Living in a Treehouse on Koh Phangan with Jonni Hey

16 Nov 2020

Jonni has always loved climbing and hanging out in trees, they feel like home to him, “I was probably a chimp in a past life”.  
Growing up, along with friends, he had a mission to climb every tree in the area, it took them quite a few years as there were hundreds of them.  

“We always wanted to make a treehouse and finally we made a small one down near the local river”.

But it was nothing compared to the treehouse he has created now on Koh Phangan. Ever since those days, it's always been a dream for Jonni to create this, and this is how the idea for a treehouse on our beloved island began.  

Jonni worked as an electrician for 8 years in the Uk so doing some basic woodwork and plumbing was not so difficult to figure out during the build.  After the mainframe was built he added some cross pieces as it was a bit shaky, then some shelves, installed a water tank, electrics and a septic tank.

A lot of the work he did himself although he did employ some Burmese workers to do the mainframe and got help with other major work. 

“The landlord was fine with me building the treehouses (3rd one now) as I was paying him to rent one of the houses on his property. The location here is ideal as the tree roots grow around huge boulders so the treehouse actually stands on the boulder but it's within the branches of the tree”.  

Treehouse Koh Phangan
Why did you decide to permanently move in?
Because I got struck by lightning in the house next door, actually it struck the house 3 times, but only once it connected to me and blew me off my chair, so I took it as a sign to move out and it made sense to get a bathroom and kitchen fitted in the treehouse and give that a try, although some might say it can be more prone to lightning in the tree but it’s so far so good. I installed a lightning rod on the viewpoint so if it comes again that should do the trick.

How does it feel to live there?
I cannot imagine being anywhere else, its a total nature immersion. Some friends have offered house swaps in nice villas but I’d rather be up here.

Treehouse Koh Phangan
You are also an ecstatic dance DJ at Pyramid Yoga, tell us a little about this...
Ecstatic Dance is basically a safe space for people to dance through a journey of various genres without alcohol or other substances. Some use it as an active meditation, it can be quite therapeutic but because there’s such a mix of people and age ranges its quite challenging to keep everyone happy.
I was Djing mostly House music since the early 90s in the Uk, Venezuela and Spain, then when I arrived in Thailand I wanted to continue to create events but in a more healthy manner so I created monthly conscious dance events next to my house on a viewpoint here and also did a couple of events at the Pyramid around 2008 before it was called Ecstatic dance.  
After I returned to Thailand in 2016 other DJs had set up similar dances called 'Ecstatic Dance' so I joined back in the loop and since then I've been playing monthly or bi-monthly at Pyramid and sometimes at Jarans Ecstatic which is every Friday, but I also love to play House music in other local events like at 360 and Sunset Hill resort.

Pyramid Ecstatic Dance Koh Phangan
Does living so authentically in nature influence your music?
I believe living closer to nature does have an influence as this past year I’ve felt more depth in feeling the music.

How is the ecstatic dance movement feeling in these times of pause on Phangan?
Its been like medicine, we are very lucky here to have been able to continue the dance during these times. It’s also nice to have more space on the dancefloor.

Treehouse Koh Phangan
What are the plans for the treehouse in the next couple of years?
I plan to extend the treehouse to have a lower living room, I also thought about a spiral slide which could drop straight onto the bike seat or a batman pole but not sure which one of them will manifest.  
I might rent out the treehouse for half-days as it could be ideal for healing sessions, cacao ceremonies or as a mini cinema as I have a projector and screen up there and 4x wireless headphones.
Treehouse Koh Phangan