Have you ever seen a house made of clay? While I was looking for a place to stay for a couple of months, a clay house in Chiang Mai listed on AirBnb caught my eye. Not only was it made of clay, it was also shaped like a mushroom. 😀
They had a few other listings too. Unsure of whether I can live inside a clay mushroom house for 2 months, I ended up booking a spacious private room that has its own balcony.
The place is called Leafy Greens. I found them on Google Maps and saved their location.
When I arrived at Chiang Mai International Airport a few weeks later, I just opened Maps, found the saved location, and booked Grab. (Dang, Grab has become more expensive in 2018, but that’s another story.)
Check out this video tour and interview with the owners!
If you prefer to watch instead of read, watch this video tour I made of this place just before I left. I also had a chance to interview my hosts and you’ll hear about how Leafy Greens started, the different rooms available, and how long it took them to construct these clay houses. 🙂
Expectations and First Impressions…
Before my flight to Chiang Mai, I looked up the place on Google Maps. It told me that the place is a cafe and restaurant. Perfect! So I don’t have to go far in case I need food or want to work from a cafe.
The hosts were also quite responsive on Airbnb. I asked if there’s a kitchen and working desk with chair (there’s no photo or info in the listing). She said yes, they’ll put a desk and chair, and that I can use their kitchen downstairs.
When I arrived around mid-morning, I was pleasantly surprised that my room is ready for check-in. I guess, they didn’t have a guest the day before. My host, Ms. Nantanut, showed me to my room.
After unpacking and getting settled, I asked my host if she has a spare electric fan, as I don’t want to have the AC on all the time. (It makes my skin dry.) She had it delivered to my room a few moments later.
The Upper Greenery Room where I stayed is quite spacious enough, even for two people.
The bed is really big, the mattress was so comfy and the sheets felt luxurious. It also has a fridge, microwave, big screen TV (I think it was 48″, but I’m not sure), separate toilet and shower, and a big bathroom sink. (Watch the video – my room tour is towards the end 😉 )
Cafe and Restaurant
Sad to say that they don’t operate a restaurant anymore. There’s not just enough people coming in, especially since the area is way out of touristy Nimman and the Old City. Their old (indoor) restaurant area has now been converted into an office. I believe they still offer coffee but I haven’t tried it nor seen any of the other guests had it.
Their alfresco seating area, which is right by the entrance, is a good place to work and have breakfast. There are a couple of tables which is covered. But bear in mind that it’s no match for Chiang Mai’s heavy and windy downpours! (I tried to work one afternoon when it suddenly rained, I left soon as I was afraid for my laptop)
Early morning until about 10 or 11 am, and late afternoon from 5pm onwards are the best times to stay (or work!) from the alfresco seating area, or in the garden.
And by garden, I mean this…
This lil hut is much further in, near the Lotus Dome and Snail Dome. On one side of this hut is a creek. If you watched my video interview with the hosts, that was conducted at a seating area right next to the creek.
Hearing the flow of water is really calming. You can hear the birds chirping. Butterflies won’t be afraid of you. In my morning walks, I often encounter a butterfly or two hovering near me as if to say hello.
I’ve had a few mornings spent sitting at this hut, either reflecting, working or just getting some sunlight on me. This is a great spot for early morning sunbathing! (With clothes on, of course 😉 )
Clay House Chiang Mai: How many clay house structures are there?
Leafy Greens has 2 types of clay houses available for bookings: the Peanut clay house, and the Mushroom clay houses.
But there are other structures made from clay too.
1. Lotus Dome
The Lotus Dome is a meditation hall. It can accommodate up to 20 meditators. So their meditation course here is small and intimate.
Leafy Greens was originally built to be a meditation center. The other clay houses were built to house the meditators. But since 7 to 10-day meditation courses are only happen once or twice a year, most of the time these clay houses sit empty.
So the owners decided to offer them to guests visiting Chiang Mai.
2. Snail Dome
At first, I thought the Snail Dome is also a meditation hall given its enormous size. It is the biggest of all the clay structures, even bigger than the Lotus Dome.
But when the owners gave me a tour inside, I found out it’s a bigger version of the tiny mushroom houses. I recorded it video, but sadly, I had the setting on ‘video mode’, not ‘auto mode’ which rendered the footage too shaky (despite being mounted on a GorillaPod). I just got my Canon G7xii a couple of days before taking this video, and only found out after I left Chiang Mai that I need to choose AUTO setting to enable Image Stabilization. 🙁 C’est la vie!
