Silkie chickens, fantail pigeons, rabbits. There are two adorable dogs, Izzy and Sam, and an equally charming cat, Oscar. Further away, on the pastures, a herd of cows and buffalos, (at present also a baby buffalo), will be grazing, and there are two pigs. The farm grounds closer to the farm buildings are almost park-like, with small lakes and huts to relax.
Accomodation: The “Sunset Room”, where we stayed is really an apartment that feels as private as a house, as it is attached to one end of the farm but faces away from it, and has its own little garden. It is a double bedroom, nicely furnished, cosy, with windows the length of two sides of the room. It has a modern TV set (which we didn’t use once) and internet access. There is a separate kitchen and very large veranda with sofa and table, from where you have a far view down the gently sloping pasture, where sometimes the cattle and buffalo will be grazing, towards the entrance and village in the surrounding green hills. The garden has both a beautiful loggia, (raised balcony with a view) and a big wooden pavilion.
On the other side of the farm house is a beautiful Thai wooden house on stilts. If you have never seen or even spent time on a Thai wooden house, don’t miss this chance. It has its own kitchen, several balconies / seating areas. Finally, beyond the Thai house, there is one additional single guestroom with an adjacent bathroom, beautifully decorated and with easy access (no staircase).
The price included the meals on the farm. In the sunset room kitchen, you find coffee and tea making facilities, but also a microwave/oven, fridge. (If you need anything beyond the meals served, ask the driver to stop at a supermarket on your way to the farm). We ate delicious Thai meals prepared by Khun Bpoo and Khun Mai who work at the farm, usually in the big eating pavilion in the farm yard with beautiful views onto the farm. Tom is vegetarian, I eat very little meat, and they seemed to effortlessly come up with a variety of vegetarian dishes, (and meaty dishes anyway). Ask for the farm shoot salad: “Yam Phak Goot”. They provide an American breakfast if you wish.
We spent our times walking on the farm area, sitting, watching and feeding animals, taking pictures, reading, napping, walking to the main road and looking at the little village stores, feeding the birds, admiring the beautiful buffalo, flirting with Oscar, Sam and Izzy, talking to Khun Ae.
I had a very good Thai massage from Khun Pani (from the village), the first good one in years since I gave up visiting the cold air-conditioned massage places in Bangkok with their varying quality of service years ago. We had a great walk in the surrounding National park area with Khun Ae and Khun Bpoo, collecting fern shoots and other plants for a delicious dinner, during which Khun Ae told us many details about the area.
As you will see from the detailed information that he will send, there are many more things to do. Next time, we are planning to visit one of the waterfalls and exploring a walking path leading further past the farm.
The return transfer was organised just as smoothly by the farm, and the driver Khun Montri drove us back nicely to the airport."
Susi & Tom, recent guests on the farm, took this stunning snap of our Sam! I think it's just brilliant and too good not to share! I have even taken an enlargment to have framed and put on my study wall!
Thanks Susi, thanks Tom!
All Saints Church in Chiang Mai, which several of our regular guests attend, held their annual Harvest Festival Thanksgiving celebration on the farm and we also invited the youngsters from The Youth Charity Foundation, our local orphanage to join us for the day as well. So in total there were about 80 guests and it was a truly wonderful and memorable day! Everyone enjoyed especially the kids!
Here are a few snaps :
Click on the link to see the Video Of The Highlights of this most special day!
Together with All Saints we hope to be able to contribute more to the orphange and so we ask our guests via our 'Stay & Leave Project' to bring their old clothes to the farm, especially children's clothing, to use during their visit and then leave them with us and we will repair, if necessary, and clean and then give them to the orphans at The Youth Charity Foundation.
We look forward to hosting the kids and the 'flock' from All Saints again next year!
A big welcome to the world to our new born baby pink buffalo boy! His name is ‘C’
He was born to Nohn on Satuday morning the 8th September.
He is so cute words cannot begin to describe him. He will enjoy a carefree and happy life on Thung Dong - it’s so easy to ‘C’!
Sofie and her parents stayed with us on the farm recently and during this time Sofie celebrated her birthday. We are so happy that guests choose to be with us on the farm for their special days!
Sofie’s mother, ‘Archie’ arranged a treasure hunt and together with Josie and her family, who were guest staying with us at the time, we had a traditional birthday celebration together with a delicious birthday cake that Archie has especially delivered to the farm from Chiang Mai! In the evening we had a few fireworks which rounded off Sofie’s special day!
I was just turning on the lights around the farm at dusk the other evening and it looked so peaceful and cosy that I took a few snaps with my mobile and thought that I would share them with you. They are mainly of the east end of The Farm House but the first snap is of the Thai Kitchen. Being on the farm full time I sometimes forget how special it is!
