Permaculture Course Thailand

The Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC)

About the Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC), in Thailand At Daruma

Taking your PDC at Daruma, you will be immersed in a unique, interconnected lifelong learning environment: Daruma Eco-Farm, demonstrating permaculture principles in action; Mosaic Alternative Learning Centre, with 80+ children in full-time education, and recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education (the world’s first, and possibly still, only, permaculture-designed Agile school); and Daruma Ecovillage, home to family, staff, volunteers, visitors and course residents for our permaculture courses.

The Permaculture Design Certificate Course, widely referred to as the ‘Permaculture Design Course’ or ‘The PDC’, has been taught to students globally for decades. The course contents typically require between 72 and 84 hours of class and practical, design related activities.   The PDC at Daruma, is 72 hours class, plus 12 hours for your Design Project.

The Permaculture Wheel

Permaculture design was co-originated by two Australians, David Holmgren and Bill Mollison and originally referred to a design process for creating “permanent + agriculture” ecosystems inspired by nature. In addition to food production, these designed ecosystems included aspects of shelter, energy production, water conservation and storage, social enterprise, aesthetics and many other elements of sustainable “culture.” So today, permaculture is more accurately associated with the words, ‘permanent’ and ‘culture’ as it goes far beyond food production.  You can read more on our ‘what is permaculture?’ page here.

Often the ‘domains of applied permaculture action’ are depicted as the petals of the permaculture flower. Each petal actually represents a category so the full range of permaculture action is certainly vast if not limitless. What is at the heart of all permaculture design though are the three permaculture ethics, seen at the center of the flower above.

At its core, permaculture is a very simple thing that can and has been applied successfully in all regions and climates around the world. Permaculture designs have been implemented globally to allow people to not only live comfortably within the limits of resources that can be perpetually renewed, but also to recharge and regenerate the landscapes they inhabit.

Have Your PDC, Your Way

Have your PDC your way

Maybe you don’t eat at Burger King, but you probably know their motto. With many years of providing PDC, earth and natural building, practical permaculture and advanced specialty courses, we think Daruma offers a good opportunity for you to take a PDC your way.

This is the most common format for learning permaculture venues around the world. This type of course is usually 12 class-days (with one or two non-class days midway through the course). Sometimes these non-class days include trips. Residential courses will typically have medium to large class sizes however some venues hold small, more intimate residential courses.

Students often form very close friendships during residential programs and they are often amazed at how close they have become with their classmates in such a short time. Goodbyes at Daruma have often been tearful. One advantage of this type of PDC is that you often have many classmates that can help you to understand complex topics and you can similarly help others with topics you comprehend easily.

In permaculture, everyone is a teacher. This is a very good format for the PDC and if you want to know more details about studying for your permaculture course in Thailand, read on for the the Daruma residential PDC Syllabus below including dates.

In Japanese, 快速 or ‘kaisoku’ is a rapid train and the best train to catch when you are in a hurry. Over the years, Daruma has catered to quite a few permaculture students that have needed a shorter course. Many working Japanese for example almost never have an opportunity to take two weeks off in succession. This is why so many PDC’s in Japan are taught spread out over several months.

The alternative solution is the Daruma Intensive PDC. This program is condensed into a single week including weekends.

This course is also ideal for anyone that already has a very good working knowledge of permaculture design. If you have already read a few books and been studying online, this might be the fasttrack to your PDC. Be aware! This course covers the full content that is expected internationally of a PDC so be prepared for long days.

And, those that participate in the kaisoku also get a special T-shirt so if this sounds right for you, click here to find out more about studying your intensive permaculture course in Thailand including the dates.

Inside Daruma Eco-farm you will also find Mosaic Learning Center. Mosaic is a full-time, alternative grade school with approximately 80 children. We believe it is the first school in the world with curriculum and pedagogy designed using permaculture principles and it is certified by the Thai Ministry of Education. One aspect of the Mosaic method is the inclusion of Agile Learning Principles (see for more information about the agile learning system).

