On the Northern Line, and particualrly in the more authentic rural areas, you might see some classic Thai homes.
Particularly, the typical “Thai stilt house”. Elevation on stilts to around head hight is universal throughout Thailand, whether it be here in central Thailand, the Northern Lanna culture, the Northeastern Isaan, or the South.
The most obvious reason for this, given that we’re in a floodplain, is that it provides protection from monsoon flooding. But it also offers the inhabitants protection from wildlife, thieves, and prevents general filth getting into the house. The area under the houses are used for storage, sometimes for livestock, and sometimes for lounging in the shade in the heat of the day. And having circulation under the flood keeps the inside cooler too.
Other core features include the high, angular roof with extended eaves facilitates sun protection and air circulation in the heat, and quick drainage in the wet. Terraces and varandahs offer respite from the sun and heat.
The use of various types of wood and bamboo are a sign that these materials were once abundant, and they also help the other features I’ve outlined come together.
Traditional houses are built in a cluster of physically separate rooms – called “Kuti” – arranged around a central terrace that makes up around 40% of the square footage of the stucture. The middle of the terrace might be left open to allow the growth of a large, shady tree that provides a nice fragrance when flowering. Potted plants are also distributed around. Overall, the architecture is very open, green, and breezy.
Apart from the functional, there are also aesthetic features particular to Thai houses. Other distinguishing features are elegantly tapered roofs, and regionally varied finials and decorations. You may see rich colours, carved wood, and handmade tapestries
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