The Snail Dome can comfortably accommodate up to 10 people, the host said. But to be honest, I think it can accommodate more given its size. At the moment, it is ONLY being used during meditation courses.
It’s NOT available to guests, but the owners are contemplating on this. They said it still need a lot of repairs for it to be up to standards and be ready for guest use.
3. Mushroom Clay House
There are 5 mushroom clay houses in total.
In the span of 2 months that I’ve stayed at Leafy Greens, I’ve seen a variety of tourists booking those mushroom clay houses.. from couples, to families with a baby/kid, solo travelers, to group of friends.
Even though it’s quite small, up to 3 people can fit the mushroom house. There’s a bed (with a bed frame) on the ground floor, and another 2 beds (futon-style bed, on the floor, with no bed frame) on the mezzanine upstairs.
As a house, it is really tiny.. like a Smurf house! 😀 If you’re claustrophobic, this may not be for you. Instead, try the peanut house or the Upper Greenery Room where I stayed.
I did a video tour inside the mushroom house. So if you want to know how it looks like inside, go watch the video at the top of this post 🙂
4. Peanut House
This is the newest of all the clay houses! And it’s one of it’s kind too 😉
You can clearly see its peanut shape. Even the roof is styled similar to the skin of a peanut. This clay house is made up of 2 really spacious bedrooms, perfect for bigger groups and families.
The peanut house is right at the cafe/alfresco seating area, near the entrance.
What rooms / houses are available for booking?
On top of the peanut house and 5 mushroom houses, there’s another room / flat you can choose if you want to stay at Leafy Greens.
It’s called the ‘Upper Greenery’ room. It’s where I stayed for 2 months (57 days) as a digital nomad. That’s the room I was describing at the beginning of this post.
Upper Greenery Room
While it’s not made from clay, it has a very functional minimalist style which I love. And it’s got everything I need: working desk (it’s quite big too!) with comfy ergonomic office chair, microwave, fridge and wardrobe.
What I LOVE:
The brick walls (made of real bricks), big windows for lots of natural light, and the roomy balcony with a wicker lounge chair overlooking the clay mushroom houses.
What I DIDN’T LIKE:
Insects! Lol But it’s expected since this place is full of trees, plants and lots of greenery. I can’t stay out in the balcony area at night unless I wear pants and sleeves, otherwise I’ll get swarmed by mosquitoes.
Where is it located?
This property is well outside the tourist areas of Chiang Mai, which is Nimman and the Old City. It’s a bit further up north, about 15 to 20 mins. ride (I estimated this after a handful of Grab rides to and from Leafy Greens).
There are lots of food places in the area, but they mostly close by 7 or 8pm.
I found a handful of cafes nearby, two of which are ‘gas station cafes‘. There’s one about 15 minute walk, but they close early at 5pm. The rest of them close at 6pm. Yeah, they close really early 🙁 But that’s because this area is full of government offices, so there’s not many people around when the offices close.
Should You Stay Here? Would I Recommend It?
It’s totally up to you!
This place is for you if YOU WANT TO:
- experience staying inside a clay house
- know how it feels like living inside a Smurf house (yes, the mushroom house is like a Smurf house 😉 )
- be closer to nature yet not too far from Chiang Mai center
Don’t book this place if:
- you need a full-service hotel (they don’t have reception nor English-speaking staff). You’ll communicate with hosts mainly via Airbnb and they respond quickly. Although their staff live in the property, they don’t speak English.
- you don’t have a scooter or own transport. But I just used Grab whenever I want to go to Nimman, Old Town or Central Festival.
“I want to stay here!.. Where should I book?”
If you’re set on staying at Leafy Greens, they only offer their place at the AirBnb platform.
Their listings are as follows:
Mushroom Clay House – Book here! (There are 5 mushroom houses in total)
Upper Room in Greenery area – Book here! This is where I stayed! Highly recommended for DIGITAL NOMADS 🙂
** If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, SIGN UP using this LINK and GET $30 OFF YOUR FIRST BOOKING.
Please note I’m NOT paid to promote this place. I found it on AirBnb, stayed here for 2 months and loved the place! And I think the concept is really nice. I’ve gotten really close to my hosts too – they’re a lovely entrepreneurial couple. We had lots of interesting talks. I gained insights into Thai culture and way of life. They go out of their way to make sure guests feel welcome. For Songkran Festival, me and another guest joined them for the celebration. WE HAD A BLAST!