Agile learning in general is a student directed learning system. Our agile-PDC is unique in that it allows anyone with a special interest in permaculture design to formally pursue this type of program while also satisfying the requirements for the PDC certificate. It doesn’t matter if your interest is in setting up a small scale grain farm or an organic essential herb production business. A massage and yoga retreat or an aquaponic restaurant to complement your rock climbing school. Natural earth building techniques. A food forest. Maybe just a self-reliant, sustainable retirement villa. Whatever your desire, you can use this as the core for your project work and refine this design element and plan how it will integrate with the existing or future elements of your design plans.

For more information about the agile-PDC, click here.

Wherever you live in the world, if you either own or are planning to purchase property that will involve the implementation of a permaculture design or if you would like to use aspects of social design inspired by permaculture design such as transition town, retro-suburbia or circular economy, and you would like to arrange a course at your venue, we can do that. For us, all PDC’s are rewarding and meaningful experiences but there is a special sense of satisfaction when it is understood that the design work in a course is intended for implementation and not synthetic design work (‘synthetic design’ is a design that is usually for illustration or instructional purposes only and is not actually intended for implementation).

Additionally, special group and off-site courses will usually produce multiple designs for the property which gives options and choices for any owner and their design team. There may also be implementation items that can be started immediately which gets a project moving. Daruma has sent training teams to teach permaculture design certificate courses, specialty courses and to assist with design projects in many countries so if this might be your way, click here:

The Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Syllabus

In the early days of permaculture, Bill Mollison’s Designer’s Manual was the stated standard for most PDC’s.  Sometimes a PDC description would state that it officially covered the “14 chapters” which are listed here:

  • Introduction (to permaculture)
  • Concepts and Themes in Design
  • Methods of Design
  • Pattern Understanding
  • Climatic Factors
  • Trees and their Energy Transactions
  • Water
  • Soils
  • Earthworking and Earth Resources
  • The Humid Tropics
  • Dryland Strategies
  • Humid Cool to Cold Climates
  • Aquaculture
  • The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation

In a few places, these chapters can serve as a guide for a PDC that will wind through the maze of design concepts and supporting background material.  The Daruma PDC definitely covers the topics in these 14 chapters but this is not the order (or format) it is presented.


Click to enlarge before & after images.

Daruma Eco-Farm Way Back When

The land before we started.

Daruma Eco-Farm in 2018

Daruma Eco-Farm in 2018.

Every PDC course here at Daruma begins with an orientation tour of the farm to give you an overall impression of how individual elements integrate with each other.  This often generates a broad range of questions. We will, however, hold off on answering most of these questions initially but don’t worry, if the course material doesn’t answer them,  they will be answered in time. We also spend some time getting to know each other and sharing our goals.


One reason for not answering all the questions in the beginning is the most common answer in permaculture courses is, “it depends.”  So it takes a little time to establish the basic foundations which we start on right away. That foundation begins with two important topics:

  1. The state of the world (why we need permaculture design thinking) and
  2. What is permaculture and where did it come from (a comprehensive overview).  The overview includes a good discussion on ‘influences’ on permaculture.
Influential permaculture literature

Permaculture Influences

Permaculture has been influenced by, incorporates and develops upon important and influential works new and old. These include classics such as A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Keyline Design by P.A. Yeomans and One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka, as well as more recent works such as RetroSuburbia by David Holmgren, The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins and Theory U by Otto Scharmer.

The library at Daruma is filled with books directly related to the topics covered in our Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Courses

The privately curated library at Daruma is well stocked with an eclectic and extensive selection of books which powerfully support and complement your permaculture studies during your time here, and we are sure you will appreciate it.

