Baan Klang Thung, ‘the house among the paddy fields’ was once the name of this house that sits on 3 acres (7.5 rai) of never-ending plains of rice fields. Each morning, farmers would balance on their shoulders baskets full of local produce plucked fresh from the fields to sell at the local San Pa Koi Market. Seldom would the odd rickshaw or bicycle pass by. The clanking of ox bells and the rickety sound of worn cart wheels became part of the music of nature, as farmers with heavy loads stopped by and sold their produce at the markets along the way.
In 1935, a local farmer called Grandpa Phreng Laohapensang, dug a large fishing pond on his land, and used the extra soil to fill the land to build a house. Sketching his own designs, he managed to construct the house by his own means and talents, calculating the amount of metal used and building a kiln to fire the bricks. Grandpa Phreng once insisted that this house could stand for hundreds of years. Each brick is large and thick, weighing a kilogram each, and the use of metal equaled to that used for a three-storey building. Despite at the end of World War II when bombs were dropped on the railway station nearby, and many homes in the area were destroyed, this house stood unscathed.
Even with the absence of an electrical carpenter’s plane, Grandpa was able to fashion highly refined teak wood that decorated the ceilings, walls and windows of Baan Klang Thung.
Although more than 70 years has passed, this house has maintained its original strength and charming splendor. To the north of the main house stand two other large teak houses which were once rice barns. West of the teak houses stand the Octagon building that stands above an underground shelter which was utilized during the air raids in World War II when air threats were sounded by the siren.
Grandpa and his wife were devoted to preserving nature. To this day, a variety of plant species grow in the vicinity that blesses an environment of serenity, leading the house to win an award for its beauty from The Ministry of Public Health in 2003.
Salapee trees originally grown from the gardens in the Darapirom Palace of Princess Dararasmee now loom large in the area. The sheer variety of trees and plants, have contributed to the school being awarded ‘A Study Area in the Park’ from The Minister of Education in Chiang Mai.
In 1972, the vicinity was converted into a kindergarten called Baan Dek, as the original name, Baan Klang Thung gradually faded through time. Despite some areas were cleared in order to make way for additional school buildings, the multitude of trees remaining together with those newly planted have continued to enchant this place with natural beauty. In addition, in 1984, the owner of the vicinity built a swimming pool large enough to hold regional tournaments and one of the first fitness centers in Chiang Mai, named ‘Sara’. This swimming pool has trained national swimming teams.
Baan Dek has played a role in building people’s lives, from toddlers to adults. By providing a place for learning and training for those from a young age and building a stable foundation for adulthood, such persons have stepped forward in society in the name of doctors, teachers, and architects, which Baan Dek has been a part. For all this time, this vicinity has been used to explore endless creativity by this peaceful and jovial community. As each day passes, those who share these joyful times are those that come and stay. In the way that the ancestors who built this house had wished, each and every individual takes back a heart full of happiness, and to know that later generations came here and stayed as their home away from home.