We were honored when Till, a recent guest on the farm, celebrated his 18th birthday with us together with his folks, Yvonne and Wolfram, and his younger brother Linus.
Mark and his daughter Sofie also joined in.
So Till we hope that you enjoyed your day and the massage from Khun Nee but beware! 18 is the age that we consider you are past relaxing and ready for some farm work! (hence the nice new shovel we have ready as your birthday gift!)
Happy Birthday Till from all of us on Thung Dong Farm!
.........well not the real Izzie but a good substitute if you are too far away to give the real Izzie a hug in person!
This is young Aden a recent guest to the farm who misses our Izzie so much and who can blame him? Izzie is such a sweetheart!
So when Aden and his family returned to Singapore there was nothing to pacify him except a substitute Izzie from IKEA!
Have you ever seen a youngster who is so content? The thing is Aden, Izzie does that to us all!
Recent young guests Sarah, James and Eve gave Izzie the beauty treatment at the Car Wash….I mean the Dog Wash…down in the river and then they even managed to catch Sam who hates ear cleaning, nail clipping and especially shampoo and conditioner and put him through the treatment as well!
Two very clean dogs and three very tired guests ‘Workin’ at the Dog Wash’!
Ducks love Thung Dong!...and we love our ducks! Here’s a perfect snap of the latest arrivals all 14 of them. ‘Cute’ cannot even begin to describe them can it?! Nature is just so amazing!
Just after leaving my folks home in central Thailand after driving them from their stay on Thung Dong I saw an old lady selling duck eggs at the roadside. 50 Baht for a tray…and she had dozens of trays! After being reassured by the old lady that they were fresh that day I bought a tray. After reaching Chiang Mai my aunt, who was already incubating 20 Silkie chicken eggs for me, took 3 of the duck eggs from me and placed them in the incubator. She said that they would take 28 days to hatch. I would never have believed it but 28 days later she presented me with two of the most cuddly ducklings you could imagine!...and these were from eggs bought from the side of the road to make into omelets! I will never ever look at a tray of eggs, even in the supermarket, the same way ever again!
Very few aircraft fly over the farm which doesn’t sit below any main air corridor. There is a Laos Aviation flight from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang that routes south of the farm; it’s a small propeller airplane and you can just about hear it at 3.20 pm every day! Other from that very rarely do we have aircraft over-fly us!
So the other day when I was out on the farm I heard a jet quite high pass over and so I took a quick snap with my mobile hoping to identify it and I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting snap! If you zoom in you can see the aircraft which I now think was Air Asia on the way to Changsha in China! I just thought that the snap was too good not to share!
At this time of year we carry out a lot of maintenance work around the farm and especially this year as we have had early rains and the vegetation grows so quickly!...after all we are surrounded by National Park and jungle-clad mountains and if we didn’t organise our annual counter-offensive we would surely be overrun and disappear into the country-side!
The trees have been pruned, creepers retrained, wood-work varnished and now over the past 2 weeks we drained the lower lake so that we could sadly, but very necessarily, cut-back on the glorious Papyrus that surrounds and enhances the lower lake.
Now the lower lake is filling-up coming to it’s previous levels, (maybe in the snap below about one quarter full) and soon most of the rocks will be submerged beneath its’ waters again and the waterfall cascade will resume in its’ flow down to the river.
This was all quite a mammoth task for us and the first time in all these years that the lower lake has been emptied…the larger, upper lake will also have to be drained at some stage but we think it wise to have a cup of tea and catch our breath first!!
…also known as Dang’s mother! Just over 15 years ago when I acquired the first plot of land, which now forms about one quarter of the farm, I was in the village and noticed a truck with a pretty brown cow in the back. She was being taken into town to a very questionable future. I bargained a price for this beautiful looking animal with long eyelashes and the truck diverted to Thung Dong. After she was unloaded and just before the truck departed the driver shouted out that he thought she may be pregnant and maybe give birth in a month or two. We settled her into a comfortable stable with plenty of hay and being one of my first large animals was very much pampered. Low and behold 2 days later she went into labour and produced our Dang. We never really gave her a name we just called her ‘Dang’s Mother’ and over the years has produced four calves and enjoyed the most wonderful carefree life on our farm. She looks a bit frail these days but loves a hug and is amazingly friendly. She is totally spoilt and enjoys fresh corn and lazy days in the lush grass by the upper lake. We will always take the greatest care of ‘Dangs Mother’ as she certainly is the 'Grand old Dame of Thung Dong Farm'!
Map Of Thung Dong Farm
Here’s a map of the farm situated in a valley surrounded by National Park and jungle-clad mountains. Zoom in on the satellite-view to see the farm in more detail; the house and out-buildings, the lakes, the rivers and our own valley that winds its’ way through the jungle.