Incidentally, Daruma has an extensive library with literally (pun intended) hundreds of titles about permaculture as well as many topics associated with permaculture  design and what might be called the permaculture lifestyle. LibraryThing (an online library resource) lists over 800 works (less than half) of our print books. Feel free to see what is available:

PDC Course Content

So after introducing and discussing some of the influences, the real work begins.  The PDC content can be daunting in its breadth and scale; it is both detailed, and diverse.  We wind through an interconnected web that on one side involves traditional sciences including ecology, biology, chemistry and even physics and on the other side, we learn the nature inspired patterning that can influence design thinking and create sustainable systems.  The scientific aspects relating to ecology are very important to understand how the design principles and regional strategies actually create meaningful designs.

Permaculture design makes use of the concept of design principles.  Bill Mollison introduced design principles as a way for designers to more easily pattern from nature in creating sustainable designs.  Since then, many others have developed their own list of principles including Toby Heminway, Rosemary Morrow and also David Holmgren. David’s principles are explained in elaborate detail in his book, Permaculture; Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.”  David’s 12 principles are listed here:

  1. Observe and interact
  2. Catch and store energy
  3. Obtain a yield
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from Patterns to Details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use Edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

Permaculture Course Dates, 2020

January 6th – 18th
February 3rd – 15th
March 2nd – 14th
April 6th – 18th
May 4th – 16th
June 1st – 13th
July 6th – 18th
August 3rd – 15th
September 7th – 19th
October 5th – 17th
November 2nd – 14th
December 7th – 19th

Course Open for Bookings.
Closed for Bookings.


Key Information

  • Certificate: Permaculture Design Certificate

  • Effort: 84 hours

  • Accommodation: Included, see FAQs

  • Meals: Included, see FAQs

  • Wifi Access: Included, see FAQs

  • Venue: Daruma Eco Farm, 335/10, Bang Phra, Si Racha District, Chon Buri 20110, Thailand

  • Category: Design Courses

  • Level: Any Level with some special requirements for the intensive PDC
  • Language: English. (Translation is available in some cases, please inquire)
  • Course Files: Course media provided to students in digital format

  • Library: Access to over 1,000 books in the Daruma Library & LRC

  • Alumni: Access to the Daruma Alumni community during & after your course

  • Price: $700 USD

  • Online Course: Coming Soon

Permaculture courses near bangkok thailand. Permaculture RetroSuburbia Pattern Language and Theory U Course

Student Testimonials

Neil is an encyclopedia of Permaculture wisdom, providing Permaculture Design Courses at Daruma Eco-Farm and also traveling internationally to teach and consult. Together I hope we can continue to support Permaculture in both Thailand and…Read more…

Kyle Holzhueter PhD, Permaculture Center Kamimomi, Architectural and Regional Ecological Design Studio, Nihon University

I took a sabbatical from Google and went to Thailand to study with Neil to learn about Permaculture….My time at Daruma was educational and hugely transformative in a life changing way, I cannot recommend Neil and the Agile PDC more highly. Go study with Neil and see for yourself!…Read more

Sue Rae, New York

As a graduate from the 2 week permaculture design course at Daruma Eco-farm, I could not recommend this experience enough. Set in a beautiful and…Read more…

Rachael Maysels, Environmental Science PhD student, Universidad del Cauca, Colombia, Co-founder of Tierras del Sham Educational Research Center

The PDC at Daruma was as thorough academically as I had hoped for and more, with plenty of opportunities to explore the practical application of much of what I was learning.  It is a fascinating place to come and learn about permaculture, both from a hands-on practical, and academic / theoretical point of view…Read more...

Darren Roberts, InterConnected

The PDC will discuss all of these principles, especially how they function creating sustainable designs.

Even though you are taking a PDC in the tropics, permaculture design principles are said to be ‘global’ in their application.  But different regions (different climates) require different design solutions. In permaculture these are referred to as design strategies.  We will look at the general strategies for a variety of regions around the world.

Many people are very interested in permaculture techniques.  These, like strategies, are regional and possibly even local because of cultural influences.  So while there is not enough time in a PDC (or even in a lifetime perhaps) to learn all the techniques we might employ in a design, we will discuss and also find some time to engage in practical sessions of some common permaculture techniques.

