Treehouses – Skyscrapers in the Malaysian Rainforest

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A treehouse that can sleep a dozen adults!

We tend to think of a treehouse as something for kids to hide in and spend a lazy afternoon reading. Do you know that there are traditional people who spend their entire lives staying in treehouses? We visited a place in southern Malaysia with treehouses for adults (and kids alike). It is located at the foot of the mountain Gunung Pulai.

Previously, I wrote about the traditional Malay houses of Malaysia. They are typically constructed with wood and built on stilts with pitched roofs. Contrary to the simple aesthetics, the house is highly sophisticated and designed to handle the climate of the humid tropics to keep inhabitants as comfortable as possible without the need for energy-consuming technologies like air-con.

Treehouses have existed in Malaysia for a long time as well, probably even way before the traditional Malay houses. They are the traditional houses of the Orang Asli (literally “original people” in Malay language). The Orang Asli are hunter-gatherers and reside in the rainforests of Malaysia. They can put together a treehouse with nothing more than a parang (machete), a saw, a hammer and some nails. The materials (wood, bamboo, and palm fronds) are all taken from the forest. Continue reading

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Practical Permaculture Course in Malaysia

Practical Permaculture CourseIt’s one thing reading about permaculture on the internet and another learning in-person from an experienced practitioner. I was lucky to spend 10 days over the 2014 New Year holidays with Sandot from Tacomepai Farm in Thailand. Sandot was traveling in Malaysia to help a friend design and build a permaculture farm called the Green Forest Project at the foot of Genting Highlands. The objective of the Green Forest Project is to be a healing center for cancer patients and permaculture educational centre. Sited in a valley within beautiful forests, the founder Sharley envisions the 3 acre land to be secluded from the outside world. Food will be grown organically and served to the cancer patients who will live very close to nature in simple huts. Continue reading