Calling these permaculture techniques is perhaps incorrect.  Almost no technique used in a permaculture design is unique to permaculture.  Rather the technique is considered an important practice for a particular design.  These usually include things like composting, seed saving, natural building, preserving, and many more.

Finally, we discuss the eco-social aspects of permaculture.  This includes the future of permaculture. Co-founder David Holmgren’s recent book RetroSuburbia illustrates ways permaculture design can make an even greater and more meaningful impact than was initially thought when permaculture was conceived more than 30 years ago.  For many, this is a ‘most exciting’ part of the course.

David Holmgren, Neil Willmann (center) and Su Dennett (David’s partner) share a laugh at the RetroSuburbia book launch in Sydney.

David Holmgren, Neil Willmann (center) and Su Dennett (David’s partner) share a laugh at the RetroSuburbia book launch in Sydney.

If you would like to learn more about permaculture you can see our what is permaculture page, and our RetroSuburbia-centric permaculture courses.  You will also have access to the privately curated library during your course at Daruma, see details below & on the library page.

Of course there is also the design work.  Every PDC should include at least 10-20 hours of design work including critique.  Designs can be small or large, detailed or general. Design work includes some relevant practical work as well.  This includes survey and analysis, (reading the landscape), design consultation (reading the client), consideration of constraints and limitations, establishing goals and definitions etc…

At least three different design processes are introduced, discussed and compared.  SADIMET has become a standard of permaculture design but different methods might prove more powerful for different situations and different people.

Some discussion of implementation strategies and methods is also a key skill necessary in applied permaculture.

Integrated animal systems
Bamboo charcoal production at Daruma

permaculture courses near bangkok thailand

Daruma features many interconnected systems such as the natural pool, many koi & catfish ponds, rice paddy and chinampas all interconnected with canals, integrated animal systems, vegetables, fruit trees and of course many buildings and structures that provide shelter for humans & animals as well as learning facilities.

Days With No Class

As a visitor, you are welcome to use the natural pool when class & practical activities are over.

To discover the facilities and wider area around Daruma such as the nearby lake, reservoir, Bang Saen beach, and Siracha, take a look at our About pages.

Taking a PDC Course in Thailand

Of the many places to study for your PDC in Asia, Thailand has always been a popular destination.

Chinampas at Daruma, a permaculture designed educational ecovillage in Thailand

Chinampas at Daruma, a permaculture designed educational ecovillage in Thailand

The climate in Thailand can be as varied as in any country that rises in elevation from sea level at the coast to mountainous ranges and is classified as wet/dry tropical.

Here at Daruma we are firmly in the tropics, however the permaculture design course covers many variations and combinations of geography, landscape, climate and the plant & animal life that exists as part of them.  A firm grasp of permaculture ethics & principles is what we will focus on which can then be applied by you at home and to any project, anywhere in the world.

We feel our all inclusive price delivers excellent value to you, covering all meals, accommodation, use of the extensive library & other study areas including 20 computer cubicles in the Learning Resource Centre, super fast internet, natural pool, sauna and FarmLab™ to name a few of the facilities at Daruma which are at your disposal during your stay.

Updated as & when they become available, hit the link to see all our courses here, and all our permaculture courses in thailand here.

Your Permaculture Certificate

Upon completion of your PDC, you will be presented with your Permaculture Design Course Certificate.  Students must complete the 72 hours of class & hands-on activities along with presenting their own design project at the end of the course, totalling 84 hours.

In addition to your Certificate, you will also be registered on the Permaculture Global Network website by your instructor, confirming your attendance & announcing your successful completion of the course to the global permaculture community.

Meet The Facilitators

Neil Willmann, lead instructor for Daruma's permaculture courses in Thailand.Neil Willmann: Teacher

Permaculture Global Network Profile

Having more than 35 years in the world of permaculture and design teaching including lecturing undergraduate and graduate level engineering design and ecological design courses and instructing hundreds of students in permaculture design, I finally settled down to grow roots figuratively in Thailand. I started growing roots literally by regenerating a 20-year abandoned farm into a Permaculture research center.

Darren Roberts, co-teacher for Daruma's permaculture courses in Thailand.Darren Roberts: Course Coordinator

Permaculture Global Network Profile

A desire to build an eco home using natural building materials led to my discovery of Earthship principles in early 2017.

The Taichung World Flora Expo 2018 presented an opportunity to work on the ‘4 Person Eco Home’ in Taiwan. During the course of this project, I met many people who introduced me to the concept of Permaculture.

I began learning about Permaculture, studying what I could find online, in books, and through projects such as the 4 Person Eco Home and Datong Community Garden in Taichung.

In February 2019 I flew out to Thailand to study for my Permaculture Design Certificate at Daruma Eco Farm with Neil Willman.


The Venue

The venue for your Permaculture Design Course is Daruma Eco Village, a functioning Ecovillage based within the culture & education domain of the permaculture flower.  Hit the video below for a quick tour.

Established in 2007 on an abandoned farm with nothing growing above head height, Daruma Eco Village comprises many elements including Daruma Eco Farm, an alternative English-based school for children aged 3 years and up called Mosaic Learning Center, as well as volunteer & intern programs in addition to hosting permaculture design courses.

You can see in the video above, shot in 2015, how things are blooming there, with many trees now firmly established and well over three storeys high.

Daruma is an ecologically designed facility with the purpose of providing an environment geared towards lifelong learning.

You can read more about Daruma Eco Village here.


The permaculture design course will typically require 12 days to complete, so classes usually run from Monday to Saturday, with Sunday as a rest day.

The schedule is typically as follows, of course with a disclaimer that this can change from day to day depending on other activities, field trips, etc.  See the FAQ’s below.

09:00 – 10:15 Morning Meeting, Check-in, Announcements, Class
10:15 – 10:30 Morning Tea
10:30 – 11:45 Class
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:15 – 15:00 Class
15:00 – 15:30 Afternoon Tea
15:30 – 17:30 Class

Many students comment after the course that it is highly rewarding both in terms of what they learn, and also the relationships and bonds that are formed when taking the course during an intense, demanding 2 week period.

With that being said, arrivals at Daruma Eco Village should be by the Sunday afternoon at latest to enable us to get you settled in & answer any preliminary questions you may have.  It is preferable to arrive in daylight hours, to avoid disturbing other guests at Daruma, and additionally, staff may be unavailable from 6pm. If your travel plans make this arrival schedule an issue for you, please let us know so that we can organize accordingly with you before your arrival, and we can probably figure something out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Meal times, bicycle hire, laundering and ironing services during your permaculture course

Yes. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are all included in the price of this course and are served in the Cafeteria which has capacity for around 80 people.

We have a full time Chef, kitchen & domestic staff that prepare and serve dishes that are typical of local, regional & national Thai cuisine, prepared with fresh, local produce, including salad, vegetables & fruits from our own farm at Daruma.

Omnivorous (non-vegan, non-vegetarian) options are served as standard. Please do notify us when enrolling if you require vegetarian or vegan options and for any other special requirements, as our Chef will have to plan meals accordingly & order produce etc. It is important to note that the Chef needs to plan & budget for meals and has responsibility for creating dishes for approximately 80 children, all the teachers & staff at Mosaic school, as well as students attending Permaculture Courses. With that being said, the kitchen is ‘off-limits’ to all course participants. It has caused headaches in the past if students wander in to the kitchen & ask for ‘vegetarian’ today, because they just fancy vegetarian today. It also causes problems if those who indicated they are vegetarian, decide that today they will be meat-eaters, as the Chef is calculating portions & purchasing according to the information he has at the start of the course.

So, we ask that you please respect the boundaries with regards to the kitchen, and any dietary requests should go through your Course Coordinator, advising us before your arrival if you require vegetarian or vegan options, and this will ensure things run smoothly throughout the course.

We also barbecue occasionally, using some of the bamboo charcoal grown & processed at Daruma.

Further information is available on our About pages.

Yes.  Dormitory rooms which sleep up to 4 people are included in the course fee.  There is also space for tents if you prefer the camping experience.

This map, is included in your Student Welcome Pack, and you should make sure you print this out before leaving for Thailand, and show it to the minivan / taxi Grab driver, or whoever else might help you on your way.  It has English, and Thai, and will be more easily understood in many cases compared to Google Maps, which is also not always so reliable for our location.

Typically we limit class sizes to a maximum of 12.  This affords more time to fully explain anything we need to during class & address any questions you may have throughout your course.

Laundry service is available at Daruma.  Laundry bags for visitors are kept near the reception area at the foot of the main building stairwell.  You can drop your filled laundry bag at the bottom of the stairs in the morning, and it will magically reappear the next day, laundered, dried & folded in a basket in the reception area.  There is a 50 Baht fee for 1 laundry bag.  Pressing / ironing is also available, please see the announcement board at the main building stairwell area.

Internet & WiFi access is included & available to all students participating in a course at Daruma.  As an education facility, Daruma has a very high speed connection (approximately 500Mbps download speed, 100Mbps upload speed).

Wifi works well from the entrance gate, around the main buildings, and down to around the FarmLabs™ area.

If you do not have your own mobile device or laptop, you are welcome to use one of the 20 or so internet-connected computer cubicles in Daruma’s LRC / library on the 1st floor, and open class area on the 2nd floor in the main building.

Bicycles are available if you wish to use them to ride to the local night market or explore the local area.  They are not suitable for off-road riding.  We use an honour system, with an honesty box in place in the cafeteria area for use of the bikes.  Prices are 20 Baht for single use, 50 Baht for a half day, and 100 Baht for a full day.

Discounts are available for large group bookings, and for individuals booking 2 or more courses.

If you are an individual booking a 2-week course such as the PDC or similar, and a 2-day course such as the PRPT, a discount of 10% will be applied to the course of lower monetary value.

Discounts are not available when booking e.g. 2 x 2-day courses.

For Group Bookings, contact us using the booking form below & let us know how many are in your Group, and the course(s) you wish to enroll in.

If you are looking to book a permaculture design course for large groups, drop us a message and let us know what you need.  We can accommodate groups of up to 100 visitors for single day tours, or for weeks at a time if studying one of our courses.

Farmlab Merch, applied permaculture and ecological system design at Daruma Ecofarm in ThailandNo.  At least, not yet.  This is a humorous reference to the problems encountered when one of the founders of permaculture had issues with copyright & trademarks.

FarmLab T-shirts will be available when we become cool & hip, with a Youtube channel, thousands of subs, and a ‘merch’ store….

The ‘typical’ class schedule above, as mentioned, is sometimes very fluid depending on availability of destinations for field trips, extra class availability, or movies showing e.g. during the evenings, and of course: The Final Design Project!  Students are very often found working through the evening and sometimes into the wee hours in the last days of the PDC, working in groups or individually on their final design projects.

There are a lot of moving parts at Daruma – Mosaic school with 80+ children, all the teachers & staff, Daruma Eco-Farm, and Daruma Ecovillage with family, resident Staff and other guests staying on-site.

As Daruma is a lifelong learning environment, we integrate adult & child learning with our Daruma PDC students, and the children at Mosaic.  This is not for every class, but might involve an open ‘Mosaic Students meet the PDC Students’ with a Q&A for all.  Another example being the Living Ecosystem game to illustrate how ecosystems are interdependent, and also how they can collapse.  So, another thing that means we keep our schedule as flexible as possible, as these elements of the course require coordination with Mosaic.

The above schedule is to give you an idea of what ‘normal hours’ are, and of course we work with all the above factors to ensure you leave Daruma feeling like you have absolutely earned your Permaculture Design Certificate, with the unique opportunity to also mesh some elements of your PDC with the world’s first and only permaculture designed, full-time alternative learning center for children.

Booking Enquiry Form